Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2

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

Do not show me this again

Are you in the right place?

Jump to History and see how teachers think you should prepare in:

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 The ideals of Equality and Liberty which had originally made the revolution a completely new chapter (and yes, a successful one) in the contemporary world affairs, became farce under the new dictatorship of the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)

    "Sir, another orgy...where a noble princess appeared with the heir to the throne, where an anti-cockade was flourished and where undercover conspiracy was loudly rehearsed". 9 He headed an extravagant and pleasure-loving court more than a conscientious one. France had a monarchy that carried within it decay; an aristocracy that,

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

    The war also helped the Jacobins gain enough influence to take power over France. Due to their huge sans-culottes support, the Jacobins were able to use force to gain ascendancy in the Convention that they rarely lost afterwards. The Jacobins used the fear of traitors and counter-revolutionaries in order to

  1. To what extent does the polarization of politics in France by 1824 demonstrate that ...

    This caused polarization as the liberals were pro charter. Louis was often left in a position that meant that he had to take a moderate stance. Nevertheless, provision was soon made for the replacement of Imperial army officers by emigres, a mildly redistributive land law in favour of the royalists was introduced, failing to create political stability.

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

    The use of horse artillery giving greater mobility to the guns, and the new practice of concentrating artillery fire in a barrage to open up gaps in the enemy front line for infantry or cavalry to attack, where tactics of which Napoleon made good use, especially after 1806 as armies grew larger.

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

    The bishops sided with Pope Pius when he was annexed in 1809 and became a French prisoner. They refused to agree to the option of investiture by French metropolitans. Napoleon's civil code - The code Napoleon, which was completed in 1834 dealt mostly with family laws.

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

    the other, he would be faced with a choice and the other would seek France as the alternative. Bismarck faced foreign problems, but enjoyed far more the control in foreign affairs than in domestic matters. However, not all of Bismarck's foreign policies were a success.

  1. To what extent was the failure of the constitutional monarchy caused by the French ...

    This was a total betrayal of the revolution and was just the excuse the republicans needed to remove the royals. Vergniaud said to the National Assembly âIt is in the name of the king that liberty is attacked⦠at what point we can believe that that they will exhaust their

  2. Why did the French Revolution end in 1799?

    Most of them had suffered badly from the agricultural crisis and were unsettled by the new landowners. The Directory had lasted so long due to the fact that the French people had given up on their country and any hopes of success they had at the start of the Revolution.

  • Over 180,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.

Do not show me this again

Are you in the right place?

Jump to History and see how teachers think you should prepare in: