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How Did The French Revolution Change The World System

Decent Essays
Wallerstein (1989) argues that the French Revolution was an impactful historical event that ideologically changed the world system and supports this claim by identifying three significant cultural institutions – the movements, ideologies, and the social sciences. As quoted:
“All in all, it added up to a political whirlwind of a kind that had never been known before in the modern world.” (pg 42)
For Wallerstein, the ultimate culmination of the French Revolution was that it served as a catalyst in upbringing a capitalist world economy. The argument raises the significant effects of the French Revolution however; to broadly ascribe the historical establishment of a world-system towards the event is implausible to an extent as the cultural factors and effect of social sciences were of greater consequence in importantly shaping the history of the world-system.

According to Wallerstein, the world-system refers to a social system of a state
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The Haitian revolution had recurring food riots and peasant rebellions for centuries, which was a contributing factor towards the impetus of their demonstrations. Hence, the cataclysmic effect of the political development in St. Domingue was due to the initiative by the people of the lower classes who were seeking change and demanded autonomy themselves. The French Revolution did not inspire the bourgeois for a capitalist world economy and instead evoked a sense of threat. Instead, the actions of the masses became the change in the capitalist world-system. To argue that the French Revolution instituted cultural change in this context is implausible as the political development in acquisition of state power was because of the anti-systemic insurgents and relentless uprisings in the past, which was not immediate but a long-term social
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