The Revolution Becomes Radical
The revolution had three phases. The liberal phase found France under a constitutional monarchy during the National Assembly (1789–1791) and Legislative Assembly (1791–1792). After the destruction of absolutism and feudalism, legislation in this period guaranteed individual liberty, promoted secularism, and favored educated property owners. The aforementioned Declaration of Rights proclaimed freedom of thought, worship, and assembly as well as freedom from arbitrary arrest; it enshrined the principles of careers open to talent and equality before the law, and it hailed property as a sacred right (similarly, the National Assembly limited the vote to men with property). Other laws, enacted in conformity with reason, contributed to the “new regime.” They offered full rights to Protestants and Jews, thereby divorcing religion from citizenship; they abolished guilds and internal tolls and opened trades to all people, thereby creating the conditions for economic individualism; they rationalized France’s administration, creating departments in the place of provinces and giving them uniform and reformed institutions. Significantly, the National Assembly restructured the French Catholic Church, expropriating church lands, abolishing most monastic orders, and redrawing diocesan boundaries.
You are watching: What occurred after radicals took control of the assembly
The revolution did not end despite the promulgation of the constitution of 1791. King Louis XVI had never reconciled himself to the revolution and as a devout Catholic was distressed after the pope condemned the restructuring of the church (known as the Civil Constitution of the Clergy). Ultimately, the king attempted to flee France on June 20, 1791, but was stopped at Varennes. Radicalism constituted another problem for the assembly, for Parisian artisans and shopkeepers (called sans-culottes ) resented their formal exclusion from politics in the Constitution and demanded legislation to deal with France’s economic crisis and the revolution’s enemies, particularly nobles and priests. After Varennes, radicals called increasingly for a republic. In addition, revolutionaries’ fears of foreign nations and counterrevolutionary émigrés led to a declaration of war against Austria in April 1792. France’s crusade against despotism began badly, and Louis XVI’s veto of wartime measures appeared treasonous. On August 10, 1792, a revolutionary crowd attacked the royal palace. This “second revolution” overthrew the monarchy and resulted in the convocation of a democratically elected National Convention, which declared France a republic on September 22, 1792, and subsequently tried and executed the king.
The revolution’s second, radical phase lasted from August 10, 1792, until the fall of Maximilien Robespierre (1758–1794) on July 27, 1794. The Convention’s new declaration of rights and constitution in 1793 captured the regime’s egalitarian social and political ideals and distinguished it from the liberal phase by proclaiming universal manhood suffrage
See more: Driving Distance From Virginia Beach To Myrtle Beach And Virginia Beach
The stunning change of events stemmed from the revolutionaries’ three-pronged strategy under the leadership of Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety. First, they established a planned economy, including price controls and nationalized workshops, for a total war effort. The planned economy largely provided bread for the poor and matériel for the army. Second, the government forced unity and limited political opposition through a Reign of Terror. Under the Terror, the Revolutionary Tribunal tried “enemies of the nation,” some 40,000 of whom were executed—often by guillotine—or died in jail; another 300,000 people languished in prison under a vague “law of suspects.” The unleashing of terrorism to silence political opponents imposed order at the cost of freedom. It raised complex moral issues about means and ends and has led to vigorous historical debate: Was the Terror an understandable response to the emergency, one that saved the revolution from a return of the Old Regime, or was it a harbinger of totalitarianism that sacrificed individual life and liberty to an all-powerful state and the abstract goal of regenerating humankind? Finally, the revolutionary government harnessed the explosive force of nationalism. Unified by common institutions and a share of sovereign power, desirous of protecting the gains of revolution, and guided by a national mission to spread the gospel of freedom, patriotic French treated the revolutionary wars as a secular crusade. The combination of a planned economy, the Reign of Terror, and revolutionary nationalism allowed for a full-scale mobilization of resources that drove foreign armies from French soil at the Battle of Fleurus on June 26, 1794.