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French Revolution -- was it democratic?Did rule by the people lead to democracy in...

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lulufrancis | eNoter

Posted January 6, 2013 at 7:54 AM via web

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French Revolution -- was it democratic?

Did rule by the people lead to democracy in France during the period 1789-1799? Why or why not?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 6, 2013 at 5:36 PM (Answer #2)

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I don't really think that it did.  Sure, the people got to have more of a say in government, but that's not all there is to democracy.  The early revolutionary government abused people's rights quite badly.  A government that is that abusive and capricious is not a true democracy.

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jpope1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 7, 2013 at 1:24 AM (Answer #3)

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It started out as such. Its motto was "brotherhood, freedom, equality." Initially, the French Revolution was all about overthrowing the royal hierarchy and creating a better life for the everyday peasant. But that idealism was overshadowed by militancy and the quest for power. Eventually the Revolution ended up mimicking the very strategies of oppression it had denounced. 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 8, 2013 at 11:24 AM (Answer #4)

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Shortly after the French Revolution, a Reign of Terror began--this name certainly rules out any democracy. During this period under Robespierre, any one suspected of opposing the Revolution were guillotined.  After the radical Robespierre died, a moderate phase in which the French people revolted against the Reign of Terror’s excesses began; this period witnessed the emergence of a more republican governement.

Sources:

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM (Answer #5)

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No.  The revolutionaries were in some ways just as cruel as their predecessors.  Where the nobility persecuted and neglected the poor, the new government persecuted and murdered the nobility, even those who were innocent.  If you ended up in their way, you lost your head.

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