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Measures taken by French Revolutionaries to create a sense of national belonging in the hearts of French people.

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  • In 1789 , the first clear expression of nationalism came out with the French Revolution.
  • France in 1789 was a full-fledged territorial state under the rule of an absolute monarch.
  • In the wake of the French Revolution , the political and constitutional changes that came led to the transfer of sovereignty from the monarchy to a body of French citizens.
  • The French revolution proclaimed that it was the people of France who would constitute the nation and shape its destiny.
  • From the very beginning of the revolution , the revolutionaries started introducing various measures and practices that could create a sense of collective identity amongst the French people.
  • The ideas of la patrie (the fatherland) and le citoyen (the citizen) were introduced to promote the notion of a united community enjoying equal rights under a constitution.
  • To replace the former royal standard , a new French flag , the tricolor was chosen.
  • The body of active citizens elected the Estates Genera l and renamed the National Assembly.
  • In the name of the nation new hymns were composed , oaths were taken and martyrs were commemorated .
  • A centralized administrative system was put in place.
  • Uniform laws were formulated for all citizens of the nation.
  • Internal custom duties and dues were abolished.
  • Uniform system of weight and measures were adopted.
  • Other regional dialects were discouraged and French became the common language of the nation.
  • The French revolutionaries declared that it was their aim and mission and the destiny of the French nation to liberate the people of Europe from despotism.
  • With the news of the F rench revolution reaching other cities of Europe , students and members of educated middle classes began setting up Jacobin clubs.
  • In the 1790s the activities and campaigns prepared by the J acobin Clubs prepared the way for the French armies which moved into Holland , Belgium , Switzerland and much of Italy.
  • French armies began to carry the idea of nationalism abroad.


Napoleon destroyed the democracy in france.


  • Although he again set up a monarchical regime , in the administrative field he incorporated r evolutionary principles to make the whole system rational and efficient.
  • The Civil Code of 1804 also known as Napoleonic Code was introduced which did away with all the privileges based on birth , established equality before law and secured right to property.
  • Napoleonic code was exported to regions under French control.
  • Napoleon simplified administrative divisions, abolished the feudal system and freed the peasants from serfdom and manorial dues.
  • In towns , Napoleon removed the guild restrictions.
  • Transport and communication system was improved.
  • A new found freedom was enjoyed by peasants , artisans, workers and new businessmen.
  • Small scale producers and businessmen started to understand that uniform laws , standardised weights and a common national currency would make the movement of goods and exchange of goods and capital from one region to another easier .
  • However, the reaction of the local population to French rule was mixed. 
  • Some places like Holland, Switzerland, Brussels, Mainz, Milan and Warsaw French armies were welcomed as harbingers of liberty.
  • But soon hostility developed among people as administrative arrangements did not go hand in hand .
  • Increased taxation , censorship , forced administration into french armies outweighed the advantages of the administrative system.  

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Davneet Singh

Davneet Singh has done his B.Tech from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. He has been teaching from the past 13 years. He provides courses for Maths, Science, Social Science, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science at Teachoo.