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Was the Reign of Terror Justified: Argumentative Essay

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France had many struggles. They had corrupt monarchies. France’s king did not know how to handle his people. King Louis only cared about the money that was given to him by his allies and the money that the Third Estate made. The king was unorganized. The commoners were suffering because of all the labor they were doing. The Third Estate never got to keep the money, it all went to the taxes. While the other citizens were privileged. The citizens didn’t care about the issues that France was facing. The nobles and clergy are the other citizens. All the political and economic problems were not being solved. It all just kept adding up. One problem on top of another. Until France lost its power. The Third Estate took action and tried to make France’s issues disappear. After all the corrupt monarchies, crazy dictators, and different types of government France was finally at peace. The French Revolution was a success because a lower class of people took control of power from the higher powers.

Just like any nation France had social classes. The Third Estate(commoners) used its population to stand up for themselves. The first and second estates are the nobles and clergy. They were privileged. The commoners wanted taxes to be spread equally among the other estates. Whenever there would be meetings between the three General Estates to communicate about the problems, the Third Estate General would always lose because their votes were not seen. The nobles and clergy would team up to outvote the Third Estate. The reason for that was that the two estates would always want to continue living their lavish lives. They would want to spend their money on luxury items and fancy places. The monarchs would play a part in this situation too. Queen Marie Antoinette spent her money recklessly as well. She was called “madame deficit”. King Louis XVI was able to do a lot of things. Considering he is an absolute monarch. One of his powers was that he was able to declare war whenever he wanted to. War did

not come cheap. It cost a lot of money. He put France in debt. He depended on the commoners who were already struggling for money to pay taxes for his mistakes. France was agriculturally based, the citizens depended on farms. Whenever terrible weather, heavy rain, hard winters, and hot summers, would affect the crops by causing them to die. The third estate owned 65% of the land. The nobles and clergy would hog all the bread so that the rest couldn’t get any. They were very selfish. That selfishness would cause conflict. Citizens would fight people for food to be able to feed themselves and their families. Bread riots would break out across France. Since the upper estate did not have to pay taxes it was easy to gain bread at any time of their need. Commoners made up most of the population. The Third Estate paid 100% of government taxation. The bourgeoisie was rich and smart, but they had to pay taxes. They believed in Enlightenment and they were eager for a change. The Third Estate created the National Assembly. Since it was made up of 96% of the population, the commoners united to stand up to the king. They believed that they deserved attention. The National Assembly made a constitution. It was a list of grievances from the commoners. On that list the Third Estate wrote it in a sweet way so that the king will take pity on them; So that eventually, the king would agree with them. The National Assembly pledged an oath called the Tennis Court Oath. The third estate all went to the tennis court and did not leave until the king agreed to listen to them. The third estate used its population to persuade the king to give equal distribution in taxes. This was the first deliberate act of revolution.

Women in France had no equal rights but were given an opportunity to achieve them. The National Assembly is based on liberty, equality, and fraternity; Fraternity means brotherhood. In France only men had rights. Rousseau, Voltaire, and John Locke influenced them.

Enlightenment inspired the third estate to stand up for themselves. The king’s rights were limited. The church was also being devoted to by the citizens. The enlightenment influenced the citizens to know what was right and what was wrong. Their rights were supposed to unify them to minimize conflict. Taxes were spread evenly amongst the citizens including the nobles. Enlightenment thinkers were influenced by the making of rights. Locke believed that people have natural-born rights and the right to rebel. France became a republic, meaning one man one vote. Instead of relying on the monarchy. The success of the American Revolution inspired the upbringing of the French Revolution. The National Assembly abolished the feudal system. The old regime, government-controlled by the monarch, is gone. The feudal system was supposed to bring order. The feudal system was exchanging work for land. But all the power went to the upper estates and the work was left with the lower estates. It represented the social class that angered the commoners. Girls were learning how to be helpful at home and how to be a wife. Women’s rights were always argued. August 4, 1789 feudalism is gone. The rights of men and citizens were only meant for men not women. King Louis XVI was going to dismiss the National Assembly. It angered many citizens and women united to attack Versailles. The women’s march on Versailles was successful. It portrayed women as strong and independent. After that women were declared to be equal to men. Women were affected by the Enlightenment by having the right to vote. At first, women were not allowed to vote but men were. A feminist named Mary Wallstone Craft saw that it was unfair and wrote books that influenced other women. They had a chance to stand up for themselves. They had organizations and they protested. They succeeded and were finally able to vote. There were monarchs who were also affected by the enlightenment. They were called Enlightened Despots. They put enlightenment ideas into their rules. Catherine the

Great was an Enlightened Despot. She supported arts and funded philosophers. Also, she helped kids and young ladies. Being a woman and ruler made Catherine The Great admirable because she was influenced by enlightenment ideas and in return spread them as well.

