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Essay/Term paper: The french revolution

Essay, term paper, research paper:  History

Free essays available online are good but they will not follow the guidelines of your particular writing assignment. If you need a custom term paper on History: The French Revolution, you can hire a professional writer here to write you a high quality authentic essay. While free essays can be traced by Turnitin (plagiarism detection program), our custom written essays will pass any plagiarism test. Our writing service will save you time and grade.

The French Revolution was an unstable, blood-filled time. With 20,000 sent to the

guillotine and an equal number to prison, it is not hard to find importance but rather to

find meaning. The most crucial thing to look for in the revolution is justification, reasons

that excuse or bring significance to the deaths of many. John Locke, a philosophe of the

time, may have argued that a leader who does not provide his people with inalienable

rights is grounds for dismissal in the form of regicide1. On the other hand Thomas

Hobbes, also a philosopher, may have taken a different argument. It was his belief that

"man is a brute", therefore he needs a dictator to keep the peace. John Locke"s idealistic

view point if practiced properly could have provided the lower class of France with

equality, something the were desperately in need of. The Thomas Hobbes approach

which advocates control, could not have provided the people with such liberation, but in

theory should be able to maintain the peace among the people, the peace that seemed so

lacking during the French Revolution. The French Revolution was a disaster for the

following reasons: it happened too fast, it went too far, and it achieved too little.

Thomas Paine a radical thinker of the era once said "Time makes more converts

than reason". With this quote we can see why revolution was successful in England, but

not France. England slowly used the Magna Carta (1213), Petition of Rights (1628), and

the Habeas Corpus Act (1679) to limit it"s monarch. It was a long road that was by no

means perfect. With monarchs who paid little attention to the act(s) in place during their

reign and parliament, like James (1603-1625) and Charles I (1625-1649) it was hard to

see progress quickly. These acts played a vital role in Britain"s journey to democracy,

through them came proper representation of the people, equality, and what is now known

as the "Glorious Revolution".

France seemed to be on it"s way to a similar fate. In 1789, the Estates-General2

had now received a promise of a head count from Louis XVI. Prior to this time the very

large third estate3 (26 million) had the same number of representatives in the

Estates-General as the first estate4 (100,000) and the second estate5 (400,000) combined.

Once the Estates-General had been renamed the National Assembly by the third estate a

constitution was in the works. During this time the people of France became restless,

food shortages plagued the country side. It also appeared that Louis XVI might dissolve

the National Assembly. Desperate times called for desperate measures and the people of

France stormed Bastille on July 14, 1789, as a symbol of the king"s oppression. The

king"s power had weakened, very quickly and a group called the Commune took charge

under Lafayette. The National Assembly now made a Declaration of the Rights of Man

and the Citizen. This act underlined John Locke"s perspective of inalienable rights and

the equality of man. Had this act have been followed the French Revolution may have

ended without the bloodshed, but stable change is not going to happen over night. As

quickly as things appeared to improve, the French would venture into a period of chaos.

The Radical Phase is a perfect example of Thomas Hobbes theory that if

individuals live by their own self-interests they will carry on a cycle of hurting one

another. In turn they will be in a continuous state of war. It was a group called the

Jacobins that took control. During this time thousands of nobles and clergy were sent to

the guillotine. On September of 1792 the September Massacre broke out. A prison filled

with mainly clergy was ambushed by a group of people determined to maintain the newly

formed Republic, causing the deaths of 1100 people. It was tragic and by this time many

scholars denounced the revolution. Edmund Burke once said, "Nobody makes a mistake

greater than he who did nothing because he could only do a little." He would later go on

to condemn the revolution.

If regicide was the answer to the oppression of the old regime in France, so would

it be in the new regime, under John Locke"s system. All were not equal, inalienable right

were not preserved. The Reign of Terror would end with the death of Robespierre. A

Jacobin leader who also met the guillotine. It becomes an issue of when it would end.

How many rulers would have to die? How many people would have to die?

The revolution fell under false pretenses. It was not freedom and did not support

the political thinkers of the time. Simply put, it was a contradiction because the very

thing the people were fighting against seemed to be what they were fighting for. In their

hypocrisy the people of France would see the formation of a thing called the Directory. It

would eventually become corrupt. Next to follow would be Napoleon who like Louis

XVI was also a dictator. The people truly achieved very little, they left a monarch only to

find a dictator.

In conclusion the people of France should not have revolted. Man needs positive

leadership if he is to be able to reach a state of inalienable rights and equality. The

Jacobins were not that leadership, nor was the Directory that would follow. Many would

argue that they had the "right" to revolt against an oppressive king, but did they have the

right to revolt against their fellow man? The French Revolution served the bloodthirsty

and power hungry, but not the people.


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