French history: The outcome of the French Revolution
The French Revolution was one of the bloodiest revolutions waged during the modern era. It massacred many innocent French civilians. It was waged against the ruling elite and it used any and all means possible to achieve its goal. It will be the revolution that set the tone for revolutions to follow.
The Revolution was a product of the Enlightenment and used the ideology of Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau. What was more astonishing is that the French looked at the British Colonies in America for inspiration. The colonist, today's USA, was in a fight for their lives and for their independence against a monarch that ruled with an iron hand. The French could feel their pain. Although their situation was different, they had one common link, a monarch that did not take into consideration the plight of its people. This common link set the tone for the French Revolution and other revolutions to follow.
Many of you are probably saying what was the outcome in light of such a bloody revolution? All we see is that the French went from one dictator, Louis XVI to Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon came on to the scene at a time that the French needed a strong leader. So, what did the revolution produce?
Well it produced the Declaration of the Rights of Man. This is similar to the US Declaration of Independence. It stated that all men were born free, that social classes would be abolished and that "life, liberty and property were man's natural rights." (French Declaration of the Rights of Man) It talked about sovereignty being held in the hands of all citizens of France and not with one person. This is a huge accomplishment particularly for a people who had been under monarchical control for many centuries.
Another outcome of the Revolution was the creation of the National Assembly. When first created from the Tennis Court Oath, it was to have ruling power with the king, but once the king was found guilty of treason, the Assembly became the ruling body of France.
Lastly, it paved the way for one of France's greatest leaders, Napoleon Bonaparte. Under his guidance, France, once again, became one of the world's greatest powers.