The French Revolution, the ideological change of Europe

The French Revolution, the ideological change of Europe

The French Revolution supposed the biggest political-social change that occurred in Europe at the end of the 18th century.

The importance of this ideological revolution transcended the French national sphere and served as a model, an engine of change, in many European countries that lived oppressed under the yoke of absolutist monarchies.

The importance of the French Revolution it is vital to understand the social and political evolution of Europe to date.

Is more, nowadays we could not talk about the rule of law without the changes that occurred in the political and social system of those days.

Causes of French Revolution

Answering such a question is not easy, since there was no single reason, rather we should talk about a cluster of factors of all kindssocial, religious, political and economic) who managed to get a people accustomed to submission and old feudal traditions to regain the feeling of their individuality and take up arms against a power that did not represent them.

During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), France was governed by a absolutist monarchy that it only ruled for a pompous and stagnant nobility that monopolized all the political and religious power of the nation.

This situation is understood as the direct consequence of ancient feudal system in which the monarch relied on the nobility to conquer and maintain the territories through the use of arms.

The king paid for the loyalty of his nobles by granting them the lands they had conquered in his name to administer and protect. By doing this, the king lost more and more power and was more subordinate to noble power since the titles were hereditary.

Thus, over the centuries both in France and in the rest of Europe, the nobility monopolized all the institutions both the State and the Church.

The grave situation with Louis XVI

The situation worsened in times of Louis XVI for the extra cost of maintaining a professional army in North America to defend French interests against the English advance and despite this the luxury and sumptuousness of the French court continued to drain impoverished coffers.

To the above we must add several years of bad harvests that drastically reduced agricultural and livestock production, creating a situation of poverty and famine in the kingdom.

The court's solution to this crisis situation was the least successful of all. Before eliminating the noble privileges, it was decided to levy new taxes on a town that in itself no longer had food.

Famine fell on the fields and cities of France and mortality increased among the poorest classes at an accelerated rate, while the nobles continued to pressure a peasantry who could not give more of themselves.

In the midst of this panorama, the new class that had originated in the late Middle Ages, The bourgeoisie, He began to realize that only an uprising of the lower classes could help them overthrow the high echelons of the nobility that treasured the positions and positions they wanted.

In 1789 Faced with the constant protests and revolts, the States General to reach a solution to the problem.

All the existing social classes went to the same representatives: the nobility, the clergy and the bourgeoisie, but no solution could be achieved since the votes of the nobility and clergy were privileged and therefore the decisions were always made for them. it suited them better.

Storming of the Bastille

The controversy over such injustice was resolved with a new, more equitable counting system, and the third estate was able to take control of the situation, becoming the National Assembly.

However, that would no longer be important because the peasantry, fed up with the political games of the nobility and the bourgeoisie while their children died of hunger, went to the July 14, 1789 towards the symbol of the corruption of the absolutist state, the “Bastille”.

The storming of the Bastille marked the beginning of the revolution, a revolution that the bourgeoisie knew how to masterfully manipulate for its own benefit, the peasantry being the one who shed their blood for the cause, but that is another story that we will address later.

Consequences of the French Revolution, the change of mentality

The consequences of that ideological struggle against traditional models led to the destruction of the outdated feudal system and the absolutist monarchy, but the restructuring of the political foundations did not end there.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizens at the same time that the Church and the State were disintegrating from each other.

The bourgeoisie, the new middle class that fought for the privileges of the nobility ended up expelling that of the old public offices that they hoarded, thereby expanding their influence in politics even more if possible and eliminating the free privileges enjoyed by every noble by right of birth.

In the ideological sphere,reason regains ground against mysticism and old democratic ideas are rediscovered and developed at the same time that nationalist movements proliferate that would eventually lead to the decolonization movement, all issues that we will discuss in the coming weeks.

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