A Circle How do we classify the French Revolution? The French Revolution inspired many different events in European history and became a turning point. There were many flaws within the French Revolution, although there were ideas that left a huge impact in the lives of many, especially the way they saw and thought of their country. In the end, the French Revolution ended up in destroying a country and taking many unnecessary lives.
The French revolution was not revolutionary because the French people never rid the country of the unwanted ways of governing, the goals life, liberty, and brotherhood were never achieved, and the country’s government kept going back and forth between multiple forms of government. One of the many goals of the French revolution was to rid the country of the unwanted ways of governing and treatment. In reality the people never managed to exterminate the unwanted ways of governing and how they were treated. The French people wanted a government that had representatives.
This would allow ideas from all people, to be recognized and acknowledged by their leaders. This would be different from a monarchy since monarchs do not take the people’s wishes into consideration. This statement is made aware and seen in The Declaration of Rights of Men in article 14, it states, “All the citizens have a right to decide, either personally or by their representatives, as to the necessity of the public contribution; to grant this freely; to know to what uses it is put; and to fix the proportion, the mode of assessment and of collection and the duration of the taxes. “.
In this case the article is stating that with representatives the people will be able to have more control on how they will live their lives. The government governed in many unfair ways, and even though many people were not educated they know they were being oppressed and wanted reforms made. France was an absolutist country which enabled the king to make any decision that he wanted. The kings had managed to tame the nobles and all bureaucrats were loyal and would do what the king told them. This did not leave any room for the third estate to have an opinion on how their lives were.
When the people realized that the king would make changes to benefit himself and the 1st and 2nd estates they realized that had to do something. At this point, many people were upset on how unequal their society was and knew if a king had tall he power to do anything they wanted, they would need a government that they could control, where not one person has all the power but people who share it . Many members of the middle class, part of the third estate,were not happy with the special privileges held by the nobles.
In addition to this many people, those who were educated, were drawn to the ideas of the enlightenment. With the exposure to these new ideas many who were upset with the monarchy and its system were interested in the ideas that spoke of balance of power. This was a very important factor for the revolution. With theses new ideas people began thinking about the amount of power the government should have, what rights should be given to the individual, and whether or not their current government uses its power rationally.
The French people began to see that they were being abused by their government and the nobility were being given special privileges. Being able to see this allowed them to make their own thoughts. Even when the peoples eyes open there were so many different ideas on how to govern and treat the individual, the people struggled to make a joint decision on how to govern their country. This would end up with many different forms of governments and unwanted ways of governing and treatment experinced.
Looking at this evidence you can see that the people were mainly upset with how they were unequal in their society and that the king had all the power which would allow very little reforms to be made. Despite the fact that they wanted to get rid of absolutism, there were many ideas on how to govern and no one seemed to agree on how to govern and keep it stable. The French revolution was inspired by many ideas from the Enlightenment, but the main ideas that caused the revolution were life, liberty, and brotherhood; these were never achieved.
The ideas of the French Revolution were mainly based off the Enlightenment thinker John Locke. Enlightenment thinker John Locke believed that all men, not including women, were given certain rights at birth. These were known as the natural rights; the right to life, liberty, and property. John Locke’s ideas were not the only ideas that helped give fire to the revolution but his played an important role in giving it the spark.
French citizens, who were part of the national assembly (3rd estate), based their constitution of “The Rights of Men” off the American declaration of independence, which also incorporated ideas from John Locke. The French people had seen how the 13 colonies of the United States wrote their own declaration of freedom, which declared they deserved the same rights as any other Englishman. In France, the people wished to do the same but in this case the ideas that they were fighting for were life, liberty, and brotherhood.
A quote showing this is, “The representatives of the French people, organized as a National Assembly, believing that the ignorance, neglect, or contempt of the rights of man are the sole cause of public calamities and of the corruption of governments, have determined to set forth in a solemn declaration the natural, unalienable, and sacred rights of man… Therefore the National Assembly recognizes and proclaims, in the presence and under the auspices of the Supreme Being, the following rights of man and of the citizen;” The document written by the National Assembly used the
Declaration of Independence as a base but were inspired by the enlightenment thinkers ideas of natural rights. It was in this document that they began to act upon those ideas. (The natural rights included the ideas of life, liberty, and brotherhood. ) Part of the French Revolution included a time of instability, this included the reign of terror which in reality disregarded the idea of natural rights that the revolution was based on. This happened when France became a Republic.
During this time the Committee of Public Safety was formed and given complete power to ensure France’s survival in the wars that it had started. This lead to the Reign of Terror. During the reign of terror many people were beheaded if they were threats to the revolution. To fight the war many young men were drafted and everyone was expected to contribute to the war. The ideas of natural rights were disregarded for several reasons. First the right to life, many lives were taken during this time when certain ideas of the revolution were deemed as a “threat”.
Its disregarded because everyone has the right to live and not only that but in the French declaration of rights for men says “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. “. Secondly the people were not free, instead they were forced to fight in the war and contributed to it. With these two rights being taken away, brotherhood fell with it. Despite the fact that the French people managed to rid the country of a monarchy, their government was unstable and failed to respect the rights that the people had fought for, one of the sparks to the “revolution”.