This section deals with the origins, outbreak, course and impact of the French Revolution. It focuses on the social, economic, political and intellectual challenges confronting the Ancien Régime and the stages of the revolutionary process during this period, culminating in the rise and rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. The section requires investigation of the impact of the French Revolution, as well as Napoleon’s domestic and foreign policies, upon France and its European neighbours.
- Crisis of the Ancien Régime: role of the monarchy, specifically Louis XVI; intellectual, political, social, financial and economic challenges
- Monarchy to republic: causes and significance of the Revolution; the 1791 Constitution; the fate of the monarchy; the terror; Robespierre; the Thermidorean reaction
- The political, social and economic impact of the Revolution; French revolutionary wars (1792–1799)
- Establishment of, nature of, and collapse of the Directory (1795–1799)
- Rise and rule of Napoleon (1799–1815); impact of Napoleon’s domestic and foreign policies on France
- Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815); collapse of the Napoleonic Empire; military defeat; the Hundred Days.
Europe on the Eve of Revolution
Discussion: How is the map of Europe different in 1789?
Task: What was the condition of Europe on the Eve of the French Revolution?
ADVERTISEMENTS: 1. Condition of Europe in General With the outbreak of the French Revolution, "European, history merges into the history of one nation, one event and one man; the nation is France, the event is the French Revolution and the man is Napoleon." However, before we deal with the French Revolution itself, it is desirable [...]
Task: People, Place and events
Introduction and legacy
Task: Act it out! Introducing the french revolution
Task: What is The legacy of the french revolution?
SOURCE 1 - Dr Darius von Güttner, The University of Melbourne
The revolution in France had a profound
impact on the lives of all peoples in
Europe. Its effects proved lasting and
France and Europe never really returned
to the conditions of the old order.
The principles of democracy, liberty,
merit, equality and sovereignty of the
people have been an enduring aspect
of the legacy of the French Revolution.
The revolution of 1789 opened over
a century of revolutionary upheavals
which culminated in the Russian
Revolution and the establishment of
Soviet Russia. The very ideas of rights,
citizenship, secular society, free speech,
merit, rule of law, popular sovereignty
and democracy in the Western world
were fundamentally shaped by the
tumultuous years of the French
Revolution. These ideas continue to
shape and drive events in the world
The French Revolution of 1789 had a momentous impact on neighboring countries. The French Revolutionary armies during the 1790s and later under Napoleon invaded and controlled large parts of Europe. Together with invasion came various radical institutional changes. French invasion removed the legal and economic barriers that had protected the nobility, clergy, guilds, and urban oligarchies and established the principle of equality before the law. The evidence suggests that areas that were occupied by the French and that underwent radical institutional reform experienced more rapid urbanization and economic growth, especially after 1850. There is no evidence of a negative effect of French invasion. Our interpretation is that the Revolution destroyed (the institutional underpinnings of) the power of oligarchies and elites opposed to economic change; combined with the arrival of new economic and industrial opportunities in the second half of the 19th century, this helped pave the way for future economic growth. The evidence does not provide any support for several other views, most notably, that evolved institutions are inherently superior to those 'designed'; that institutions must be 'appropriate' and cannot be 'transplanted'; and that the civil code and other French institutions have adverse economic effects.