Between 1789 and 1802, France was wracked by a revolution which radically changed the government, administration, military, and culture of the nation as well as plunging Europe into a series of wars. The revolutionaries of 1792 began a war which extended through the Imperial period and forced nations to marshal their resources to a greater extent than ever before. French Revolution, also called Revolution of 1789, revolutionary movement that shook France between 1787 and 1799 and reached its first climax there in 1789—hence the conventional term “Revolution of 1789,” denoting the end of the ancien régime in France and serving also to distinguish that event from the later French revolutions of 1830 and 1848. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes The French Revolution (1789–1799) Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays. It is uncertain, however, whether revolution would have come without the added presence of a political crisis. The revolutionaries managed to completely transform the way their country was being run. The French Revolution was a period of major social upheaval that began in 1787 and ended in 1799. Economic Cause. From about 1770, this trend slackened, and economic crises, provoking alarm and even revolt, became frequent. An Austro-Prussian army invaded France, and French revolutionary forces pushed outward. Years of bad harvests and rising prices for basic commodities led to social unrest among the rural and urban poor. The revolution toppled the government, set up a republic, accelerated political strife under Napoleon who conveyed many of his standards to territories he defeated […] Political Cause 2. “The French Revolution was a period of time from 1789 to 1799 where France was politically instable. It had many other repercussions including end of feudalism, lessening the importance of religion; destruction of oligarchies; economic Growth in Europe; rise of Mod… When the king sought to increase the tax burden on the poor and expand it to classes that had previously been exempt, revolution became all but inevitable. Although scholarly debate continues about the exact causes of the Revolution, the following reasons are commonly adduced: (1) the bourgeoisie resented its exclusion from political power and positions of honour; (2) the peasants were acutely aware of their situation and were less and less willing to support the anachronistic and burdensome feudal system; (3) the philosophes had been read more widely in France than anywhere else; (4) French participation in the American Revolution had driven the government to the brink of bankruptcy; (5) France was the most populous country in Europe, and crop failures in much of the country in 1788, coming on top of a long period of economic difficulties, compounded existing restlessness; and (6) the French monarchy, no longer seen as divinely ordained, was unable to adapt to the political and societal pressures that were being exerted on it. By the late 1780s, the French monarchy was on the brink of collapse. Although historians are agreed that the French Revolution started in 1789, they are divided on the end date. He also, in practice, granted freedom of the press, and France was flooded with pamphlets addressing the reconstruction of the state. Napoleon (1927) - 8.1. The French Revolution can be reduced to three acts, where, in each, the existing political order fails and a new group struggles to assert authority and create a new political and social order. The French Revolution is one of the most influential events in world history. It ushered in what is known as the Age of Revolutions, a period in which a number of significant revolutionary movements occurred in many parts of Europe and the Americas. We see him there handing out cockades, and he helped found a political club. Excellent pop-up glossary that helps explain difficult terms. The French Revolution altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies and replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Debate ensued, with a call for the Third getting a bigger say. In 1794, the revolution again changed, this time turning against the Terror and its architect Robespierre. Chapters like the French Revolution are very difficult to retain and at the same time very important for exams. A rapidly growing population had outpaced the food supply. In the 1780s, the population of France was … An abortive insurrection of June 20, 1792, was followed by a decisive one on Aug. 10, when a crowd stormed the Tuileries and an insurrectionary commune replaced the legally elected one (see Commune of ParisCommune of Paris, insurrectionary governments in Paris formed during (1792) the French Revolution and at the end (1871) of the Franco-Prussian War. Europe was also changed. This "Third Estate," informed by long term doubts over the constitution of France and the development of a new social order of bourgeoisie, declared itself a National Assembly and decreed the suspension of taxation, taking French sovereignty into its own hands. Just in case you don’t already know what the French Revolution was, I wanted to take some time to explain a little bit more. He reappointed reform-minded Jacques Necker as the finance minister and promised to convene the Estates-General on May 5, 1789. Philosophes such as Diderot, Rousseau, […] A medium-term financial crisis, caused partly by France's decisive involvement in the American Revolutionary War, led to the French crown first calling an