The French Revolution – Part 1 | The Rebellious 18th Century #1

The French Revolution was one of the most prominent events known in the history of the world, particularly Europe. It had a profound impact in that continent specifically and also, the effects and impact spread over to every country outside, especially the Asian, the African, and the American colonies of European nation-states.

When we think of French Revolution, what usually comes to mind is Equality, Liberty, Fraternity.

The thing with France has been that there have been too many republics, in my opinion. And worse, in the pre-World War years, the country kept swinging from being an empire to a republic, something that is very fascinating for a person like me to note. All was well with France when the Bourbons came and became the ruling monarchs – and suddenly, Louis XVI, the weakest emperor ever, comes to the throne and bam! – people are clamouring for justice and equality. There had been revolutions in France before the Great one that occurred in 1789, which is the one we’re going to talk about here, but they were all easy to quell – I’ll tell you why soon.

Also, just as Britain is known for its Marys and Edwards and Georges, France is known for its Louises. I’m not even kidding–literally every king of the House of Bourbon except for the very first, is known as Louis [insert a number].

Europe in the Middle Ages was pretty brutal when it came to international relations. Although there were a lot of these new countries that popped up as a result of the fall of the Roman and the Byzantine Empires, there was a need to maintain a balance of power. This was especially due to the Thirty Years’ War that began as religious civil war between Bohemia and the Holy Roman Emperor but ended up including the rest of Europe. It’s a story for another day. This Thirty Years’ War came to an end with a series of peace treaties that were signed in the German province of Westphalia in 1648. This event is famously called the “Treaty of Westphalia”.

Now that we’ve got that figured out, let’s get right into the History of France in the 18th century.

France was at the peak of its power during the late 1600s and the beginning of the 1700s. It was the last years of King Louis XIV (then known as the Sun King), who seemed to have ruled the country with an iron-fist. It was he who introduced the divine mandate of rule in Europe – he said that he was chosen by god to rule the French Empire. Which made sense at the time of intricate and strong religious beliefs, and everyone believed him. You must understand that the 17th and the 18th centuries were times of the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, but not many stood by these principles and questioned the blind belief system they followed. It was very few intellectuals, such as Voltaire who questioned these beliefs and tried to prove them wrong, and they were arrested for spreading false information. You might remember in your Science classes that when Galileo Galilee stepped forth and said that the Earth was in fact revolving around the Sun and not the other way around, he was arrested for spreading false information – in other words, going against the Church. Time might sound silly to-day, but those were times when god meant everything to the people – he was the ultimate saviour–Jesus. Religion and god were very closely connected in the minds of the people and anything unnatural that happened would be associated with sinful acts, or acts against god.

But, all this started falling apart when weak rulers took the place of their strong ancestors.

When Louis XIV’s great-grandson, Louis XV, ascended the throne after him, he found that the economy of the empire was largely in debt. Of course, he didn’t personally realise it then, since he was a mere five-year old; his father, the Duke of Burgundy, died only ten months after his father’s death (of measles), so the throne went to him. Duke of Orleans, Philippe II, was regent in his place, until he was old enough to rule by himself. Louis XIV had a tight grip over his subjects and his empire and so, revolts and rebellions were crushed in their buds and not allowed to flourish. Scholars like Voltaire and Rousseau were writing books about liberty, equality, and fraternity, that slowly got the attention of the common people, but nobody could do anything about it. Louis XV was dubbed “The Well-Beloved King”, and he was best known for contributing to the decline of the French Empire, which, again, is a story for another day.

Right now, let’s talk about what came after Louis XV died.

Louis XVI inherited the throne after his grandfather died in the year 1774. His wife was Marie Antoinette of Austria, the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis I, and Empress Maria Theresa. The two were married as a peace-making treaty between the two countries. This was smack in the middle of the Age of Discovery and only three centuries ago, the continent of America was rediscovered by Christopher Columbus and the Spaniards. Eventually, there was the American War of Independence that was fought between the settled Europeans and the colonial government of the thirteen colonies of America. At the time, because of a lot of circumstances, the British and the French were rivals (one reason was differing religious beliefs); so, the Americans sought the help of the French for money, arms, and ammunition to defeat Britain and gain their independence. [The phrase “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” come to mind.] And since France was all for taking that one more peg off the British pedestal, Louis XVI agreed to do so. As a result, America’s thirteen colonies got their independence in 1776, while French financial crisis escalated.

