How did the French Revolution of 1789 and the Industrial Revolution of the nineteenth century reshape western society?

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This is so broad a question that we must limit our answer here to a more narrow, focused perspective, but one which hopefully will suggest ways in which you can research an expansion of this smaller answer and thus create a larger picture for yourself.

The eventual effect of the Revolution was to disempower, though not completely, the upper classes and the church in France. The lands belonging to the church were seized and sold off partly in order to finance the new currency system of paper money (assignats). When the French—first under the Directory and then under Napoleon—took over foreign territory, the German countries, for instance, were made into client states. While many of the individual princes were allowed to stay in power, the legal systems of the states were changed and the old social order was disrupted. Discriminatory laws against minorities such as Jews were abolished. With the end of serfdom (in most of Europe except Russia at this point) came the ability of the peasants to become mobile both socially and geographically.

This last fact ties into the Industrial Revolution. As the old gentry was disempowered, a new owner class of entrepreneurs was established that created industrial facilities and encouraged or (through land expropriation) forced the peasants to move to the cities. A new urban laboring class was created. At the same time, the ideals of the Revolution—freedom, equality, and brotherhood—made it possible for the middle class to become wealthier and more educated, rising into and merging with (or creating) the already mentioned owner class of industry.

The above is obviously a very brief sketch, but it is a starting point for the answer to the wider question of what kind of thinking lay at the root of both the political Revolution in France—then extended to the Continent as a whole—and the revolution in the means of production. You might investigate the extent, for instance, to which the 18th-century Enlightenment triggered both of these huge movements and laid the foundations for the growth of the middle class. In the cities, the industrial working class as well later gained a degree of power with the overall rise in the standard of living and the establishment of labor unions. Were both these expansions in the social realm—that of the bourgeoisie and that of the laboring class—ultimately made possible by the same basic changes starting in 18th-century progressive thought, or did they each have a separate origin?

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