French revolution, social revolution - Essay Example

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During this time, the monarchy and churches were overthrown and restructured respectively causing the rise to democracy and nationalism.
Causes: France was hit by financial difficulties…
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French revolution, social revolution
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French revolution The French revolution is a period covering the years 1789 to 1799 in the history of France. During this time, the monarchy and churches were overthrown and restructured respectively causing the rise to democracy and nationalism.
Causes: France was hit by financial difficulties for over a century. The Louis XIV wars caused debts that grew after the wars fought in the 18th century. This wars caused affected even Britain, but they did not go bankrupt because, in Britain everyone paid tax including clergy and the nobles. In France, only the citizens paid tax. As a result, the government could not levy enough tax to fill in the deficit as the citizen’s anger grew. While the nobles got exempted, peasant with big chunks of land was handed the heaviest tax weight of all. Secondly, there was food scarcity. Food failures in that time led to high prices of bread. The parliament was dominated by the nobility, so despite the efforts of Louis XV and Louis XVI to tax them, it only resulted to resistance from the law courts. When all attempts failed in 1788, the king summoned the estates general, who was the first since 1614 which would meet in 1789. The king wanted them to meet the modern way, but parliamentarians decided they would meet the same way as 1614. Society had changed in 200 years, and the bourgeoisie was the people with the money, now money was their power/ advantage to seize the power they so much wanted to have.
Effects: In France, the bourgeois and the land owning classes emerged as the dominating power. Feudalism was dead; social order and relations were strengthened by the Coda Napoleon. The revolution unified France and improved the power of the national state. The revolution and the Napoleonic wars changed the structure of Europe and initiated the era of modern total warfare. Although few historians see the rule of terror as a hostile precursor of present-day totalitarianism, other argue that this ignores the vital role played by the revolution in establishing an example of such democratic institutions as elections and constitutions. The failed ventures of the urban lower middle class to secure economic and political gains foreshadowed the class conflicts of the 19th century. While major historical interpretations of the French revolution differ greatly, almost all agree it had an extraordinary influence of the modern world.
This French revolution maybe seen as a prototype for modern social revolution in a way that has seen many similar circumstances of social revolutions. In her book, Theda Skocpol defines it as: ‘a combination of thoroughgoing structural transformation and massive class upheavals’ (Skocpol 175). An example of this social revolution is trying to understand recent revolutionary upheavals in Iran and Nicaragua and why it has happened to other countries and not in others who seem similar in many ways.
Work cited
Skocpol, Theda. Social revolutions in the modern world. 1994, Pg. 175 U.K Cambridge University press. Print Read More
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