Assembly of Notables and then, in 1789, a meeting called the Estates General in order to gain assent for new tax laws. Omissions? It began on 14th of June 14th 1789 when the Bastille, a symbol of the power of the French monarchy, was stormed. The French Revolutionbegan in 1789, and went on until the late 1790s. King Louis XVI needed more money, but had failed to raise more taxes when he had called a meeting of the Estates General. ADVERTISEMENTS: Causes of French Revolution: Political, Social and Economic Causes! The French Revolution is often considered to be one of the most significant events not only in the history of France and Europe, but also in the world. - "Class 9 CBSE Social Science is tough for students to understand and retain as the chapters are highly theoretical and there is a lot of data. Not only were centuries of law, tradition, and practice wiped away by a revolution few people had been able to predict going this far, but warfare spread the revolution across Europe, changing the continent permanently. Yet many French high-school students learn nothing about this chapter of their history. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience and for our, A Narrative History of the French Revolution - Contents, The French Revolution, Its Outcome, and Legacy, French Revolution Timeline: 6 Phases of Revolution, The Directory, Consulate & End of the French Revolution 1795 - 1802, The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Biography of King Louis XVI, Deposed in the French Revolution, Life of John Jay, Founding Father and Supreme Court Chief Justice, The Estates General and the French Revolution, French Revolution Timeline: 1795 to 1799 (The Directory), A History of the Women's March on Versailles, The French Revolution: The 1780s Crisis and the Causes of Revolution, M.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University, B.A., Medieval Studies, Sheffield University. A larger population created a greater demand for food and consumer goods. This remained in power thanks to rigging elections and purging the assemblies before being replaced, thanks to the army and a general called Napoleon Bonaparte, by a new constitution in 1799 which created three consuls to rule France. What followed was a situation where the revolution and its perpetrator took control of the government. The Jacobins attempted to eradicate Christianity in France. The monarchy was no longer viewed as divinely ordained. French Revolution, political upheaval of world importance in France that began in 1789. The feudal regime had been weakened step-by-step and had already disappeared in parts of Europe. As the Revolutionary Wars went against France, as regions angry at attacks on the church and conscription rebelled and as the revolution became increasingly radicalized, the National Convention created a Committee of Public Safety to run France in 1793. Spark Notes on the French Revolution: From the world famous Spark Notes an overview of the French Revolution together with links to additional resources, a quiz and exam type questions. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. and estates. The French Revolution Share: Copy Link Throughout the 18th century, France faced a mounting economic crisis. In addition, the ideas of the French Revolution spread to many other countries. He is the author of the History in an Afternoon textbook series. It proceeded in a back-and-forth process between revolutionary and reactionary forces. The French Monarchs had unlimited power and they declared themselves as […] The French Revolution had an impact on the rest of Europe and in many other parts of the world. The Terrorists were removed in a coup and a new constitution was drawn up which created, in 1795, a new legislative system run by a Directory of five men. Political Cause: During the eighteen the Century France was the centre of autocratic monarchy. Bonaparte was optimistic about bringing French revolutionary politics to Corsica. This, together with other factors, had led to an increase in the population of Europe unprecedented for several centuries: it doubled between 1715 and 1800. However, there is still debate over whether the revolution permanently changed the social structures of France or whether they were only altered in the short term. The French Revolution marks a stain in history, notorious for one of the bloodiest periods in modern civilization. The French Revolution has often been called the start of the modern world, and while this is an exaggeration—many of the supposed "revolutionary" developments had precursors—it was an epochal event that permanently changed the European mindset. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The revolution would go on to affect the history of France and the whole of Europe in an unprecedented way that no other event was ever able to. By 1792, he got himself elected as the lieutenant colonel of the National Guard.Learn more about … The storming of the Bastille is still honored in France as a national holiday. In the French Revolution, the Revolutionary commune, representing urban workers, tradespeople, and radical bourgeois, engineered ..... Click the lin… In North America this backlash caused the American Revolution, which began with the refusal to pay a tax imposed by the king of Great Britain. Updates? The Enlightenment had affected the views of middle-class French society to the point where they demanded involvement in government and the financial crisis gave them