Prior the French Revolution, France was divided by
various regions and religions. The only thing that could possibly link the
nation together was the belief that everyone was supposed to serve the king.
However, by the end of the eighteenth century, there appeared to be a sense of
membership among the French people. Some of them no longer saw themselves as
“subject” to serve the king, instead, they began seeing themselves as
“citizens” who serve their own nation proudly. This sense of
belonging can be said to have been the instigation of nationalism.
In the prerevolutionary society, the old regime,
everyone belonged to one of three estates. The third estate represented
everyone except for the aristocracy and the clergy, namely the middle class and
the peasants. On 1789, the third estate declared itself “National
Assembly” where it was insisted that deputies of all three orders should
sit as a single house and vote as individuals instead of one vote per house.
The unicameral self-entitled National Assembly was meant to remove the division
and marginalization of the government caused by the separation of constituency
and to represent the nation as a whole.
As the state became more secular, there was a large
demand for uncompromising loyalty to the state in order to keep the spirit of
the revolution alive. After the capture of Bastille, national guard was
established in Paris and other cities to keep order. For insignia of the guard
the commander combined the colors of the city of Paris, red and blue, with the
white of the house of Bourbon. The French tricolor thus became the emblem of
the Revolution, which is also the contemporary French national flag.
On 1789, the National Assembly issued “Declaration of the Rights of Man
and Citizen”, one of the most significant, if not the most significant,
documentations ever. 95 percent of population represented the Third Estate. It
was meant to affirm the principles of the new state and applied to all human
being, it recognized equal individual citizenship, and collective sovereignty
of the people.
Napoleon was a French military and political leader.
Napoleonic Wars began after he declared himself emperor in 1804 and Napoleon
began his quest for a European empire. The immediate effects of the Napoleonic
Wars were the development and spread of nationalism and further revolutions in
Europe. As Napoleon’s armies were conquering other nations, his soldiers also
began to spread ideas of the Enlightenment, changes in government, and
revolution. These ideas indirectly led to Napoleon’s defeat as people in Europe
began learning about challenges to government as well as new systems of
Napoleon’s armies, who had lived through the French
Revolution, shared news of the causes and events of their own revolution,
therefore spreading Enlightenment ideas about natural rights, social contract,
and limited government. His armies even backed revolutionary governments or
movements in the lands they conquered. At the same time, Napoleon tried to burden
French customs and culture, and in response, the conquered people began feeling
more loyal to their own nations and customs. Citizens of conquered lands such
as Austria, Prussia, Italy, and Portugal therefore began. After the 1870
nationalism took goes different direction and truly become a mass phenomenon. Whole
Europe become had a huge changed after the Napoleon’s leadership.
We will consider the relationship between political
reform and warfare, since throughout the period of the Revolution, France was
at war internally and with much of the rest of Europe. We will also analyze the
ways in which the Revolution transformed culture, so that men and women came to
think of themselves in new ways. Finally, we will seek to understand the
unexpected culmination of these epic struggles in a powerful, central
government in France under Napoleon. This course proposes not merely a
narration of the events of the Revolution but also an in-depth exposure to
primary sources: texts, images, and songs of the period. Furthermore, we will
engage with the rich and sophisticated historiography of the Revolution, which
has made the topic a matter of contemporary debate around the world.