Positive Outcomes of the French Revolution
Posted On April 10, 2017
The French Revolution??™s positive effects on France
From all of the bloodshed and mortality of the French Revolution, France was transformed from a land of despotism and injustice to a thriving, constitutional monarchy. Before the French Revolution, France possessed an unfair estate system which imposed many injustices on it??™s people. The peasants did not have many rights and worked long hours for minimal pay. Conditions in France became so terrible that the peasants revolted and countless lost their lives, with 50,000 deaths in one year alone. In spite of the countless tragedies, the revolution brought lower taxes, protective institutions, such as the congress of Vienna, and abolished France??™s abosolute monarchy. Without these improvements, France and Europe would not be what they are today.
The slaughter of the French Revolution led to abolishing the unreasonable taxation system and provided greater opportunities for the peasants to own land, which drastically improved the lives of the peasants. Before the French Revolution, The third estate made up 97% of the population and owned only about half of the land. After 1800, the third estate owned about 90% of the land. This increase in land ownership freed the peasants from being slaves to the Nobles. In the period before the revolution the high taxes caused the price of bread to skyrocket. In August 1788 a builder laborer was spending 50% of his income on bread and by July 1789 it had risen to about 80%. The peasants would complained about the high price of bread, the Kings authorities could send the peasants to jail for something as little as seeking a basic necessity. Without the power to lower the price of bread, the peasants were helpless to effect their starvation. After the revolution, a tremendous victory for the peasants was that they did not have to spend every nickel they had on food and other necessities, so they were able to improve their quality of life. The amount of money, out of 100 dollars, that peasants got to keep after taxes went from the equivalent of 18 dollars before the revolution to 79 dollars after. Without this money, many of the French citizens that started businesses and allowed France to thrive would have never gotten this opportunity. Some people believe that all of the deaths and brutality of the French Revolution were not worth the gains, but without the French Revolution, the peasants would never have escaped their miserable lifestyle.
The chaos of the French Revolution inspired governments in Europe to form the Congress of Vienna, which facilitated peace and stability throughout Europe. The lack of a strong government in France after the revolution allowed Napoleon to rise to tyrannical power and wreak havoc throughout Europe. Napoleon conquered most of Europe, crowning himself emperor of France and bringing destruction to many places outside of France. However, Napoleon??™s oppressive rule eventually led to the Congress of Vienna. The Congress of Vienna wanted to make sure that this complete domination would never be possible again, so they divided land equally between France, Austria, Prussia, and England. This helped balance power in Europe, because there was not a desire to conquer land among the large powers of Europe. The peace that followed lasted for almost a full 40 years. During the ensuing period it allowed France to grow and prosper. From 1800 to 1850 Paris doubled in size, and many other towns and cities grew considerably after the revolution.
The French Revolution forced and inspired the change for a different government and more protection for personal rights. A good governments purpose is to protect the rights of the people. But in the government before the French revolution, the King had oppressed the people to the point that they were willing to risk their lives to effect change. The main reason that living conditions were so bad in France before the French Revolution, was that France had an absolute monarchy where the King had no restrictions on taxation or his often unreasonable punishments. The King misused his powers through over-taxation of the French people and spent the income on unnecessary luxuries. The King caused wide spread misery and starvation among the peasants and caused France to stumble into debt. After the king was removed from power, a constitutional monarchy was set in place. The stability from this new government increased France??™s market and ensured a prosperous economy for France in the short and long term.
The French Revolution inspired many people with poor living conditions to take matters into their own hands and improve their lives through means of revolution. In Mexico and Cuba, many of the local people were controlled by foreign powers and did not have a voice in their government or lifestyle. They would work for the foreign powers, such as Spain, and could not control their own land; the majority of people did not own land or had their land taken away from them. Most of people were poor and uneducated in both Cuba and Mexico. Many of these people had heard about the improvement of lifestyle for the peasants after the French Revolution and started to revolt against the established government because it was not taking care of them like it should. In Mexico, Porfirio Diaz seized the opportunity created by the revolution and became a dictator. As dictator, he enhanced the economy, but only a few wealthy Mexicans benefited from his improvements, and many foreign companies benefited, as well. As in Mexico, in Cuba almost all of the profits were going to foreign countries, such as Spain and the United States. Cuba had two revolutions in a short time; the first was from Spain, and the second was from the United States. After the revolutions in Cuba, a former lawyer who had been trying to bring about change through the legal system took power. This young leader was Fidel Castro. During his time in office, he helped increase literacy, brought national health care to Cuba, and made many more positive changes, as well as many more negative changes. During the revolutions, many died, but not many improvements were made after the revolutions. However, even though many people??™s lives did not improve, without the sacrifice of so many lives, the people??™s circumstances may have never changed. The violence that was seen during the revolutions in these countries was horrible. Violence is a difficult act to justify, but so is the oppression of an entire country. Sometimes when people have exhausted every other method of seeking improvements for their lives and their country, violence becomes the only answer, and then what would normally be unacceptable is justified. The violence that leads to improvements in one??™s own country is worth the cost if the circumstances fail to change from other measures.
The French Revolution was a period of much sorrow and slaughter which came as a protest to the Tyranny that faced France. Despite all of these hardships, all of the positive causes of the French Revolution were amazing to Europe and improved lives of people across Europe by giving them rights, lowering taxes, and bringing peace to Europe through reforms in governments and new treaties.