The French revolution lasted from 1789-1795 and it was a time of fear, revolt and death. It affected almost everyone in France from the rich to the poor. The revolution also contributed to most of the rights and laws France still has today, France would not be the same without it. Throughout this time period there was many significant events contributing to the revolution but the most important ones were the Fall of Bastille, the Declaration of the Right of Man and the Reign of Terror.
The Fall of Bastille was the start of violence and this is what shaped the course of the revolution. Problems like poverty and the price of bread was not addressed. Riots started breaking out throughout Paris and other cities. This forced King Louis to send mercenary troops to France to restore peace, but this just made the people of France nervous, so they began to arm themselves. On July 14,1789 a mob attacked a prison fortress in Paris. This was called the Bastille and when troops were sent to eliminate the mob they joined them instead. The Bastille was then quickly captured. Several prisoners were let out and the mean prison governors head was paraded throughout Paris. Within weeks the Bastille was completely torn down, with all the gunpowder inside stolen. The fall of Bastille shaped the course of the revolution because it was the start of violence. Louis’s power as a monarch was slipping away. Also this fortress was traditionally used by French kings to imprison subjects that didn’t agree with them politically, making the Bastille a representation of the oppressive nature of the monarchy. Other significant events like the Great fear and National Assembly reforms also may have never happened without the influence from the Fall of Bastille. In conclusion this event showed that the king only had so much power over his people and it lead to the fall of a monarchy.
A mob attacking the Bastille
The Declaration of the Right of Man and the Citizen had a long term effect on France that will lead the country for the future. This document set out basic laws the government should follow. It resembled the United States Declaration of Independence and it also contained ideas from the English philosopher John Locke and French philosophes Voltaire, Montesquieu and Rousseau. This Declaration guaranteed equality for all citizens, as well as freedom of speech, thought, religion, security and property. Overall this made the country more happy because now a peasant was a free man which increased the productivity of the country. Throughout the country wealth was spread, that resulted in higher standards of living. A person would not be punished for what they said and this caused more say in government (enlightenment thinkers). This component was mostly significant because of its long term effect that lead the country for the future.
The Declaration of the Right of Man and the Citizen
From 1793-1794 after the death of Louis XVI France was a republic lead by the committee of public safety, this time was known as the reign of terror. This was the most radical time in the revolution, even Girondist were imprisoned because they were now considered enemies of the revolution. There was no restrains on the power of the jacobins and France was a dictatorship led by Robespierre. The committee of public of safety passed harsh laws to eliminate any enemies of the revolution and around 30,000 people were sent to the guillotine by Robespierre who deeply believed in France and the revolution. This of course had a significant impact on France. Apart from all the deaths there was some benefits at the time like education, participation in government, taxes based on income and the metric system. This time will be remembered forever and the only way to stop it was, the execution of Robespierre himself. The government had finally realized they had gone way too far. To many innocent lives were taken during this time for unjustified reasons, that went against many of France’s freedoms. Finally the reign of terror was significant because of it’s impact on the country that resulted in many bloody tragedies.
People being executed during the Reign of Terror
The Fall of Bastille, The Declaration of the Right of man and the Reign of terror all played major roles in the French revolution. The revolution came with many gains, although there were several deaths, the good outweighed the bad. The revolution changed France’s future and without it France would not have as many freedoms as it does today.