Top 10 Major Effects of French Revolution

The French Revolution is seen as the bloody, anarchic mess which started on July 5, 1789. It lasted for about 10 years from 1789 to 1799.

France was a rich and populous country in the 18th Century. French people had problems relating to taxes and unsystematic governance. 

The French society was structured with kings and nobles, known as the Ancien Regime. Rich people like nobles avoided taxes, which led to the financial crisis, thus causes the french revolution.  

The French Revolution brought changes in ideas of human history and had significant impacts on the world compared to any other revolutions.

It is the period when the people of France withdrew the monarchy and got control over the government.

French Revolution had some significant effects on the world. 10 major effects of the French Revolution are:

10. Abolition of Feudalism

Abolition of Feudalism french revolution

The National Assembly made the formal announcement of the end of feudalism on August 4, 1789. Abolition of Feudalism came along the French Revolution, which ended the old rules, feudal dues, and taxes levied.

The abolishment of Feudalism did not directly affect the ownership of land or rents, but it was crucial to the property rights. Many other rights, like hunting rights, labour services, and property rights, were also maintained.

The National Assembly edited the old rule of law which included various Articles such as :  

  • The right to maintain shelter for pigeons is abolished, for the fixed seasons by the community pigeons will be kept restricted in some places.
  • The King, Louis XVI proclaimed the Restore of French Liberty.
  • All the citizens are equally eligible to apply for any jobs or work in any office. All the professions will be open to everyone, and no business shall imply any derogation.

9. Fall of the Monarchy

Fall of the Monarchy French Revolution

The French Revolution resulted in the fall(abolishment) of Monarchy and the establishment of the First Republic in September 1792. It was possible only after King Louis XVI was compelled to the approval of a new constitution.

During Louis XVI’s reign, there were problems relating to food and the economy. French people then imprisoned King Louis and Queen Mary-Antoinette in August 1792.

King Louis was then plotting counter-revolutionary action along with the foreign armies/nations from the end of 1791. With the royal family proving themselves enemies of the revolution, the little control over events that King Louis still held was gone.

After finding his plots with foreign nations, King Louis was arrested and executed on January 21, 1793. 

Robespierre was the main person of the Revolutionary Government. He called for changes of every kind and also demanded universal suffrage and end to slavery

In the French West Indies, Robespierre railed most passionately against the death penalty and wanted to discard all remnants of the medieval past.

8. Changed Land ownership

Land ownership before french revolution

In the Middle age, peasants were kept dependent upon the land and their lord. They were supposed to pay taxes which was Tithes(one-tenth) of their annual earnings.

With the French Revolution, Manorialism – which was the major part of Feudalism and taxes were abolished. Most parts of France was engaged in agriculture, and the abolition of the taxes made the lives of peasants easier.

The French Revolution was able to bring a new era in land reformation history. The reform ended the bias feudal tenures, freed people from serfdom, cancelled payments which were not based on real property and abolished feudal courts.

In 1792, all the lands of Clergy, Political Emigrants, and Common Land were auctioned and sold due to the rise in the class of landowners who supported Napoleon.

During the French Revolution, the Censiers and serfs were made owners, and the new regime was able to win the support of peasants. It was able to reinforce individual and private ownership.

7. Dechristianization of France

Dechristianization of France during french revolution

Before the French Revolution, France was dominated by the French Catholic Church. 

The Catholic Church collected Tithes of the annual earnings and taxes from the people there. It occupied 10 % of the land.

During the French Revolution, destruction of the French Catholic Church along with turning out of the nuns and the priests was done. Levies and taxes were abolished, and some leaders were executed, and some exiled.

Dechristianization or the abolishment of the French Catholic Church was done mainly in the year 1793. It started with the Hebertists and had the support of Paris Commune.

Abolishment of Christianity was led by J.R.Hebert, P.G. Chaumette, and J.Fouche. With the new revolutionary and rational faith arose the counter-revolutionary acts amongst people of France. So, they had to renounce the policy of dechristianization.

6. Nationalism

Nationalism french revolution

Before the French Revolution, France was divided into many regions and ruled by various kings. French people believed that they should only follow and obey the kings. 

The French Revolution and the conquests of Napoleon were able to inspire feelings of national pride among the people. The pride and sense of national identity replaced earlier loyalty to local authority and monarchy.

