Important Topics: World History (French Revolution)

World History: French Revolution

Points to be discussed under French revolution

  • Preface
  • Reasons
  • Important Events
  • Evolution
  • Rise of Napoleon

American Revolution laid foundation while French Revolution constructed building of modern world (with Liberty, Equality, Fraternity). French Revolution gave inspiration to many movements like India's Struggle for Freedom 1857-1947 to rise against tyranny and misrule.


Economic Causes: Financial Crisis, Louis XV, XVI wasted state money in War (1756-1763) of False Ego and prestige against Britain like support to USA in War of Independence and politics and financial support to the enemies of East India Company. Example: Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, Scindia etc.

Social Crisis (developed 3 classes):

  1. First estate: Aristocracy,
  2. Second estate: Clergy and Priest,
  3. Third Estate: Common man.

First two states outrightly rejected to share the financial troubles, so burden fell on IIIrd Estate i.e. commons, which were already suffering from misrule of incompetent ruler.

Intellectual Class: Scholars of French Revolution
These three gave the fundamental principals of modern state.
1. Voltaire: Creativity is the biggest force, freedom of expression, supporter of Parliamentary system of government. He attacked dominancy of catholic church.
2. Montesquieu: Separation of Power between Judiciary, Executive and Legislature.
3. Rousseau: Wrote book called Social Contract: State is outcome of contract between people and rulers.

Role of Organisations:

  • Parlma: Judicial bodies in France used to register the royal orders, published them, so it created awareness.
  • Cardiliea: Ideological centres were established in different parts of France, for creating awareness among masses.

Immediate Cause: Louis XVI failed to analyse the situation and created a suffocating atmosphere where revolt was the only option.

Important Events

Political Deadlock: France was already financially in crisis, then sent France army under Lafayette to assist Americans in their war against Britain (American War of Independence). it created financial bankruptcy in France, people wanted reforms, leading to political deadlock.

a) Turgot was appointed as financial advisor and he gave 4 point proposal-

  • no more loans to state
  • no news taxes
  • no bankruptcy to France
  • reduction in the expenditure of Royal Household and the state, but he got dismissed and they did not took his advice into heed.

Lantobill was the counsel of aristocracy outrightly refused to share the burden of Louis XVI. Louis XVI tried to rule France via ordinance, provoked people rioting ensued, people demanded invitation of Estates General.

b) Estate General: Common Assembly, 3 chambers (for 3 estates), voting was done earlier on majority of groups basis. So, with hidden agenda Louis XVI invited Estates General which proved to be the turning point in French History because III estate was enthusiastic and demanded 'one person one vote'. However, Louis XVI committed blunder by closing gates of Assembly Hall, people gathered in Tennis Court, declared themselves as National Representatives and formation of National Assembly occurred for framing constitution of France.

Finally, Louis XVI committed last mistake by gathering troops in Paris to retaliate common the revolt and he also dismissed Jacques Necker (Chief of Estates General and sympathiser of Common Man). These were constructed as steps taken to suppress the voice of common people. So, in retaliation, they attacked a fort-cum-prison to release political prisoners.

c) Fall of Bastille: (Built in 14th century, used as a prison in 17th & 18th centuries; destroyed July 14, 1789) - Not simply fall of fort but beginning of French Revolution as:

  • Inspiration of direct action in France against Feudalism
  • Formation of National Guards under Lafayette i.e. army under common man
  • Beginning of common administration structure - Municipal Corporation of Paris
  • Victory of People's movement upon Aristocracy

So, Fall of Bastille shifted power from Louis XVI to common man. Future of Monarchy, for the first time was in danger. Taking of advantage of situation, people's own National Assembly made revolutionary proposals.

Important: Remain Topics will be discussed here soon.

Related Book: India's Struggle for Independence, 1857-1947