NCERT Solution for Class 9 History Chapter 1 - The French Revolution
NCERT Solution for Class 9 History Chapter 1 - The French Revolution Page/Excercise 24
The outbreak of the French revolution took place due to culmination of social, political, intellectual and economic factors.
Political - The Bourbon King of France, Louis XVI was an extremely autocratic and weak willed king who led a life of obscene luxury. This led to a lot of disenchantment among the masses who then were leading life of extreme poverty and widespread hunger.
Social - The social conditions in France in late 18th century were extremely unequal and exploitative. The clergy and nobility formed the first two Estates and were the most privileged classes in the French society. They were exempted from payment of taxes to the State. On the other hand, the Third Estate that consisted of peasants and workers formed the majority of the population. They were burdened with excessive taxes with no political and social rights. As a result, they were extremely discontent.
Economic - As a result of the numerous wars waged by Louis XVI, the State coffers were empty. The situation was made even more complex by France's involvement in the American War of Independence and the faulty system of taxation. While the privileged classes were excused from paying taxes, the Third Estate was more and more burdened with them.
Intellectual - The 18th century was marked by conscious refusal by French thinkers of the 'Divine Rights Theory'. Philosophers like Rousseau rejected the paradigm of absolute monarchy and promulgated the doctrine of equality of man and sovereignty of people. They played a pivotal role in exposing the faultlines of the old political system, i.e. the ancien regime and articulating popular discontent.
- The groups of French Society benefited from the revolution: The richer sections of the Third Estate were the ones who were benefitted maximum from the French Revolution. These were the peasants, workers, petty-officers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, businessmen and traders. Formerly, they were forced to pay all the taxes and were humiliated by the Clergy and Nobles every time. However, after the revolution, they were treated equally with the upper sections of the society.
- Groups of French Society that were forced to relinquish the power: People belonging to the privileged classes - Clergy and Nobles had to relinquish their power and special privileges. The French Revolution led to the society being organised into social equality. The revolution also led to the nationalisation of church property.
- Groups of French Society who would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution: The less privileged people, poorer sections of the society and women would have been disappointed with the outcome of the French Revolution. It was because the promises of equality made to them were not fulfilled at the end of the revolution.
The legacy of the French Revolution for the peoples of the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were as listed below:
- The French Revolution was one of the most important events in the history of mankind.
- It adopted the inspiring ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity which motivated many political movements of that era. These three ideals became the basic policy of a democracy for every country in the 19th and 20th century.
- It instigated the social and political changes that took place in the other parts of Europe.
- It inspired the world with the ideals of freedom and liberty which subsequently formed the basis of the national sovereignty.
- It abolished the monarchy rule and dictatorship of monarchs.
- It freed the peasantry from the despotism of the aristocracy and church and bought in the rule of capitalism.
- It popularised the concepts of equal rights for all citizens. All individuals having equal and same rights had become the new language of new politics.
- It gave the term 'Nation' and promoted the idea of nationalism - sovereignty of people. It inspired people of various countries and helped in restarting the mass movements all over the world.
- Indian leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy were deeply encouraged by the ideas propagated by the French Revolution. Also, India's struggle for independence was inspired by the ideas of the great French philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau.
Some of the democratic rights that we enjoy today and that can be traced to the French Revolution are as listed below:
- Right to Equality
- Right against Exploitation
- Right to Freedom of speech and expression
- Right to Life
- Right to Vote
- Encouraging the idea of fraternity
- Right to Constitutional Remedies
The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen was the first attempt toward making an outline of the universal rights on a larger scale. However, there were many ideals which contradicted what was being said in the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. Therefore, yes, the message of universal rights was beset with contradictions. These are as listed below:
- The right to vote and elect representatives was not a right that was entitled to all people. It was only people who were above the age of 25 and were able to pay taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer's wages had the right to vote. Thus, it was ironic that even after the revolution took place with the help of the support of the common man, i.e. the city poor and peasants, they weren't entitled to one of the most important rights.
- The contradiction was evident with regards to women. They did not enjoy the same political rights, i.e. the right to vote and hold political offices like men. Also, their wages were not equal to what men used to receive.
- The French wars popularised the ideals of liberty and equality; however, it ended in French becoming conquerors instead of liberators. This was in direct contradiction of the terms laid down by the universal rights.
- Slave trade existed in France till the 19th century. It was one of the cruel practices, which was yet another obvious contradiction.
The rise of Napoleon is a result of a political and economical instability in France and struggle for power. After the Jacobin government fell, a new constitution was introduced which provided for two legislative councils and a Directory. The Directory often clashed with the legislative councils, who then made attempts to discuss them. This political instability was due to these clashes. This provided Napoleon with an opportunity to become a dictator right after the fall of the Directory in 1796.
In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself as the Emperor of France. He was a brilliant General and used his power to conquer his neighbouring states. He introduced many laws such as protection of private property and a uniform system of weights and measures provided by the decimal system. He finally faced defeat at Waterloo in 1815.