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Year 12 - History - The French Revolution: Consequences & Experiences

Units 3 and 4 - Causes & Consequences

Consequences of Revolution shape the New Order

The new regime faced challenges in attempting to consolidate its power, including in:

  • power of the Church and nobility,
  • hostility of foreign powers and the Papacy,
  • the scale of the reforms envisaged by the Revolution, economic challenges, the outbreak and course of war,
  • internal divisions over the aims of the Revolution,
  • the abolition of absolute monarchy and privileged corporations, the introduction of popular sovereignty and representative government,
  • changes to laws and taxes, the abolition of feudalism, the abolition of slavery and reforms to the Church

Experiences of those living through the Revolution

 Those living through the Revolution included many significant individuals that made a contribution that changed society, including Louis XVI, Georges Danton, Jean-Paul Marat, Maximilien Robespierre and Marquis de Lafayette.

But there were also the diverse revolutionary experiences of social groups and their responses to the challenges and changes to the conditions of everyday life, including bourgeoisie, parish priests and other clergy, urban workers in Paris, urban and rural women, peasants, the nobility and émigrés.

New Regime power consolidation

The National Constituent Assembly completed the abolition of feudalism, suppressed the old “orders,” established civil equality among men (at least in metropolitan France, since slavery was retained in the colonies), and made more than half the adult male population eligible to vote, although only a small minority met the requirement for becoming a deputy. The decision to nationalize the lands of the Roman Catholic Church in France to pay off the public debt led to a widespread redistribution of property. The bourgeoisie and the peasant landowners were undoubtedly the chief beneficiaries, but some farm workers also were able to buy land.  (Britannica)