Why Is the French Revolution Regarded as Such an Important Event in Modern International History?

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Submitted By paolatepedino
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Modern society owes much of its origin to a great upheaval in the 18th century, the French Revolution. It was one aspect of a broader pattern of change that, since the Renaissance and Reformation, has set the West on a different path of development from that of the rest of the world. This pattern included the individualism and, in the end, the secularism, that was the Protestant legacy. It also included the rise of science, as a method and as a practice. This culminated in explosive events toward the end of the 18th century. The French Revolution ‘was a phenomenon as awful and irreversible as the first nuclear explosion, and all history has been permanently changed by it.’

The French Revolution is largely regarded as an important event in modern international history because of the way it has had international impact and continued to have international repercussions and influences on society and thought today. This essay will look at different aspects of the French Revolution and discuss how the different components of the revolution have affected the world and the impact of these at the time of the event. For the purposes of this essay the French Revolution will be defined as the insurrection in France that began in 1789 and ended in 1815 with the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. The actual dates of the revolution are widely contested but for the purposes of this essay, these dates will be used as a framework. Modern international will be assumed to mean the period of history from the Napoleonic Wars.

No single cause can be singled out for the French Revolution; although historians agree that it was a culmination of international and domestic events that sparked the revolution. The following reasons are commonly adduced; France had the largest population in Europe and could not feed it adequately, the rich and expanding bourgeoisie was excluded…...

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