That dialogue we all heard Queen Marie Antoinette say, “If you don’t have bread, then eat cake” is not really proven to be made by her.

The financial crisis was increasing, people were starving, and the royalty was enjoying eating and sleeping and doing literally nothing else in the palace of Versailles. This was the perfect environment for an all-out civil war between the two parties.


End of Part 1 of the French Revolution story. Part 2 coming up very soon!

 

For this article, I referred to the following sources for updated facts:

  1. Wikipedia
  2. BBC History
  3. The picture was taken from Wikipedia, depicting the storming of the Bastille

The Rebellious 18th Century – Series Introduction

The 18th century had been a turning point for a lot of countries. A series of incidents and events occurred that changed the very history of the planet. Major events that one may have learnt in school, such as the French Revolution, the Battle of Plassey, and the independence of the Thirteen Colonies of America.

The 18th century witnessed the height of colonisation of the Europeans. Most of the world was under their reins, the leading country being the British Empire, which proved to be a great naval as well as land force during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Close in the competition were the French and the Portuguese; the Spanish were, by this time, more or less destroyed, due to the destruction of their grand Armada by the British naval forces.

In “The Rebellious 18th century” series, we shall learn about these events and more that went by without too much significance, perhaps, but still played a vital role in the history of the world. Starting with the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden, followed by the death of Aurangzeb and its consequences, and finally, the rise of Napoleon and the Anglo-French Wars in the Indian-subcontinent, I shall try to give as comprehensive lessons as possible, and try to link each event with another, so as not to confuse my readers. You can contact me anytime through the comments section to clarify something or add your own idea about the information in the articles, even correcting, if the need arises.

With this, I conclude the introduction.

See y’all in my next post! 😉

GREAT NEWS!!

This month, I became a published author!

My young adult fantasy adventure novel, “The Young Foreigner“, is now out on Amazon as both ebook and paperback. You can purchase your copy here!

The experience was amazing! I love and hated every part of the publishing process! I’ll perhaps make an article about it for people like me who’re considering self-publishing route. Of course, I myself had to do some research to finally arrive at this decision.

The ebook came out on 4th December 2019, whereas the paperback on 12th December. You can now buy them on Amazon in the link mentioned above! I particularly made efforts to format my manuscript and publish it as a physical copy for people like me who’d prefer them.

That’s all for now. See y’all in my next post!

BOOK NEWS!!!

To-day’s article is not much to do with History, but……………….

I’VE GOT SOME AWESOME NEWS!!!

“THE YOUNG FOREIGNER” IS NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON KINDLE!!!

I first started writing and posting this story on Wattpad exactly three years ago, completed it in around four or five months, and then, kept it stagnant for two and a half years, before I resurrected it once again from the depths of my computer in order to make an attempt at finally publishing it. I tried a little querying, but that didn’t work. Granted I didn’t put extra efforts, because I wanted control over my story and wanted to give it in its vulnerable form to those I trusted. In the meantime, I had been trying to promote it on my blogs and other websites, to gain readership. It worked, I guess, because my reads increased slowly but surely.

Then, three months ago, I had a sudden inspiration to publish it (owing to a contest that required a Kindle book) and so, I started reading it. Nearly every line I read made my skin crawl. I don’t mean to say that my writing was horrible. It was actually pretty good. But then, it didn’t match how I had originally intended the message in the story to show and did the opposite instead. So, I decided that I had to rewrite almost fully. I did. It was read and edited thrice by three different sources.

And finally, this morning, it was complete. I submitted the copy as a Kindle version.

For those who don’t have a Kindle (even I don’t; I prefer paperback), don’t worry, a paperback will be following soon after my exam is done. It’ll be released by the end of the year. Originally, I had intended for both to release together, but the Kindle itself had so much to understand and do that I decided that the paperback could wait, since only the Kindle was urgent.

That is the story of my debut. If any of you is interested, the release date of Kindle is 04 December 2019. But, you can pre-order it here. It’s young adult fantasy adventure and this genre interests you, please consider buying a copy.

Thank you so much! See you all in my next update!

