Valdez, Samantha

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The French Revolution, lasting from 1789-1799, is one of the most famous revolutions in history that changed not only France, but the entirety of Europe. It wasn’t caused by any one single act or event, but instead was the result of years of economic instability (caused by the extravagant spending by the royal court and the cost of several wars) and a poor harvest. The Third Estate, comprised of common folks and farmers who were tired of the strict class system, eventually declared itself the National Assembly and swore they would not relent in their revolutionary efforts until a new constitution had been adopted that didn’t favor only the nobility and the clergy. This led to a series of protests (ie: the famous storming of the Bastille, the women’s march on Versailles, etc.) and, in turn, the execution of the king and queen, along with many aristocrats and clergy members. In the end, a new constitution was adopted called the “Declaration of the Rights of Men” that guaranteed freedom of speech, thought, religion, and due process of the law for all citizens, and a new tax system that taxed every man his share according to his personal wealth, not according to his influence or privilege.

It’s obvious that the nature of the French Revolution brought on huge changes in just about every aspect of French society, most notably the political and social side. France had moved completely away from it’s former monarchy to a republic, which is obviously seen in the new “Declaration of the Rights of Men”. The previous imbalance caused by the strict class system just begged for revolt, and now, all citizens of France had more or less equal opportunities. The Revolution basically led to the elimination of the feudal system in France, and put the focus on the rights of the individual instead of the privileges of noble birth.

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