The French Revolution
Instructions: Describe in detail five major events of the French revolution.
Do you think terror is inevitable in all modern revolutions, or was it unique to France?
The French Revolution
The French Revolution took place between the years 1787 and 1799. It reached its peak in the year 1789 hence the popular term “Revolution of 1789”. During this period, the French people changed their political landscape by overthrowing age old systems including the monarchy and feudal system. The revolution was influenced by the ideas of popular sovereignty and inalienable rights (Carlyle, Thomas, and Ruth, 13). The paper will thus seek to address five fundamental events of the French Revolution.
The meeting of the Estates-General who were summoned by King Louis XVI in May 1789 represented the first significant step in the revolution. The meeting aimed at resolving the financial crisis that had gripped the monarch. The classes represented by the Estates General included the nobles, the clergy, and the Third Estate. After being excluded in the meeting of the Estates-General, members of the Third Estate formed their own National Assembly. They pledged the now famous Tennis Court Oath, and they vowed to remain on the tennis court until a new constitution was written.
The next key event involved the fall of the Bastille which saw an angry crowd march on the Bastille on July 14, 1789. The Bastille was a fortress that housed political prisoners during the monarch’s reign (Benedict, 25). Most people were now tired of king’s Louis brutality, and they all hated his reign. The poor within society who were mostly Persians saw the Bastille as the perfect place to express their anger. The King’s troop’s resistance was all in vain as they eventually gave in to the mob. At this point, the King had no option but to withdraw his forces from the country’s capital.
The march on Versailles involved a huge number of people who were unemployed and languishing in poverty. The crowd walked on in significant numbers from Paris to the palace of Versailles angry at the fact that the royal family was living comfortable lives oblivious to the pain and suffering of the rest of the population. The crowd demanded to have the food enjoyed by the Royal Family and also want them to live in Paris so as to experience their suffering.
The Flight to Varennes was also a key milestone in the revolution. As the members of the National Assembly worked on a new Constitution, they decided to cut down most of the powers enjoyed by the King. Any major decision made by the King had to pass through the National Assembly. The King and his wife, Marie Antoinette, were disgusted by these changes. They decided to leave France and sought refuge in Austria. However, after leaving Paris, they settled in the city of Varennes (Tackett, 33).
The constitution which the masses had waited for quite an extended period finally got enforced on the 30th of September 1791. The dissolution of the National Assembly and its subsequent replacement by the Legislative Assembly was crucial to the revolution. The country was then declared a constitutional monarchy. The Legislative Assembly consisted of numerous political parties that adequately represented the entire country.
Terror remains inevitable in modern day revolutions as witnessed in the Middle East countries like Egypt, Libya and the ongoing war in Syria. Withdrawing a brutal regime from power requires force which can lead to bloodshed in the long run. People have to brace themselves for dire consequences in the face of any revolution.
In conclusion, despite the fact that the French Revolution didn’t attain all its desired goals and objectives, it played a key role in shaping the political futures of modern day nations. The revolution often turned violent and led to bloodshed, but this wasn’t all in vain as it helped overthrow an oppressive regime from power. It also showed the ruling political class never to underestimate the will and determination of an oppressed population.
Benedict, Kitty. Fall of the Bastille. Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Silver Burdett, 2011. Print.
Carlyle, Thomas, and Ruth Scurr. The French Revolution. London: Continuum, 2010. Internet resource.
Tackett, Timothy. When the King Took Flight. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.