 

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch of Great Britain, only after the present Queen Elizabeth II, having ruled for 64 years from 1837 to 1901. She was the daughter of Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. She lost her parents at a very young age. She was fifth in the line of succession and ascended the throne at the age of 18, when her brothers before her died without heirs.

 

Three years after becoming queen, Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany. Their nine children married the children of various nobles and royal families, including Russia, thus dubbing her the “Grandmother of Europe”.

She is associated with what is known to-day as the Queen Victoria Proclamation. This was issued on 01 January 1858, regarding the the Revolt of 1857 in most parts of northern and Deccan India. She received the title “Empress of India” in the year 1876.

Queen Victoria has also been credited with starting the tradition of white weddings and white bridal gowns when she selected a white gown for her wedding to Prince Albert. This was quickly carried on by wealthy brides and continues to this day.

Queen Victoria was a carrier of haemophilia. Haemophilia is a disease that prevents the clotting of blood even in the smallest of wounds. The queen, as a carrier, was not affected, but eventually, her future great-grandson, Alexei, heir to the throne of the Russian Empire, and the youngest son of the last Tsar Nicholas II, was haemophilic. Most often, it is women who carry this disease, so a male affected by it would be as a result of his mother being the carrier. In Alexei’s case, it was his mother, Tsarina Alexandra (granddaughter of Queen Victoria), who was the carrier.

Queen Victoria was so committed to her husband that, when Albert died in 1861, she became very depressed and reclusive, to the point of nearly abandoning her subjects. Nonetheless, she eventually managed to pull through and rule for the next 40 years. She was a such an influence in the British society that the period of reign is referred to as the “Victorian era”. Women and girls looked up to her for a lot of things. An entire set of social mannerisms has been attributed to her by historians to-day.


Images from History Extra and Town & Country Magazine. 

Moment of Truth #3 – History is a Science

Yes, you read the title of to-day’s article right.

Let me explain.

You are a person of so-and-so age, living with a family who loves you and whom you love. You have been wearing glasses for the past four years. Now, that is rather unusual (though not uncommon), since you’re too young to have eye issues. You had gone to an eye specialist and, after a series of scientific tests, he had prescribed you to wear glasses of certain power. Now, we all know that short-sightedness is hereditary. You see that none of your parents had such premature short-sightedness, so you go further back, to your grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. In short, you’re exploring history.

Now, coming to the point that history is a science. Ever since history began to be written, back in the days of the Greek civilisation, scholars argued about whether it was a science or an art. To-day, it has been classified as both. (Though, I have an arts degree in History!) There is a reason for this.

Do you know what Historiography means? Basically, it means the history of History. Meaning that it is a subject that explores the history of the subject of History. So, in Historiography classes, you learn about the very origins of History, its founding father, its classification, the methodology of research in History, and the various arguments and discussions regarding History that occurred over time. In the methodology of History, there’s something known as ‘scientific method of research‘ – it just means that scholars use scientific methods to enquire into historical events and record them. Not like performing experiments, which is literally impossible for a subject like History, but like asking fundamental questions and trying to discern the myth from the truth. Historians try to record as much of the truth as possible. Of course, that’s subject to the government currently ruling the country; in which case, History becomes tangled with politics, which should be avoided. History should be without emotions and people recording it should not take sides. Often, lack of evidences and/or sources lead historians to record false information.

So, the next time you ask why History should be studied when Science is superior, remember that History also uses a lot of scientific knowledge. This is not only limited to theoretical studies. The practical form of History is called Archaeology. It is, in short, the study of inscriptions and artefacts through which historical narrative is derived. Historians and archaeologists work together to find out the truth. And how do archaeologists find out information from long-dead fossils? By using scientists to build their machines. And these scientists use Science and scientific techniques.

Like the Sociologist Auguste Comte said:

Long story short, never underestimate the power of History. You need history to know science. After all, History are Science are mutually dependent. History explains the origins of everything on this planet.

See you all in my next post!

Moment of Truth #2 – Learning History Will Be Your Salvation!

“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This is so true and an apt quote for my theme to-day.

Oftentimes, students have the same question: “Why do we have to learn History? What good will it do us to know what happened in the past when we’re living in the present?” As for me, I used to ask, “Why do I have learn Science when I’m not interested in it?”

The answer applies to both the questions: Because it’s a part of our lives. Yes, History and Science both.

