Question pic Politics & International Relations

The Failure of the French Revolution

What was the failure of the French Revolution?

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The French Revolution was a period of great political and social change. The Revolution lasted between 1789 and 1799. It began in France and later expanded beyond in the French Colonies. The revolution overthrew the monarchy and established the first French Republic.

The Revolution ultimately failed due to the severe power vacuum created following the overthrowing of the monarchy, which allowed radicals to seize power, leading to chaos in France. This led to extended periods of violence and paranoia which eventually resulted in the reinstallation on the monarchy, albeit in a limited capacity. The French worked on a number of documents that reinstated the monarchy but aimed to reduce the influence of both the Clergy and French Nobility, the two most well-known being the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

This idea was short lived and little over a year into this new limited monarchy The French Republic was proclaimed, leading to Louis XVI’s public execution in January 1793. This, however, did not breed stability and instead lead to the Revolutionary Wars and the creation of an executive council known as the Directory who assumed control of France between 1795 and 1799. However, following 4 years of instability, this group was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte and the French Consulate was formed. This was followed in 1804 by the creation of the French Empire ruled by Napoleon for the next 10 years before his position was abolished and royalty returned to France in 1815 following Napoleons exile after defeat at the hands of the Prussians, Austrians and Russians.

As such, the clear failure of the French Revolution was the inability to permanently remove the monarchy away from the seat of power. Even after 20 years of political upheaval and numerous wars, the end result was to return the original royal family to the throne.