WHAT then survived? The land of France had been transferred almost completely to the peasants; every one was equal before the simplified law and in eligibility for public employment under the more efficient government. It was conceded that henceforward there must be some kind of elected parliament and some pretence of respect for the public welfare. These were considerable gains and they placed France socially ahead of England.
The Revolution was, of course, popular in the United States and it stimulated the Spanish colonies in South America to rebel. In England, enthusiasm for the old revolution of the 1640's was only slowly awakening from a long night of disrepute. Whigs and young poets sympathised at first, but anti-French feeling had always been strong, especially among the Whigs, and the Whig nobles were shocked by attacks on noble property, while the Puritan middle class were shocked by atheism. The Tories were revolted by the whole thing, and the bulk of the nation was Tory. Sympathy for the Revolution in France and desire for reform in England practically died out as the old military ambitions of France began to reappear more strongly than ever. -
But elsewhere in Europe the Revolution was welcomed wherever there was a middle or upper class who were glad to get rid of an unenlightened native or foreign despotism. In Spain and Russia, however, the strong national feeling of a priest-ridden population was incapable of persuasion, and neither French armies nor French ideas were popular.
The Revolution alarmed and infuriated the opponents of change: in England reforms which were pending in the 1780's were delayed to the 1830's, and the wars which arose from the Revolution left the usual legacy. But in the long run the Revolutionary period stimulated change, invention, and reform: it broke the conventions of centuries and started the modern policy of planned, logical change.