DBQ Essay

Feb 23, 2009
by: aru
What I'm good at

     To revolve, means literally "to turn". Revolutions in history are turning points for whatever place or to which they apply. The French Revolution was a major turning point in world history. It had large political, social and economic affects on France and its people. The French Revolution not only affected France, but the world in many ways.


   Many political events occurred to cause the French Revolution. The power of the King, Louis XVI, was absolute. Divine Right allowed him to receive this power from God and therefore only responsible to God himself. According to Document 1 by Friedman & Foner, King Louis XVI could imprison anyone without trial for any number of days by means of blank warrants. He used the peoples taxes to build his palace at Versailles and could control speech and press. The French peoples dissatisfaction of him was a major cause of the French Revolution. Based on Document 5,

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

, the National Assembly attempted to redefine the relationship between the citizens and the government. For example, one way they attempted this was saying that all men are born equal and free. People had free communication of ideas and opinions and had natural rights. These articles were based on Enlightenment ideas.

    The economy of France during the French Revolution was far from good and affected the Third Estate, which were the common people, greatly.In Document 2, according to the chart, although only 2% of the population were First and Second Estate, 100% of government taxation were paid by the Third Estate of peasants and common folk. Also, the 98% of Third Estate were only allowed 65% land owner Based on Document 3 of Arthur Young's travels, poverty was so severe that French peasants lacked resources and had to face high taxes from the Nobles. This lowered the standard of living considerably. This document described a woman of only twenty eight years old, appearing to be much older due to the stress of her living conditions. This illustrates the difficulty the people had to endure in the times preceding the French Revolution.


      The French Revolution affected the people of France in a number of ways. Some of these affects are shown in Document 6. People were arrested just for looking"noble". Foreigners who sympathized with those who wanted France to form a republic were thrown into jail. People were thrown into mass paranoia and everyone suspected each other of conspiracy. A large number of people were executed at the guillotine, many of which who were not even guilty of the crimes of which they were accused. French society had changed to an ever paranoid life where people became afraid of going outdoors.

    The French Revolution had a lasting impact on the world. although not always immediate, the affects of the French Revolution are visible on the history of other nations. Document 9 gives several examples of this. Karl Marx took influence from the French Revolution. The students who fought their government at Tienanmen Square in china  nearly 200 years after the French revolution "confirmed the contemporary relevance" of the French Revolution. Many people were and are impressed by the affects of the French Revolution and how it opened opportunities for those who had traditionally been excluded.

    From the many struggles of the people during the French Revolution to the economic weaknesses that occurred, this revolution was a difficult fight . The French Revolution was a true  turning point in history for the French. The people fought the tyrannical government and achieved change. It influenced many things in the world and had a lasting impact on history.