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The French revolution collapse of the feudal systems and monarchies of 18th century Europe - Essay Example

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The French Revolution which took place between 1789 to 1794, “marked the advent of modern society”1, both bourgeois and capitalist, in the history of France. The revolution brought about the national unity of the country through destruction of the privileged feudal orders considered as remnants of the Middle Ages…
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The French revolution collapse of the feudal systems and monarchies of 18th century Europe
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Download file to see previous pages The French Revolution which took place between 1789 to 1794, “marked the advent of modern society”1, both bourgeois and capitalist, in the history of France. The revolution brought about the national unity of the country through destruction of the privileged feudal orders considered as remnants of the Middle Ages. It is historically significant because the revolution successfully established a liberal democracy. Due to these double outcomes, in the perspective of world history, it can be considered as a classical model of a bourgeois revolution. However, the history of the French revolution is an integral part of European history. Earlier revolutions in other European countries such as Holland in the 16th century, and two revolutions in England in the 17th century, as well as the 18th century revolution in America paved the way for the French revolution. In all the European countries, the evolution ultimately resulted in the formation of modern society. With the different revolutions opposing the old economic and social system with its feudalism, the bourgeoise could benefit to varying degrees. Thesis Statement: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the reasons for the French Revolution and the collapse of the ancient monarchies and feudal systems of eighteenth century Europe. The Revolution began an era of change from the nineteenth century onwards, with the evolution of a democratic and equitable modern society. The Bourgeoisie Uprising: Cause of the French Revolution Lefebvre2 was a lifelong socialist, under the increasing influence of Marxism which assigns the bourgeoisie with the key role of representatives and beneficiaries of capitalism. According to this scholar, the rise of the bourgeoisie was the main cause of the French Revolution. After several centuries of increasing in numbers and wealth, the bourgeoisie class took control of power in France in 1789. Medieval society had been ruled over by a landed aristocracy, because the only form of wealth was land. However, by the eighteenth century, “economic power, personal abilities and confidence in the future had passed largely to the bourgeoisie”3 who were supported by a new form of wealth and a new ideology that was clearly defined. In 1789, the bourgeoisie overthrew the remaining aristocratic, feudal lords who had retained their dominance despite their economic decline. It was possible for the bourgeoisie to overthrow the aristocracy because the monarchy’s political authority had collapsed due to the lack of adequate funds. The reason for their inability to pay was that the aristocracy or privileged classes of nobility and clergy clung to their age-old privileges and immunity from paying. Moreover, they used their political power to prevent the king fom undertaking necessary reforms4. Following their ousting, the bourgeoisie established a regime based on the new distribution of economic power. Significantly, Lefebvre5 refers to four revolutionary movements in France between 1787 to 1789. First came the revolt of the aristocracy, which destroyed the monarchy. It was the culmination of an aristocratic resurgence which took place for over a century, in which the nobility had struggled to regain their pre-eminence in the social order, which Louis XIV had removed. In order to carrry out their revolution, the nobility had sought the support of the bourgeoisie; however the successful implementation of the movement provided the bourgeoisie with ideas to resolve their own problems. In the September of 1788, the parliament of Paris which formed the driving force behind the aristocratic reaction, required that the Estates-General promised by the government for 1789 should be constituted as they had been in 1614 at their last meeting. For the bourgeoisie this was not acceptable, since the forms of 1614 underscored aristocratic predominance. Under these circumstances the revolution of the bourgeoisie ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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