One of the most complex event in the history of the world is the French Revolution. It was a period of extreme social, political and cultural upheaval, and at times violent, which took place in France between 1789 and 1799. It is also known as the First French Revolution or Great French Revolution, to distinguish it from the July Revolution of 1830 (Second French Revolution) and from the French revolutionary uprisings of 1848 (Third French Revolution), which were the local episode of the European revolts and insurrections called Spring. of peoples.
What were its consequences?
It was a very complex event and articulated in various phases. Its main immediate consequences were: the abolition of the absolute Capetian monarchy and the rapid proclamation of the republic; the elimination of the economic and social foundations of the Ancien Régime, the previous political and social system, found guilty of the inequality and poverty of its subjects; the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the future foundation of modern constitutions.
In 18th century France, according to the divine right of kings, political power resided in the absolute monarchy, represented by Louis XVI. With some exceptions, the whole French institutional system was summed up in the figure of the King, who, in the words of Jean Bodin, was the image of God on earth.
The King had the supreme command of the army and, whatever the courts decided, he could use his power of justice retenue to prevent or overrule any sentence and recall any case from the ordinary courts to the Council with a lettre de cachet.
The sovereign’s authority was not that of a titular head of an administrative regime but the personal exercise of his bon plaisir: governing as an individual, the king invested every official, according to the order and rank, with a fraction of his authority calling him to act upon the power and discretionary instructions received. He had the only limit of not being able to fire the officials, since many of them entered the office by paying a sum corresponding to the market value.
The French Revolution ended with the Imperial-Napoleonic period and then the Restoration by the European aristocracy. And yet, together with the American one, it marked the decline of absolutism and inspired the subsequent liberal and democratic bourgeois revolutions of the nineteenth century (the so-called revolutionary uprisings), paving the way for a new political system based on the concept of the rule of law or state liberal, in which the bourgeoisie becomes the ruling class. This in turn was the premise for the birth of the modern democratic states of the twentieth century.