In the east of Paris, there is a Bastille Square. Before 200 years, the famous Bastille stood there. It was built for imprisoning the people who fight with the politics. In July, 14, 1789, many people surrounded the Bastille with many kinds of weapons. They were the insurrectionists.
"The crowd soon slaughtered the governor and his office. Parisians celebrated wildly the taking of the Bastille and they immediately started to demolish this grim symbol of oppression and royal despotism." (McKay. J. P., Hill. B. D. and Buckler. J. 2006)
This was the symbol of the beginning of the French Revolution. From 1789 and 1791, the French politics had a huge change. After the Bastille surrendered, many insurgent activities launched quickly. Liberty, equality, fraternity and freedom were the ideas behind the Revolution. Although there were some problems produced during the Revolution, but it was very necessary and important. The French Revolution ended the French royal absolutism, promoting the development of the French capitalism, and pushed the revolutions in other European countries. Although it ultimately failed, in many ways it actually was successful. What led this well-known revolution? The main causes were the rigid social structure of the ancient regime, the influence of the Enlightenment, and the lock of the estates. Combining others reasons, the French Revolution started.
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The essential reason of the Revolution was the contradiction between the three estates in France. The three orders were the clergy, the nobility, and the people else. As the country's first estate, the members of the clergy was not very big, but they had important privileged. They were very powerful and like the government of a nation. The civil servants were able to buy and sell their offices, they controlled the most political rights with the royal members, and 80% percent of the population had no political rights. Besides, the clergy owned the 2/3 lands in France and tax free. The second estate made up with the nobility. They had the highest positions in the army, government and clergy. Like the first estate, they didn't need to pay taxes. Contrarily, they collected tax from the poor farmers or peasants who lived on their land. These two orders led by the sun king Louis XVI. So actually they controlled the all political rights, and used it to oppress the poor third estate. It comprised of the peasants, bourgeoisie and artisans. They lived in poverty and worked the land which belong the nobility. The peasants were burdened with heavy tax. Government and nobility always ask them to pay many kinds of taxes, even through some absurd reasons or laws. The bourgeoisie had many grievances; they wanted to change their live.
Just like many other countries' revolution, the financial difficulties were a necessary reason. Louis XVI and nobilities tried to collect more taxes but met much opposition.
"Actually, France's government was in financial crisis. For years, royal ministers believed that more revenues were needed if France were to maintain its position in international affairs and take care of domestic affairs. Originally the kings of France paid the costs of rule from wealth produced on their own domains -- helped in emergencies from an assembly of people who granted the royal treasury tax revenues." (Smitha. F. E. 2002)
During the Seven Years' War and the help of the American Revolution, France made itself have large quantities of debt and the budget deficit soared. In 1789, France was bankrupt. So the Louis XVI convened the estates-general, he wanted to ask the third order pay some new tax to relief the financial crisis. But the peasants and other people required to limit the monarchy and had some reforms. Louis XVI rejected them without thinking. Then, the storm started. Finally, the surrender of the Bastille told people the French Revolution started. So as the reason of this revolution, the economic problem can not be ignored.
In addition, the Enlightenment gave the French Revolution a great mental leading.
"The center of Enlightenment thought was France, where prominent intellectuals known collectively as philosophes advanced the cause of reason. The philosophes were not philosophers in the ideas of others." (Bentley. J. H. and Ziegler. H. F. 2003)
Many famous philosophers like Newton came up with many new and serious ideas; these Enlightenment ideals remained strong among the educated middle class.
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The French Revolution was the necessary process of the development of France. After the Surrender of the Bastille, "Civil Constitution of the Clergy established a national church. Louis XVI reluctantly agrees to accept a constitutional monarchy." (McKay. J. P., Hill. B. D. and Buckler. J. 2006). In 1792, the second revolution happened, the people turned against both Monarchy and Legislative Assembly and they arrested Louis XVI. After that, the Robespierre and the Jacobins had a long time conflict.
Although the French Revolution may brought a mass politics, it also was a truly the revolution in modern European politics from a long-term perspective. The French Revolution was very thorough, it ended the monarchy. Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette was executed in 1793. The landowners and some nobility were executed too. Peasants can be the hosts of themselves. The Revolution freed people from unfair, cruelty and prejudice. The new institutions were built based on reason and justice, just like the essence of it, liberty, equality fraternity and freedom.
"The French Revolution left a compelling and many-sided political legacy. This legacy included, most notably, liberalism, assertive nationalism, radical democratic republicanism, embryonic socialism, and self-conscious conservatism." (McKay. J. P., Hill. B. D. and Buckler. J. 2006).
It also shocked the whole Royal Absolutism in Europe, giving them a heavy strike. The French Revolution was the example of the other countries' revolutions. In the financial area, it gave the flat French economy a hope. In the middle of the eighteenth century, France finished the Industrial Revolution, becoming a strong county just behind the United Kingdom. During the French Revolution, the Enlightenment became the popular thought. The European people had two steady beliefs, they are nationalism and liberalism. After the French Revolution, the France got into a new time.