Wednesday, August 26, 2015

29. French Revolution

29. French Revolution

The French Revolution occurred between the years 1789 to 1799 and was a period of intense political and social upheaval in France that had a lasting impact on the country's history and, more broadly, throughout the European continent. The absolute monarchy that had ruled the nation for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left political groups, masses on the streets and peasants in rural country. Ancient ideals of tradition and hierarchy of monarchs, aristocrats and the Catholic Church were abruptly overthrown by new principles of liberty, equality and fraternity. The royal houses of Europe were terrified with the revolution and started a counter movement that until 1814 had restored the old monarchy, but many important reforms have become permanent. The same happened with the antagonisms between supporters and enemies of the revolution, who fought politically over the next two centuries.
The revolution began in 1789 amid a fiscal crisis, the French people were increasingly annoyed by the incompetence of King Louis XVI and the continuing indifference and decay of the aristocracy of the country. This resentment, coupled with the increasingly popular enlightenment ideals, radicals and fed with the convocation of the Estates General in May feelings. The first year of the revolution was marked by the storming of the Bastille in July, the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August and an epic march on Versailles that forced the royal court back to Paris in October. The following years were dominated by struggles between various liberal assemblies and a right made by supporters of the monarchy in thwarting major reforms.
In summary, in 1791 the Constitution that established in France the general lines for the emergence of a bourgeois and capitalist society in place of the old, feudal, aristocratic and the first French Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 and King Louis XVI was executed was created in following year. Popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre, the Jacobins and a dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety, which established the so-called Reign of Terror from 1793 to 1794, during which time nearly 40,000 people were killed. After the fall of the Jacobins and the execution of Robespierre, the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795 and held power until 1799, when it was replaced by the Consulate in 1799, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the ideals conquered by the French Revolution. The growth of republics and liberal democracies around the world, the spread of secularism and the development of modern ideologies had its birth during the Revolution. And it's the end of the Modern Age and the entry of humanity in the Contemporary Age, which is the current specific period in the history of the Western world.

Main Dates

  • 1787: Revolt of Notables
  • 1789: Storming of the Bastille and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  • 1790: Confiscation of the property of the clergy.
  • 1791: Constitution which established the constitutional monarchy .
  • 1791: Attempt to escape and imprisonment of King Louis XVI.
  • 1792: Invasion of France by Austria and Prussia.
  • 1793: Formalization of the Republic and death of King Louis XVI, 2nd Constitution.
  • 1793: Terror against enemies of the revolution.
  • 1794: Deposition of Robespierre.
  • 1795: Regime Directory - 3rd Constitution.
  • 1799: Coup of Napoleon in 18 Brumaire (November 9).


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