Outcomes of the French Revolution Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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France- at the dawn of Middle Age Europe- like every country in the Western Hemisphere was under feudal laws, or rather feudal lawlessness. For half a millennium, the country was at its dark age as force- more than any other thing- triumphed over reason. Until the French Revolution in 1789 two classes cooperated with each other to make most of the labors and toils, if not misery of the peasants.

While the latter starved, suffered and experienced all forms of injustices, the clergy and nobility lived with excessive pomp and splendor, controlling a restive population by the means of the army and through the indoctrinating powers of the Catholic Church. The Church- exemplified in its vilest forms by the character of Cardinal Richelieu- imprisoned peoples bodies immediately after birth and through death. This condition festered into the 18th century- the so-called age of reason and enlightenment.

From then on, things were ripe for a national social overhaul. True, a revolution was justified with the suffering of millions of peasants under a regime which cared only for palaces, fine wine and opulent dining for the nobility and clergy. Yet, after thousands were killed in battle and under the guillotine, the aftermath was not promising enough. On the helms of a new leadership was Napoleon who ruled as a dictator. True, the powers of the nobles and cardinals were clipped to an extent but oppression still continued.

Thus, looking at an over-all picture of the French Revolution particularly in the comparison of human and economic costs versus the outcome- a dictatorial government- it was not justifiable enough. Discussion 2 The condition of the French before the revolution was hopeless hence revolution was inevitable. The wide gulf between the nobility and clergy on one hand, and the peasants on the other hand needed to be filled. The king, an elitist legislature, and the Church had no thought for reforms and the peasants were finally tired of their 500-year bondage.

Moreover, nobles mistrusted each other and there was intra-elite fighting. The revolution enabled peasant entitlement to the lands they tilled. Politically, this loosened the grip of the nobility-clergy cabal. Economically, it meant that the peasants could have chances of uplifting their well-being. A legislature with two houses enabled a check on the potential abuses and excesses of the nobility while a legal system, applicable to all regardless of blood ensured that justice could be served without fear or favor. The only defective outcome of the revolution was the central government which replaced the monarchy.

Authorities were still on a monarchy hangover and relied too much on the military to impose control. This led to Napoleons capture of the leadership. It was unthinkable for a country which had evicted a monarch to install a dictator for the two are of the same ilk. Discussion 3 The French Revolution took on a new life as it progressed when after the monarchy tumbled and the clergy humbled the newly created Republic sought to clean the mess it created. The newly formed army which was volunteer-staffed was weakly cohesive. Reactionaries- people opposed to the new order- rioted and murdered.

Fearing for the loss of the Revolution, a Public Safety Committee was established to check on the rioters and establish peace. Here, thousands were killed under the guillotine, the rifle and bayonet, and even cannons (Andress, 2005). Unable to create a government with a working legislature and executive, rulers again looked to force as the remaining option. This enabled Napoleons accession to the national leadership as a dictator.


Andress, D. (2005). The terror: The merciless war for freedom in revolutionary France. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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