The revolution is defined by the events of 17 alone.
The founding principles and morals of the revolution were that of the bourgeoisie, and these can best been seen by such documents as the declaration of the rights of man, the decree abolishing the feudal system, the Cashier de Doleances referring to the middle classes, and the actions and constitution of the revolutionary government up until 1793 and the beginning of the terror.
Many historians continue to define the revolution as the whole of the period 1789 – 1799.
Historians such as Geoffrey Ellis who points out how Napoleon himself declared at the Coup of Brumaire that: However I believe that the revolution is defined as the result of the power struggle between the old Ancien regime, and the newly emerging bourgeois middle class.
The Ancien regime saw an absolute monarch with complete power, running a feudal based society and economy.
The Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution states that it was in essence a power struggle between the middle classes or the bourgeoisie and the upper classes, aristocracy and the nobility.
The revolution’s heir must be the regime that follows on from were the revolution left France, and presides over, or creates the kind of society the revolutionaries of 1789 intended to.
It is my belief that Napoleon and the Napoleonic regime did not either preside over or create this kind of society and as such Napoleon cannot be considered an heir to the French Revolution.
This is proven by the view that it was the Third Estate, which began the revolution and this was dominated by the bourgeoisie.
It is claimed that they had been motivated by political ideology inspired by the enlightenment and the fact their economic wealth did not reflect their share of power.