History of France
Pan-European Renaissance originated in northern Italy in the fourteenth century. The French Renaissance covers various stages such as the French invasion of Italy in 1494 when Charles VIII was the king. It also covers the death of Henry IV, 1610.
Many artistic, literary and technological developments that can be traced back to Italian Renaissance arrived in France. These developments from Italian Renaissance arrived in France from Burgundy Court and the Papal Court in Avignon.
During this phase, many hindrances came in way of France’s progress. These phases were Black Death of the 14th century and the Hundred Years’ War. These contributed negatively to the growth of France, economically and politically. So the influences could also not be used fully.
The French Renaissance was at its apex during the rule of Francis I and his son Henry II. Francis I ruled from 1515 to 1547 and Henry II ruled from 1547 to 1559.
After the sad demise of Henry II in a joust, his widow Catherine de Medico and her three sons Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III ruled France. Renaissance kept flourishing in France but unfortunately the French Wars of Religion between Huguenots and Catholics did immense harm to the country.
Some notable developments in France during the French Renaissance are the beginning of absolutism in France, imports (from countries like Italy, Burgundy and other places) etc. Many other significant developments took place in France during the French Renaissance such as the early exploration of the “New World”.
The French Renaissance was a very rich phase of French history as it led to the development of new techniques and artistic forms in various fields. These fields include printing, architecture, painting, the sciences and vernacular literature etc. Other fields included elaboration of new codes of sociability.
Age of Enlightenment in France
The Age of Enlightenment in France existed in France from Louis XIV’s death in 1715. The Age existed till the coup d’etat of the 18th Brumaire (9th November), 1799. It was the date when the Napoleon Bonaparte became the king.
The period of the Age of Enlightenment in France can be divided into various stages such as the Regency, the reigns of Louis XV, Louis XVI and the French Revolution.
France experienced eight years of domestic peace and economic prosperity. That period saw the emergence of the philosophical spirit in salons, cafes and clubs. There was a gradual erosion of monarchical authority. The capitalistic bourgeoisie found new financial power. They wanted to annex political power. They were successful in fulfilling this ambition 1789 onwards.
The trend of light-heartedness became pronounced during Regency. It flourished during the reign of Louis XV. Towards the second-half of the eighteenth century, the philosophers reacted against the society’s libertine tendencies. They insisted on returning to the virtues of Ancient and Republican Rome. The Age of Enlightenment helped in developing the intellectual framework for the American and French Revolutions. This period also created the framework for the Polish Constitution of May 3 and Latin American Independence Movement. The Age also led to the rise of classical liberalism and capitalism. The classical and high baroque eras in music matched this period.
The French Revolution
The French Revolution that took place from 1789 to 1799 was a crucial period in the history of French, European and Western Civilizations. The uprising that brought the regime of King Louis XVI to its end is known as the French Revolution.
This was the phase, when absolute monarchy was overthrown and Republicanism took its place. During the French Revolution, the Roman Catholic Church also underwent a radical restructuring.
The First Republic fell to a coup d’etat. A coup d’Etat is the sudden overthrow of the ruling government through unconstitutional means. The part of the state establishment overthrows the government and replaces just the high-level figures.
After the fall of the First Republic, France oscillated among Republic, Empire and Monarchy.
The French Revolution was a crucial turning point in the history of Western democracy. From the age of absolutism and aristocracy.
It brought the transformation from the age of absolutism and aristocracy. The French Revolution brought the age of the citizenry as the dominant political force.
French Revolution launched the slogan “Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort!” meaning “Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death!”. This slogan was very popular. It was to popular to such extent that later it became the rallying cry for activists. These activists who promoted democracy and were aggainst oppressive governments could identify with the slogan.