10 Years of the French Revolution

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The French Revolution lasted 10 years (1789-1799). It began July 14,1789, when revolutionaries stormed a prison called Bastille. It all started because the King of France, Louis XVI, ran out of money. This happened mostly because due to France fighting two wars. The king couldn’t raise money himself for the wars , and he didnt get money from the upper class of France because they were against paying for anything, so he began to tax the middle and lower class heavily.

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Knowing that the upper class isn’t being taxed at all, the middle and lower class began to fight back. These people had a lot to lose and they felt that they were being treated unfair. What made people mad was the in-equality. At the start of the revolution representatives from the lower class established the National Assembly where they demanded King Louis XVI to give them certain rights. Many suggested the king was intent on using military force to dismiss the National Assembly. On July 14, 1789, revolutionaries searching for gunpowder and arms stormed a Paris prison, Bastille, and this is when the French Revolution began. This group soon took over the whole country.

The National Assembly had changed their name over time to, the Legislative Assembly, and later to the National Convention. The darkest period of the French Revolution is called the Reign of Terror, which lasted from 1793-1794. During this time the National Convention was led by a man named Robespierre. He had wanted to take out any opposition to the revolution, so he called for a rule of terror. Laws were passed that stated anybody suspected of treason could be arrested and killed by guillotine, which is used to behead people. Thousands of people were executed including Queen Marie Antoinette, and many political rivals of Robespierre.

An Enlightenment philosopher would probably think that the French Revolution was unfair, dark, and messy. It lasted 10 years. The philosopher i chose was Charles- Louis Montesquieu. His basic beliefs about government and power was government should be kept under control through separation of powers. No part can have too much power. It guarantees balance in government. My views might be a little similar to his because no one should be in full control, especially in a society where people want more control or is tyrant. If this philosopher lived in this time period, they probably would’ve thought it was unfair and horrible. Advice he could’ve gave the King of France as people were beginning to rebel is to treat the citizens equal and to have separation of powers to keep peace among the society.

There are so many ways that the French Revolution could’ve been avoided. I think if they would have used enlightenment ideas from philosophers a lot could have went differently. If King Louis XVI would’ve just decided to tax everybody, and then have separation of powers things probably would’ve been more peaceful. The revolution completely changed the structure of France’s government and political structure. Although the revolution ended with the rise of Napoleon it brought ideas to Europe such as liberty and freedom.

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10 Years of The French Revolution. (2019, Jun 26). Retrieved February 7, 2023 , from
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