The French Revolution was a significant occurrence that, with several reasons being attributed, took role in today European history. This included the government’s high taxes, the country’s bad harvests, and debt status, and the influence of modern philosophies in politics and the American Revolution that had taken place a decade ago. This revolt led to a turn of events that saw the dissolution of the monarchy as well as King Louis’ execution. There is unanimous consensus that a watershed movement that brought a lot of change in Europe was the French Revolution. The causes of the revolution are so difficult to single them out basing on the existing historical evidence (Goodwin, 2016). Therefore, no one factor can be attributed to the French revolution. Before the revolution, quite some wars had taken place for four decades which France had participated. Despite the fact that it did not achieve all of its goals and falling in the chaos of bloodbath, this movement played a crucial role in brings a new face for the modern nations by making it known to the world the power in people’s will.
Charles de Calonne was appointed to be the controller general of finance after the king realized that the issue of taxation needed to be addressed. Since 1614, there was a great change in France’s population with the non-aristocratic members rising and still being outvoted by other members (Güttner, 2015). After the meeting that was held on May 5th, there was the mobilization of the Third Estate members to support the equal representation where voting by head was more encouraged and not by status. On June 17ththe Third Estate met in tennis court where they took the Tennis Court Oath, where they vowed not disperses until there was the achievement of the constitutional reform (Cone, 2015). Following numerous meetings that were held at Versailles by the National Assembly, the capital was engulfed in fear and violence. During this period, there was a rumor of the intended coup, and also rioters attempted to secure weapons and gunpowder at Bastille fortress.
Despite the fact that the national assembly had succeeded to draft the constitution, the relative peace was just for a short period of tie. There was a rift that grew the radical and the moderate members of the assembly with other members such as the common laborers, and the workers felt overlooked (Güttner, 2015). The moderate members were for the retention of the constitutional monarchy while for the original ones; they were for the complete removal of the king. For the France, neighbors, they felt that the revolution spirit would in a way affect them and it is due to this they issued the Declaration of Pillnitz in which they insisted on the bringing back of Louis to power (Cone, 2015). This made the French leaders take it as a hostile move and it is through this that the moderate assembly member, the Gordin’s declared war on Prussia and Austria.
With the formation of the national convention, France became a republic, and there was abolition of the monarchy. The convection also made an attempt to execute Louis by treason. The war that had been started against the neighboring countries didn’t go well and it for this reason that the citizens overthrew the Gironde members of the assembly and allowed the Jacobins to take control. Maximilien, a leader of the Jacobins, was able to stabilize the economy; however, he with time became paranoid on the issues of the counterrevolutionary influences which embarked on the reign of terror which saw thousands of people being executed (Goodwin, 2016). After all this Robespierre was then arrested and executed.
The Thermidorian reaction also known as the ousting of Robespierre led to political reconstruction with the adoption of a new constitution and formation of a new National Convention. Moreover, the Directory was formed, with the aim of controlling the executive appointments and responsibilities. However, with the group lacking the legislative abilities, there was the development of abuse of power just like what had been faced by any other tyrannous revolutionaries.
Meanwhile, there was achievement of incredible success by the committee of public state war effort with the French armies making progress in every direction. The Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces were able to move through Italy going as far as Egypt just before it was defeated. Later, Napoleon came back to Paris at the time when a coup had been organized against the directory. With Napoleon as the leader, the revolution came to an end with France getting into its fifteen year period of military rule.
Cone, C. B. (2015). Burke and the Nature of Politics: the Age of the French Revolution. University Press of Kentucky.
Goodwin, A. (2016). The French Revolution. Routledge.
Güttner, D. (2015). The French Revolution. T. Taylor (Ed.).