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Significance Of The French Revolution Essay, Research Paper

In order to determine Success or Failure, you must first establish and the significance and outcome of the French Revolution. With the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, there was a return of the Bourbons to the throne with Louis XVIII. All of Napoleons conquests were lost by France and divided among those countries of the coalition that defeated France. Economically the wars had crushed France and left industry and commerce in ruins. Politically the coalition who had defeated France demanded a return to the old rulers and structure within France.

The French Revolution also summed up the whole anti feudal process in Europe by swiftly putting an end to all the feudal privileges, laws and institutions in France. With Napoleons conquest the elimination of feudalism was spread further through Europe. This was made Napoleons conquests easier as the peasants of the countries were happy to see the end of feudalism. After Napoleons defeat however most of Europe restored some of the feudal taxes and this undid the work of Napoleon and the Revolution; but the peasants taste of equality would plant the seed that would eventually end all feudalism.

The Bourgeoisie economically benefited the most from the Revolution. Firstly they secured the abolition of tax injustices within the Old Regime. Tax Privileges were abolished, so were corrupt taxing methods, local tolls, and many others all of which hampered the growth of industry and commerce. The Revolution also established a uniform standard of weights and measures called, the still present, metric system. The Revolution continued the process of emancipating the serfs and creating peasant proprietors. France emerged as having the richest peasants in Europe. Their land gains gave them wealth and power in the government; however, there was not much benefit for the workers and non-land owners because the still not allowed to vote.

In its first victory the Revolution had put an end to absolutism in France. Instead of the Divine Right of the Kings there was the government by the people. This was understood to mean limiting the powers of Government through a constitution and secondly electing an assembly and parliaments. Free speech, freedom of the press and freedom to form political parties were seen as basic human rights even though they did not really exist after Napoleon established a dictatorship. The Revolution brought an end to privileges and the class system. Everybody came under the same law and taxation. Promotion became open to talent and citizens were equal before the law. The Revolution was successful in spreading the new political and enlighten ideas throughout Europe. Therefore, I believe even though much of the reformations made during the Revolution were later undone and the Bourbon monarchy was re-established; the French Revolution was a success because the ideals and ground work was laid for a Republic, the majority of the people were left with more freedom than they had before the Revolution, and the ideals of the Enlightenment that focused on individual freedom and natural laws were all spread across Europe for later reformation in their counties.


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