Analysis of the French Revolution

Essay by josephd123High School, 11th gradeA, August 2007

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What were the causes and the effects of the French Revolution?The major cause of the French Revolution was the disputes between thedifferent types of social classes in French society. The FrenchRevolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most important events in thehistory of the world. The Revolution led to many changes in France,which at the time of the Revolution, was the most powerful state inEurope. The Revolution led to the development of new political forcessuch as democracy and nationalism. It questioned the authority ofkings, priests, and nobles. The Revolution also gave new meanings andnew ideas to the political ideas of the people.

The French Revolution was spread over the ten year periodbetween 1789 and 1799. The primary cause of the revolution was thedisputes over the peoples' differing ideas of reform. Before thebeginning of the Revolution, only moderate reforms were wanted by thepeople. An example of why they wanted this was because of king LouisXIV's actions.

At the end of the seventeenth century, King Louis XIV'swars began decreasing the royal finances dramatically. This worsenedduring the eighteenth century. The use of the money by Louis XIVangered the people and they wanted a new system of government. Thewritings of the philosophes such as Voltaire and Diderot, werecritical of the government. They said that not one official in powerwas corrupt, but that the whole system of government needed somechange. Eventually, when the royal finances were expended in the1780's, there began a time of greater criticism. This sparked thepeasants notion of wanting change.

Under the Old Regime in France, the king was the absolutemonarch. Louis XIV had centralized power in the royal bureaucracy, thegovernment departments which administered his policies. Together,Louis XIV and the bureaucracy worked to preserve royal authority andto maintain the social structure of the Old Regime.

At this time in French history,