The Days of the French Revolution by Christopher Hibbert
Marie Antoinette. Napoleon. Louis XVI. Robespierre, Danton, Mirabeau, Marat. Madame Rolands salon. A passionate throng of Parisian artisans storming the Bastille. A tide of ebullient social change through wars, riots, beheadings, betrayal, conspiracy, and murder.
CHRISTOPHER HIBBERT was born in Leicester in 1924 and educated at Radley and Oriel College, Oxford. Described by the New Statesman as a pearl of biographers, he has established himself as a leading popular historian whose works reflect meticulous scholarship and has written more than twenty-five histories and biographies. Married with three children, he lives in Oxfordshire.
French Revolution and its Impact - Causes of French Revolution
Summary of the French Revolution
The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history , triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history. The causes of the French Revolution are complex and are still debated among historians. It attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were heavily regressive. Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems also inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our [American] Revolution.
Beginning in , the French Revolution saw the French people overthrow their absolute monarchy and bring about a republic that was based on the principles of equality, liberty and fraternity. Before the French Revolution, French society was structured in the relics of feudalism , in a system known as the Estates System. Usually a person remained in one estate for his or her lifetime, and any movement from upwards in the estate system could take many generations. The first estate was the clergy, the second estate was the nobility and the third estate was the peasants. By , this began to cause anger amongst the peasant class, as many of them began to question the authority of their monarch, Louis XVI.
The French Revolution had general causes common to all the revolutions of the West at the end of the 18th century and particular causes that explain why it was by far the most violent and the most universally significant of these revolutions. The first of the general causes was the social structure of the West. The feudal regime had been weakened step-by-step and had already disappeared in parts of Europe. The increasingly numerous and prosperous elite of wealthy commoners—merchants, manufacturers, and professionals, often called the bourgeoisie —aspired to political power in those countries where it did not already possess it. The peasants , many of whom owned land, had attained an improved standard of living and education and wanted to get rid of the last vestiges of feudalism so as to acquire the full rights of landowners and to be free to increase their holdings. Furthermore, from about , higher standards of living had reduced the mortality rate among adults considerably.
The French Revolution was a watershed event in modern European history that began in and ended in the late s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. During this period, French citizens razed and redesigned their country’s political landscape, uprooting centuries-old.
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From the SparkNotes Blog
The French Revolution was a revolution in France from to The result of the French Revolution was the end of the monarchy. King Louis XVI was executed in
No one factor was directly responsible for the French Revolution. Years of feudal oppression and fiscal mismanagement contributed to a French society that was ripe for revolt. Noting a downward economic spiral in the late s, King Louis XVI brought in a number of financial advisors to review the weakened French treasury. Each advisor reached the same conclusion—that France needed a radical change in the way it taxed the public—and each advisor was, in turn, kicked out. Finally, the king realized that this taxation problem really did need to be addressed, so he appointed a new controller general of finance, Charles de Calonne , in Calonne suggested that, among other things, France begin taxing the previously exempt nobility.
The French Revolution was a watershed event in modern European history that began in and ended in the late s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. The upheaval was caused by widespread discontent with the French monarchy and the poor economic policies of King Louis XVI, who met his death by guillotine, as did his wife Marie Antoinette. Although it failed to achieve all of its goals and at times degenerated into a chaotic bloodbath, the French Revolution played a critical role in shaping modern nations by showing the world the power inherent in the will of the people. Not only were the royal coffers depleted, but two decades of poor harvests, drought, cattle disease and skyrocketing bread prices had kindled unrest among peasants and the urban poor. Many expressed their desperation and resentment toward a regime that imposed heavy taxes — yet failed to provide any relief — by rioting, looting and striking. The non-aristocratic members of the Third Estate now represented 98 percent of the people but could still be outvoted by the other two bodies.