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French Revolution

Question 1

The English Civil War took place in the British Islands between 1642 and1660. Unlike the French Revolution, the English Civil War had three oppositional sides. In particular, King Charles I with his son represented the first side, the Parliamentarians were the second one, and the last was a union of Covenanters from Scotland and the Confederates from Ireland. Apparently, that was the reason why this war obtained a name the Wars of Three Kingdoms. Both the French Revolution the English Civil War started earlier than it was officially dated. In fact, the conflict began earlier than in Scotland. It turns up to be the rebellion provoked by the parliament against the ruling of the king. Apparently, the parliament tried to protect its power from the kings impingement and influence. The desired outcome of the both conflicts was to overthrow the power of the king after which England became a republic for 11 years.

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However, the English republic was under the ruling of Oliver Cromwell, who called himself as Lord Protector, but in reality he was the same king. It should be mentioned that one of the positive moments of the Cromwells domination was the creation of a new model army which included only professionals, had the corresponding uniform standards and strict discipline. Generally, England was transformed from the monarchy to a theocracy. Therefore, under this theocracy, Cromwell disabled the parliament and created his own rules and laws. In 1660, all the changes resulted in reestablishment of the monarchy by Charles II. However, some scholars consider that England have never experienced the end of monarchical domination.

Oliver Cromwell had much in common with Robespierre in the political views since both were extremists and tried to abolish the monarchy though became dictators. In general, the English Civil War made the country step backward from democracy while the French revolution experienced an opposite result.

Question 2

Causes of the Revolution

The French Revolution had its own backgrounds the same way other political events do. In fact, there were two main currents for the occurrence of French Revolution. Specifically, the first one represents the ideas concerning the political reorganization which took its roots from the middle classes. On the contrary, the second one was created by the workers that wanted to get the progress in their financial position. Apparently, the French Revolution was caused by these two confronting parties. Until the beginning of the revolution, France had already started the insurrectionary period. The actions of the Louis XVI on the throne in 1774 were the reason for the series of hunger rebellions. The French and the English revolutions took place at the moment when the middle classes realized their rights since they began to feel quite capable of capturing the government and taking it out the frivolity and debauchery of the aristocracy that gradually brought the kingdom to the ruin. Therefore, a good example was the countrys debt after the Seven Years War. While the France was wrecked in debt, there was no fiscal restraint for the nobility. Thus, when people had no money to buy food, the Louis XVIs wife Marie Antoinette had an unlimited annual clothing allowance. However, France could not finance its empire and in most cases all the money spent for the country needs were taken from taxes. Later, in the eighteenth century, both the nobility and church were exempt from taxations. Consequently, it has led to the fact that almost all tax money came were taken from the poorest. Undoubtedly,, it has worsened the situation since the peasantry also suffered from the series of seasonal crop failures. Therefore, they could hardly afford to pay taxes for armies, ground, and lifestyle of the royalty. One more important impulse for the French Revolution became the Jean-Jacque Rousseaus meditations. Specifically, he considered the general will as a will of sovereign meaning that all peoples' actions and thoughts should be directed to the common good. For example, the general will of the healthy state is developed in a form of law. Apparently, laws should exist to ensure the peoples freedom, "Idea of general will is that I am only free when I obey the laws that I have myself helped to create. Rousseau preached the ideas of democracy. The French accepted these new ideas as they were very limited and never had any rights before. The historians differentiate two main interpretations of the French Revolution. The first is a Conventional view which represents the revolution as a class struggle. The revolution showed the negative aspects of the old society and gave a birth to new ones. In contrast, the second is the Revisionist interpretation which interpreted the revolution as a negative event that did possess no global impact and was only relevant for that century. Importantly, the Revisionists denied the creating of a new society that resulted from the revolution. The historians support both these views and it still remains a controversial question.

Constitutional Changes 1789-1792 and Advent of the Terror up to 1793

The complicated situation with crops and the growing famine lead to the protests. One of them was the Marsh on Versailles in October 1789 which was one of the earliest events of the French Revolution. In that day, thousands of Parisians women marched more than 12 miles to the residence of Louis XVI. Some of them were desperately hungry while others had their violence intentions become even more intense. In fact, they wanted the king to leave Versailles and move back to Paris for the purpose of being far away from the corrupting influence of the aristocracy and to be closer to the citizens. The deputies of the Assembly were unprotected and after 24 hours of tension they had no choice than accept the requirements of the shouted crowd. The road from Paris to Versailles took around seven hours and throughout the whole way, the royal family was surrounded by the rebellion who cried, We bring the baker, the bakers wife, and the bakers boy. To some extent, they were right and the supplies became abundant.

One more significant point of the French Revolution was the establishment of the political clubs and groups. In fact, the first political clubs were formed at the very beginning of the revolution. However, in terms of progress during the revolution, they became more organized and formalized. The actions of some clubs were similar to the modern-day political parties. Therefore, Jacobins was one of the most famous of them. Their members influenced the course of revolution between 1792 and 1794. After the beginning of the revolution, the Breton Club became the first constitutive political club. Therefore, after the Marsh on Versailles, they changed the name to the Society of the Friends of the Constitution. In other words, it constituted the Jacobins club itself. Mostly bourgeoisies such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, writers, and artists belonged to this club which was divided into two branches, namely the Girondists and the Jacobins after the Louis XVI overthrow. Though, both branches belonged to the same club, they preserved different opinions and followed different ideas. The Girondists represented the commercial bourgeoisie and protected the freedom, private property, and wanted to export the revolution. At the same time, the Jacobins formed the group with the name Montagnards. They supported freedom and wanted to consolidate the revolution in Paris. The Jacobins, unlike the other clubs, received the supported of the sans-culottes which was a widespread force created by the working class. The main goal of the Jacobins was to destroy the monarchy and to set up the centralized government. In order to reach the goal, they used quite an aggressive method. After the establishment the revolutionary dictatorship led by Maximilien Robespierre, they started a period of Reign Terror. Robespierre became the most prominent member of this phenomenon, and in 1794, he eliminated all the enemies. Thus, from the left it was a radical political group the Hebertists and followers of George Danton occupied the righteous position. In general, about 40,000 people were killed during the terror, 16,000 out of which, including Marie Antoinette, died under the blade of the guillotine. King Louis understood that such development of the events could negatively influence the monarchy. Thus, he decided to whip off France, and, consequently, he completely lost the peoples faith. In September 1791, France adopted a new constitution and established a new executive body the Legislative Assembly which abolished the monarchy and the next day France was declared to be a republic.


The French Revolution had its own political and social consequences. From the political point of view, the French situation before the revolution was not positive and challenging. The king cared only about the royalty while the common people must have paid the enormous taxes. Moreover, the country suffered from the crisis, and people were dying of the famine. In general, the revolution overthrew the monarchy. Specifically, the best results were achieved by destroying the old society. After the revolution, France got an opportunity to create the society which we may see now. The social effect of the revolution caused the huge changes as the destruction of aristocracy gave power to people, and they got their chance to gain rights which became the primary foundation for the great future.

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