The French Revolution

Essay by doctmenaceHigh School, 10th grade May 2006

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To begin with, the American Revolution inspired the French people who were seeking reform in their own country. Throughout the eighteenth century, Enlightenment ideas caused people to think twice about the structure of their society. The French middle class and several nobles were very impressed with ideas such as the social contract and freedom of speech. Also they were inspired how the Americans threw off an oppressive government.

Secondly, in 1789, Louis XVI's government was about to go bankrupt. In extreme anxiety, Louis wanted to raise taxes and called into the Estates General. Commoners in the Estates-General felt that they weren't represented fairly and protested. They left and established the National Assembly and got members of other classes to join them. Peasant uprisings spread throughout the country. The fight to gain democratic freedoms for the people, the French Revolution, began.

In addition, the National Assembly made many reforms and adopted the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

The document was very influenced by Enlightenment ideas and the Declaration of Independence. The Assembly ended feudalism in France and drafted the constitution that made France a limited monarchy. Also, the Assembly reorganized the Catholic Church in France, redistributed its land, and reformed the court system. In 1791, it split up so that the new Legislative Assembly could take over.

More over, the new assembly was not accepted by the king, aristocrats, and some Catholics. Other European countries that had absolute monarchs dreaded the spread of Democratic ideas. They went to war with France and were hoping to undo the new government. The new French Republic was in a bad situation and many people, who were thought to be enemies, were killed because of their beliefs.

In conclusion, in 1799 military leader Napoleon Bonaparte took control of France and instituted...