a way in to get it. Monarchs tried to stop this reaction of the aristocracy, and both rulers and the privileged classes sought allies among the nonprivileged bourgeois and the peasants. For some, the French Revolution was a beacon of light that gave a world dominated by aristocratic privilege and monarchical tyranny a hope of freedom. Bonaparte was the first consul and, while the reform of France continued, Bonaparte managed to bring the revolutionary wars to a close and have himself declared consul for life. A revolution seemed necessary to apply the ideas of Montesquieu, Voltaire, or Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The assembly refused to take responsibility for the reforms and suggested the calling of the Estates-General, which represented the clergy, the aristocracy, and the Third Estate (the commoners) and which had not met since 1614. A rare few continue to the restoration of the monarchy in 1814. The bourgeoisie—merchants, manufacturers, professionals—had gained financial power but were excluded from political power. The three main causes of French revolution are as follows: 1. There were practically no exclusions from the voting; and the electors drew up cahiers de doléances, which listed their grievances and hopes. The revolution ended when Napoleon Bonaparte took power in November 1799. As mentioned in the first article in this series, The Bonapartes worked as a family, so he supported his older brother Joseph for political office. This republic did not last, but France never returned to its old, unequal form of society. 1. The later Bolsheviks admired the French Revolution and especially the Jacobins, the extremist French revolutionaries who had instigated the Reign of Terror. In 1792, a second revolution took place, as Jacobins and sansculottes forced the Assembly to replace itself with a National Convention which abolished the monarchy, declared France a republic and in 1793, executed the king. Nineteenth-century revolutionaries and nationalists frequently harkened back to the days of 1789, sometimes even taking up the names, terms, colors, and rituals of the original French Revolution. Jacques Necker, portrait by Augustin de Saint-Aubin after a painting by Joseph-Sifford Duplessis. For France, which with 26 million inhabitants in 1789 was the most populated country of Europe, the problem was most acute. Its involvement in the American Revolution had left the regime of King Louis XVI bankrupt and desperate to raise funds by taxing the wealthy and the clergy. The philosophes—intellectuals whose writings inspired these arguments—were certainly influenced by 17th-century theorists such as René Descartes, Benedict de Spinoza and John Locke, but they came to very different conclusions about political, social, and economic matters. During the spring and summer of 1788, there was unrest among the populace in Paris, Grenoble, Dijon, Toulouse, Pau, and Rennes. Furthermore, from about 1730, higher standards of living had reduced the mortality rate among adults considerably. Origins of the Revolution. The king, Louis XVI, had to yield. France went from a largely "feudal" state under an absolutist monarch through the French Revolution to a republic which executed the king and then to an empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. This continued the reforms but it created divisions in France by legislating against the church and declaring war on nations which supported the French king. The French Revolution has often been called the start of the modern world, and while this is an exaggeration—many of the supposed "revolutionary" developments had precursors—it was an epochal event that permanently changed the European mindset. Century old systems such as an absolute monarchy were removed, and it was the first step on the road to democracy. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The peasants, many of whom owned land, had attained an improved standard of living and education and wanted to get rid of the last vestiges of feudalism so as to acquire the full rights of landowners and to be free to increase their holdings. Calonne, detail of an engraving by Brea, 18th century, after a portrait by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun. At the start of the first act, in 1789, the French state was bankrupt. After a power struggle which saw the National Assembly take the Tennis Court Oath not to disband, the king gave in and the Assembly began reforming France, scrapping the old system and drawing up a new constitution with a Legislative Assembly. The revolution brought down their king and made France a republic—a country ruled by the people. In fact, I thought that this book would serve as an excellent textbook to study and examine the details of the Revolution. French Revolution, revolutionary movement that shook France between 1787 and 1799 and reached its first climax there in 1789—hence the conventional term ‘Revolution of 1789,’ denoting the end of the ancien regime in France and serving also to distinguish that event from the later French … After a struggle between political factions called the Girondins and the Montagnards was won by the latter, an era of bloody measures called The Terror began, when over 16,000 people were guillotined. There were many reasons. The Revolution took shape in France when the controller general of finances, Charles-Alexandre de Calonne, arranged the summoning of an assembly of “notables” (prelates, great noblemen, and a few representatives