Categories World History

Q. विश्व के इतिहास में फ्रांस की क्रान्ति के महत्त्व पर एक निवन्ध लिखिए। Write an essay on the significance of French Revolution in World History. [UPPSC-2008]

Q. विश्व के इतिहास में फ्रांस की क्रान्ति के महत्त्व पर एक निवन्ध लिखिए। Write an essay on the significance of French Revolution in World History. [UPPSC-2008]


The French Revolution was an influential period of social and political upheaval in France and Europe as a whole, during which the French polity, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileged for the aristocracy and catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on enlightenment principles of republicanism, citizenship and rights. The impact of this movement is not only limited to France, and it is still felt through out the world.

The significance of French Revolution in World History:

  • On French History:
    • In the short-term, France lost thousands of its countrymen in the form of emigrants who wished to escape political tensions and save their lives. A number of individuals settled in the neighboring countries. The displacement of these Frenchmen led to a spread of French culture, policies regulating immigration, and a safe haven for Royalists and other counterrevolutionaries to outlast the violence of the French Revolution.
    • The long-term impact on France was profound, shaping politics, society, religion and ideas, and polarizing politics for more than a century. ©
    • End of monarchy and rise of constitutional and republican form of government.
    • End of privilege based social system and establishment of equality before law.
    • End of feudalism and serfdom
      • Strengthening of middle class.
      • Forced labour abolished.
      • Improved the condition of peasant. Now, tax burden on all.
    • France saw the introduction of the principle of legal equality, and the downgrading of the once powerful and rich Catholic Church to just a bureau controlled by the government.
    • Church power reduced
      • Religious freedom granted to citizen
      • Property of church confiscated
      • Priest were forced to take oath of be loyal to the nation
      • State will pay salary to them
    • Codification of law by Napoleon and Uniform judicial system.
    • French revolution by strengthening the two ideological forces- nationalism and liberalism created ground for future revolution. i.e. for the revolution of 1830 and 1848. ©
  • On European History:
    • French revolution inspired the parliamentary reform movement in England which culminated into passing of first parliamentary reform act in Britain in 1832.
    • The closer other countries were, the greater and deeper was the French impact, bringing liberalism and the end of many feudal or traditional laws and practices.
      • The codification of law, a fair system of taxation, a better economic situation, and more religious and intellectual toleration were seen in the areas under French control. The equality of citizens before the law, equality of languages, freedom of thought and faith were also introduced in these areas.
    • Redrawal of boundaries in Europe. Napoleonic conquests created condition for the unification of Italy, and unification of Germany etc.
    • Revolutionary activities:
      • Revolutionary activities was encouraged in Ireland which weekend England. is seen as the foundation for modern Irish republicanism, which eventually led to the partition of Ireland and independence for 26 of its 32 counties.
    • When the French invaded Russia, Prussia and Austria, Napoleon carved out a Polish state allied to the French known.
      • the Polish had had their first glimpse of independence for 200 years since the partitions of Poland by Russia Austria and Prussia. This also led to an increase in Polish nationalism that would persist throughout the 19th and 20th century. Revolutionary activities increased in Poland.
    • The most important impact came from the abolition of all feudal privileges and historic taxes, the introduction of legal reforms of the Napoleonic Code, and the re-organisation of the judicial and local administrative systems.
    • The economic integration of the Rhineland with France increased prosperity, especially in industrial production, while business accelerated with the new efficiency and lowered trade barriers.
    • United the kings of Europe to come together and fought anti-revolutionary war. It let the rise of vienna order after fall of Napoleon.
    • Holy roman empire was dissolved in 1806.
    • Active role of women – This role was among the first in Europe and this role was to participate and demond for equal rights.
      • Decoration of the Rights of women and the female citizen- 1791 Olympe de Gauges.
    • According to Lefebvre, the ideals of ‘social democracy’ and ‘equality’ owed their origin to the French Revolution. One can conclude that in some ways it was the French Revolution which gave the birth to modern Europe.
  • On world history:
    • The idea of liberty, equality and fraternity emerged out of French revolution. These ideas were reflected in the declaration of rights of men and citizen.
    • Impact on Nation-state system– Unification of Italy, Germany etc. Rise of countries in Latin America.
    • Sovereignty shifted from king to people.
    • Questioned the idea of divine rights and privilege based system.
    • Inspired the liberation movement in Latin America– One of the main leaders of Latin American independence movement- Simon Bolivar was greatly influenced by the ideas of French Revolution. It led to rise of new countries. ©
    • Civil code of Napoleon influenced all the future legal and judicial documents all around the world.
    • Theory of revolution as an ideological form of politics. i.e. revolution for change.
      • The French Revolution gave a great stimulus to the growth of modern nationalism.
      • Nationalism was emphasised by historian Carlton J.H. Hayes as a major result of the French Revolution across Europe.
    • The idea of nationalism, which essentially emanated from the idea of liberty.
    • The concept of republican state based on modern ideological platform, created with support of liberal constitution and popular base.
      • Republican idea in modern state emerged out of French revolution.
    • Modern political ideologies, the right, the left and the centre emerged out of French Revolution. French politics were permanently polarised—’left’ and ‘right’ were the new terms for the supporters and opponents of the principles of the Revolution.
    • Idea of plebiscite and referendum-
      • The term plebiscite was widely used in modern form after the French Revolution when Napoleon Bonaparte used the device to secure legitimacy.
      • The French Constitution of 1793 was approved by a referendum in the summer of 1793. It was held via universal male suffrage.
    • Idea of a dictatorial regime emanated from the reign of terror under Robespierre rule.
    • Elements of socialism.
      • These elements were visible in the ideologies of Jacobin.
      • Also visible in the ideas of Babeuf.
      • Such elements were before the revolution in the ideas of Rousseau.
    • The ideologies of liberalism– This ideology had emerged from the thinkers, philosophers of 18th century Europe and French revolution strengthened this.
    • Attack on economic ideology of mercantilism– Mercantilism received a death blow. Unification of small kingdoms → Trade barriers reduced.
    • The impact of the French Revolution on the Middle East came in terms of the political and military impact of Napoleon’s invasion; and in the eventual influence of revolutionary and liberal ideas and revolutionary movements or rebellions.
      • In intellectual terms, the immediate impact of the French Revolutionary ideas was nearly invisible, but there was a long-range influence on liberal ideas and the ideal of legal equality, as well as the notion of opposition to a tyrannical government. i.e. Rise of Arab nationalism in long run. ©

Leave a Reply