The French Revolution

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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It could be said that political revolutions generally seem to occur in two distinct stages. The first one, being somewhat moderate, is an attempt to bring peacefull reform to a system. The other stage is known as radical, where violence is used to completely overturn a government. This theory is proven to be true in the historic French Revolution. There are many events that prove to be examples of moderate and radical stages of this Revolution. In this essay I will pin point where the Revolution turned from a moderate state to a extremely violent one.

The Country of France was at its lowest point in history. With a debt that had quickly accumalated because of no tax reform. Loius XVI called the "Estates General," in doing so he objected the third estates request of representation by population. Angered by this the third estate declared themselves the National Assembly, and gathered at the nearest court and took what was called the "Tennis Court Oath."

This marked the begining of the French Revolution. No violence has been used at this point. But things slowly start heating up when on July 14 a paris mob storms the Bastille. In my opinion this was the biggest reason for a extremely radical revolution to come, my reasoning being this; this event gave a huge amount of confidents to the third estate, they knew they were slowly taking control away from the King. The third estate knew that they needed more fire power wich led them to form the "National Gaurd," a sign of what they had planned for the future. The "Flight to Varennes" sybolized the amount of respect that the monarchy had from the people After the Royal family was caught trying to flee the country they were spit on continually. At this point it was total domination by the poeple over the monarch. The people of the revolution now had extreme power and more confidents, wich in result led to the beginning of the radical stage of the revolution. The moderates were satisfied with what they has accomplished, ie. "The declaration of the Rights of Man," "constitution of the Clergy" etc. However the radicals wanted more. The October of 1791 proved to be the day where the Revolution took the violent turn by electing a new and more radical National Assembly. After being defeated by the Prussian and Austrian armys the people of France turned even more violent. Danton rallied a mob to attack the Tuileries where 2000 poeple had died and after 800 royalists had been massacred, called the "September Massacre." Than Marat, a rdicalist ordered the killing of over 2000 preists and royalists. This is the beginning of the "Reign of Terror" where 20000 people including Louis XVI were executed under the guillotine. If this is not violence i dont know what is.

In conclusion it would be fair to say that the two stages, moderate and radical, did in fact occur. It is quite evident in the events of the French Revolution.