Power In The French Revolution

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Power, and the way it is distributed, has changed over the years. The democratic system seen today in most 1st world countries which embodies the motif of the common man having power over his own destiny is a stark contrast to the despotisms, empires, and monarchies of the past. The greatest upheaval of this old system happened in the waning years of the 18th century, with the French peasantry throwing off their heavy yokes burdened upon them by their greedy and unqualified royal masters and becoming the masters of their own destiny (by appointing for themselves an emperor instead of a king). What happened in those years long past still echoes today as the model method for overthrowing oppression and taking ownership of one’s own destiny from the selfish clutches that they first had been stricken to.…show more content…
The Enlightenment before it had brought forth the idea that man had a right to control his or her own destiny. This idea started a fire that would carry across Europe, and would eventually set off the gunpowder that had existed in France for many years. The French people were tired of struggling to live while their despotic rulers, the aristocracy, lived in splendor and lavishness. Because of the Enlightenment, according to historian and thinker William Doyle, “no distinction was now drawn between despotism, tyranny, and absolute monarchy” (Doyle 67). The people of France made this their opportunity to subject “him and all other officials to a constitution”, and “replace the rule of arbitrariness by the rule of the law”, i.e. the law created by the general will (Doyle 67). This revolution marked the death of despotism and aristocratic rule in Europe. What happened in response and inspired by the French Revolution and its resolution, however, had an impact felt far beyond the borders of France or the European
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