About Life After the French Revolution

Written by tammy dray
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About Life After the French Revolution
(Marcio Rud)

The French Revolution spanned 10 years, starting in 1789 and stopping just short of the beginning of a new century. Growing dissatisfaction with the way that King Louis XIV dealt with social reforms and the deep-rooted differences among classes prompted people to rebel and look for a way to gain more independence and freedom, both in their daily lives and their thoughts.


The most obvious change the French Revolution brought about was the disruption of social classes. Before the Revolution, there were three marked classes in France: the church, the nobility and the commoners. At that time, both the church and the nobility owned a large part of the land in the country, collected taxes (but paid none) and had power of decision over social and economical changes. Peasants, on the other hand, were forced to pay hefty taxes that sometimes equalled more than 70 per cent of their salaries, while receiving little to no benefits from the state. After the Revolution, the tax system was abolished, giving common people both financial and social relief, as well as a chance to have more power over the economic decisions of their country.


Up until the time of the Revolution, the church had almost unlimited power over certain areas of society, something that completely shifted after 1799. According to experts, the Revolution brought about the "France," abolishing the power of the clergy over financial issues, as well as transforming priests into state employees who now had obligations and limitations that went beyond their roles in the church. As the years went by, repression of anything related to the Catholic Church became more obvious, and even resulted in the occasional massacre of priests.


With the creation of the Constitution in 1791, certain changes were forged that would influence the lives of everybody for years to come. Price fixing of essential goods, such as grains, was the first essential step in helping people get over the economic difficulties they were experiencing. With this also came fixed wages, which allowed workers to have a guaranteed earning potential despite outside influences.


The National Convention, created in 1792, was responsible for many of the changes that occurred both during and after the Revolution. Free education, for example, became standard, despite social class, economical status and sex. So did income-based taxes and other social constrictions. Despite these changes, the common class remained poor and suffered from unemployment and lack of resources.

Expert Insight

After Napoleon took the power in 1799, he put into practice lots of very specific laws, including the emancipation of Jews from the ghettos, introduced the metric system as standard and focused intently on the importance of art as a way to educate societies. He was also responsible for bringing the idea of capitalism into France, encouraging personal growth and finances.

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