PAGE No. 24
Q.1. Describe the circumstances leading to the outbreak of revolutionary protest in France?
Ans. There were some causes which led to the outbreak of revolutionary protest. They are as follows-
(i) Privileges based on birth: There were rich people in the society who received privileges by birth leading to resentment among common people.
(ii) The war with Britain for an independent America: Due to this war, there was a high debt on the French monarchy. For the repayment of those debts, many new taxes were imposed on the common people.
(iii) Concentration of power among the privileged: There was no equal division of power in the society. The 3rd estate was Only had to pay taxes.
(iv) Subsistence Crisis: There was a demand supply gap of bread due to the increasing population and less production of grain.
(v) Growing middle Class: A new class emerged due to the increase in overseas trade. As the people of the middle class were educated and believed in the idea of equal distribution of wealth they began raising their voice to end the privileges on the basis of right of birth.
Q.2. Which groups of French society benefited from the revolution? Which groups were forced to relinquish power? Which sections of society would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution?
Ans. (i) The wealthy class of the third estate which came to be known as the new middle class of France benefited the most from the revolution. This group comprised of big businessmen, petty officers, lawyers, teachers, doctors and traders. Previously, these people had to pay state taxes and they did not enjoy equal status. But after the revolution they began to be treated equally with the upper sections of the society.
(ii) With the abolition of feudal system of obligation and taxes, the clergy and the nobility came on the same level with the middle class. They were forced to give up their privileges. Their executive powers were also taken away from them.
(iii) The poorer sections of the society, i.e. small peasants, landless labourers, servants, daily wage earners would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution. Women also would have been highly discontented.
Q.3. Describe the legacy of the French Revolution for the peoples of the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
Ans. The French Revolution proved to be the most important event in the history of the world.
(i) The ideas of liberty and democratic rights were the most important legacy of the French Revolution. These ideas became an umpiring force for the political movements in the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.
(ii) The ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity spread from France to the rest of Europe, system was finally abolished.
(iii) Colonised people reworked on the idea of freedom from bondage into their movements to create a sovereign nation state.
(iv) The idea of Nationalism that emerged after the French Revolution started becoming mass movements all over the world. Now people began to question the absolute power.
(v) The impact of the French Revolution would be seen in India too. Tipu Sultan and Raja Rammohan Roy got deeply influenced by the ideas of the revolution. In the end, we can say that after the French Revolution people all over the world became aware of their rights.
Q.4. Draw up a list of democratic rights we enjoy today whose origins could be traced to the French Revolution?
Ans. The following fundamental rights given in the Indian constitution can be traced to the French Revolution-
Q.5. Would you agree with the view that the message of universal rights was beset with contradictions? Explain.
Ans. The contradiction that follows in the message of universal rights as per the French Constitution of 1791 was women being completely ignored. Women were struggling for equal political rights. All the rights at that time were given to men.
Apart from that the presence of a huge number of people as passive citizens, without voting rights, was like not putting into practice what you preach. It could also be said that the declaration of universal rights was a good beginning but it left much to be desired. In this universal rights, the poor were suppressed. The Constitution is only available for the rich. Women were completely neglected in decision making.
Ques.6. How would you explain the rise of Napoleon?
(i) The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon had achieved glorious victories in wars. This made France realise that only a military dictator like Napoleon would restore a stable government.
(ii) In 1804, he crowned himself the emperor of France. He set out to conquer neighbouring European countries, dispossessing dynasties and creating kingdoms where he placed members of his family.
(iii) Napoleon viewed himself as a moderniser of Europe. He introduced many laws such as the protection of private property and a uniform system of weight and measures provided by the decimal system.
But his rise to power did not last for a long time. He was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.