From 1750 to 1914, France experienced a dramatic shift politically and culturally with their monarchy, nobility, and Catholic Church; and socially with Enlightenment ideas, but shows consistency through gender roles remaining more or less unchanged. During the time from 1750 to roughly 1914, great political upheavals such as the French Revolution began the process of giving people a greater voice in politics. This change transformed the economies of the world intellectually and created social developments. During the era from 1750 to 1914, France was one of the most successful countries of Europe. It was home to many leading Enlightenment thinkers such as Montesquieu and Voltaire.
France experienced civil unrest with King Louis XVI in power. King Louis XVI had no concern for what was happening beyond his grand court, therefore he was unaware of the rebellious ideas building up. The philosophers enlightened lower classes to demand for equality and liberty. After demanding for their rights, they stormed the French prison Bastille in 1789 when their voices weren’t heard. Now the revolution was really inaction. The National Assembly was now the dominant political power, the assembly took away privileges from First and Second Estates and created a limited constitutional monarchy.The assembly also established control over church lands.
The assembly removed King Louis XVI and created a new government. Robespierre gained power through spreading radical policies and initiated a period of executions. France changed from an absolute monarchy to radical rule.
Napoleon was chosen to be the leader, under his rule, France returned to an absolute monarchy. Under his rule, many Enlightenment ideals were achieved. He also balanced the power between church and state. Growing nationalism resulted in Napoleon’s withdrawal from power. The Congress of Vienna met to create peace.
France transitioned from absolute monarchy to democracy. This transition led to many significant changes such as the end of serfdom and decreased power of the nobility. During the era from 1750 to 1914, in spite of great social turmoil, gender role remained constant. Throughout France’s transitions in government, women played a small role in facilitating ideas by opening their salons to Enlightenment thinkers.
They had little direct power and were still seen as inferior to men. When Napoleon was removed from power, women saw little change in their rights and status. Philosophers like Mary Wollstonecraft had little support for her ideas, but society continued as male dominant. Women continued to work for their rights, including the suffrage. Despite the numerous political changes, gender roles hardly changed, demonstrating the continuity of women’s status from Louis XVI’s rule to the Congress of Vienna.
On a global scale, the essential course of the French Revolution was very similar to the American Revolution. Both were directed by the Enlightenment thinkers, demanding for liberty and equality. Both influenced other rebellions and revolts and advocated for church control. Women’s rights remained static in most areas of the world, including France and America. From the 1750s to 1914, France progressed from an absolute monarchy to a democracy, highlighting the influence of the philosophers.
Despite the political change, women’s rights was a continuity.