French Revolution was a revolution that started in France on 14th July 1789. It was declared by commoners of the 18th century to get rid of the monarchy and establish democracy
1.What is a revolution?
Ans: A revolution is a movement of bringing a complete change in a society
2.Why was Sepoy Mutiny a Revolt and not a Revolution?
Ans: Revolt of 1857 didn’t bring any change or was not even planned to bring a complete change. French Revolution, on other hand was to make changes in all sections of society.
3.Why should we study French Revolution?
Ans: India follows a system of democracy. We should study French Revolution to study primitive democracy and compare and contrast the problems in old democracy and modern democracy. We can also define contradictions of the Constituition of France formed by Jacobins.
4.Why did the French Revolution occur?
Ans: The French Revolution occured due to:
a.The Old Regime of France was divided into three estates, the Clergy, the Nobility and the Third Estate. The clergy and nobles enjoyed various privileges from birth. Like they are exempted from taxes and hunting,fishing and property rights were granted to them.
b.The first two estates could charge taxes on the Third Estate.
c.60% of the land was under the first two estates while the Third Estate members comprising 90% of the population only had 40% of the land.
d.Social discrimination prevailed everywhere.
a.The king didn’t rule after the entire nation but divided the responsilbility to his ministers who at many cases were ineffective,corrupt and dishonest.
b.The king didn’t implement any new laws and expected that the old rules would work will, whereas the world had progressed much further.
c.Philosphers propounded the ideas of democracy in hope of a better living condition, this ignited the people to unite and fight the Old Regime.
iii. Economic Causes:
a.France and United States of America had common enemy as Great Britain. To show its supremacy and establish rule over USA France declared war against Britain.
b. The mistresses of the king declared wars on behalf of France which further tottered France.
c. France had to take loans to run the basic works of the nation like running administration, maintaining army, . France was in a debt of 2 billion livres which had 10% interest per annum.
d.Versailles, the palace of King Louis had to be kept under maintainance which cost a big amount.
e. Only Third estate paid taxes of Tithes and Tailles.
f.The wages of labourers were fixed and during famines they couldn’t buy bread.
g. During subsistense crisis the prices increased.
5. Why was Bastille prison stormed?
Ans: The Bastille Prison was the symbol of despotism of the King. The Bastille was stormed because it was a symbol of King’s autocracy. The reason to break it was that the people now hated the king and wanted to get rid of feudalism. This was significant in world history because initiated the French Revolution and in turn which initiated the start of democracy.
6.What really started the French Revolution instantly?
Ans: Louis XVI had called the meeting of the Estates General(after 175 Years!) to propose new taxes for Third Estate on 20th June 1789. The first two estates had 300 members each and the Third Esate was represented by 600 delegates. They wanted the system of one man,one vote against the prevailing system of one estate, one vote. They were denied entry to the Versailles hall of Estates General Assembly.
Angered, they decided to form the National Assembly which took the Tennis Court oath to make a new constituition and abolish feudalism. Mirabeau and Abbe Sieyes gave speeches in it.
7.What was the role of philosophers in it?
Ans: The philosophers gave a mental setup to the common men of France. They inspired them through their books and speeches. For eg. Roussseau in his book The Social Contract, Montesquieu in his book The Spirit of the Laws, John Locke in his book Two Treatises of theGovernment and Voltaire in his book Church and the administration.
8.What was the Reign of Terror?
Ans; The Reign of Terror started in 1793 when Maximilian Robespierre started killing members of the nobles and people against him by guillotine. He was the leader of the Jacobin Club. This also included execution of the King and Queen in 21st January 1793. This ended with execution of Robespierre in 1794.
- Bourbon dynasty ruled France during the revolution.
- King Louis XVI came to power in 1774 and inherited empty treasury.
- The First Constituition had provisions of Constituitional monarchy.
- There were active and passive citizens in France. The men above 25 years of age and could pay taxes equal to 3 days wage of labourer were active and the rest men and all women were passive.
- The rights ensured in the first constituition were right to life, right to equality and right to property.
- The final Constituition of France had a just democracy.
- Napoleon though seen as a liberator of France from corrupt Directory rule, but was an autocratic ruler.
- Napoleon rose to power in 1804.
- Napoleon was defeated in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.