French Revolution Essay

Submitted By aviqar
Words: 564
Pages: 3

Scientific successes throughout the 1700’s eventually convinced Europeans of the power of human reason. This revolution in peoples’ thinking, known as the Enlightenment, led people to believe that the use of reason could solve any social, political, or economical problem on Earth. People like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Baron de Montesquieu came about and spread new Enlightenment ideas. Montesquieu specifically praised Britain’s limited monarchy and supported three branches of government. People who believed reason could lead to a better society were known as philosophes, and created different ideas for a better government, education, and economy, and more. As a result of this revolutionary mindset during the Enlightenment, many Europeans began seriously questioning the community around them. As ideas spread like wild-fire, more and more people began demanding reforms, more specifically in the economy. Because Louis XIV left France in large debt, and a bad harvest struck the country in the late 1780’s, a financial crisis was almost inevitable. Louis XIV’s heirs were not adequate leaders and did nothing to aid the economy. The economic situation only worsened and people demanded for reforms like fairer taxes. The king refused to support the National Assembly, which represented the majority of the French population, and Parisians finally decided to take action in Versailles. Rumors that royal troops planned on occupying Paris led to more than 800 Parisians storming the Bastille fort in search of weapons. The violent storming of the Bastille, caused by a vast demand for reforms in France, sparked the French Revolution. With more power than ever before, the National Assembly began to take action. In late August it took the first step toward writing a constitution and issued the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, which declared that all men were “born and remain free and equal in rights.” Eventually a constitution was written in 1791, which set up a limited monarchy. A Legislative Assembly had power to make laws and decide on war issues. Radicals who wanted even more reform took control of the Assembly, though, and voted on suffrage. They wanted to declare France a republic and abolish the monarchy completely. The Reign of Terror then ensued in which radicals defended the…