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French revolution and Paine - Essay Example

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French revolution and Paine

"Moreover, since the Church was so closely bound up with the ancient institutions and now to be swept away, it was inevitable that the Rion, in overthrowing the civil power, should assail the established religion," Tocqueville (1969, pp. 222-223).
Food scarcity, unemployment, poor economic situation, national debt, starvation are other causes. "The social structure on the European continent still have an aristocratic imprint, the legacy of an era when, because land was virtually the sole source of wealth, those who owned it, assumed all rights over those who tilled it," (Lefebvre, 1962, p.38).
2. Paine, wrote in 1791 a reply to Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke, actually defended the French Revolution by saying that the revolution was necessary to bring in equality and human liberty, which have been deprived for a very long time in France. He was a great pamphleteer of his age and had a sarcastic and effective way of expressing things that was hard-hitting for a ready audience. To him the main causes of revolution were denial of equality, liberty and lack of democratic way of life. He was less concerned with the misrule or corrupt ways of administration and was more concerned with the basic rights of man and he opposed monarchy. He had no animosity against the King, but was arguing that the system was fundamentally corrupt.
"The King was known to be the friend of nationbut the principles of the government still remained the same" (Rights of Man, 47). He wanted the people to be represented at all times. He insisted that people have a natural right of revolution. He thought French revolution was not against the sitting government, but against the hereditary right to govern, which he thought was 'as ridiculous as a hereditary poet laureate'. He thought 'monarchy must be resisted'

"Paine desired the triumph of Enlightenment, reason and republicanism, first and foremost, because he believed that it would bring about a better" Kates, "From Liberalism to Radicalism: Tom Paine's Rights of Man," 569.

3. Paine was a democratic radical and was the voice of common man, and once said: 'the present age will hereafter merit to be called the Age of Reason, and the present generation will appear to the future as the Adam of the new world'. The Rights of Man was a debate between conservatives and radicals which went on for years. It is the analysis of discontent under arbitrary governments, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment and war prevalent in Europe of those days. He said all these were causes of French revolution. In spite of being a virulent anti-monarchist, he voted against the execution of the Emperor, whom he thought was a straight forward person, trying to do an impossible work. He did not like the violence after the revolution that marred the revolution itself and he was not in favour of the elimination and humiliation of the Royal family. Paine almost got executed by the Jacobists who thought he was a royalist, though nothing could have been farther from truth. He politicised the lower orders and demanded social reforms as part ...Show more


1. Causes of French revolution had been mulled over and over for centuries now and they still remain fresh to be explored. The uprising that brought the rule of Emperor Louis XVI to an abrupt end with gory results in one of the richest and most civilised nations of the world had multiple causes, but perhaps nothing to warrant that kind of bloody upheaval where thousands and thousands lost their lives…
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French revolution and Paine essay example
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