French revolution research paper thesis

The event at the end of the eighteenth century that ended the thousand-year rule of kings in France and established the nation as a republic . The revolution began in 1789, after King Louis xvi had convened the French parliament to deal with an enormous national debt . The common people's division of the parliament declared itself the true legislature of France, and when the king seemed to resist the move, a crowd destroyed the royal prison (the Bastille ). A constitutional monarchy was set up, but after King Louis and his queen, Marie Antoinette , tried to flee the country, they were arrested, tried for treason, and executed on the guillotine . Control of the government passed to Robespierre and other radicals — the extreme Jacobins — and the Reign of Terror followed (1793–1794), when thousands of French nobles and others considered enemies of the revolution were executed. After the Terror, Robespierre himself was executed, and a new ruling body, the Directory, came into power. Its incompetence and corruption allowed Napoleon Bonaparte to emerge in 1799 as dictator and, eventually, to become emperor. Napoleon's ascent to power is considered the official end of the revolution. ( See Georges Danton and Jean-Paul Marat .)

One of the medieval precedents that persisted in the 18th century was brutal execution. Criminals were burned, drowned, tortured and maimed -- all under the consenting eyes of the Old Regime. However, the French nobility were entitled to execution by decapitation. While it seems a particularly grisly way to die, decapitation is relatively swift and straightforward, a real gentleman's death. When Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin joined France's Constituent Assembly in 1789, he proposed that all capital criminals sentenced to death be decapitated [source: Hibbert ]. Guillotin advocated for the creation of a decapitation device like the ones used in England, Germany, Italy and Scotland. The device was prototyped in Germany by the secretary of the Academy of Surgeons, who ensured that it was humane. By 1791, after a trial period during which the device sliced through countless cadavers, it was appointed France's national death-sentence machine. It was called the guillotine .

Meanwhile, the Committee of Public Safety’s war effort was realizing unimaginable success. French armies, especially those led by young general Napoleon Bonaparte , were making progress in nearly every direction. Napoleon’s forces drove through Italy and reached as far as Egypt before facing a deflating defeat. In the face of this rout, and having received word of political upheavals in France, Napoleon returned to Paris. He arrived in time to lead a coup against the Directory in 1799, eventually stepping up and naming himself “first consul”—effectively, the leader of France. With Napoleon at the helm, the Revolution ended, and France entered a fifteen-year period of military rule.

The Estates-General convened in the Grands Salles des Menus-Plaisirs in Versailles on 5 May 1789 and opened with a three-hour speech by Necker. The Third Estate demanded that the credentials of deputies should be verified by all deputies, rather than each estate verifying the credentials of its own members, but negotiations with the other estates failed to achieve this. The commoners appealed to the clergy, who asked for more time. Necker then stated that each estate should verify its own members' credentials and that the king should act as arbitrator. [49]

French revolution research paper thesis

french revolution research paper thesis

The Estates-General convened in the Grands Salles des Menus-Plaisirs in Versailles on 5 May 1789 and opened with a three-hour speech by Necker. The Third Estate demanded that the credentials of deputies should be verified by all deputies, rather than each estate verifying the credentials of its own members, but negotiations with the other estates failed to achieve this. The commoners appealed to the clergy, who asked for more time. Necker then stated that each estate should verify its own members' credentials and that the king should act as arbitrator. [49]

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