The using social inequalities themselves abolished after

The French Revolution is a major event of the late eighteenth century. Born of thedifficulties of the monarchy and the contestations of absolutism, it marks a totalbreak with the “Ancien Regime” in the political and social field.France is modernizing and changing its face. A new political and social universe isemerging: the French were only subjects, and they become citizens involved in thepolitical life of a unified sovereign nation.But the Revolution also creates lasting divisions in French society, between the mostprogressive and the most conservative.We come to ask ourselves how the French revolution has shaped our modernpolitical and social institutions? In order to answer this question I will firstdemonstrate how it shaped our modern political institutions using the ideas ofMontesquieu or Rousseau. Secondly, I will show how this revolution has shaped ourmodern social institutions, using social inequalities themselves abolished after theRevolution.The French Revolution has shaped our modern political institutions first of all bydividing political power into three branches. Judiciary, executive and legislative. Notlike before the revolution where political power was invested in one person. The Ideaof Montesquieu’s Checks and Balance theory was a pillar that led to the FrenchRevolution. Montesquieu presents it in The Spirit of Laws ( Montesquieu 1748 ) inorder to prevent the haphazard and the abuses related to the exercise of sovereignmissions. More famous constitutional theory, and often invoked as in democraticregimes, the idea of checks and balance has been more or less rigorously put intopractice. Montesquieu thus distinguishes the enactment function from the generalrules, or legislative function; the execution function of these rules, or executivefunction; finally, the dispute resolution function, or jurisdictional function. Constantthat, in the absolute monarchy, these three powers are most often confused and heldby the same person. The philosopher pleads for everyone to be exercised by aseparate body, totally independent, both by its mode of appointment and by itsoperation. ;The princes who have tried to make despotic have always begun bygathering in their person all the magistracies, and several kings of Europe all thegreat offices of their state; (Montesquieu, Spirit of the laws 1748 Book VI Chapter 6).Each of the three organs would then represent a specific power: the legislativepower is expressed by representative assemblies, the executive power is exercisedby the head of State and by the members of the Government, the judiciary, finally, bythe judges and to the magistrates. According to Montesquieu, it was the regime ofEngland of his time that came closest to this ideal organization. The separation ofpowers is aimed at ensuring the balance of power. It would prevent any of them frombecoming despotic by forcing them all to moderate each other. Its purpose istherefore to protect individual liberties: ;Political freedom,; writes Montesquieu,;exists only where one does not abuse power; but it is an eternal experience, thatevery man who has power is inclined to abuse it; he goes until he finds limits. (…) Sothat we can not abuse power, it is necessary that, by the disposition of things, thepower stops the power ;(1748: Book IX).Secondly, based on Rousseau’s ideas people are not subjects anymore they arecitizens of the state. The Social Contract or Principles of Political Law ( Rousseau1762), is an analysis of the contractual relationship for any legitimate government, sothat the principles of justice and utility are balanced.According to Rousseau, justice can not be defined as "the right of the strongest". Ifjustice were so, the most powerful individuals would always be in favour. Justice inRousseau’s mind consists in the harmony of individual acts with civil authority. Butindividuals are only forced to act if authority is legitimate.In order to protect themselves and their assets, people agree on a contractualrelationship in which individuals commit to accepting various functions andobligations in exchange for the benefits of social cooperation.Each individual may have a particular will different from the general will, but in thecontext of the contract, the particular will may be compelled to submit to general will.The general will does not equate to the will of all individuals, for it is not the sum ofall particular interests.Sovereignty is the general will. This sovereign is incarnated in the body politic.Sovereignty, according to Rousseau, is inalienable and indivisible, in this sense arepublic that divides its sovereignty is no longer a republic and can no longerrepresent the public interest.In order to fight against groups of individuals who want to monopolize the general willand divert it to their advantage, Rousseau has imagined creating an institution solelyoriented towards the common good: Le Legislateur.Rousseau uses the term ;republic; to refer to any society governed by law orgoverned by the general will of his people. A civil law is an act of the general will,according to Rousseau, and the general will must be obeyed by all. Thus, obedienceto civil law is required for all individuals by the terms of the social contract. However,the institution of government is not a contract, but an act of the general will.As a result of the social contract, the civil laws are decided by a majority vote of themagistrates who are elected to represent the people. The minority that opposes thewill of the majority must accept all acts of the general will, and it can not refuse tosubmit to the general will, without violating the terms of the contract.The social contract implies a total and unconditional abandonment by each individualof his own natural rights in order to obtain the rights associated with citizenship. It isnot necessary for the sovereign power to guarantee the civil liberty and the legalrights of its subjects, because its interests are identical to those of the people. Ifsomeone refuses to comply with the general will, the citizen can then be forced