Changes in France from 1789 to 1815
The French Revolution was a chapter in French history during which the populace deposed the king and gained sovereignty of the government. Before the French Revolution, the French administration separated the French into social classes known as “Estates.” The clergy (ministers) were classified as the First Estate, the nobility as the Second Estate, and the common people as the Third Estate (Desan, 2012). The majority of persons were Third Estate citizens. The Third Estate paid most taxes, but the nobility enjoyed luxury and held the most high-ranking positions. All through the revolution, the French administration was in perpetual turmoil. At the onset of the revolution, delegates of the Third Estate founded the National Assembly, in which they requested specific privileges from King Louis XVI. This organization quickly established dominance of the country (Desan, 2012). They were renamed the Legislative Council and then the National Convention over time. Following the Tyrannical rule, a new government known as the Directory was founded. Until Napoleon took power, the Directory controlled France.
The French Revolution sparked the modern national movement and was instrumental in the spread of Nationalism throughout Europe. As Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces conquered regions, the philosophy of Nationalism expanded throughout Europe. Furthermore, the French Revolution and Napoleon’s leadership ended the French aristocracy, feudalism and stripped the Catholic church of political power (Desan, 2012). It introduced new concepts to Europe, such as liberty and independence for the ordinary man and the abolition of slavery, and the advancement of women’s rights.
Desan, S. (2012). The French Revolution and the family. A Companion to the French Revolution, 470-485. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118316399.ch28