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Path of Democracy Throughout the French Revolution

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“The French Revolution was a decisive period in the shaping of the modern west. It implemented the thought of the philosophies, destroyed the hierarchical and corporate society of the Old Regime, which was a legacy of the Middle Ages, promoted the interests of the bourgeoisie, and quickened the growth of the modern state” ( Perry. Chase. Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 462). The aristocracy of France was also weakened by the Revolution. The nobles no longer had their ancient rights and privileges making them ordinary people. In the nineteenth century, the ruling class was no longer decided upon by noble birth but by property.

This trait was shown before the Revolution. Also the French government was now ran by the aristocrats and the bourgeois. With the bourgeois being given high positions because of their wealth, talent, ambition, and opportunities, they would have an important role in the political life of France. The French Revolution changed the Old Regime, based on a dynastic state, into the modern state it is today. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen concluded that the state was no longer a separation of provinces or estates; it was also no longer a possession of the monarch's that he believed belonged only to him.

The idea of the Declaration showed that the state now belonged to the people as a whole and its power must come from the people to succeed. The people now had the characteristic of individuality of no longer being separated into nobles and commoners. Many surrounding lands took the ideas and reforms of the French Revolution as inspiration to create their own revolution over their land. “During the nineteenth century, the French Revolution served as a frame of reference for the various political constellations: liberalism, socialism, and conservatism” ( Perry. Chase.

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Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 462). Before the Revolution, the state was still closely linked to its religion. Each state had a state church that was the ruling power. “By disavowing any divine justification for the monarch’s power, by depriving the church of its special position, and by no longer limiting citizenship to members of a state church, the Revolution accelerated the secularization of European political life” (Perry. Chase. Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 463). The Revolution did away with administrative ways of the Old Regime, and imposed rational ways to the state.

Highest ranks of land and position were given to men by their talent and no longer by their birth line. The Revolution also did away with peasantry working obligations, and based taxes on the people’s income. By showing that an ancient order could be overpowered by a new one, The French Revolution inspired other generations to revolt against their abusive model societies. This created three forces with the modern state: total war, nationalism, and a fanatic utopian mentality. These ideas went against the ideas of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and could be destructive to what the French Revolution was creating. The French Revolution also gave birth to the modern nationalism” ( Perry. Chase. Jacob. Jacob. Von Laue, p. 463). During the Revolution, the entire nation was directed loyalty. This view was seen as dangerous by many philosophers because it was feared that it would setback the progress of the Revolution. The Revolution looked to reconstruct society on the basis of Enlightenment ideals. These ideas were soon crushed by the terrors and fears of the dangerous forces that had begun to rise in the later years of the Revolution. These forces almost succeeded in ruining what the French reformers had created.

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