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French Revolution

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'The French Revolution: Causes and Outcomes' Braidot, Agostina Mores, Evangelina Instituto Superior de Profesorado n� 4 '�ngel C�rcano' E.D.I. - Social Studies III Ms Maggio June 22nd, 2010 Introduction In the last years of the eighteenth century, France lived a period of political and social commotion due to a number of factors which inevitably led to a massive revolt. That rebellion soon turned into a revolution of people deciding to rewrite their history and that of the modern world. Although Louis XVI's reign and his affairs in war were a major cause of a revolution, there are also other aspects which added to the chaotic situation, such as the high and unfair taxation and the influence of the Glorious and the American Revolution. The French Revolution Causes Lay (1960) remarks that Louis XVI's (see appendix 1, picture 1) lavish kingship together with the unequal social and economical condition of the lower classes triggered a violent revolt the world had never seen before. France's financial problems started several years before Louis XVI inherited the throne. Barnes and Noble (2010) claim that the French engagement in the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) made the country face a substantial deficit. Such an economic crisis was deepened when Louis XVI decided to grant the American aid for their revolution (1775-1783), and therefore partake in a war that would lead to France being close to bankruptcy. ...read more.


As claimed by Chavis (2009), a National Convention was elected with the purpose of writing a new constitution; however, the adoption of such was decided to be shelved until the country was at peace. What the National Convention first dictated was the overthrow of the monarchy and the declaration of France as a Republic. Nevertheless, the new French Republic was soon turned into a dictatorship, with Maximilien Robespierre at the head. The Reign of Terror period commenced. One of its first victims was the former king Louis XVI. According to Eye Witness to History [EWH] (1999), the National Convention tried Louis in 1792 for betraying his own people. The following year, on January 20th, Louis XVI's sentence was read: the king had to die. On the next morning, Louis was taken to the execution place, where the guillotine was awaiting him. Once the blade was down, the last king of France had ceased to exist (see Appendix 1, picture 4). No sooner had nine months passed than his wife, Marie Antoinette (see Appendix 1, picture 5), was condemned to death. She made her way to the blade on October 16th, 1793. Betts (2000) remarks that thousands of French people were beheaded at the guillotine. ...read more.


On the other hand, Kreis (2009) accounts for Thomas Paine's answer to Burke. In his The Rights of Man, Paine (see Appendix 1, picture 7) puts forward a republican government, with elected representatives, in contrast to the starkly sharp monarchies which "had done nothing but hide truth and dispense falsehood. Monarchy is the engine of human misery and oppression. Monarchy is the supreme evil. It is the obstacle to human improvement -it is hocus pocus" (p. 6). What is more, as Philp (2009) observes, some associations of working people, for instance, the Society for Constitutional Information (SCI) and the London Corresponding Society (LCS), reawoke, while new ones were created, to diminish the power of the well-to-do and to confer their prerogative to strive for parliamentary revision. This popular demand met the government's refusal and worsened the tensions among Whigs, which ended in the division of the party. Conclusion At the apex of the eighteenth century, the most established and glorious monarchy in Europe faced its most implacable enemy: its own people. The French Revolution meant the birth of a new republic. But it was born with the death of the king. Thereafter, what began as a time of hopeful changes, became the bloodiest tragedy known until that moment Nonetheless, the French Revolution constituted a social and political milestone in western history, changing forever the development of most nations far and wide. ...read more.

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