of the bourgeoisie) in February 1787 to propose reforms designed to eliminate the budget deficit by increasing the taxation of the privileged classes. The French Revolution began in 1789 and lasted until 1794. Some areas, like Belgium and Switzerland, became client states of France with reforms similar to those of the revolution. The French Revolution was a revolution in France from 1789 to 1799. In 1804, he became Emperor.. Before 1789, France was ruled by the nobles and the Catholic Church.The ideas of the Enlightenment were … The first volume on the French Revolution by Georges Lefebvre is a great introduction to one of the most well-known events in European and world history. So just to understand kind of the environment in which this began, let's talk about what France was like in 1789. The increasingly numerous and prosperous elite of wealthy commoners—merchants, manufacturers, and professionals, often called the bourgeoisie—aspired to political power in those countries where it did not already possess it. It was, and still is, one of the most radical revolutions in French history. The result of the French Revolution was the end of the monarchy.King Louis XVI was executed in 1793. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. 1793 – France at war against Europe; The Jacobins seize power; The Terror begins Historians disagree in evaluating the factors that brought about the Revolution. In some respects, the French Revolution did not succeed. A 1789 broadside reflecting the royal government's attempt to limit the sale of pamphlets on the eve of the French Revolution. The French revolution enabled a major shift in the history of modern France, and it even affected the rest of the European communities. The revolution, which lasted from 1789 to 1799, also had far-reaching effects on the rest of Europe. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? The discovery of new gold mines in Brazil had led to a general rise in prices throughout the West from about 1730, indicating a prosperous economic situation. Faced with the heavy expenditure that the wars of the 18th century entailed, the rulers of Europe sought to raise money by taxing the nobles and clergy, who in most countries had hitherto been exempt, To justify this, the rulers likewise invoked the arguments of advanced thinkers by adopting the role of “enlightened despots.” This provoked reaction throughout Europe from the privileged bodies, diets. His family bought nationalized church lands. Arguments for social reform began to be advanced. This revolution is known also as the Revolution of 1789, the year when it reached its first climax. A few histories stop in 1795 with the creation of the Directory, some stop in 1799 with the creation of the Consulate, while many more stop in 1802, when Napoleon Bonaparte became Consul for Life, or 1804 when he became Emperor. Navigate parenthood with the help of the Raising Curious Learners podcast. The French Revolution brought about great changes in the society and government of France. The efforts made by Calonne’s successors to enforce fiscal reforms in spite of resistance by the privileged classes led to the so-called revolt of the “aristocratic bodies,” notably that of the parlements (the most important courts of justice), whose powers were curtailed by the edict of May 1788. It sought to completely change the relationship between the rulers and those they governed and to redefine the nature of political power. Social Cause 3. The revolution, led by the formerly enslaved Toussaint Louverture, effectively forced France to abolish slavery. French Revolution Essay. The silent-era French film was considered a game-changer at the time of its … This Enlightenment was spread among the educated classes by the many “societies of thought” that were founded at that time: masonic lodges, agricultural societies, and reading rooms. Counterrevolution, regicide, and the Reign of Terror, The Directory and revolutionary expansion, https://www.britannica.com/event/French-Revolution, U.S. Department of State - Office of the Historian - The United States and the French Revolution, French Revolution - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), French Revolution - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Marie-Thérèse-Louise de Savoie-Carignan, princess de Lamballe, Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, prince de Bénévent, The growing popularity of the works of a number of intellectuals who argued for social reform, Crop failures in 1788 compounded existing economic restlessness, French participation in the American Revolution that drove the government to the brink of bankruptcy, Resentment among the bourgeoisie about being excluded from political power, The French monarchy, no longer seen as divinely ordained, was unable to adapt to the political and societal pressures being exerted on it, Widespread inequality between the rich and poor classes alongside growing dissatisfaction with the antiquated feudal system among the poor, Establishment of civil equality in the country (but not in the French colonies) and radical social change, The Reign of Terror, during which the Revolutionary government arrested 300,000 suspects, resulting in at least 25,000 deaths, The abolition of the monarchy and the deaths of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Wars with a number of other countries, including Austria, Prussia, and Great Britain. 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