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Causes Of The French Revolution And How They Affected French Nationalism

1067 words - 4 pages

The birth of a changed nation began with the death of an Ancient Regime. A regime that controlled its citizens, taxed the poor, and restricted the voices of the people of France. A regime that lived far beyond its purpose and caused the nationalism of the people to be ripped at the seams. In the late 1700s under the reign of Louis the 16th the nation of France fell deeper into debt, poverty, and despair. Under the strain of starvation, this country was hungry for a revolution. The common people making up the 3rd estate rebelled against the monarchy through both passive and aggressive methods. Events such as the Tennis Court Oath and the Declaration of the Rights of Man were vital factors contributing to a new constitution and equality within the social system. Equally important the Storming of the Bastille and execution of the king and queen were crucial for the 3rd estate to establish power.
The National Assembly was established on June 20, 1789 in an empty tennis court. The assembly was made up of a collection of the bourgeoisie, men who came from the Third Estate, and who were developing businesses and intellectual ideas. Their accomplishments ignited a strong sense of nationalism among the people. These men had fresh ideas and a new knowledge that led them to speak against the monarchy. The National Assembly’s first order of business was the Tennis Court Oath that was taken on the day of their creation. They were lobbying for a new constitution and together they swore an oath to never disband until they were successful. The men showed tremendous passion for their cause, one man, Gabriel Riqueti de Mirabeau told an observer to “Tell your master that we are here by the will of the people and that we shall not stir from our seats unless forced to do so by bayonets” (Beers, 1989, p.40). Although short lived the nationalism portrayed by the bourgeoisie gave the people a reason to be patriotic towards France once again. So as the king struggled for control over his people “the Third Estate had taken a peaceful first step in a revolution that would eventually transform France” (Beers, 1989, p.34).
The initial impact of the Tennis Court Oath wore off as the king ignored any acceptance of the National Assembly. A well known aristocrat Marquis Lafayette said “When the government violates the people’s rights, insurrection is, for the people and for each portion of the people, the most sacred of the rights and the most indispensible of duties”. In true revolt the people stormed the Bastille; a prison fortress that represented the monarchy, and the king himself on July 14, 1789. This physical tactic informed the king that the people and the need for their rights were going nowhere. Caught between the unavoidable voice of his people, and his own fear of his people the king was forced to accept the National Assembly as having control within the government. Despite the obvious disconnection with their king, the people were content with the storming...

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