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French Revolution and the Idea of the Nation

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French Revolution in Europe is one of the most important movements for nationalism in Europe in 1789. France was declared a full-fledged territorial state in 1789 and came under an absolute monarch. But the political and constitutional changes which came about with French Revolution helped in the transfer of sovereignty from the monarch to the body of French citizens and constituted the nation and helped in shaping its destiny.

The French Revolution and the idea of the Nation

In 1789 Nationalism came with French Revolution and the political and constitutional adjustments caused the switch of sovereignty from the monarchy to a body of French citizens. Diverse measures and practices had been delivered which includes the thoughts of l. a. Patrie (the fatherland) and le citoyen ( the citizen). A brand new French flag, the tricolor changed selected to replace the former one. Democracy changed and destroyed France by using Napoleon and the Civil Code of 1804 referred to as the Napoleonic Code did away with all privileges based on birth, installed equality before the law, and secured the proper belongings.

French Revolution prompted an adjustment of governmental problems and the charter of France. In 1789 the energy turned moved from the government to a set of citizens.

Measures to Revolutionized the Movement

When the French Revolution began, it was not declared to be successful. To garner the attention of people and to emphasize the values, measures of political and social discourse were taken to shape the revolution and to form unity among the people. A few of the measures are stated below:

French Revolution and Idea of the Nation

French Revolution and Idea of the Nation

  1. The use and propagation of certain ideas like “la Patrie”, which means fatherland, and the idea of “le citoyen” (the citizen) were given certain importance.
  2. The application of a new and interesting French flag was designed and made by the body of citizens, which acted as a replacement for the existing standard royal flag of the monarch.
  3. The people of French elected a special Estates-General, which named as National Assembly, and a centralized system of administration was adopted with specially designed hymns, and Martyrs were dignified.
  4. Uniform laws and equality before the law was implemented. Everyone were ought to be treated equally when it came to law and justice.
  5. French was made a common and most used language after the French Revolution. The regional dialects and other languages were discouraged and French became the official and National language.
  6. Internal custom duties and dues were replaced by standardized weights and measures.

Jacobin Clubs

The revolutionaries were of the view and declared that it was the mission as well as the destiny of the people of the French nation for liberating the people of French from despotism and help other peoples of Europe to become nations and nation-states.

When the news spread of what was happening in France to other cities, students and other members of the educated middle classes started to set up Jacobin clubs. The activities and the campaigns in the Jacobin Clubs prepared the way for French armies which moved into Holland, Switzerland, and Italy by the 1790s. With the spread of revolutionary wars, French armies spread the idea of nationalism to the countries abroad.

Civil Code of 1804

The Civil Code of 1804 was introduced during the French Revolution by Napoleon, also known as Napoleonic Code. The main objective behind the Code was to implementation of the principle of equality before the law along with the Right to Property and special birth rights. Special privileges which might have existed previously based on birth or class were removed completely and everyone was treated equally.

The Code was exported to regions under French control. In Dutch Republic, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany, Napoleon simplified the divisions of administrations, abolished the feudal system, and also freed the peasants from serfdom and other manorial dues. In towns, the guild restrictions were removed, and transportation and communication came to be improved; with peasants, artisans and new businessmen came to enjoy newfound freedom. Small-scale producers began the realization that uniform laws and currency, promoted the movement and exchange of goods and capital between different regions.

The reaction of the people was mixed in the conquered regions. In certain parts like Holland, and Switzerland, and cities like Brussels, and Milan, the armies of the French were welcomed as harbingers of liberty. But soon it turned into hostility, as the new administrative arrangement did not go hand in hand with political freedom. The advantages were outweighed by increased taxation, censorship, and forced conscription to conquer the rest of Europe.

Idea of Nation

There were certain small events and actions which took place before and during the French Revolution, which helped to create a sense of togetherness and unity, as well as the Idea of a Nation among the common people of France. Some of the important events are mentioned below:

The Tennis Court Oath

It is one of the major and most important events in the revolution the Third Estate decided to move to an indoor tennis court and also pledged not to get separated till they gave France a separate constitution.

Storming of the Bastille

On 14 July 1789, a state prison situated on the east coast was attacked by an angry mob of people, and the prison turned out to be a special sign of the monarchy’s dictatorial rule.

Abolition of Feudalism

One of the most important developments and outcomes of the French Revolution was the Abolition of Feudalism. Old rules and taxes were abolished in the event and the National Assembly abolished feudalism.


Nationalism in Europe can be traced back to the French Revolution in 1789. The revolution intended to replace France’s absolute monarchy with a constitutional monarchy and establish a republic. The developments of political and constitutional origins and the coming together of people and the Idea of the Nation helped in the development of a sense of nationalism.

FAQs on French Revolution and Idea of the Nation

Question 1: What was the slogan of the French Revolution?


The slogan of the French Revolution was Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

Question 2: Why was the French revolution important?


The French Revolution ended the feudal system, did away with the system of monarchy, and establish civil laws and representations among the peoples and served to unify as well as strengthen France as a country and a people.

Question: What was the French Revolution and Idea of the Nation?


The French Revolution and Idea of the Nation refers to the various political and constitutional changes that came in the wake of French Revolution which led to a transfer of sovereignty from monarchy to the body of French people.

Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2023
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