The French Revolution and Napoleon By Jack kehrli

A political cartoon that illustrates some of the many problems that led to the French Revolution

There were many factors that contributed to the French Revolution. First was that majority of the French were very poor and the rich were very rich. Such a small minority of the French population were hungry and tired peasants who had little hope of escaping the poverty while the lavish monarchy did little to help the people. The people also had an awful king during this time. King Louis was fat and unpopular and unable of making decisive decisions and despite his unpopularity his wife was even less popular.

Artist's rendering of Bastille Day

The French Revolution began with rioting in Paris in 1789. The rioting reached its peak on "Bastille Day." The French people who were fed up with the treatment by the monarchy raided the Bastille which was an armory in Paris where the people armed themselves with weapons and ammo and took control of the Bastille and then dismantled it brick by brick. This was the start of a very long time of political turmoil.

The head of King Louis XVI after being executed

The end of the Revolution is a topic of much debate for historians and wether the results of the Revolution were for the better or worse is also debated but some of the results are black and white. The Revolution resulted in both the Monarchy coming to a end with King Louis and Maria Antoinette being executed. The Revolution also lowered the popularity and reign of the Church in France. The revolution introduced new western and enlightened ideals to France. Liberalism and enlightenment became prime principal for the French government and people moving forward from the Revolution.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was a next ruler of France after the revolution. Is a controversial figure. Napoleon understood that he had to be popular with the people to be a successful ruler. Napoleon had to give the people power to remain popular. Napoleon understood though how he could almost make the people think they had power when they didn't. He was able to only make elections that he was certain he would win. He was able to keep the people happy while keeping them from diminishing his power. I think that Napoleon was able to somewhat balance revolutionary ideas with dictatorial ideas.

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