French revolution refers to a period between 1789 and 1799 that was characterized by radical political and social upheaval in France that had profound effect on the modern history in France and other parts of the world. French revolution marked the end of powerful churches and monarchies as well as the start and rise of nationalism and democracy.
Although there is no single factor that is directly attributed to French revolution, increasing resentment for the privileges that the clergy enjoyed and growth of aristocracy amidst economic crisis after expensive wars and bad harvests motivated the demand for change. Fiscal mismanagement and feudal oppression are some of the factors that led to the revolution.
On noticing a downward spiral of the economy, King Louis XVI invited financial advisors in late 1700s to review the weak French treasury. The advisors gave a unanimous advice that France had to embrace a radical change in its taxation system. In return, the advisors were kicked out. Later, the king noticed that he had to address the taxation issue and he appointed Charles de Calonne as his new finance controller general.
In 1783, Charles suggested that France start taxing nobility which was previously exempted among other things. The nobility refused to be taxed. Even after convening a meeting of the Estates General, the nobility and clergy declined to be taxed. Feuds broke out that eventually became irreconcilable. Feuds and demands for change were couched on the basis of enlightenment ideas. They resulted in the convocation of Estates General on May 1789. In June, Third Estate proclaimed Tennis Court Oath during the first year of French revolution. The assault on the Bastille followed in July, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed on August and then March on Versailles forcing royal court to Paris took place on October.
Struggles between right-wing supporters and different liberal assemblies dominated the following years due to the intent of the monarchy to thwart major reforms. In September 1792, revolutionists proclaimed a republic and in the next year King Louis XVI was executed. The revolution course was shaped closely by external threats.
The revolution created a political culture that involved active participation of the French population. Many uncensored newspapers played a significant role during the revolution of keeping citizens informed of the events as well as political clubs via which they could air their opinions. To affirm the new order in France, public ceremonies that included planting the trees of liberty in the federation festival and small villages were held in 1790 in Paris to mark the first anniversary after storming the Bastille.
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