French Revolution Essay

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The French Revolution (1789–1794) was a crucial moment in the history of Western world, which leads to modern concepts of liberalism, nationalism as well as republicanism. It is a period of political and social upheaval, which leads to a drastic variation in French history. It demonstrates how the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, undergo radical change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of citizenship and absolute rights. However, it may argue that social and economic status is actually the origin of the French Revolution. For instance, Francois Furet (n.d., cited in Lefebvre 1967: XXIV) had emphasised that downplay the significance of social and economic circumstance may lead to great difficulty on the impact of ideas on French Revolution. This essay will argue that Enlightenment ideas are the main causes of the French Revolution by distinguishing the connection between Enlightenment ideas and the social and economic conditions of France at the time. This essay will further discuss whether the French Revolution is caused by the anger due to the oppression of the Third Estate or the concept of Enlightenment ideas, which basically consist of equality, liberty and fraternity. The French Revolution represented a culmination of eighteenth-century ideas and economic transitions. In fact, both Enlightenment ideas as well as social and economic conditions are factors that triggered the French Revolution. France was made out of three estates, the clergy and nobility, bourgeoisie as well as peasants. Among the three estates, the Third Estate generally represented the people that were oppressed by the monarchy. On the eve of the Revolution, every aspect of the establishment of public life in administration, customs and measures, the laws, taxation and the Church were

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