• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was the French Revolution a success or a failure for France?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was the French Revolution a success or a failure for France? To answer this question, we must first define the revolution itself. French Revolution (1789-1799) is traditionally known as the long struggle of the French public against the pre-existing Ancien Regime and all injustices associated with it. It is also described as the battle between the new ideals of enlightenment and democracy against the old authority of the divine right of the king. In my view, these definitions are at once inadequate and misleading. For one thing, while the ideals of enlightenment and the teachings of the 'philosophes' gave impetus to the cause, the ideals were certainly never the actual triggerant of the revolution. The French middleclass and peasantry were hardly politically involved enough to wage a decade-long struggle against mere ideals. What brought in the entire public an unquenchable anger at the Bourbons was not their absolute monarchy or even the blatant exploitation of the power. ...read more.

Middle

The call for democracy came later with the stubbornness of the King and the nobles in letting go of their hereditary privileges. Alongwith that of course, also came the bloodshed who appalled many and took the lives of even "the children of the Revolution itself". Indeed, other than the radical and violent Jacobins, there were very few in France who wished for a death count as high as 40,000 under the blade of the guillotine. And, it is precisely this confusion, chaos and subsequent violent nature of the Revolution that makes it a failure for Marianne. The history of the French Revolution shows a muddled, confused path taken up by men of extreme passion and deficiency of clear direction. One of the most glaring examples of this inconstancy of one particular ideology is the constant change of the governing body itself during the French Revolution that went on from the National Assembly to the National Constituent Assembly to the Legislative Assembly and then the National Convention and so on. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was from this point that the French Revolution was quickly turned into one of the bloodiest repressions in history. The ideals of Equality and Liberty which had originally made the revolution a completely new chapter (and yes, a successful one) in the contemporary world affairs, became farce under the new dictatorship of the bloodthirsty Robespierre. Of course, this was not permanent and order was restored again, at first an indecisive temporary peace with the Thermidorian Reaction and then finally, five years later, with the Brumaire Coup and the establishment of the Napoleonic empire. But, as far as the success of the revolution (or the lack of it) is concerned, we can safely say the French Revolution was definitely a success for France. While it had its inherent flaws and share of bloodshed, its virtues have long outlived its defects. An inspiration to the oppressed for years to come, and emulated in the many other countries in the next two centuries including Russia, the cry of "Liberty, Equality and Freedom!" live on as a gem in the history of France. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Major Causes of French Revolution

    4 star(s)

    The number of poor depended on the state of the harvest. If the harvests failed, soaring prices meant that many urban peasants or artisans who leased small lots of land were vulnerable to a shortage of food. In bad years like 1769, 1776, 1783 poverty spread far beyond the most vulnerable core of the destitute.

  2. What impact did war have on the French Revolution 1789-1799?

    In order to crush resistance to the policies of Total War, levee en masse and requisitioning - introduced to prevent more economic crises, the Revolutionary Tribunals, Representatives-on-mission and surveillance committees were put in place to keep order and crush uprisings.

  1. "Foreign success; domestic failure." How fair is this summary of Bismarck's governance of Germany

    Austria mobilised her army, Britain summoned troops from India, dispatching the fleet to Turkish water. Russia was in no state to fight a war against Austro-British hostility and agreed to an international conference to revise peace terms. Bismarck, reluctantly took part, knowing his allies would not be pleased.

  2. Reasons for Napoleon's Success (to 1807).

    * The artillery was equally inaccurate and slow, with a range of about half a mile. It took a skilled gun crew to be able to fire a round a minute, even with the new, lighter cannon introduced into France in the 1770s.

  1. Russian Revolution Sources Questions

    Source J seems to contradict this by suggesting there was nothing cunning, striking or even clever about Stalin's actions or behaviour. While studying Source I we must not be mislead by the portrait George Orwell, the author of 'Animal Farm', paints of Stalin.

  2. Trotsky - Succession, Revolutionary Success, Civil War Hero, Death, Failure and End

    Trotsky's abilities as a public speaker were best demonstrated in his position as the Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, where he was able to make numerous appearances at party rallies and street protests to spread the word of Bolshevism to the workers and soldiers of Petrograd.

  1. How far did Napoleon Bonaparte maintain the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality in ...

    There were no longer any tax exemptions for the wealthy. He got rid of some of the taxes that the peasants were previously forced to pay. He reconfirmed the abolition of the notion of meritocracy. Estates, privileges and local liberties no longer existed.

  2. Why did the French Revolution end in 1799?

    power but in whole they had had no political say and had not achieved their objectives of freedom and prosperity during the Revolution. At the slightest increase in the cost of living the urban worker and sans-culottes would rise up in arm to protect their rights, challenging the government.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work