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The French Revolution: Assignment 1
Transcript of The French Revolution: Assignment 1
During the Reign of Terror, the country split into two general factions: the ultranationalistic zealots, and the regular people that were opposed to Maximilien's brutal tactics. On one hand, it could be argued that this was a period with massive amounts nationalism, but on the other, it could also be the point where France broke apart. This period of extremism however, did manage to make the Napoleonic era seem much grander in comparison. Without this step backward, France would not have taken a leap forward.
The French Revolution: Assignment 1
By Breanna Ea and Martin Tran
Nationalism During The Different Phases of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era
Inspiring French Nationalism After the Revolution
The French Revolution's Success in Starting Nationalistic Movements in France
After the initial spark of the revolution, with the storming of the Bastille, the people of France decided that change was necessary. For the first time, they wanted to make their nation a better place. Shortly after the capturing of the prison, the citizens formed the National Assembly as a symbol of their nationalism. Their first action after banding together was to put into effect the Declaration of the Rights of Man, thus transforming the Absolute Monarchy into a more desirable Constitutional Monarchy in which the king had little power.
Not all of these nationalistic events were positive for the nation however, as some actions backfired or were organized with ill intent. The Reign of Terror led by Maximilien Robespierre for example started after King Louis was executed in public. For the radicals, this news was a sign of victory, but for others that were not so inclined towards such brutal and violent methods, doubt began to arise. Those that were caught badmouthing the revolution were arrested and at times even executed.
A year after the terror ended, Napoleon arrived to inspire the people that were left. With many military victories, and various religious, educational, and legal reforms acted as a banner to raise morale. Alongside these systematic changes, new infrastructure was built, acting as symbols to represent France's beauty. With Napoleon in charge, nationalism was even taught at school, making this period one of the highest in terms of nationalism.
The Symbols of France's Nationalism
France's flag has a simple design that is composed of the colors blue, white, and red. These colors originate from the cockades that the militia wore just before the Storming of the Bastille. Blue and red were the ancient colors of Paris, while the royal white was added afterwords by Lafayette, the commander of the National Guard.
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“Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”
“Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” translated in English to be Liberty, Equality and Fraternity is the national motto of France. During the French Revolution in 1789, “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” was the battle cry of the people of France. This motto holds tremendous significance to them due to the fact that they built a nation based upon these principles. Even today, this motto can be seen written on public buildings in France and on some French currency.
Napoleon was quite successful in inspiring the idea of nationalism among French citizens partly due to the measures he took to make people aware of their collective identity after he took over in power. He spent taxes on building infrastructure and monuments that represented events that made France so superior and successful. Napoleon also reformed education so that students would be learning about their nation and events that made their nation so great, such as Napoleon's wartime victories against their opponents. These victories helped strengthen French Pride as it allowed the people of France to be proud of something and showed that by uniting together, they can achieve success. All of these reforms and events played a major role in constructing the framework of French Nationalism.
On the morning of July 14th, 1789, the citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille, capturing it, and making the King surrender. This jail was the symbol of what the parisians loathed about France. This hatred created a reason for the people to want to band together and do something to better their nation. This was one of the first major events caused by nationalism during the French Revolution.
The National Anthem
Originally a hymn wrote to inspire the troops during the war with Austria, La Marseillaise gained much popularity, spreading throughout all of France. Its success led it to becoming France's first national anthem on July 14th, 1795, as well as becoming an iconic song for the French Revolution.
Planting the Seeds of Nationalism Throughout
Influences from the French Revolution & Napoleonic Era on
Modern Day Nationalistic Movements
Credit must be given to the French Revolution to some extent in contributing to modern day nationalistic movements as this event did spread the idea of nationalism across the globe. The French Revolution demonstrated that the actions of ordinary people uniting together can start a chain of events that lead to great change. This allowed the people of France to develop a collective consciousness which primarily rooted from shared memories and pride within their nation. They expressed this shared sense of pride in specific events that still occur today such as Bastille Day. July 14 is officially recognized as Bastille Day in France to commemorate the storming of the Bastille which took place on July 14, 1789 and marked the beginning of the French Revolution. The storming of the Bastille inspired French people to take up arms against the king and the nobility which eventually lead to the end of absolute monarchy. This event holds a lot of significance to the people of France not only because it marked the end of feudalism, but caused the birth of a sovereign nation.
The Confederation of the Rhine
During Napoleon's rule, France forced around three hundred German states - which at the time were did not consider themselves all one nation - into a mere 30, named the Confederation of the Rhine. After invading these states, Napoleon would marry his family members into these states to serve as watchdogs and keep the people living there from revolting. This oppression eventually backfired on Napoleon with the formation of a coalition of states from the Prussians, United Kingdom, and Russia. This force eventually defeated Napoleon, exiling him to the island of Elba. This coalition was a major display of nationalism that was directly caused by Napoleon's mistakes, ultimately resulting in his demise.
The Symbols of France's Nationalism Cont'd
The National Assembly
When the National Assembly was formed, one of their first official acts was to put into effect the Declaration of the Right of Man. This declaration states that all men were born free and equal in rights and that everyone should have the right to speak freely. By putting this declaration into action, it abolished the privileges contained by what originally was the first and second estate and eventually led to the creation of a nation that was based upon these new principles. This reform was one of France's high points in terms of nationalistic events.
Up until the failed Invasion of Russia, nationalism, and acts that displayed people's nationalism were widespread. For once, after an entire year or terror, the citizens of France could finally be proud to be french. The people gladly accepted Napoleon's commands to build large monuments to beautify France such as the Arc de Triomphe.