The impact of the French Revolution on the European system?
France always played an important role in the life of Europe. It was told that to understand Europe you have to know France. The story of Europe is the story of France. Everything France took part in is a part of life of different European countries.
The impact of French Revolution on Europe is so huge, that it made its impact on the whole XIX century. It made its step to kindness with the help of the clever ideas, freedom and equality. It brought light in the ideas of many countries and horrified some of them. Socialism of the XIX century was also the idea of French Revolution, it also was a reaction to French Revolution, and the reaction against that France did not make its promises: liberty and equality. The reaction on French Revolution was indifferent. The actions happening in France showed that revolution itself brings anarchy and terror. The struggle of people for better life, for liberty and fairness brings to repression, terror, vandalism and death.
To talk about impact of one action, happening to one nation on the life of others and their history is not easy, even though it is such a great event as revolution. French Revolution for a long time made impact on Europe with its ideas and became the reason to some actions of the people for a century. That is why, to talk about the impact of the revolution is to talk how the ideas of the release from the non-governmental states were brought from one nation to another. That is how ideas of the rebel and the struggle against old reforms emerged on all the countries. The attempt to make the changes in the history awakes people for active deeds. Revolution itself gardens and protects. It points how dangerous it is for any form of government the combination the masses of people who are against something, because they are not under control, how revolution is unpredictable and how it can turn for many into the crush of hopes and destinies.
“French Revolution was very complex event which raises so many different and contradictory assessments. Many different groups of people of various public movements, different classes have tried to find a better life for themselves and their own way to resolve issues of justice and freedom through revolution. Tremendous passion of people to free themselves from the oppression of the rich, from the injustice cannot not to evoke sympathy. How to make all of them free, happy and prosperous? Even Rousseau, Helvetius, Mably, Diderot, and others consider an inequality of states and the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few people the major obstacle to the establishment of democratic freedom. And in the years of revolution, these attitudes began to speak with greater force. Many of the Revolutionists maintained that equality of political rights is nothing, if not right in practice. The latter, said Condorcet, represents "the latest target of public art", since the inequality of wealth, inequality of states and inequality of education - the main premise of all evil. A very common formula the first years of the revolution: "Big states represent an obstacle to freedom." In large cities, people in the needs of life itself first appeared communist ideas. Chief among them: the distribution of means of subsistence and the general membership on the ground, as well as the right to education for all. It was assumed, along with the right of all the products and the products of the first and second necessity, as a personal right to surplus” (Karlyle, 2002).
This topic will help to understand, what revolution is, how it appears, how it is important for the other countries: what kind of philosophical, economical and social ideas it brought to the humanity what is its role in the history.
In every state there are people who are not happy with their lives. Revolution appears when the masses of people, who are not happy with laws, government and their lives, come together. Revolution means to connect different classes of people. They all have different aims, different interests, but there is one will – is to get rid of life they live at the moment. The rebel against existing laws is the connector of all the revolutions.
There were two massive flows in France, which prepare and made revolution. Bourgeoisie, which had its own views on the government, and proletariat, which were aiming for better life. When two of these flows came together, in the beginning, with one aim, and then helped each other, the revolution started.
“The governor should be only the emblem on national unity, alleging the will of Parliament, and from time to time holding the balance between the parties. The real power is bound to be elected and remain in the hands of Parliament, in which the educated bourgeoisie, representing an active and thoughtful part of the nation, would have predominated over all the estates. In this case the Government must enrich individuals and the accumulation of huge wealth. Many believed that the enrichment of individuals is the way to enrich people. The economic desires of that time could reflect the notion of “freedom of industry and trade, suggesting the presence of a large mass of workers, due to release farmers from feudal dependence and the removal of state intervention that hider businessman.
According to the aspirations, knowledge and skills in political affairs, by its own conscience and consistency, bourgeoisie, of course was superior to ordinary folk, who did not create a public and economic ideal, although the great ideas of freedom and equality came to the darkest corners of the country. Although in the minds of a light had flashed indignation and rebellion, and hope to close the change forced the heart beat even the most downtrodden people, the ideas of national liberation and economic changes were manifested in the people only in the form of a usual denial and vague desire for something. Many favourites thought: "Why tell people how future will pan out? This is just cool revolutionary fervour. Let people have the strength to attack the old institutions, and we'll see how to live". This lack of people clear idea of what to expect from the Revolution, led then to a variety of collisions and led to anarchy and spontaneity” (Gentz, 2002).
