“Its leading voices combined confidence in the human mind and human enterprise inspired by scientific revolution and faith in the power of rational criticism to challenge the intellectual authority of tradition and the christian past” (Kagan 589). The French Revolution didn 't just happen one day in France, many things had to happen to start the revolution. The French Revolution was an extremely bloody event that established the praetorian regime, changing human history. France in the late 1780’s was populus and had an issue with collecting taxes such as the people in the 1st and 2nd estates (clergy, nobles, high governments
This sharing of power added ideas from the newly formed government that focused on the freedoms of citizens in England. Voltaire contended that the English government had successfully limited the power of the monarchy by affirming the power of the nobility, criticizing the French feudal system for its inability to share political power amongst the citizens of France (6). Advocating a limited monarchy to hold political discussions concerning the progress of the French government towards liberal reforms during the French Revolution. Voltaire as an enlightened philosophe, published papers about the rationality of the French government, which influenced his attitude towards the English constitutional monarchy that implemented the enlightened ideal of liberty. John Locke wrote that the purpose of electing legislative powers was to create laws and rules that protected the “properties of all the members of society,” a natural right of mankind (5).
The French Revolution Beginning in 1789 and ending in the 1790s with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Revolution was a popular uprising against the aristocracy and elite privileges. This period marked a major turning point for Europe and remains one of the most influential events in history. Although historians cite several potential explanations for this great ideological, political, and social upheaval, the main causes of the revolution include the financial collapse in France, Enlightenment influences, and environmental changes. In turn, the revolution led to the Reign of Terror, a decline in religious following, and the creation of a constitutional monarchy. Ultimately, the revolution and its effects allowed Napoleon Bonaparte to take control of France, beginning the Napoleonic era.
In the American society as well, as mentioned before, the American people themselves has no representation in parliament and hence were under the severely oppressive rule of the British government. Therefore as we can see, there was a common need for freedom from the ruling body (“A Comparison of the French Revolution and American Revolution”). This idea that one of the main aims of these revolutions was political freedom, fits with Arendt’s idea of revolution as well hence demonstrating the fact that these were indeed revolutions. On the other hand, one significant difference that is related to the societies that were present is the involvement of various classes of people in the revolutions themselves. The French revolution cut across class boundaries and involved people from all sections from societies (“A Comparison of the French Revolution and American Revolution”).
The Glencoe World History textbook states, “On August 4, 1789, the National Assembly voted to abolish the rights of the landlords, as well as the nobles and clergy members.” This piece of evidence shows how the French people wanted to put an end to the old rights and they wanted to create new set of rights that would be fair and equal to all of the people. Also, they were too tired from the cruel treatment the clergy and nobles used on them so they decided to create their own way of equality. The Glencoe World History textbook also states, “ On August 26, the National Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen…” This piece of evidence demonstrates how the third estate took advantage of their power and they stood up for their rights and finally they created a new set of laws with National Assembly. The Declaration of independence, the English bill of rights, and the charter of basic liberties inspired the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. The declaration gave freedom and
One of the main goals of the French Revolution was to abolish the absolute monarchy in France and establish a constitutional monarchy, and this goal was achieved through the Constitution of 1791. This constitution, among other things, stated that a constitutional monarchy should be put into place and the old government- an absolute monarchy- should no longer exist (World History for Us All). This was very important because it got rid of the absolute monarchy, which had caused problems for France in the past. The revolutionaries achieved the primary social goal of the French Revolution, which was to gain equality for the Third Estate in France and to end the exemption of the upper two estates from paying taxes. In the Old Regime, the upper two estates- the clergy and the nobility- had power over the Third Estate.
The social system in France had already been flawed many years before Louis XVI came into power. It was of the norm to have people of different social and economic standings, this is what people had been raised to believe. The segregation between estates became more obvious when Louis XVI ruled because the peasantry had to bear the weight of the country on their shoulder because they paid the majority of tax although they were poor. Louis XVI was indecisive by nature, this did not act in his favour as the country needed the king to make decisions and to stand by them. The decisions
Personally, when I think about what happened before, during, and after the revolution, as well as the basic causes and the core of the revolution, I have to agree with the later opinion despite my deep and heartfelt admiration for both Napoleon and his accomplishments. When it comes down to it, I believe that while Napoleon truly did embrace and admire the enlightenment ideals, he was both too quick to force the revolution on others and too proud to let anyone else but himself champion it. In order to better understand the question it is important to know what exactly Napoleon betrayed. The revolution as it relates to France first started showing progress in America with the United States’ Declaration of Independence from English rule. The government that was founded from the American revolution was created based on enlightenment ideals such as civil liberties, a theory put forward by John Locke that government was put into place not by God for reasons only he could fathom but rather by the people in order to protect
Napoleon tried to use France as a stepping stone to rise to more power. He only ruled for himself and did not take instruction from anyone but himself. His foreign policy is a disaster and his social policy is selfish. First of all, Napoleon’s social policy may appear to look good but underneath all of that is just selfish motives. Napoleon separated Church and state and made Catholicism religion of the majority.
In Book 1, The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the main focus is directed at why people give up their natural liberty in order to achieve protection from threats to themselves and their possessions. This then results in the formation of a legitimate sovereign we’re all members are equal. Rousseau believes that no human has authority over another individual because force cannot be established. He disputes that no one will give up his or her freedom without getting something back. I will focus my analysis on how the social contract states that we must give up our individual rights in order to obtain equality and security.