The French Revolution is considered to be one of the greatest Revolutions in history. Some of the effects of French Revolution is still widespread today.
Some of the most relevant after effects of The French Revolution are-
1.Spread Of Liberalism
2.Rise of Modern Nationalism
3.Rise of thoughts such as Liberty and Equality
4.Inspiration to many Famous Revolution’s
5.Drastic Changes in the Rights of People
6.Birth Of Ideologies.
The Rise Of The French Revolution
The morning of 14 July 1789 was Bleak in the city of Paris.
Rumors were being spread that the king ordered his troops to open up fire on the citizens.
Why did the citizens of France turn up against the King? Why violence flared on the city of Paris?
The French Revolution wasn’t an overnight uprising but rather like a pressure cooker pressurized for so long that it finally burst out loud and fierce enough to change the face of Europe forever!
And the effects on the French revolution is still widespread!
The Death Of The King
At age 21 Louis XVI became the King of France upon the death of his grandfather Louis XV on 10 may 1774.
Louis XVI was often noted to be shy, conventional and unimaginative.
He was too young to be on the throne and the French Citizens were already angry due to the fact that France was already on a Huge debt after their war with Britain.
His wife Marie Antoinette lived in a posh and lavish life even getting criticisms for her hairstyles, wearing expensive pus
(At one time it was said that Marie Antoinette was said to have a different hairstyle everyday designed by her hairdresser)
This lifestyle was all when 80 percent of the Population lived in Poverty.
Meanwhile the citizens were spreading rumors about the king not having the ability to conceive a child.
Some historians suggest that King Louis XVI suffered from Phimosis , An uncomfortable medical condition in which it is difficult/Impossible for a man’s foreskins to retract .
While some say it is a complete lie. Anyways he was ridiculed by the citizens for his inability to conceive a child.
The Problems faced by the Citizens of France
The Problems faced by the Citizens of France (which eventually led to the French Revolution) were plenty.However the major reasons for the outburst of the French Revolution can be brought down to six reasons.
The Six Major Causes Of The French Revolution
Although French Revolution was a result of many reasons in a short time period, Here are the six major causes of French revolution-
- Ineffective leadership of King Louis XVI
Louis XVI became the King of France upon the death of his grandfather at a very young age of 21.He was already incompetent enough to lead France in normal conditions, let alone during the turmoil which lea to the French Revolution.
Let them Eat Cake!
His wife Marie Antoinette as mentioned above lived a lavish life and was also infamous for the remark “Let Them Eat Cake!” (Translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”) upon being told that the peasants had no bread.This remark showed the apathy the monarchy had over the poor people in France.
- The period of enlightenment
The Enlightenment period was one of the major contributors to the French revolution.
The Enlightenment was simply an intellectual movement that challenged the old ways of thinking and inspired the revolutionary ideas among the common people.
Immanuel Kant in his essay ‘What Is Enlightenment?’ written in 1784 summarized the era in the following words – ‘Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!’
The ideas of philosophy was so common that the ordinary people began regularly talking about it on coffee shop and salons.
The ideas were also spread across via newspapers and books.
- The Huge Financial Crisis
King Louis XVI when he descended on the throne found an akmost empty treasury. Long years of had already drained a lot of money.
Adding to it the cost of maintaining an immense palace and luxurious lifestyle o the monarchy further depleted the treasury.
Louis XVI also helped the 13 American colonies to gain independence, which furthered the debt.
The war added more than 1 billion livres in expense and the total debt had already risen to 2 billion livres and the lenders began charging extra interest on the loans lent which further added more fuel to the already burning treasury!
This forced King Louis XVI to to increase taxes.
- The Food Scarcity
The Population of France was about 23 million in 1715.
By 1789 it had an exponential growth to 28 million. This necessitated the demand for foodgrains ,But the production of grains could not keep up the growing population.
The wages of the workers were not increased. But the prices of food grains increased exponentially.
Thus the poor could not afford grains, This also increased the gap between the rich and poor in a very significant manner.
The bad harvest + Increasing Population + Low wages deteriorated the condition of the poor citizens in France.
- The Drastic Weathers
In 1784 Europe was hit by severe winters and summers which included extreme droughts that caused poor harvests which ultimately lead to famine.
In 1787 and 1788 France was hit by another series of winters which lead to a huge fall in food production.
- Social Inequality and the division of estates
The First Estate (clergy)
The Second Estate (nobility)
Third Estate (commoners)
The king was not considered part of any estate.
One Crucial difference between the estates of the Ancient Regime was the burden of taxation.
The nobles and the clergy were largely excluded from taxation while the commoners(who were also the majority) paid high direct taxes, which were burdensome to them. All these major reasons along with many others cause the lid to break and cause the French Revolution.
As said earlier, The French revolution had too much pace in a less period of Time. Hence it is best to understand the French Revolution with the help of a timeline.
1. 4 May 1789 The Estates General is summoned by King Louis XVI to propose solutions to France’s Financial Problems, Later The members of the 3rd Estate finds they are treated unequally by burdening them with taxes.
2. 14th June 1789 King Louis XVI asks the Government to approve a rise in Taxes.
3.17 June 1789 A revolutionary national assembly is formed by the 3rd estate to fight for their rights and against the inequalities.
4.14th July 1789 Rumors spread that the king had ordered his troops to shut down the National Assembly.
5.5 October 1789 7000 woman March Down to protest about the hike in the prices of bread, which became a common staple diet for many people in the 3rd estate.
6.25 June 1791 King Louis XVI and the queen Marie Antoinette attempts to flee France.
7.1792 to 1801-France war with Austria and other countries
8.The Year 1793 The Reign of Terror
9.The Year 1804 Napoleon becomes The Emperor of France.
Women and the French revolution
Some effects of the French Revolution was the active role played by women.
Most of them were uneducated, Only daughters of noble estate or wealthy third estates family had the luxury to teach the woman in their families.
About sixty woman clubs sprung up in different French cities at the time of the revolution.
Two of the most famous women clubs were Republican Women and The society of Revolutionary.
Some of their demands were that woman enjoy the same political rights as men.(They were angry about the fact that they were reduced to as passive citizens by the constitution of 1791).
However they played a major part in the French revolution.(and the right to vote was only enabled to them in they year 1946)
The Reign Of Terror
Maximillian Robespierre was one of the major spearheads heading the French revolution.
He believed in the concepts of equal rights and believed in the system of “Government by the people”.
But he practiced the exact opposite of what he preached by killing tens of thousands mercilessly calling them “The enemies of the revolution”.
After the death of the king in 1793,The national assembly was formed.
They believed that France was full of spies sent by the foreign powers who wanted to bring back the system of monarchy. Thus the Jacobians began to execute anyone who suspected of working against them.
Around 40,000 people were killed in Paris alone during this period. This period of merciless killings ended when Robespierre was sent to the Guillotine. The Guillotine
The Guillotine was used during the French revolution to execute people as quickly as possible. The Guillotine also had another name “The National Razor” and was used to execute up to 20 people on an average everyday.
The rise of Napoleon Bonaparte
The early years of 1804,Napolean Bonaparte crowned himself as the Emperor of France.
He was seen as a liberator who would bring peace and freedom to the people.
But soon him and his army were seen everywhere as an invading force. He was finally brought into his knees in the Battle of Waterloo in the year 1815.(The entire set of events are too long and would require another independent article dedicated to it)
The French revolution is indeed one of the greatest revolutions to have happened. The ideas ranging from Democratic system to Liberalism is the prime example that the French revolution still has a part in the modern society. The effects of the French revolution still lingers on everywhere