Causes of the French Revolution
Some say the French Revolution was a success and some say it wasn't, I will break it down for you. There was inequalities in France during this time, a political structure called the old order. This placed the king at the top, then three groups known as the three estates. These estates placed the Roman Catholic and the nobility at top controlling most the wealth. The third estate was made up of 97% of the population with Bourgeoise, Sans culottes and peasants.
This shows how the general population was layered out
France during this time was also deeply in debt. France had borrowed huge amounts of money to spend on wars, meanwhile the king was not worrying about his debt. King Louis XVI spent his money on his own lavish expenses. Desperate for money the king attempted to tax the second estate but that failed as the nobles refused to pay. After a year France went into bankruptcy.
Nature caused Revolution also. A hailstorm followed by a drought ruined the harvest. Then the winter of 1788 froze rivers which stopped water wheels to power mills to get flour. Firewood and food were very expensive. The country was turning very broke and this led all citizens from all estates to become angry and miserable.
The Reign Of Terror
The reign of Terror had a very big impact on not only the French society but also the Revolution itself. In 1793 civil war broke out, the peasants hatred for the government arose. The Catholic and Royal army was formed in Vendée to fight the government. The government had to destroy everything and everyone they could to re-gain control of Vendée. Civil war impacted the town a lot and future moves to be made by non-revolutionaries.
After defeating the catholic armies
Robespierre believed in the use of terror to defend the republic from anybody that may still believe in the constitutional monarchy. Now anybody who seemed to even have little connection to old ideas and the old order was at risk. The most common sentence to death was guillotine, a machine with a sharp blade at the top that can come down fast and chop heads off. During the reign of terror almost 17,000 people were executed. This terror did not spare anyone for everyone was at risk, even women. On July 24, 1794 Robespierre and his supporters were arrested by National Convention soilders, then soon after his arrest he and all his supporters were killed by guillotine. This impacted society very much with a lot of death and fear throughout France.
Other countries and France react to Napoleon and Revolution
Britain was an Frances greatest enemy at this time, Napoleon hoped to invade and defeat Britain. Napoleon made a blockade to stop trade with Britain, this also effected Spain who refused to comply because they depended on Britain for trade. Napoleon sent troops to Spain and took it over, he crowned his brother as king. There was Spanish revolts due to having a foreign leader, Britain offered help to Spain giving Napoleon more problems. The French defeated these armies. Despite setbacks the French easily took control of Europe.