French Revolution & Democracy in the Contemporary World

2097 Words Jul 9th, 2013 9 Pages

.‘The eighteenth century France witnessed the emergence of the middle class’. Who were they and what were their ideas ?
● Middle class was a social group that had earned their wealth through overseas trade and manufacture of goods.
● It included professions as lawyers or administrative officials.
They were educated and believed that :
(i) no group in the society should be privileged by birth.
(ii) person’s social position must depend on his merit.
(iii) a society should be based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all. (iv) Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu were its main thinkers What was the
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(i) National Assembly held long debates to abolish slavery but did not pass any law, fearing opposition of businessmen whose income depended on slave trade.
(ii) It was finally the convention which in 1794 legislated to free all slaves
(iii) But it turned out to be a short term measure because ten years later,
Napoleon reintroduced slavery
(iv) Plantation owners understood their freedom as including the right to enslave Africans in persuit of their economic interests.
(v) It was finally abolished in French colony in 1848. Who constituted the middle class in the French Society in the 18th century ? Explain the conditions that helped them in bringing change in social and economic order in France ?

• The prosperous social groups within the third estate like traders, merchants, manufacturers and professionals were termed as middle class. • Circumstances :
(i) Their prosperity and access to education and new ideas.
(ii) Having enough means and programmes to bring about a change.
(iii) The belief that no social group should be privileged by birth.
(iv) Ideas of philosophers helped in envisaging a society based on freedom and equality.
What was Jacobin club ? Who were its members ? How did Jacobins contribute to carry the French Revolution further ?

● It was a political club formed to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action.
● Its members mainly belonged to the less prosperous section of society.
● Their
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