Why did the French Revolution turn so radical? Support your answer with specific evidence.
The French Revolution turned so radical because of the violence that occurred during it. The violence was all from the people revolting which made it more radical. It wasn’t organized warfare, and there were really no rules during the French Revolution. For example, the people attacked the Bastille, a prison, and raided it. They eventually got hold of the governor of the jail and hacked him to death and stuck his head on a stick. They then paraded around with that head. These acts of violence occurred throughout the French Revolution and caused it to turn radical.
The French Revolution turned so radical because the French government was compelled to change from a constitutional monarchy to a republic. Louis XVI attempted to flee France in June of 1791, but was arrested and brought back to Paris. The people became increasing unhappy with Louis XVI and they did not trust him very much. They accused him of treason and he was guillotined. The monarchy had fallen and a republic was created. This led to the radicalization of the French Revolution called the second revolution. The French we now very against tyrannical leaders and monarchies. Louis XVI was a bad leader, so the nation of France did not want one person in power anymore. Not only did the French wish to get rid of monarchy in France, but also in other countries in the form of a “crusade against tyranny.”
But the question is partly: what caused the king to be overthrown in the first place. That is itself part of the radicalization of the revolution, and not just a cause of it.
The French Revolution turned radical through the changing groups of the National Convention. In the beginning the members of the National Convention, were part of the group the Jacobin Club, but as time went on a split began in the Jacobin Club. The groups become the Girondists, and the Mountain who was lead by Robespierre and Georges Jacques Danton. Due to this split between the National Convention, new radical ideas were beginning to surface and many event also happened as well. Even though, the Mountain and the Girondists did not agree on many things, they did agree that the “war against tyranny” needed to continue. The was also many new groups that were created that new and more radical ideas to the forefront. Groups such as the sans-culottes were very interested in the ideas of politics and became very much influenced by the strong opinions of groups such as The Mountain and the Girondists, and as well began having more radical ideas. The new groups that were created during the French Revolution is one of the main reasons the Revolution turned to be a very radical event.
The French Revolution turned so radical because of how ineffective the attempts to ameliorate France’s political and economic problems. This all began with the Estates General. The King, Luis XVI attempted to solve France’s problems by holding the Estates General, and allowing them to address the issues of the people. When the Estates General reached a deadlock, the third estate attempted to separate themselves, which served only to further complicate the matter, and distance the “decision makers” from the government. With the creation of the National Assembly, the third estate effectively took hold of the government and were able to make the changes that they desired to be made. This only further complicated the social and political issues as those in higher societal power, the nobles and the clergy, were angered by the rising political power of the third estate of commoners, and then were further upset that there was little that they could do about it as it was those very same commoners who retained the majority of the political power. When the king tried to step in to reassert his own political power, things only got worse as the majority of the country, the third estate, rose up in revolt in an attempt to keep the king from taking Paris. This then began the time known as the “Great Fear” amongst the third estate, only escalating their problems and pushing them closer to the edge, though they did, in the end, regain many rights and freedoms as many of the old feudal dues were lifted. Once the National Assembly was finally reestablished and stable, the people began to cry out again, and the women of Paris, once considered unable of doing or taking any real action, removed the king and the National Assembly from their confortable, distant seats at Versailles, and removed them to Paris. Furthermore, as the politics of the National Assembly progressed, and they began to divide into “political parties”, the control over the National Assembly became something that began to involve the people, as each “party” sided with a different estate, each vying for political control. Overall, I believe it was this frequent over-turn, and the generally tumultuous society that was created by the king’s and the government’s inability to successfully deal with the problems with their country that led to such a violent and radical revolution as with every turn of events, the passion of the people grew and escalated, pushing them to a very high boiling point.
The French Revolution turned more radical with the splitting of political groups and growing rivalries. When the Jacobin club, a political club that had many well-educated middle-class men, split into two separate groups that were called Girondists and The Mountain. The two groups were intensely competitive and had lots of conflict after their establishment. With constant disputing between the two of them, it led to the rise of another unofficial group when then become the root of the violence. This group was known as the “sans-culottes.” It was the sans-culottes, made up of artisans, day laborers, market women, and garment workers who stormed the Bastille.
So why did they split?
The French Revolution turned very radical quickly for a number of reasons. The commoners of France suffered in an economic crisis and food shortage that affected hundreds of thousands of people, about 150,000 people out of Paris’s population of 600,000 were jobless in 1789. The common people thought this the governments fault and took on a new revolutionary attitude, this led rapidly to radical revolts involving class warfare in Paris.
The French Revolution turned so radical because of a need for much more change, such as a change in government and a social change, and great change happened. The French absolute monarchy became a constitutional monarchy, and the old régime was dissolved to create the National Assembly. The commoners gained many more rights and a more weighted voice in government, and manorial rights were dissolved. Religious freedom was given to the French Jews and Protestants, and women were becoming more influential in society. The way France as a whole worked was changing drastically.
I believe that the French Revolution turned so radical because of the economic distress of the poor, and the growing sentiment that manorial rights should be abolished. The French commoners turned the Revolution to a radical state, because they worked towards general liberal goals such as granting more power to the poor and lowering the price of bread. Money and class structure underlay most of the French Revolution, because all else was essentially a product of material want. For example, one brazen French woman marching on Versailles once summed up the goal of the revolution best, “That’s not the point: the point is that we want bread.” As a result of the third estate’s woes, the French Revolution turned so radical, since the liberals wanted to see the end of many Old Regime symbols and concepts. Furthermore, Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes’s 1789 pamphlet What is the Third Estate? argued that the nobility was a tiny, over-privileged minority, and that the neglected the third estate exemplified the overall strength of France. This pamphlet was widely read by the French people, and propelled France into an age of overthrowing the previously existing monarchy. Additionally, the French Revolution turned so radical because most of the French people (the commoners) generally agreed on their nation’s common goals, and continually looked towards achieving these after losing trust and respect for their monarch as time progressed and tough times endured.
With the adoption of two Republican parties, The Girondists and The Mountain, the political stability of the country was uneasy. While they both were committed to relieving France of unbearable tyranny the two parties had different aspirations for the new government. The Girondists feared that a government in the hand of The Mountain could be dangerous and lead to a dictatorship, while The Mountain feared the Girondists would become conservative and possibly royalists. On Page 697 of our textbook it talks about the intensity of this disagreement between the two political parties. When the peasants revolted, eventually The Mountain surrendered and joined forces with the peasants to rid the country of the Girondists. Ultimately, this coalition of peasants and The Mountain paved the way for a very radical movement in which they began to rid France of the Girondists.
The French Revolution became more radical with the development of new ideologies and desire for more justice. Women for instance, wanted to expand their roles and be treated equally, just like they did in the American Revolution. However, in this Wollstonecraft’s case, she was very influential in arguing for the rights of women. She inspired many other female writers to write about the unequal treatment of women. The people also wanted a new government. They believed they were being conspired against and thus invaded the prisons of Paris and slaughtered half the men and women they found. With this, in late 1792, the new National convention proclaimed France a republic.
The revolution became more radical after 1791 for a number of reason. The politics of France were divided, and the monarchy failed. Louis XVI was arrested, and the National Assembly disbanded. The fall of this monarchy resulted in a much more radical revolution. Angry crowds would storm into Paris and slaughter people by the dozens, and Louis XVI would be convicted of treason and executed. The members of the Jacobin club began to split, and they were divided into two rivals, the Girondists and the Mountain. This bitter rivalry created animosity between two divided groups, and led to a divided country and a radical society.
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