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Enlightenment thinkers challenged the position and purpose of Absolute monarchs. Absolute monarchies were rulers who had absolute power. No one was allowed to question them. Because of the enlightenment, citizens started to challenge not only monarchs but the church as well. Absolute monarchs like king Louis XVI would punish people who opposed him. Some absolute monarchs were greatly fully influenced by the enlightenment. Catherine The Great gains power from 1762 until 1796. She was a great ruler. She was corresponding with Voltaire. The philosopher believed in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of powers. The monarchs despised the parliament. The parliament is the representative of the people. John Locke was a philosopher who believed that people have natural-born rights and the right to protest. France became a hotspot for Enlightenment thinkers. A philosopher named Diderot created an encyclopedia. It was a threat to governments and churches because it had knowledge that did not come from the church itself. Louis XVI was an absolute monarch. He inforced and made laws. He showed unfair criminal justice. Also, he took away the freedom of speech and the press. He was against enlightenment. Louis XVI was only able to fire and hire management for financial problems. There was no food and only bread because of the bad weather. It caused so much conflict. This issue would lead to a revolt because the citizens rely on their king to be able to provide his people with food. The citizens wanted to change because of the economic problem and weak leaders. Because of the unsolved and unfair issue, the National Assembly is to unify the commoners. The National Assembly limited the power of King Louis XVI. So he decided that he

was going to dismiss the National Assembly. The storming of the Bastille was where the citizens of France imprisoned the royal family. The fall of the Bastille became a symbol. July 14 became an independence day in France. Because of the revolution, there was a lot of fighting. Nobles hired outlaws to terrorize the commoners. The commoners broke down the manor houses. Parisian women rioted because of the price of bread. Because of all the chaos, the king and his family escaped. Louis tried escaping because of the attacks that the commoners were going to attack his home. His escape was a failure. Supporters and enemies saw the king as a traitor because he tried to escape. The National Assembly didn’t know what to do with the king. There was a power vacuum, where a leader was taken out and the citizens tried to take power. The Legislative Assembly was created to limit the king’s power, again. There was a new constitution that still gave the king the power to enforce laws. There were 3 general groups, radicals, moderates, and conservatives. The Radicals were the ones who were mostly in power. The nobles hoped for the Old Regime to come back. Austria and Prussia wanted Louis XVI to be an absolute monarch again. The Legislative assembly declared power in April 1792. Tuileries threatened Parisians and Parisians invaded them because the royal family stayed there. Nobles, priests, prisoners, and supporters of the monarchy were killed by the Radicals. These killings were called September Massacres. Then a new governing body was made, called the National Convention. They abolished the monarchy and made France a republic. Women were not given the vote. Members of the Radicals were the Jacobins. They sentenced Louis XVI to his death. And was beheaded by the guillotine. France had even more enemies. England, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, and Prussia are all against France. The other monarchs are afraid that their own citizens will rise up to power and take their crown away from them. Robespierre was a part of the Radicals. He was

the leader of the committee on public safety. He wiped out France’s past. Changed the calendar to no Sundays. He closed all the churches because he believed that the church admired the monarchy. His rule became known as the Reign of Terror. The committee of public safety was formed to defend France against internal and external enemies. The purpose of the organization was to take out enemies. Robespierre justified the Reign of terror by using inhumane ways to kill people. He used enlightenment ideas to equally punish people. The guillotine was his weapon of choice. It would quickly chop off the heads of the wrongdoers. He killed those who showed hatred against him, others, and or his ideas. Also, he would punish people who showed admiration for the king. He killed whoever showed wealth in their clothing. The killings caused people to live in constant fear. Whenever they would go outside and just see dead bodies. That fear made people follow him and see him as a leader. They were too scared to stand up against Robespierre because they knew the consequences. Other citizens saw the fear he was causing and actually went against him. He had also caused fear among his co-workers. Robespierre believed that the only people who have the right to be in France are the people who support the Radicals. The National Convent wanted Robespierre dead. He was executed. The citizens were desperate for a strong leader. The directory called for Napoleon Bonaparte. He became a hero. Napoleon crowned himself, showing that he is so much more powerful than the church. He started to lose power and got exiled. After going back and forth he was exiled again and died. France did not have a leader, again. Then the Congress of Vienna came to help out France. The nations of an entire continent worked together to control political affairs. The nation’s choices were fair and agreed with each other. Whenever meetings were being held, the congress made sure everyone’s opinions were heard to avoid any conflict. The congress also made the nation’s surrounding

France gets together so that no nation can overpower anyone else. They left France with almost no power, which was a good idea because it created peace. They also brought back legitimacy; Meaning the monarchs who were supposed to be ruling France came back. But they were constitutional monarchs. The Congress of Vienna left a lasting peace for France.

The French Revolution was not successful. Enlightenment ideas caused many conflicts. The citizens were being punished for believing in the fact that they can completely overthrow the monarchy. The monarchy had more power over them even if they were limited. The parliament couldn’t stop monarchies from being limited to their absolute power. If there are any issues within governments or politics, those issues will constantly be in the way of decision-making for the citizens. The National Assembly couldn’t limit king Loui’s power. He was still able to dismiss them if the Radicals didn’t attack. The Radicals attacking the royal family caused them to kill people that were not part of the issue. At the end, when the Congress of Vienna made sure France had no power, they still put back the monarchy. But his power was limited, which still means he was still on top of the citizens.

France was put in trouble when they started the Revolution. They had even more enemies to begin with. Other nations attacked France because of the ideas they were spreading. The other nations did not want their nation to be in a Revolution as well. During the Reign of Terror, there were a lot of casualties. Even his co-workers were afraid of him that they had to kill him with his own killing machine. Napoleon crowned himself in front of everyone in a church. He challenged the church by showing he had more power than them. The leaders that France had been always craving for power. Once they have the power they start taking advantage of it and it would leads them to their death.

Getting what people want is not an easy road. Especially, if it’s a whole nation. Where thousands of people’s opinions are constantly changing. France went through a lot of leaders, enemies, and death to arrive at their goal. In the end, France’s citizens got equal rights. Also, after all the challenges they went through; They finally overcame them.

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