French Revolution – The Coming of a Completely New Era

For my research paper, I am researching the change of iconography and culture during the French revolution. The thing that interests me most about this topic is how people wanted everything to change as the government changed. For example, the change from the Catholic Gregorian calendar to what was called the Republican calendar. In September of 1793, the Republican calendar was proposed. This new calendar was based on a system of twelve 30-day months with 10-day weeks. This meant that, like the metric system, the calendar could be based on the decimal system. Not only did the math basis of the calendar change, but also the naming of the months, days, and saints’ days. The saints’ days now had names that where either agricultural terms or botanical terms. The goal of the calendar was to help create a new era, not just a new government system. France changed culturally, politically, and religiously. Religiously, the Republican calendar was a contribution to the de-Christianization of France because it got rid of the Catholic Gregorian calendar. The Republican calendar even replaced year one, the beginning of time, with the beginning of the French Republic in 1792 instead of the birth of Christ. The Republic was treated as a new beginning for France and starting the years over from the beginning was one representation of this. The Republican calendar is just one example of the many was that French culture changed to create a completely new era. The French Revolution, more specifically, the democratic ideals and the Republican government, was not just a political change for France, but rather a new era for France.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to French Revolution – The Coming of a Completely New Era

  1. Dr. K says:

    Are you surprised by the extent to which they tried to restructure French society?

    • Heather says:

      Yes, absolutely. I was interested to see that nearly everything changed. The calendar, symbolism in art, music, the system of measurement, holidays and festivals, religion, etc. Everything was designed to unify the people and bring about the new era by reflecting the revolutionary ideas. It makes sense that in trying to bring about a new era, everything should change. If everything in culture and society has to do with the Revolution and its ideas, then the Revolution cannot be ignored.

      • Dr. K says:

        I think it really shows the extent to which the French Revolution was seen as epochal by the people of the time. It’s hard to really grasp, today, just how revolutionary the revolution was. The Arab Spring was a big deal, but those revolutions weren’t in one of the most powerful countries in the world, and they didn’t overthrow the world’s dominant form of government and replace it with something completely new. They are important, but they didn’t shatter the world. The French Revolution did.

        • Heather says:

          As influential and epochal as it was, I also think it interesting that some of the cultural changes failed and thus the “new era” failed in a way. For example, the calendar never really caught on. When the calendar was enforced, the people were already sort of done with the Republic. People were now tired of the Republic and found it kind of disgusting. While I agree that the French Revolution was widespread and affected many different types of people in many different countries, the republic and this idea of a new era did not really last very long. It’s interesting to see that so many people who advocated and worked towards the Republic then became tired of it. I read that many people returned to the Catholicism at this point and the Republican ideas were worn out. I am almost beginning to think that the extreme extent to which things changed overwhelmed people. Perhaps people were tired of the change and just wanted something familiar. For all of their efforts to change the culture in so many ways, I don’t really think they succeeded. The ideas kept changing and the people wanted something different

          • Dr. K says:

            That’s a very interesting observation. It says something about human nature, I think–perhaps parallel, in a way, to what Brecht was saying in the final scene of Galileo. Or perhaps I’m making too much of s stretch. In any case, it goes back to the question we talked about in class once: why was the American Revolution more successful (in this case, more permanent in its effects) than the French. You seem to suggest that the French was too radical to really succeed.

          • mcleverley2015 says:

            The French Revolution was full of passion and patriotic zeal, enough to inspire a novel and a passionate opera full of operatic zeal. It was this new, shining idea that took root in the hearts of the downtrodden masses and gave them the strength and hope to rise up and change their nation for the better, introducing a new era of prosperous democracy.
            The fact that I can summarize it like that might be part of the problem. You could say a lot of those things about the American Revolution, but the French were quite romantic (romantic period in progress/coming up) with the whole notion, and they seemed to love it so much that everyone made it their own, tried to pull it in so many directions at once to do everything that anyone could ever want. This is apparent in the amount of measures taken, with the government trying to stamp out royalist insurrection (execute ludicrous amounts of people) and bring equality (among flour in order to bake the bread of freedom) and some of the more questionable decisions of the revolutionary government, such as its rough dealings with the church and the other nations of Europe.
            And while the dawning of a new age of democratic enlightenment is all well and good, in a few years many realized that what most people really want is stability, for tomorrow to continue pretty much the same as today, possibly with the added prospect of slight improvement. Change is scary, and I would definitely agree that there was a tad too much change in the French Revolution.

  2. kenayatta says:

    I find this post very interesting, you talk about is a very key component of the French revolution. I like how you said it was the beginning of a new era. Everything started to change. I do have one question based around the whole 30 day months and 10 day weeks. I was wondering who could have brought this idea up.

    • Heather Milke says:

      The National Assembly set it up and put it into place. A member of that assembly, Fabre d’Églantine was very influential in the naming of the calendar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *