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Modern French History - Essay Example

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The French Revolution and the European Authoritarianism After the demise of the monarchy, the political fate of France differed significantly from its European rivals such as Britain. This is mainly because almost every generation- from the 19th century onto the 20th century - was marred by a revolution…
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Modern French History
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Download file to see previous pages This political development, particularly the French Revolution, is related to the European authoritarianism in the sense that it influenced significantly the trajectory of this political thought. It was recognized as a new approach – a transformative social upheaval – crucial in influencing the development of future European regimes with its successes. The French Revolution has led to a strategic shift in the political landscape in Europe, particularly in the growth of authoritarian governments. The democratic ideology of the revolution were power is being given back to the people became popular. Even when the revolution and the ensuing governments turned antidemocratic, the French became enamored with the government and supported it with a strong sense of nationalism (Hampson and Crocker, 167). Under Napoleon Bonaparte, the empire became popular and France’s neighbors became wary not just about the French expansionist ambitions but also about the developments in the country. Interstate conflicts such as the Crimean War flared in Europe. In addition, however, there was a widespread fear that the revolution would be replicated in each of the European countries. As a result European governments started cooperating and enforcing policies such as White Terror aimed at preventing the spread of democratization and nationalism. Many of European governments became more authoritarian, rejecting demands for constitutions, electoral and social democracy and national self-determination (Hampson and Crocker, 167). With the French Revolution, the concept of a new type of revolution has been brought forward. Here, there was the ideology for struggle but without establishing democratic governments afterwards. The principle underpinning this development is how power vacuum is created during revolutions, and authoritarianism became critical in the maintenance of the balance of power. This can be demonstrated in the case of the Russian experience. Lenin and Marx heavily used the French revolution as a model for their vision for Russia. Lenin embraced the French conception of revolutionary democracy, which Marx’s theory of revolution has also recognized (Clarke and Foweraker, 770). Based on their doctrines, Bolshevism emerged. Its Jacobin type of revolution became successful in toppling the Russian monarchy and the state descended into extreme authoritarian regime under Joseph Stalin. The French Revolution is also linked to the revolutions in many states in Europe such as Germany, Poland, Italy and Austria in the year 1848. Also known as the Spring of Nations, it was considered a Europe-wide revolt, event extending as far as Latin America. While the upheaval was eventually crushed, it has brought about changes such as the limitation to Denmark previously absolute monarchy and how serfdom was abolished. The legacy of the French Revolution, with its democratic ideology and imperialist practice, rested on the manner and degree by which countries in Europe reacted in their respective circumstances. An important dimension to the French Revolution is how preceding scholars and nationalists recognized the necessities of terror and the mix of violent and murderous personalities who led it. According to Shlamentokh, there emerged a benevolent attitude towards the participants to the revolution in contemporary Europe or immediately after uprising. For example, there was the manner by which the terrorist Collot ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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