"Before the French Revolution, gradual reform was well under way in Europe" Discuss

Essay by begonia May 2005

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"Before the French Revolution, gradual reform was well under way in Europe" Discuss.

The French Revolution could be considered the culmination of a gradual reform that took place all over Europe. In this essay we will take a look at different aspects in which reform was taken in England, that is a very good example to see how the reform was well under way. We will analyse social, political and cultural changes before the French Revolution.

The Industrial Revolution in Britain and the political and social revolution of 1789 in France, marked the beginning of Europe's modern history. During the years 1789-1815, Europe was dominated by the French Revolution and due to this revolution, loads of reforming movements had place elsewhere, which led to several revolutionary wars and the Napoleonic Wars.

If we take a look at 18th Century British society, we realise that it was the golden ages for aristocracy.

The increase of agricultural production gave them the opportunity to expand their invests, and the consequent domination of the government. New areas were created in London, Edinburgh and Dublin. The most important political offices were ruled by the aristocracy.

Other part of British society, gentry, were not happy with this new aristocracy, many holders couldn't afford the taxes imposed by landowners to finance Britain's wars. Although the gentry's status in the local community was secure, merchants soon eclipsed the gentry in wealth and influence on the national level during the 18th century.

Poverty dominated the lower classes of British society, and this was accentuated when the population grew and food prices rose by the middle of the century. Towns were full of homeless families, the sick, and individuals with disabilities. The government and charitable organizations established orphanages and hospitals, as well as workhouses where the unemployed could find temporary...



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