“French Revolution had a great impact on European nations and inspired mostly all of the countries, which took part in the events of revolution beginning in Europe in the XIX century. Repressions started to take part in England since 1892. Dissatisfaction of the government was rising in England, there were more speeches of poor people and massive discomposure of the sailors. The government answered with arrests, executing of the people taking part in rebellion, jails and banding of any democratic communities and working nations.
Ireland, still being the colony of England, saw help in French Revolution. The democratic flow was started. All the enemies of England were drawn together in the head of bourgeoisie revolutionists. They wanted to create independent Irish republic. They were preparing uprising, relying on the help of France.
French Revolution also had an impact on the appearing the entire political events in the European countries. There, as well as in France, the revolutionary actions started. First of all they have started in Belgium. And as the result Belgium became a part of France in 1795. It had lost its sovereignty and its economy was under control of French bourgeoisie” (Davies, 1996).
“There were changes also in the political life o Switzerland. French Revolution brought to the democratic actions in Switzerland. After French troops were on the territory of Switzerland there was a new constitution made, which broke old public relations and new bourgeoisie laws appeared.
Germany also became a country French Revolution had a great impact on. German bourgeoisie was too weak in economic sense and not developed to overcome the division of their country and become the head of its government.
In Italy, the idea o French Revolution also found many followers. In the middle of them, Philippe Buonarroti, who has moved to France during the Revolution. He was closely connected with many figures of Italian democracy, which relied on France in restoring the unity of Italy. Despite the fact that in the end of Bonaparte’s campaign, there were serious territorial and political configurations, neither the director, nor Bonaparte did not support the Italian Democrats to create a unified Italian republic. The French intervention had an aggressive character. All this led to a creation of a secret revolutionary society in Piedmont, directed against monarchy and against French. The uprising, organised by this society was brutally crushed by French troops. In the end, when the second coalition against French was formed, French Army could no longer rely on Italian folk. After French troops left Italy, the old order was restored”(Alison,2009).
Indeed, the revolution has led to enormous political, economic and educational reforms in the country and in Europe. The economic recovery in France let her make more than 20 years of war. Within four years of the revolution, France was transformed. France became the state of wealthy farmers with high productivity. Nation has refreshed. This manifested in the obsession with political affairs and in the independence of judgments. The revolution in the country has managed to preserve the land confiscated from the nobility and the church, to keep freedom, reclaimed from the Monarchy. Even after coming to power of the Bourbons the old order was restored.
In the history of people comes time which brings significant change in the whole system of their life. And then it seems likely two ways: reform or revolution. Sometimes there is one moment when reformation is still possible, but if this moment is not used by the rulers of the country, therefore the revolution begins.
During the work I often wondered, why the French Revolution, all, irrespective of how it estimated, was called the Great?
And now, I think I know the answer. The revolution, of course, did not start itself. People got tired to live the way they lived. Everyone wanted changes. Nearby were the greatest scientists, philosophers, who gave the people of the great ideas of rebuilding lives. Economists, public figures, the bourgeoisie - all thought about society, the welfare of the nation, the prosperity of their people. This led to capitalism and individualism, the enrichment of individuals, the impoverishment of the rest. Welfare society, still did not work. But it was such a bright dream of mankind, such a global project! Already engaging in a revolution, people have seen the blood and pillage, the deception, all of human baseness. The world was a great disappointment in the idea of man! And I think that there were many moral views understood. The fact is when people destroy something, they destroy themselves. That is not realistic to achieve happiness of the nation, destroying part of it. And the choice is all the same - to fight or all suffer and forgive?
1. Alison, A., 2009. History of Europe from the Commencement of the French Revolution to the Restoration of the Bourbons in 1815. United States: General Books LLC,2009.
2. Davies, N., 1996. Europe. UK: Oxford University Press, 1996.
3. Gentz, F., 2009. On the State of Europe Before and After the French Revolution. United States: Kessinger Publishing, 2008.
4. Karlyle, T., 2002. French Revolution. History. United States: Modern Library.