Furthermore, History is a part of how we are. You might say, “We need to let go of our past and not hang on to it. So, why are you even bothering with this article?”

And I say, “Because we also need to learn from the mistakes of the past.”

Now, people like Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler might’ve seemed like they didn’t learn much from European history since they went ahead to attempt conquering Russia in climatic conditions they weren’t used to, but they sure did employ historical identities to rally people to their sides – to become their followers. As horrible acts as Hitler had committed during his leadership days, his greatest achievement was making the impossible possible: uniting the people of a country. No government was able to do this as much as the former leader was able to.

And please don’t hate on me for this. I’m a student of History and it’s my responsibility to be neutral. I try to be so as much as possible. Which means, I’m not trying to promote anything, except the love for History. Honestly, this is my only goal in making these Moments of History articles. I say this because I had to block somebody on Twitter who lashed out at me for passing a positive comment about Hitler. *face-palms irritably*

Anyway… coming back to the topic at hand. Learning what happened in the past helps us built a better future. In fact, governments all across the country do this all the time. Researchers do this all the time. Hell, scientists do this all the time. Remember that thing parents always say, “You’ll learn not to touch fire when it burns you”? That’s exactly what happens when you study History. When you’re reading about an event in the past, you’re also gathering the rights and wrongs done by people of that time period during that incident. So that, when you come across something similar, you’ll know what to do and what not to do.

Now, you might say, “Bah, why would I face the same problems as this dude in the 18th century? Times changed now, technology is much more advanced!”

I’d only shrug and say, “History has a tendency to repeat.” And how! I cannot count how many times the same incident happened to me and the different mistakes I committed each time. I’m sure I’m not the only one here; many of you must’ve experienced such a thing. Sometimes, we won’t even realise it.

So, just as how a child’s brain would remember that touching flame would burn them, likewise, the brain remembers all the mistakes committed in the past and will try to find out ways to not make them again.

I hope all this made sense. See you in my next post!

Moment of Truth #1 – You Don’t Have to Memorise Dates in History!

History–it’s a word that probably should receive the award for being the most hated.

Then again, maybe it’s not the only word a major of people hate. There could be more that I don’t know of.

Anyway, the point of this article is not to see the statistics. It’s about why learning History is important. As a passionate lover of the past, it grieves me to see so many people around me who hate History with equal passion. Now, I don’t mean to say that we need to hang on to the past and not let go. No. What I mean is that I want people to be aware of why this particular subject has been enforced upon them for five years in school.

History is actually not such a bad subject. Those of you who dislike it because of dates, then I’m here to tell you that remembering dates is not at all important. As long as you write a date that’s close to the actual one, that’s enough. It doesn’t have to be exact. You know your date of birth, you know when your country gained independence (every citizen has this drilled into their heads), and you know the important dates relating to your country’s past whatever they may be (1857 Revolt in India, passing of the first Universal Adult Franchise, passing of the first constitution). Now, find out a few more lesser important dates, and make a mental timeline in your head. Link all these dates together and you can fit the rest between them. If a treaty was signed on 30 April 1952 and during exam you don’t remember this date, at least ensure you remember the year; month is secondary. In reality, it takes a long time for people to come together and write down a treaty – and even longer for them all to sign it. The same goes to revolutions – the French Revolution didn’t happen in a single day, rather for a duration of at least three years, from 1789 to 1792. Events like the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution has even more stretch in its time period – so much that one can’t attach a year or a decade to it. They all happened over a period of centuries.

So, if you’re a student of History and hate it, and the only reason you have is having to memorise the dates, then I hope this article reassures you against it.

See you all in my next post!

Role of Nuclear Weapons in International Relations

Role of Nuclear Weapons in International Relations

 

          Nuclear arms race is one of the major themes of the international relations to-day. However, the fight isn’t as intense as it had been in the latter half of the 20th century, when the Nuclear Age actually began. Continue reading

The Relevance of NAM in To-day’s World

The Relevance of NAM in To-day’s World

 

         The NAM or Non-Aligned Movement as an ideology emerged close to the end of the colonial period and the end of the Second World War. It was founded by five post-colonial leaders—Josip Tito of Socialist Yugoslavia (former), Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Dr Sukarno of Indonesia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana—in the Bandung Conference of 1955. It was formalised by the signing of the Treaty of Brijuni the following year.

Continue reading