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French Revolution Essay Examples

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The French revolution was a key historical event, which changed the political landscape of France and other countries in the world. The revolution was marked by a lot of violence and executions as people tried to oust the ruling class and any other group that was against the revolution (Hanson 584). The French revolution happened due to various reasons. One of them was a poor French economy, which made many people live in poverty, massive social division, and a quest for more liberty and democracy (Miller 2). During the revolution, different groups supported different sides based on their beliefs, ideologies, and the gains that they could make from the side they supported. This paper evaluates the views of different individuals right after the defeat of Napoleon, the military leader who took over after the French revolution.

A peasant, a Catholic priest, an urban shopkeeper, a wealthy owner of a textile manufacturing firm, and an aristocrat could have had different views about the French revolution and the defeat of Napoleon. Concerning the achievements or failures of the Revolution and Napoleon. The peasant would view the French revolution as successful since it enabled him to improve his life and status in society. He would also view Napoleon as a good leader since he instituted a new Civil Code, which reduced the level of inequality and ensured that the gains that were made during the civil war were maintained (Indiana University North West). The peasant would however not react positively to Napoleon’s recreation of nobility since it encouraged the class divide and made it more difficult for the peasants to become powerful (Blaufarb).

The Catholic priest would view the civil war negatively and argue that it did not lead to any success. The Catholic Church was a big loser in the French revolution as its properties were confiscated, and the revolutionary government tried to gain control of the church’s activities. This took place from 1789 to 1794 (Hosack 30). The priest would, however, have mixed feelings about Napoleon. He would be happy with Napoleon’s move to make Catholicism the main religion in the country. This was done through the Concordat. He would, however, oppose Napoleon’s move of not returning the church’s pre-revolution assets (Hosack 31).

The shopkeepers, just like the peasants were part of the third estate. They were marginalized and saw the need for a revolution to increase their access to power. Therefore, the shopkeeper would have a positive view of the revolution and believe that it was a success. The shopkeeper would also have a positive view of Napoleon as his policies improved the economy. Napoleon also made society more equal thus providing each member of the citizen’s political power (Indiana University North West).

The owner of a textile manufacturing firm would have been proud of the revolution. Even though business owners had money to afford an affluent lifestyle, they lacked the title that would enable them to live like the nobles. They were still part of the third estate, and they wanted a system that enabled them to obtain power (Miller 2). The owner of a textile manufacturer would also support Napoleon. The leader improved equality in France thus enabling the Bourgeois to obtain political power. He also improved businesses in the country (Indiana University North West).

The aristocrat would not have positive views about the French revolution. Before the revolution, the aristocrats controlled the country and its resources. They had exclusive access to employment in the government, church, and army. Their privilege also shielded them from the poor economy (Miller 2). The aristocrats would have mixed feelings about Napoleon. He maintained revolution gains made by the third estate thus removing the powers held by the aristocrats before the revolution. Napoleon however granted the aristocrats amnesty (Indiana University North West).

In conclusion, different groups had different perspectives on the French Revolution and Napoleon’s rule. In a conversation between a peasant, a Catholic priest, an urban shopkeeper, a textile factory owner, and an aristocrat, the peasant would be more supportive of the revolution and Napoleon. The peasant would support the revolution since it reduced the level of inequality in France. The Catholic priest would be against the revolution since the Church lost its power and assets. He would, however, have mixed feelings about Napoleon as the leader reinstated the church as the country’s religion while not retuning its assets. The shopkeeper and the textile factory owner would also be happy about the revolution and Napoleon’s rule since it enabled them to gain access to power. The aristocrat would be against the revolution and Napoleon since the revolution made him lose his power.

Works Cited

  1. Blaufarb, Rafe. “The Creation of the Imperial Nobility.” Napoleonica La Revue, vol. 2, no. 2, 2008, p. 16., doi:10.3917/napo.082.0002.
  2. Hanson, Paul R. “Political History of the French Revolution since 1989.” Journal of Social History, vol. 52, no. 3, Mar. 2018, pp. 584–592., doi:10.1093/jsh/shy075.
  3. Hosack, Kristen A. “Napoleon Bonaparte ’s Concordat and the French Revolution.” Constructing the Past, vol. 11, no. 1, 2010, pp. 30–40.
  4. Indiana University North West. The French Revolution. http://www.iun.edu/~hisdcl/h114_2002/frenchrevolution2.htm.
  5. Miller, Stuart. Mastering Modern World History. Macmillan, 1997.
  6. Peters, Michael A. “The enlightenment and its critics.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, vol. 51, no. 9, 2019, pp. 886-894, DOI: 10.1080/00131857.2018.1537832
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