Why Did the French Revolution Start? What Sparked the Revolutionary Flames?

Why Did the French Revolution Start? The French Revolution was a period of political and social unrest that lasted from 1789 to 1799 in France and its colonies. Its overthrow of the monarchy, motivated by radical and liberal ideas, had an impact on the fall of absolute monarchies in other regions of Europe.

Why Did the French Revolution Start?

There were numerous causes. Despite their exclusion from political power, the bourgeoisie—merchants, manufacturers, and professionals—had amassed financial power.

In addition to having few rights, those who were socially inferior to them were also generally becoming poorer. The idea that the monarchy was predetermined by God had faded.

The revolution was virtually inevitable when the king attempted to raise taxes on the impoverished and extend them to previously exempt classes.

There are various reasons behind the revolution, let us examine them;

1. Social

In the late 1700s, France had incredibly exploitative and unequal social conditions. The first two Estates in French society were composed of the nobility and the clergy, who enjoyed the highest social status.

They were not required to pay taxes to the government. However, the bulk of the population was made up of the Third Estate, which included laborers and peasants.

In addition to paying exorbitant taxes, they had no social or political rights. Consequently, they were incredibly unhappy.

2. Economic

Louis XVI’s prolonged wars had left the State’s coffers empty. Due to the flawed tax system and France’s participation in the American War of Independence, the situation became even more complicated.

Taxes were increasingly burdening the Third Estate even as the privileged classes were exempt from paying them.

3. Political

Louis XVI, the French Bourbon king, was an autocratic and weak-willed ruler who lived in extravagant luxury.

 The masses, who were then living in abject poverty and widespread hunger, became very disenchanted as a result.

4. Intellectual

French philosophers consciously rejected the “Divine Rights Theory” during the 18th century.

The idea of absolute monarchy was rejected by philosophers such as Rousseau, who instead promoted the idea of human equality and popular sovereignty.

They were crucial in highlighting the flaws in the previous political order, or the ancient régime, and in expressing the unhappiness of the general public.

The French Revolution’s Significance

Despite all of its flaws, the French Revolution is widely recognized as the catalyst for new ideas rooted in democracy, liberalism, and enlightenment and as the turning point in modern history.

French armies that fought numerous wars to uphold the Republic’s existence carried these ideals throughout Europe.

It sparked a wave of revolutionary fervor that led the common people of Europe to rebel against their monarchs.

Even though the majority were brutally put down, the revolutions persisted into the early 19th century, when numerous absolute monarchies across Europe fell.

Above all, the French Revolution ended feudalism and paved the way for later developments in widely accepted individual liberties.

Final Words

The French Revolution was a complicated event that resulted from many causes. However, it was ultimately the product of years of inequity, poverty, and oppression.

The French people rose to demand change, ushering in a new era in their country’s history. While the Revolution was frequently brutal and violent, it also opened the path for a more fair and just society.

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