When was the French Revolution

French Revolution lasted from 17879 to 1799 and resulted in a series of political and economic changes in France. The form of Government prior to French Revolution was monarchy, where all the decisions were made by the upper classes and the interests of the lower classes of the society were completely neglected. Owing to this reason, there was unrest in the country and dissatisfaction among the peasants leading to the end of rule of the monarchs.

The prime cause for the French Revolution is said to be the high prices of basic needs like food and shelter. The peasants and the other lower sections of the society could not afford normal food that led to widespread malnutrition among the poor. On the other hand, France was in an economic crisis owing to her engagement in wars for prolonged period, thereby, worsening the situation of the lower classes. The inefficient rule and poor decisions of King Louis VI worsened the scenario in France. The third estate was influenced by the changed thinking in the international scenario. They demanded for more rights and their active role led to the overthrowing of the existing Government.

Jacques Necker was the Comptroller General of France supported the idea of National Assembly and stood against taxation policies of the Government. Necker was forced as he made available to the public, the account of Government’s debt. This event can be said to be the one that triggered the French Revolution, as the people felt that their voice was being suppressed and firing of Necker was an action against the Assembly. On July 14, the people stormed the Bastille Prison, where all the weapons and ammunition was stored.

There were uprisings all over the country and this resulted in the killing of many officials and clergy. On August 4, feudalism was abolished by the National Constituent Assembly, leading to the culmination of all special privileges of the upper estates. Steps were taken towards the framing of a new constitution. The significance of the church was lost and power was transferred into the hands of the state. As per the Constitution of 1791, a constitutional monarchy was to be set up with King Louis XVI as the figurehead. However, this setup failed and Louis XVI was executed in 1793 for his actions against the nation. The intervention of Austria and other allies of France worsened the situation leading to the killing of thousands of civilians. This period was referred to as the ‘Reign of Terror’. However, a new constitution was formed in the due course and on 9 November 1799, France became a constitutional republic with Napoleon Bonaparte as the head of state.