Tuesday, July 12, 2005

French Revolution.Hopes,events and aftermath.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

For those of you (few I hope!), whose knowledge of history is as scant as mine,here's a very brief synopsis of some hopes for,events in, and aftermath of the French Revolution.



French Revolution - Impact of the Revolution

The French Revolution was a crucial event in Western history and a fundamental influence on British intellectual, philosophical, and political life in the nineteenth century. In its early stages, it portrayed itself as a triumph of the forces of reason over those of superstition and privilege, and as such it was welcomed not only by English radicals like Thomas Paine and William Blake but by many liberals as well, and by some who saw it, with its declared emphasis on "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity" akin to the Glorious Revolution of 1688.
The bloodbath of the Reign of Terror did much to demean the French Revolution and those who had at first welcomed revolution, were appalled and shocked by its consequences . The old regime in England, had always been against the Revolution. The spokesman for this opinion was Edmund Burke, who denounced the Revolution in 1790 in Reflections on the Revolution in France. George III gave it to all his friends, saying that it was a book 'which every gentleman ought to read.' Burke maintained that the radicals who had begun the Revolution were interested first in the conquest of their own country and then in the conquest of Europe - which would be 'liberated' whether it wished to be or not.
Tom Paine's great response to Burke's work, The Rights of Man, supported revolution and appeared in 1791. The debate between conservatives and radicals raged on for many years, and certainly influenced Victorian ideas. The French Revolution began in 1789 with the meeting of the States General followed by the storming of the Bastille. By December 1792 Louis XVI was brought to trial and executed on January 21, 1793. In the same month the revolutionary government declared war on Britain. The Committee of Public Safety and the Revolutionary Tribunal were set up immediately after the execution of the King.
The Reign of Terror began in September 1793 and lasted until the fall of Robespierre in July 1994. In short this period was a bloodbath where the aristocracy & potential enemies of the new republic were hunted down and killed. During the last six weeks of the Terror alone (the period known as the 'Red Terror' depicted in the engraving above) nearly fourteen hundred people were guillotined in Paris alone. In October of 1795 things calmed down somewhat with the establishment of the Directory, which was replaced in turn, in 1799, by the Consulate. In May of 1804 Napoleon Buonaparte became the Emperor of France.

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