Napoleon’s conquests and French Revolution resulted in the massive growth of Nationalism and increased nationalistic feelings across Europe and the world, which resulted in the unification of Italy and Germany.

In the 1790s, the French Nationalism reached its height with the war of the French Army against other European states. 

Nationalism was of two types: civic and ethnic. First one started due to the French Revolution, was based on shared ideals and beliefs, whereas the latter was based on their ethnicity.

It was the driving force which brought changes within the state. It was an act of being freed from the ties with the monarchy and the Catholic Church.

5. Democratic Ideals

Democratic Ideals French revolution

Before the French Revolution, French people were facing various inequalities, both legally and politically. Almost all legal and political rights were enjoyed by people of noble families and only a few by the commoners.

Napoleon’s victory spread the ideals of democracy throughout Europe, saying that the nation can be ruled by themselves without the interference of the Kings. Their principal motive was to bring equality in-laws, rights, religion, and freedom of speech.

Though it took a long time to bring full democracy, it did bring specific positive changes such as removed monarchy and aristocracy. With time, various ideals like – every citizen should get equal rights, should be treated equally, and should be protected by the government actions were introduced.

With the French Revolution came the democratic state which included secularism, rights to freedom of speech, religion, rights to women, redistribution of property, and the abolition of hereditary privileges.

4. Spread of Liberalism

Spread of Liberalism french revolution

After the French Revolution, Liberalism started spreading rapidly. The Slogan ‘ Liberty, equality, fraternity’ was followed, which led to abolishment to the hereditary aristocracy, and France was the first state to allocate male suffrage.

Two major events took place as a result of liberalism which were: abolishment of feudalism (August 4, 1789) and Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen ( August 1789) after the fall of the Bastille, absolute monarchy, and state religion.

French Revolution in the 19th Century led to the establishment of liberal government all around Europe and North-South America. The parliaments took the divine rights of the king.

3. Birth of Ideologies

Birth of Ideologies french revolution

People were under traditional governance and monarchy before the French Revolution, but it was not so afterwards. Republicans were against those who supported the monarchy, and they were in favour of democracy. 

The introduction of ideology was one of the major effects of the new secular spirit of the revolution. It brought many changes, destroyed old ideas, unleashed new forces, offered new promises.

With the French Revolution evolved various new ideologies. People started seeking for justification without which even the government was not taken as legitimate. 

French Revolution resulted in the rise of many ideologies – socialism, liberalism, nationalism, democracy, and communism and major three out of all were turned into a famous slogan “ Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”.

2. End of Bourbon rule

 End of Bourbon rule french revolution

Bourbon dynasty was the royal house which had members ruling over many states including France, Naples, Spain, Navarre, and Sicily. They were the strongest in the years from 1589 to 1792 and with the abolishment of the Bourbon Rule, the then King Louis XVI was executed.

French Dynasty or the House of Bourbon was ruling France for more than 400 years. The abolishment of Bourbon Monarch and its replacement by the Republican form of Government was done in 1792.

The National Guards and the revolutionary armies replaced the Bourbon Monarchy and protected the achievements made during the French Revolution. The National Guards of about 700,000 trained soldiers kept on protecting the people and their properties.

The downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, the Bourbon Rule was restored once again and was able to last only till the year 1830. It was finally abolished in the July Revolution.

 1. Ushered in the Age of Revolutions

Ushered in the Age of Revolutions french revolution

French Revolution led the exclusive right to maintain many other revolutionary movements around different parts of Europe and America.

The Haitian Revolution, First Italian War of Independence, Irish Rebellion of 1798, Sicilian Revolution of 1848, Italian Revolution in 1848, and the independence movements of Portuguese colonies in America are the major revolutionary movements which came up following the French Revolution. They ushered in which was known to be the Age of Revolution.

See Also,

Conclusion:

The 10 years of the French Revolution bought modern nationalism, liberalism, democracy, equality, ideologies, fraternity, and many more. It made every citizen the centre of today’s social order which is designed to create maximum freedom of personal liberty.

It started with the debate between aristocracy and monarchy about the political authority and financial policies of the state. French Revolution was able to bring harmony between the law and the fact.

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Cite this article as: Richard Marrison, "Top 10 Major Effects of French Revolution," in HistoryTen, November 5, 2019, https://historyten.com/french-revolution/major-effects-french-revolution/.
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