The French Revolution

Start Free Trial

How would you evaluate how much France's conflicts with its neighbors and its policies regarding "Sister Republics" or satellite states were driven by domestic politics (the need to spread French revolutionary idealism and quell domestic opposition) and how much by international politics (creating reliable allies, balances of power, etc.)?

To evaluate France’s conflicts with its neighbors and its struggles with its sister republics, consider how revolutionary France’s domestic disarray would have made it hard to form stable and coherent international relationships.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

France’s conflicts with its neighbors can be evaluated in the context of its internal strife. Domestically, the French Revolution produced myriad violence and death. In June of 1793, the radical Jacobin party took control of the government and instituted a period that would be called the Reign of Terror. During this time, the government produced lists of people who were supposedly trying to halt the revolution. The alleged anti-revolutionaries were guillotined, so thousands of people lost their lives.

As a part of the revolution, the new French government declared war on some of its neighbors, including Austria and Prussia. The government believed that these nations were harboring enemies to the new government.

At the same time, the new French government felt that it was its duty to spread the revolutionary spirit to other nations. These states were labeled as sister republics. The sister republics were not successful. They mostly resulted in exploitation and plunder, not freedom and liberty.

Revolutionary France also tried to help the Irish fight off their oppressor, England. Alas, inclement weather, among other things, thwarted this alliance. Thus France wasn’t much help to Ireland either.

Overall, the conflicts with neighbors seem to pale in comparison with what was happening in France. As the Reign of Terror demonstrates, France was in disarray. The government couldn’t get its own country in order, which is probably why it had such a hard time imposing itself on other countries—sister republics or otherwise.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial