Did the French Republic live up to the revolution's ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity?

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On the whole, one would have to say no. That's not to say that the famous rubric was a complete sham. A corrupt, bankrupt system was replaced by one in which there was far greater participation by ordinary people; slaves in France's overseas colonies were freed; and initially, at least, people were able to take advantage of the right to free speech, something they'd never experienced before.

But signs of trouble were there from the start. Contrary to popular opinion, violence did not simply arise during the Terror; it had been a constant thread running through French political life since the fall of the Bastille. In that sense, the revolutionary credo, though formally noble, radical, and emancipatory, lacked the firm political foundations to give it life. With France embroiled in almost constant turmoil, it became more and more difficult to realize liberty, equality, and fraternity in practice.

Domestically, this involved growing repression by the central authority against perceived...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 760 words.)

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