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French Revolution-Rise of Nation-State

The French Revolution is a landmark in the history of democracy and civilisation. It gave the three cherished ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. It broke out during the reign of Louis XVI in 1789, which transformed France from absolute monarchy into a middle-class republic. This revolution is purely a social revolution and the revolution proclaimed that it was the people of France who would henceforth constitute the nation and shape its destiny.
The French revolutionaries introduced various measures and practices that created a sense of collective identity among the people. The ideas of la patrie (the fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) laid emphasis on the notion of united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution. A new French flag, the tricolor, was chosen to replace the former royal standard. The Estates General (Parliament of France) was elected by the body of active citizens and renamed as the ‘National Assembly.’
The revolutionaries brought about a centralised administrative system. Uniform law was passed for all citizens of France. Many irksome taxes were abolished. Weights and measurements were standardised. French became the common language of the nation.
The revolution spread in France to remove the Bourbon dynasty. Many students and educated middle-class people began to set up Jacobin clubs. With the outbreak of revolutionary wars, the French armies joined the revolution and began to carry the idea of nationalism abroad. The King of France Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were murdered along with the dauphin (the prince). The French Revolution came to an end in 1799.
The Consulate Period (1799–1804) began in France with Napoleon Bonaparte as the first consul. Napoleon Bonaparte brought many reforms, further inspiring nationalism. He introduced uniform civil code in 1804, popularly known as the Code of Napoleon.
Napoleon Bonaparte simplified administration by appointing prefects or local officers and abolished feudalism.
Transport and communication were improved. Peasants, artisans and businessmen realised the importance of uniform laws, standardised weights, measurements and a common national currency.
However, in the area conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte, there were mixed reactions. In the beginning, French armies were welcomed as the liberators but increased taxation, censorship, and forced recruitment into armies to conquer the rest of Europe brought unrest among the people.

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