The French Revolution Essay

895 Words 4 Pages
The French Revolution (1789-99) violently transformed France from a monarchical state with a rigid social hierarchy into a modern nation in which the social structure was loosened and power passed increasingly to the middle classes. There is considerable controversy over the causes of the Revolution. Marxist scholars emphasize material factors: as the population increased, food supplies grew short; land had become divided into such small parcels that most Frenchmen lived close to the subsistence level; and after 1776 agricultural recession forced property owners to exploit their sources of revenue. Marxists also maintain that commercial prosperity had stimulated the growth of a monied middle class that threatened the position of the …show more content…
The Montagnard Convention then had to contend with invasion, royalist civil war, and widespread provincial revolts against "the dictatorship of Paris." Initially, Georges Danton tried to placate the provinces, and the democratic Constitution of 1793 was approved by plebiscite and celebrated at a Festival of Unity. After July, however, Maximilien Robespierre's influence prevailed, and armies were sent to subdue rebellious cities. When the city of Toulon voluntarily surrendered to the British, a demonstration in Paris compelled the National Convention to establish (September 5) the repressive regime known as the Terror. A fearful time ensued: the Committee of Public Safety strove to organize the economy and the war effort; the Revolutionary Tribunal sent state prisoners, including the Girondists, to the guillotine; and agents of the Convention known as Representatives of the People enforced bloody repression throughout France. During the ensuing period (1794-95) of the Thermidorian Reaction, government was so weakened that anarchy and runaway inflation almost overwhelmed the republic. In the southeast the royalists conducted a "white terror," and in Paris gangs of draft-dodgers, called la

More about The French Revolution Essay

Open Document