The Masses of The French Revolution Damon Reed


Loss of lives:

The reign of terror led to massive loss of lives in France. It’s estimated that about 17,000 people were guillotined and this included high level persons like King Louis and his wife Antoinette, Robespierre, Danton, and other persons of high profile were put to death.

Destruction of property:

Beside, there was destruction of property and infrastructure in France. This includes Hotel Deville and the Bastille prison which were destroyed by the mob. Several castles and mansions including property were attacked and destroyed by the revolutionaries.

Economic decline:

There was general economic decline that arose from un stable political atmosphere. Inflation, unemployment famine and starvation reached their highest levels during the reign terror. Many industries were also destroyed which affected the French economy.

Wars with other nations:

The reign of terror brought war between France and other neighboring nations. countries like Britain and Russia formed a coalition in 1793 and invaded France. This was because they were scared by massive loss of lives including the king and his wife Marie Antoinette. The revolutionaries also wanted to export the ideas of the French revolution to neighboring nations which was opposed by other states leading to wars.

Rise of Napoleon to power:

The reign of terror contributed to the rise of Napoleon I to power in France. He was the young artillery officer who gained experience and became popular when he suppressed the royalists uprising at Port Toulon. Besides, the reign of terror led to the disappearance of important senior officers and politicians which opened military and political space for Napoleon to rise to power in France by 1799.

Exile of nobles and clergy:

The fear of the guillotine and the mob justice led to self exile of several nobles and clergy. They fled. They fled to neighboring states like Austria, Prussia, and from where they became Émigrés. They regrouped and planned to attack France. The émigrés organized them selves into fighting units and asked for assistance from these countries.

Rise of directory Government:

The social, economic destruction's caused by reign of terror paved way for the rise of Directory Government in France in 1795. It was instituted in 1795 as a full stop to the destructive reign of terror in France and to end dictatorship in France.

End of political parties:

The reign of terror led to the downfall of political clubs and political pluralism in France. Before the reign terror, there were some political parties that were formed such as The Jacobin under Robespierre, Cordllier under Danton and Girondin led by Murato. But the terror machinery killed all the leaders of these political Parties in France.

Other kings became more despotic:

Outside France, the reign of terror made conservative kings more conservative. e.g., the despotic kings of Austria, Russia and Prussia became more despotic to safe guard them selves from the terrorist actions of the French men. Even pit, the prime minister of Britain expelled all suspicious characters and passed an act of Treason.

Spirit of Republicanism:

Lastly, the reign of terror strengthened Republicanism and the rise of Republican Government in France in 1792. The violence speeded up the collapse of the Bourbon Monarchy and the execution of King Louis xvi was the last even that ended Bourbon monarch rule in France. The rein of terror made France a Republican government up to now.


BETWEEN 1792 – 1802.

It should be noted that the events of the French revolution did not go unnoticed by other European powers neither the neighboring states were left untouched by the French revolution and its effects. The effects of the French Revolution had direct impact on the neighboring nations and most of them looked at revolutionary France as a great enemy. France was at war with many countries because of many reasons;

Fear of revolutionary ideas:

Aristocrats of Europe saw the French revolution as a threat to European monarchs. They feared revolutionary ideas of equality, liberty and fraternity. It prompted European powers to unite and fight France to prevent the spread of such ideas because they do not favor any despot in Europe. They had seen how the ideas affected King Louis and how he was mistreated by the revolutionaries.

The need to export the revolutionary ideas:

There was need to export and internationalize the revolution by the revolutionaries. They were not contented with the spread of the ideas only in France, but to spread it to other countries. This led to war since other countries never wanted such. Napoleon that was seen as the carrier of revolution to other countries was fought by the European powers and completely defeated in 1815 at the battle of Waterloo.

. Revolutions threatened British trade:

Britain in particular was forced to declare war on France because the French revolution threatened the British trade by attacking and controlling her trade partners like Holland. Britain would tolerate any thing more but not concerning her commerce and trade. That is why Great Britain had to lead all the wars that were fought against France.

Fear of French domination:

European powers feared that France would dominate the European affairs. The most feared idea was of fraternity with their slogan that war against tyrants and peace to the people. Where tyrant meant despotism. However, there was need to suppress such a move by other powers leading to war between France and other neighboring states.

The Mistreatment and killing of Louis xvi:

The revolutionaries mistreated King Louis xvi and later killed him in the cold blood in January 1793.this provoked European kings to wage war against France. I.e., it was in a situation where King Louis was taken as a prisoner of war in his own palace by 1793 that aroused the anger of crown heads of Europe to mobilize war against France. Austria was forced to issue Pilnitz declaration threatening to fight France if France did not restore the king to the throne.

Prussia’s declaration:

To make matters worse, Prussia too issued the Brunswick manifesto that “If a hair of king’s head be hurt, Paris would be destroyed to the ground”. And to give effect to this, the allied Prussia and Austrian troops matched into France in 1792. But could revolutionary France allow foreign dictation on their home matters?

The influence of the émigrés:

European countries like Prussia, Russia joined to fight France due to strong appeal to their assistance by the French émigrés. The France émigrés asked for arm assistance to force their way back to France to suppress the revolutionaries and restore the ancient regime. It should be noted that the Austrian emperor Leopold was an in law of King Louis xvi. This forced France to fight her neighbor Austria.

The role of Napoleon Bonaparte

The coming of Bonaparte of the scene caused wars. He was an army general with whom it was impossible to leave in peace because he was too aggressive and a war monger. E.g., Napoleon Italian campaign in 1796 that largely prompted the formation of second coalition of Britain, Russia, Austria and Prussia against France and to drive France out of Italy, hence, fighting the revolutionary France.

The declaration of the civil constitution of the clergy:

The civil constitution of the clergy forced the Catholic states to fight France. It undermined the powers and privileges of the church and the clergy in France. The Catholic in Europe asked their countries to fight France in order to liberate their fellow brothers and sisters in the faith.

Rise and Fall of a great leader


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