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Most Important Eras In French History: The French Revolution

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The French Revolution was undoubtedly one of the most important eras in French history; It was a time of the oppressed classes using new ideas to gain rights. In the days before the start of the French Revolution in 1789, France had a very rigid system of social stratification being made up of the Three Estates. The First Estate being the nobility, making up just one percent of France’s population. France’s clergymen made up the Second Estate and two percent of the population. Following the Second Estate was the Third Estate which accounted for ninety-seven percent of France’s population and consisted of the bourgeoisie and merchants. Despite making up ninety-seven percent of the population, the Third Estate owned just sixty-five percent of…show more content…
From 1795 through 1799, the Directory staged a series of coups to interrupted legal proceedings and any votes they thought to be unfavorable. These actions taken by the Directory undermined the power of the elected officials, lessening the political power of the people. As Enlightenment thinkers clearly stated that the political power should rest in the hands of the people, the Directory failed at incorporating Enlightenment ideals. After organizing a rigged plebiscite, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France in 1796. By ensuring that the results of the plebiscite would turn out in his favor, Napoleon ignored the will of his citizens. His deceitful seizure of France was an affront to the Enlightenment idea that the people should have power over the monarchy. However, Napoleon did found a system of schools in order to help educate the people of France. By doing this, Napoleon began to include particular enlightenment ideals such as Education of the Masses into his government. Overall, the Directory and Napoleonic stages were unsuccessful at accepting Enlightenment ideals into the government regardless of his push for
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