Which is most correct about the French Revolution?1) The French revolution liberated the individual, creating and consolidating the modern state? OR 2) The French Revolution was a hoax: The ideals...

Which is most correct about the French Revolution?

1) The French revolution liberated the individual, creating and consolidating the modern state?

OR

2) The French Revolution was a hoax: The ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity were subverted in exchange for a continual grab for power?

Asked on by shanez

2 Answers | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I would argue that the second statement is more correct in the short term but the first statement is more correct in the long term.  The French Revolution did not liberate people very much in the first few decades, but it did lay the groundwork for setting people free.

The most important immediate effects of the Revolution were the Reign of Terror and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.  Neither of these can really be characterized as a move towards liberating the individual.  (Although Napoleon's reign can be seen as a move towards the creation of a modern state.)

However, the Revolution did destroy the old system that was so repressive.  It did not replace the old system with anything good in the short term, but later on France did move much more towards the ideals of the Revolution.

Overall, then, both statements are somewhat true, depending on the time period you use for evaluating them.

joegearde's profile pic

joegearde | High School Teacher | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

I look at both answers being true.. Time has proven that the first example came to fruition, but not immediate as those who struggled for, fought for and subsequently died for, so hoped.  The French philosphers ideal of government, (which was a basis that helped our forefathers leap forward for freedom) wasn't embraced as much from an established country like France. The colonies of the Americas, who were in their own land and wanted their own rights to be equal grasped and advanced these thoughts as fuel for freedom and feul to create governament that withstood the test of time.

The hoax as it may seem was a product of no control for perpitude being established so the evolution of the revolution was violent and somewhat unorganized in idealism.. The reign promoted fear not progress..  Napolean was embraced by the idea of his greatness but did see a long range picture for France as a country and the french people as an entity.. France has continued to be a country of passion and great culture.. They have learned from their history, as well all should have, that the people are the country and their best interest should coincide with the countries needs.

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