French RevolutionLiberty, Equality, Fraternity 1780 CE – 1791 CE
The French Revolution Begins• The French Revolution began in 1789 – The French Revolution was more complex, violent, and radical than the American Revolution – The French Revolution tried to create a new political order and a new social order – It is considered a major turning point in European political and social history• Before the Revolution, French society was drastically unequal; the population was divided into three orders, called estates
Three Estates of France • First Estate • Second Estate • Third Estate• The first estate, the • The second estate, • The third estate, the clergy, consisted of the nobility, common people, rich and poor. inherited their titles was by far the largest • There were very and got their wealth group in France. • Everyone who was wealthy abbots, from the land. not a member of the members of the • Some members first or second estates aristocracy who of the nobility was a member of the lived in luxury off had little money, third. It included: of wealthy church but had all the • Wealthy lands. privileges of merchants, • There were poor noble rank. whose wealth parish priests, • However, most rivaled that of who lived much enjoyed both the nobility • Doctors and like the peasants. privileges and lawyers wealth. • Shopkeepers • The urban poor • The peasants who worked the land.
Three Estates Three Estates• The Second Estate held most of the leading positions in government and were crucial to the French Revolution• The peasants of the Third Estate were resentful about the relics of feudalism, in which the obligations of serfdom remained, like paying fees for using village facilities and making forced contributions to the clergy• An important part of the Third Estate was the bourgeoisie, or the middle class; members of the middle class were unhappy with the privileges held by nobles, especially since some of the bourgeoisie were as wealthy or wealthier than the nobles – The bourgeoisie and the second estate nobles were drawn to the ideas of the Enlightenment and were increasingly upset with the monarchical system resting on privileges of an old and rigid social order
Financial Crisis• Social conditions formed a long-range background to the French Revolution• The French economy suffered a periodic crisis; bad harvests in 1787 and 1788 and a slowdown in manufacturing led to food shortages, rising prices for food, and unemployment• The number of poor people in France surged and reached crisis proportions on the eve of the Revolution• In spite of the problems among commoners, the French government and its king and queen spent enormous sums on wars and luxuries; the king and queen were known for their extravagance
Louis XIV & Marie Antoinette Louis XVI was an awkward, clumsy man who had a good heart but was unable to relate to people on a personal level. He often appeared unfeeling and gruff. He was insecure and seems to have disliked being King of France. When one of his ministers resigned, he was heard to remark, "Why cant I resign too?"Marie Antoinette, in her early years as Queen, wasflighty and irresponsible. She was from Austria-Hungry and the marriage was used as an alliancebetween countries. – She spent huge amounts on clothes, buying a new dress nearly every other day. – Being Austrian, she was terribly unpopular in France and had few friends.
The Palace of VersaillesThe King and Queen ofFrance lived in luxuryand splendor at themagnificent Palace ofVersailles outside ofParis.
Chapter 18: Section1 The French Revolution BeginsBLUE: First Estate, GREEN: Second Estate, RED: Third Estate Because of the unequal standards of living, taxes and government representation This happened.
Section 1: The Financial CrisisThe government of France, however, wasbankrupt and was facing a serious financialcrisis.The crisis resulted from: An inefficient and unfair tax structure, which placed the burden of taxation on those least able to pay, the third estate Outdated medieval bureaucratic institutions A drained treasury which was the result of: • Aiding the Americans during Due to the excessive spending of the the American Revolution French government, Louis XVI called a • Long wars with England meeting. It was a meeting that would • Overspending have representatives from all three estates. It was called the Estates-General.
