Monday, July 16, 2012

14th July 1789 — The French Revolution in short

People destroying the castle of Bastille on 14th July 1789.

14th July is remembered as the day which changed not only France, but the whole world. The ideas of liberty, equality, and tolerance get their roots from this epic historical drama of the18th century. The revolution opened doors for rational thinking to prosper, it curtailed the authority of the church and kings, and made all people equal citizen of the state. These developments are considered the epitome of Renaissance ideas, the whole world seems to envy these achievements and institutionalise them in their respective countries.

As Dr. Mubarak Ali writes, The French Revolution (1789) can be divided into three parts:
1) Constitutional Monarchy (1789-1792)
The French parliment passed the Deceleration of Man, which made all citizen equal before law. This pristine document inscribed and guaranteed freedom of expression, thoughts and religion to all. 

2) Jacobian rule over France (1792-1794)
The Jacobian rule brought the guillotine into France for the first time. Rather than eradicating corruption through education and laws, the Jacobians took all symbols of the former Kingship to the gallows. It is estimated that 40,000 people were killed by the government. One of the prominent thinker of the revolution, Robees Piere, was also killed on the guillotine.
3) Napoleonic rule over France (1794-1815)
Napoleon's coup brought this massacre to a halt. Napoleon popularized the idea of fraternity which lead to the development of French Nationalism. Napoleon gave impetus to French art and culture. France emerged as the centre of European literature.

The French Revolution was an answer to the changing material conditions of France. The thoughts developed by Reformation thinkers, the growth of trader class, and the weakening of Church's authority were the reasons that ignited this Revolution.

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