The French Revolution marked a period that was characterized by fundamental social and political disturbances in France. The French society was initially under an absolute monarchy prior to the Revolution which occurred in the late 18th century. The French society went through ambitious transformations whereby feudalism, aristocracy and religious privileges sublimed due to spirited attacks from the political activists and the masses. There was a call to shift from the old hierarchical system and adopt the enlightenment tenets of nationality and absolute rights.
The Revolution in France is said to have begun in 1789 and it was marked by various stages with the various revolutionary groups executing the much needed transformations. This paper shall explore how the various groups executed their revolutionary activities that eventually contributed towards the political changes witnessed during the time. The French Revolution The revolution was initiated by the Third Estates-General who demanded that the king undertake practical reforms in the government.
The ‘constituent’ forcefully ensured that France had undergone reformations that brought in the constitutional monarch while abolishing feudal advantages and also creating a representative electorate though not a democracy. The constituent had a well elaborated law that was referred to as the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens’ which can be compared to the bill of Rights in the American constitution . Between the years 1791 and 1792, the Legislative Assembly was introduced and the King was supposed to govern hand in hand with this entity.
In August of 1792, the king was forced to flee and take cover in the Legislative Assembly during the Parisian march that happened near the royal residence. The king became de facto as the Assembly took control. From 1792 to 1795, France witnessed the First Republic and grand terror in its history . This is a time when the revolution reached its peak. Terror was established as a means of dealing with the opponents of the regime and France was pronounced to be a republic in the year 1792. The somehow liberal constitution that observed some democratic tenets was introduced in 1793 but was to be shelved by the revolutionary government.
France was under the rule of the Committee of Public Safety which comprised of a dozen members whose first leader was Danton . Following the execution of Danton, Robespierre took over. In the year 1794, the Revolutionary activities were intensified and it begun executing those who were in opposition to its activities. This led to the execution of its own leader, Robespierre in July of 1794 . After the execution of Robespierre, there arose what was referred to as the ‘Thermidorian Reaction’ which led to the creation of a new constitution.
The reaction was in opposition to the terror and paved way for the final stage of the Revolution . In the years 1795 to 1799, the Directory regime was established in which case the executive authority was shared among five directors. The regime was unpopular but it used any means possible to cling to power. There were numerous attempts to overthrow the Directory which culminated in the final disposal of the regime in 1799 by Bonaparte. Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup led to the installation of the Consulate before Bonaparte established his dictatorial regime. He later proclaimed himself as emperor which ended the republican chapter of the revolution.
Conclusion The French Revolution was a period characterized by upheavals in the political arena in France towards the late 18th century. However the Revolution played a crucial part in European politics. The revolution ensured that sovereignty was observed as absolutism was discarded which led to the replacement of monarchy with nationhood. The French Revolution therefore marked a major turning point in human history especially in regard to the political orientation of the western society of the 18th century and the world in general.