What were the long term outcomes/effects of the French Revolution?

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beardian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The French Revolution had two main outcomes:

1. Spread of Enlightenment ideas around Europe.  One of the biggest effects the French Revolution had was spreading the "revolutionary" ideas of the Enlightenment around Europe.  During the revolution, monarchies around Europe were disturbed by what was happening in France.  For the people to rally together and behead a king meant trouble - what happens if the rest of Europe's lower classes did the same?  This ultimately did occur with the Revolutions of 1848 in Russia, Italy, Austria, etc.  But the Enlightenment itself didn't just spread on its own like the plague; after the revolution, when Napoleon took power, he attempted to create a French Empire, where he conquered much of Europe for a short time.  While his dream of a French Empire failed, his legacy was to spread Enlightened ideas around Europe.

2. Domino Effect of revolutions.  During the French Revolution, all French men were freed and considered equal citizens under the law - this included all slaves on the French island of Haiti.  Haitians enjoyed their freedom temporarily - when Napoleon seized power, he eventually reinstated slavery in Haiti in order to make more money for his wars across Europe.  This resulted in the only successful slave revolt in history.  But Haiti wasn't alone in its revolution - much of Latin America learned from Haiti's example, and men like Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin led independence movements in South America.  Bolivar helped create Gran Colombia (which freed itself from Spanish control but later split into three countries- Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador) and Jose de San Martin helped liberate Argentina, Chile, and Peru.  So while France gained its freedom from monarchy (until King Louis XVIII took over after Napoleon...whoops!), revolutions sprang up in new world colonies in a domino effect.  By 1830, most Latin American countries were independent.

thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The French Revolution had several long term outcomes:

It led to the fast development of republics and democracies around the world. The French Revolution occurred due to the oppressive nature of the French feudal system of governance where the clergy and aristocracy oppressed the rest of the population, including the Bourgeoisie and the peasants. The Bourgeoisie claimed their rights to be involved in leadership, politics and administration while the peasants claimed land ownership rights and their ability to expand their estates. Similar oppressive systems were entrenched around the world but with the success of the French Revolution other territories sought to wipe out the aristocracy and oppression that existed in their territories.

Establishment of human rights. The French Revolution led to the Declaration of Rights of Man in France which led to much discussion and deliberations around the issue of human rights including the rights of slaves and women. It formed the basis of human rights recognition by creating movements to fight slavery and support feminism around the world.

shamair | Student

The French Revolution inspired other countries in the world to seek change in their political system, especially countries that were colonized by European nations. Latin American countries colonized by Spain and Portugal were discontent with colonial rule and resented the political and economic restrictions imposed on them. When the people of these countries heard about the French Revolution and its slogan 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity', they decided to fight for their independence.

For example, Argentina in 1814 won its independence after driving out the Spanish army. Venezuela, Ecuador, Columbia and Peru all had military campaigns. By 1822 almost all Spain's colonies, as well as Portugal's colony Brazil had gained independence. 

gsenviro | Student

The French Revolution (1789-1799) is a major event in human history. It affected the government system around the world and its traces were found in all subsequent revolutions around the world.

Within France, it ended the monarchy and led to the creation of the French Republic. It led to the redistribution of church property to the government and to the people. The most important contribution of the revolution is the Declaration of Rights of Man and the Citizen, which made all citizens equal before law. It also established a constitution for ruling the country, rather than arbitrary ruling of the king.

Outside France, revolutionary ideas were exported to various countries. The Russian revolution traces its roots to the French revolution. Equality before Law became the theme of many other national revolutions. It is also credited with accelerating the process of formation of republics and democracies around the globe. The ideas germinated during the revolution are also considered to be the reasons behind the universal suffrage and abolitionism movements in the 19th century.

krishna-agrawala | Student

The French Revolution, which took place from 1789 to 1799 was one of the most important contributor of spread of democracies in the modern world. The Revolution did not really resulted in permanent democratic rule being established in France, as Napoleon Bonaparte seized the power. But it infused the spirit of democratic freedom among the people of entire world, and promoted the ideas of liberty and equality.

In 1972 France became one of the the first nations to overthrow its king and set up a republic. Following this, in early 19th century, revolutions broke out in many parts of the Europe and national states were formed. By the end of the century nearly every European nation except Russia had a constitution and at least some democratic institutions.