The French Revolution was a major event in not only french, but world history as well. Scholars, historians, and students alike often study and discuss the time period in great detail. The significance of this time period is not limited to just when it was happening but it has long lasting effects still felt today. The slogan most identified with the revolution was “Liberte, Egalite, and Fraternite”. This slogan outlines the changes and effects of the revolution.

During the revolution many changes in thinking came through in regards to the role of the state. The dynamic shifted during the revolution from the people of the state being subjects, to now being citizens. These citizens now declared their rights instead of simply having them told to them, as shown in works such as “Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen”. The monarchy was thrown out and made the transition to a republic. Another long term effect of the french revolution is the churches decline of power within France. France was mainly Catholic before the revolution and the Pope and the Vatican were a huge source of influence in France. The revolutionary ideals caused people to distrust the church and simply not allow the church to have power over them.

The people no longer wanted to be ruled by a small percentage of the population, which leads to the second point in the slogan, Egalite. Leading up to the revolution there was a very uneven distribution of the country’s wealth. The revolution sparked many labor party movements to try to combat this imbalance. Also the idea that everyone pays taxes. Another effect of Egalite is the idea that all citizens are equal under the law and have certain rights. A key effect of the Revolution was the rise of Nationalism. People took the idea of Fraternite and banded together under one national identify. They took pride in their country and no longer held allegiance to a ruler, but to a state instead. Politics were also radicalized at this time. The revolution was the spark that led to some infamous political upheavals, such as the reign of terror. This extremism lead to the demonization of the monarchy and by association the death of many monarchs.

The revolution had several long lasting effects. The overthrow of the monarchy facilitated the rise of Napoleon,  and by association the Napoleonic code. The Napoleonic code was spread to some Latin American countries and still is in use today .Also the ending of the feudal system with the Monarchy allowed emergence of the middle class. The effect of Nationalism could be felt in the future pushes to unify other European countries such as Italy and Germany. The French Revolution took place over 200 years ago, however its effects can still be identified today.


1 Comment so far

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