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The causes and effects of viva la revolution

French Revolution

With the French Revolution began the institutionalization of secularized individualism in both social life and politics; individualism and rationality found expression in parliamentary government and written constitutionalism. Obviously, the English and American revolutions of 1688 and 1776 prefigure these changes, but it was the more universalist French… Origins of the Revolution The French Revolution had general causes common to all the revolutions of the West at the end of the 18th century and particular causes that explain why it was by far the most violent and the most universally significant of these revolutions.

The first of the general causes was the social structure of the West. The feudal regime had been weakened step-by-step and had already disappeared in parts of Europe. The increasingly numerous and prosperous elite of wealthy commoners—merchants, manufacturers, and professionals, often called the bourgeoisie —aspired to political power in those countries where it did not already possess it.

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  • It is uncertain, however, whether revolution would have come without the added presence of a political crisis;
  • With the French Revolution began the institutionalization of secularized individualism in both social life and politics; individualism and rationality found expression in parliamentary government and written constitutionalism;
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The peasantsmany of whom owned land, had attained an improved standard of living and education and wanted to get rid of the last vestiges of feudalism so as to acquire the full rights of landowners and to be free to increase their holdings. Furthermore, from about 1730, higher standards of living had reduced the mortality rate among adults considerably. This, together with other factors, had led to an increase in the population of Europe unprecedented for several centuries: For France, which with 26 million inhabitants in 1789 was the most populated country of Europe, the problem was most acute.

A larger population created a greater demand for food and consumer goods. The discovery of new gold mines in Brazil had led to a general rise in prices throughout the West from about 1730, indicating a prosperous economic situation.

The causes and effects of viva la revolution

From about 1770, this trend slackened, and economic crises, provoking alarm and even revolt, became frequent. Arguments for social reform began to be advanced. The philosophes —intellectuals whose writings inspired these arguments—were certainly influenced by 17th-century theorists such as DescartesSpinoza and Lockebut they came to very different conclusions about political, social, and economic matters.

A revolution seemed necessary to apply the ideas of MontesquieuVoltaireor Rousseau. It is uncertain, however, whether revolution would have come without the added presence of a political crisis. In North America this backlash caused the American Revolutionwhich began with the refusal to pay a tax imposed by the king of Great Britain.

Monarchs tried to stop this reaction of the aristocracyand both rulers and the privileged classes sought allies among the nonprivileged bourgeois and the peasants. Although scholarly debate continues about the exact causes of the Revolution, the following reasons are commonly adduced: Page 1 of 6.

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  • This, together with other factors, had led to an increase in the population of Europe unprecedented for several centuries;
  • With the French Revolution began the institutionalization of secularized individualism in both social life and politics; individualism and rationality found expression in parliamentary government and written constitutionalism.