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Old February 17th, 2009, 10:26 PM   #1

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The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


A question that was given to us by our history teacher: Do you believe that the French Revolution can be considered the most important event in history? Now I'm not asking cause I need help, I'm asking because I would like to know what you think. I have already formed my own opinion and here it is: NO, simply no. There are other events that have impacted upon the world far greater than the French Revolution did. WW2 can be considered high on the list as well as WW1 due to the enormous amount of political change that the war brought. Anyway, what is you opinion and why?
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:12 PM   #2
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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


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Originally Posted by Son of Cathal View Post
I have already formed my own opinion and here it is: NO, simply no.
Agree. This french revolution is just an element in a serie of events.
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Old February 18th, 2009, 03:51 PM   #3

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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


It's important to certain parts of history, but no way it's the most important event, not even close.

Just from a Western point of view alone I'd say the fall of Rome had more of an impact than the Revolution
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Old February 18th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #4

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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


So what are the reasons given for the French Revolution being so critically important?

It was certainly important for the French, but it wasn't the first time a Monarchy had been removed. You had the American Revolution. The English also had Cromwell and a gradual removal of powers from the Monarchy and growth of the Parliament.

And of course in the long term the Revolution failed. Napoleon declared himself Emperor, and after he was defeated a Bourbon King was put back on the throne. For a while anyways. And the rest of Europes nations retained their Imperial rulers.

World War 1 saw more Royalty fall. In Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. It was a more extreme shakeup of the power systems in Europe than the Napoleonic wars.

The Revolutionary France certainly did show that there was other ways to organise society than the traditional systems. It may have been a seed for the later Communist movements. But it wasn't the only influence out there.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


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Originally Posted by gregorian View Post

It was certainly important for the French, but it wasn't the first time a Monarchy had been removed. You had the American Revolution. The English also had Cromwell and a gradual removal of powers from the Monarchy and growth of the Parliament.
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This is true, but the American Revolution and the French Revolution were fundamentally different. While both argued for "liberty" the experiences prior to the wars were quite different. Mainly, the American colonists had experience governing themselves. The "saluatory neglect" practiced by the British Crown allowed an autonomous (to an extent) government to develop not only its own methods of governing but also to create a tradition of leaders.

The French Revolution, on the other hand, had a two-tiered basis. The middle class revolted because it had no power but was often wealthier than poor noblemen and had to pay taxes.. The peasant revolted because they had no power, no money and were the only ones footing the taxes. One of the main points of contention was the the middle class and the peasants were lumped together into the Third Estate. Regardless of this social unrest, very few people in France had experience governing. That's why the Revolution ended up lasting over 10 years. And to say that the Revolution failed with Napoleon becoming dicator is a fallacy, as Napoleon was elected to the dicatorship. Thus No Revolution = No Napoleon.


But in regards to most important events...hmmm....I would definitely say the birth of Christ is in there. Even if you don't believe he was a deity or if he even existed, you cannot deny the importance of Him throughout the ages.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


It's one of several events of equally great importance: The Reformation, Fall of Constantinople, discovery of America, English Civil War, 1848 Revolutions, WW1 and associated revolutions of the interwar years, WW2, Breakup of the USSR and 9/11
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #7

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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


I would put the discovery of agriculture as the most important event. Without agriculture we would still be hunter/gatherers and not advanced past the neolithic stage.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:34 PM   #8
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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


Why is it these people that keep rebeling against different monarchies end up being the dictators that they hated , i.e Cromwell and Napoleon.

The French Rev, importent to the French but for overall world history their is a lot more things that are far more important
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #9
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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


A dictator is sometimes needed after a period of anarchy to stabilise the country (like Julius Caesar or Napoleon). However his term must be temporary and elections need to be resumed as soon as order is restored or you'll have a tyranny.
History has shown many dictators have become corrupted and unwilling to relinquish power (leading to tyrannies as was the case in Rome, the Commonwealth, Revolutionary France and the USSR)
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:23 PM   #10

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Re: The French Revolution: The most important event in history?


To the original poster, Son of Cathal, what were the reasons your History teacher gave for the statement?

It's easy to come up with reasons why the Revolution was important, but why MOST important?
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