Research on Class Struggle and the French Revolution
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The struggle between social and economic classes also played a significant role in the French Revolution
- There was political turmoil among the upper classes
- Huge population growth among the peasants
- Frustrated bourgeois class
- The rural areas of France, where over-population was strongest and the social polarization increased when demand for land outweighed the available supply, that played a significant role as a cause of the French Revolution.
- The peasants were expected to carry an increasing load of monarchy’s taxation in the final decade before the Revolution. Due to high taxes and other economic factors, the purchasing power of French peasants declined by 25 per cent over the five decades preceding the Revolution.
Meanwhile, landowners exploited the peasants, and the peasants demanded some for of agrarian law that limited the size of farms. Landowners, on the other hand, resented having to share their crops with peasants and tried to stop gleaning and free grazing practices, which further polarized the rural classes.
Class Struggle and Marx
Class struggle as a cause of the revolution was discussed by Marx as a “bourgeois revolution, uniting the peasantry and urban masses behind it, achieves the breakthrough from the feudal to the capitalist mode of production. For Karl Marx, the existent of class struggle was the inevitable cause of the revolution, and his view depended upon a class that was prepared to revolt. Unlike the romantic philosophers and writers who proposed ideals of liberty and democracy, Marx proposed the science of revolution that was both political and social in nature, and he and Engels based a great deal of their communist propositions on the events leading up to the French Revolution. According to the Marxist view, the French Revolution was the result of an increasing conflicts between advancing classes in a society where they were held back by an elite minority. This view of class struggle appears misguided in light of the populist nature of the French Revolution, which transcended class divisions.