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French Revolution a Bourgeoisie Revolution?

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Introduction

Why do some historians regard the French Revolution as a 'Bourgeoisie Revolution'? Why do some revisionists dispute this view? Historians who refer to the French Revolution as a 'Bourgeoisie Revolution' may do so considering several factors like, the bourgeoisie being the chief beneficiaries of the revolution; and the power struggle they were confronted with in the form of a socially exclusive nobility determined to preserve their rights of luxury from a 'wealthy, talented and progressive' bourgeoisie. Revisionists who dispute the claims that the bourgeoisie were the ultimate cause of the Revolution include many reasons such as the fact that the nobles and the bourgeoisie were infact not clearly differentiated as two separate class estates because of their many shared interests and the passage into nobility being only a matter of wealth or marriage. ...read more.

Middle

Not is it now possible to maintain that this elite grew less open as the eighteenth century went on thanks to some exclusive 'aristocratic reaction' Revisionists also tend to support the view that both groups shared liberal values of the philosophes. While the bourgeoisie were essentially moderate, the nobles acquired a capitalist mentality and both desired the extinction of monarchical despotism and reformation of France according to rational standards. The elimination of aristocratic privileges, according to revisionists, was never part of a preconceived bourgeoisie program, but an improvised response to the violent upheavals in the country side in july and august 1789. In addition to that, a struggle erupted over the composition of the Estates General, this lead to a sudden class consciousness among the bourgeoisie. Albert Soboul being one of the historians that support the 'Bourgeoisie Revolution' states, "the essential cause of the Revolution was the power of a Bourgeoisie arrived at its maturity and confronted by a decadent aristocracy holding tenaciously to it's privileges." ...read more.

Conclusion

For instance, they demanded a constitution representing the whole "nation". This aim was openly expressed in an immensely influential pamphlet that appeared in 1789 called 'What is the Third Estate?' written by Abbe Sieyes. The pamphlet answered the question arguing that the Third Estate alone constituted the nation, the nobility being nothing but privileged parasites: "The nobility...is truly a nation apart, but a bogus one which, lacking organs to keep it alive, clings to a real nation like those vegetable parasites which can live only on the sap of the plants that they impoverish and blight." This also further reflects the great class differences and the resentment and rage. The constitution also incorporated the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen that had been adopted by the National Assembly in August 1789. This was drawn up by and therefore favouring the bourgeoisie as they were the ones overlooking it. ...read more.

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