Madison Wardlaw The French Revoulution Essay

Submitted By Madison-Wardlaw
Words: 1280
Pages: 6

Madison Wardlaw
History of civilization since 1700
Dr. Kenneth Bridges
February 18, 2015

A historic event in European history: The French Revolution Upon the American Revolution, Europeans were searching for change. The Americans made the revolution look good, and this put the idea in all of Europe’s head. From where they were standing it portrayed an era of change, specifically in politics. The American Revolution proved to Europeans that the liberal political ideas of the Enlightenment were not just, crazy, out of reach thoughts brought up by a group of intellectuals. Some call it a success and some call it a failure, today we will certainly find out. The French revolution started with the election for the third Estates-General. Of the 282 representatives of the nobility, almost 90 were liberal minded and interested enlightenment ideas. They favored reforms made in light of reason. The Third Estate consisted of people from towns. Having more than two thousand inhabitants, this gave the Third Estate a strong legal representation. The failure of the government to assume leadership at the opening of the Estates-General created opportunity for the Third Estate to push its demands for voting by head. Since it had double representation, it could turn the three estates into a single-chamber legislature that could reform France. On June 17th, 1789, the Third Estate voted to constitute a “National Assembly.” They also decided to draw up a constitution. Three days later, they took an oath that they would continue to meet with each other until they produced a French constitution. These actions were the first steps towards the French Revolution. It soon took a turn for the worse, as the king sided with the First Estate and threatened to do away with the Estates-General. Louis XVI, was soon informed that the royal troops were unreliable due to the fall of Bastille. The king’s acceptance of this fact alone, signaled that “royal authority,” no longer meant what it used to. He could no longer enforce his will among the people. On July 14, 1789, crowds attacked and captured the royal armory (the Bastille.) This saved the Third Estate from Louis XVI’s attempted counterrevolution. By 1791, the National Assembly had drafted a completely new constitution. By the middle of 1791, France moved into reordering of the old regime that had been achieved by the wealthier members of the bourgeoisie. This faced a lot of criticism from clerics who were outraged by the constitution of the Clergy. Lower classes started to hurt by the rise in the cost of living. The government was also facing financial difficulties due to massive tax evasion. With these events unfolding French enthusiasm led them to declare war on Austria on April 20th, 1792. People in France wanted war. Many people hoping it would preoccupy individuals and possibly cool down the Revolution. Ultimately all this did was lead to a domestic crises. On January 21, 1793, the king was executed for being found guilty of treason. The destruction of the old regime was officially complete. It also lead to foreign crisis, after the king had been killed. Much of Europe was pitted against France, but the French welcomed the struggle. The French army began to have reverses, some members of the anti-French revolution were ready for an invasion of France. If they won, both the Revolution and the Revolutionaries would be destroyed and the old regime reestablished. The French Revolution was quickly spiraling out of control and the reason being the Third Estate got too ambitious too quickly. They could have never guessed that all of these events would stand in their way. They had reached a decisive moment in European history. In the next twelve months, the same twelve members were reelected and gave the country the leadership it needed to carry on. It gave them what they needed to weather the domestic and foreign crisis of 1793. To save the republic from its enemies the Committee of Public Safety