French Revolution UPSC – 1789

French Revolution UPSC – The French Revolution of 1789 is also known as the Revolution of 1789. Between 1787 to 1799, there was a period of extreme social disturbance known as the French Revolution. It aimed to redefine the structure of political authority and radically alter the relationship between the rulers and those they controlled. The despotic rule of Louis XVI, the separation of French society, rising prices, the influence of the philosophers, and the involvement of the middle class were the fundamental causes of the French Revolution.

French Revolution UPSC

Causes Of French Revolution of 1789

a. Social – In France in the late 18th century, socioeconomic conditions were incredibly exploitative and unfair. The first two Estates, which included the nobility and clergy, represented the most privileged segments of French society. They were not required to pay state taxes. On the other hand, the Third Estate, which was made up of farmers and labourers, comprise the majority of the people. In addition to having enormous taxes, they lacked social and political rights. They were therefore utterly unhappy.

b. Economic – The State’s coffers were empty as a result of Louis XVI’s repeated conflicts. Due to the problematic taxing system and France’s participation in the American War of Independence, the issue became even more complicated. The Third Estate was increasingly burdened with taxes while the privileged classes were exempt.

c. Political – Louis XVI, the French king of the Bourbons, had an excessive level of autocracy, was incredibly weak-willed, and lived in excessive luxury. The people, who were living in poor and widespread hunger at the time, became very dissatisfied as a result.

d. Intellectual – French thinkers intentionally rejected the “Divine Rights Theory” during the 18th century. Philosophers like Rousseau promoted the ideas of human equality and democratic principles while rejecting the idea of absolute monarchy. They were important in highlighting the problems in the ancien régime’s political system and expressing the anger of the general public.

French Revolution UPSC

About French Revolution

An important period in the history of contemporary Europe was the French Revolution. It started in 1789 and came to an end when Napoleon Bonaparte rose to power in the late 1790s. During that period, French citizens levelled and reorganised the administrative structure of their nation, demolishing centuries-old tenets like the absolute monarchy and the feudal system. Large-scale opposition to the monarchy and King Louis XVI’s pathetic economic policies were to blame for the unrest.

By outlining its objectives and occasionally degenerating into a tumultuous massacre, the French Revolution played a significant role in creating modern states. This revolution fundamentally altered France’s social and political system. It put an end to the monarchy, feudalism, and political influence of the Catholic Church in France. It introduced new concepts to Europe, including as freedom and liberty for the average person, the abolition of slavery, and the rights of women. These novel concepts persisted throughout Europe and shaped many of its contemporary governments.

Prior to the French Revolution, France’s populace was separated into social classes known as “Estates.” The clergy (heads of the churches), the nobles, and the Third Estate made up the First, Second, and Third Estates, respectively. Third estate citizens used to be responsible for paying the majority of taxes, while nobility enjoyed luxurious lifestyles and held all of the top positions in society. Political clubs helped shape many of the revolutionary France’s new political alliances and ideals. They went under the names of the Pantheon Club, Feuillants, Cordeliers, and Jacobin Club.

French Revolution UPSC

Chronological order of French Revolution 

  • 1774 : Louis XVI become the king
  • 5th May 1789 : The king calls the Estates-General
  • 20th June 1789 : Tennis Court Oath.
  • 14th July 1789 : The razing of Bastille and the official declaration of the French Revolution.
  • 1791 : The National Assembly completes the draft of the new constitution where France is regarded as a constitutional monarchy.
  • 1792 : The National Convention declared France a Republic.
  • 1793 – 1794 : The reign of Terror, Austria, Britain, the Netherlands, Prussia, and Spain are at war with France.
  • 1794 : Robespierre is killed and the Directory system is introduce, a committee of five men.
  • 1795 : National convention dessolved
  • 1799 : Napoleon Bonaparte becomes the first consul and the French Revolution ends.
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