toconform by the body politic: this is the meaning of the famous passage in whichRousseau says that the citizen can be ;forced to be free;. ( 1762: 364 )Nevertheless, Rousseau was aware that the perfection of the democratic regime wasa political ideal: ;If there were a people of gods, it would govern itself democratically.Such a perfect government is not suitable for men” ( 1762: III, 4 )The political system of the United-States for example demonstrates perfectly theidea of Montesquieu and Rousseau. It separates the judiciary, legislative andexecutive power and they check on one and another to make sure they are notabusing power and overriding the other branches. Nowadays we talk about theflexible separation of powers, the principle of a parliamentary system like the one ofEngland or Germany. This separation is the main quality of the presidential system inthe United States. The American political system is based on two principles:Federalism with 50 states. Each state has its own Constitution which specifies theorganization of the legislative, executive and judicial powers. The federated statesthus have their own judicial organization at the summit of which is a supreme court.And Presidentialism, the political system of the United States is a presidentialsystem, the central power is in the hands of the President who is elected by thepeople for a four-year term.The judiciary is also independent of the executive and legislative branches. TheUnited States Supreme Court ensures compliance with the constitution.The French Revolution shaped our modern political institutions by abolishing themonarchy leaving room for democracy. Montesquieu and Rousseau are the foundersof this idea of democracy. Their works inspired the French people to change things,which led to the separation of powers and where the man is now a citizen of a nationand not slave to a single king. Where each power is represented by different people,themselves elected by universal suffrage and controlled by the other parties so thatthere is no abuse of powerTo that extend we can say that the French Revolution is the mother of democracy.Platon summed up the idea of democracy in one quote : “La démocratie est unrégime plein d'agrément, dépourvu d'autorité, non de variété, distribuant aux égaux,aussi bien qu'aux inégaux, une manière d'égalité” ( Platon, La Republique )The French Revolution has shaped our modern social institutions by uniting thenation and abolishing social classes. The book "La Luttes des classes en France" (Karl Marx, 1850) opens with the invaluable Introduction that Engels writes in order toclarify Marx's intention and to rediscover the profound unity of his four articles. Thisseries marks "Marx's first attempt to explain a fragment of contemporary history bymeans of his materialist conception, and based on the economic data implied by thesituation" (1850: Introduction) . Cutting out this revolutionary episode in successiveperiods "From February to June 1848", "From June 1848 to June 13, 1849", "FromJune 13, 1849 to March 10, 1850" and "The abolition of universal suffrage in 1850"(1850). “La Lutte des Classes en France” thus chronicle the various political andsocial facts responsible for the extremely disturbed climate of this period, by placingthem in their economic context. The naive enthusiasm of the proletariat, subscribingin February to the ideal of fraternity and union against royalty, and the promise of itspolitical supremacy linked to the overthrow of Louis-Philippe did not stand before hisclass antagonism with the bourgeoisie. The latter brutally tears apart the social veilof which it appears the revolution, to openly display, through the various maneuversof the Provisional Government, its will to dominate. By separating and opposing pettybourgeoisie and workers, until the insurrection of the latter. In general ” La lutte desclasses en France” puts under the spotlight the idea of equal rights for everyonerather they are rich or poor the fact that they are citizens of a nation gives them thesame rights as anybody else. However in this book the author explains this conceptof equality through the causes of this national injustice that is “La Luttes desclasses”.Before the revolution the monarchy classified people based on the family they wereborn in. However after the revolution and according to the social contract, citizenshave articulated rights, their position in society is based on merite and not onaristocratic privilege. The French revolution has underscored the question of classes.In the history of modern politics since the revolution has been driven by how torespond to this question of class. On one hand the France nation has been trying tostop “La lutte des classes”. By raising taxes for the wealthiest part of the populationto help the least advantaged part. But the Government has also put in place manysocial welfare programs to support the people in need, to stop the social separationand unify the nation. On the other hand this doesn’t apply to other places in the worldsuch as the United-State in the present moment where the new adopted policybenefits the wealthiest class.The French Revolution has shaped our modern social institutions by redefying thenotion of citizenship and making the question of class central to politics. The SocialContract implies the idea of equal rights for everyone and pushing the government tounify the nation, abolishing social classes and putting each person, a citizens, equalto another no matter how much money or power they might have. The FrenchRevolution has changed the way people see themselves and pushed France tocreate new laws and new taxations systems to help disadvantaged people. Thereforgiven the right to anybody to be somebody.French Revolution has shaped our modern social and political institutions by creatingdemocracy. A democratic society treats equality as a fundamental value. This idea ofequal rights strongly advocated by Rousseau is a pillar to our modern institutionsand has given to todays world a new way a exercising political power.


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