The Estates General May 5, 1789 When the Estates General met, each estate solemnly marched into the hall at Versailles. The third estate dressed all in black, the nobility dressed in all their finery, and the clergy dressed in full regalia. 300 from 1st estate, 300 from 2nd estate and 600 from 3rd estate. Problem: traditionally, each Estate had 1 vote; the Third Estate was almost always outvoted by the other two estates; the Third Estate wanted 1 vote per person The King turned this idea down; he wanted to maintain the current system This angered the Third Estate, who acted quickly and formed the National Assembly Lead to The National AssemblyJune 17, 1789Made up of 3rd estate members, Drafted a Constitution. They were locked out of theirmeeting place and moved their meeting to a tennis court
The Estates GeneralThe meeting of the Estates General May 5, 1789
Mounier’s Suggestion, The Tennis Court Oath“Let us swear to God and our country that we will not disperseuntil we have established a sound and just constitution, asinstructed by those who nominated us.” -M. Mounier The delegates agreed and all but one of the 578 delegates signed it. – Their oath is known as the Tennis Court Oath. – It said: "The National Assembly, considering that it has been summoned to establish the constitution of the kingdom... decrees that all members of this assembly shall immediately take a solemn oath not to separate... until the constitution of the kingdom is established on firm foundations..." June 20, 1789The Third Estate wanted anational constitution andwere willing to fight for it.
The Storming of the Bastille• On July 14, 1789, the mob, joined by some of the Kings soldiers, stormed the Bastille.• The commander of the Bastille, de Launay, attempted to surrender, but the mob would not accept it. He was killed as they poured through the gates. No guard was left alive.• Later in the day the prisoners were released.• There were only seven: – Two were convicted forgers. – One was a loose-living aristocrat put in prison by his own father.• Nevertheless it was a great symbolic event, one which is still celebrated in France every year.
The Great Fear By the end of July and beginning of August there were riots in the countryside. Peasants burned their nobles chateaux and destroyed documents which contained their feudal obligations. It was called "The Great Fear."The National Assembly responded to theGreat Fear. On the Night of August 4, 1789,one by one members of the nobility andclergy rose to give up: – Feudal dues – Serfdom – The tithe – Hunting and fishing rights – Personal privileges.In one night feudalism was destroyed inFrance.
Declaration of the Rights of Man The National Assembly adopted it on August 26, 1789 Inspired by the American Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen affirmed the rights of man to “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” The Declaration proclaimed freedom and equal rights for all men, access to public office based on talent, and an end to exemptions from taxation; all citizens were to have the right to take part in the making of laws and freedom of press and speech were affirmed. Women were not included in the Declaration. "Men are born free and equal in their rights....These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression. The fundamental source of all sovereignty resides in the nation. The law is the expression of the general will. AllThe Declaration of the Rights citizens have the right to take part personally, or through representatives, in the making of the law." of Man and the Citizen
Conditions in Paris• Conditions were poor in Paris for the common people. – The price of bread was high and supplies were short due to harvest failures. – Rumors spread that the King and Queen were responsible for the shortages• Then French troops marched to the capital. – Rumors spread quickly among the already restless mobs that the King was intending to use them against the people. – The dismissal of the Finance Minister Necker, who was popular with the third estate, ignited the spark.
Women’s March to Versailles• On October 5, 1789, a crowd of women, demanding bread for their families, marched toward Versailles.• When they arrived, soaking wet from the rain, they demanded to see "the Baker," "the Bakers wife," and "the Bakers boy".• The King met with some of the women and Up to this point, the king had refused to accept agreed to distribute all the bread in Versailles to the decrees from the National Assembly on the the crowd. abolition of feudalism and the Declaration of Rights. After the march of the women, the king was forced to accept the new decrees.
Church Reforms• The Catholic Church had always played a prominent role in French political and social life.• The National Assembly seized and sold many of the lands of the Church.• The Church was secularized and a new Civil Constitution of the Clergy was put into effect – Bishops and priests were to be elected by the people and paid by the state – This allowed the French government to control the Church
A New Constitution• The National Assembly completed a new Constitution; the Constitution of 1791, which set up a limited monarchy – According to the Constitution , there would still be a king, but a Legislative Assembly make the laws – The Assembly was made up of 745 representatives • Only men over 25 who paid specific amounts in taxes could vote, setting up a system in which only the more affluent members of society would be elected
Opposition to the New Order• By 1791, the old order was destroyed.• Many people, including the Catholic priests, nobles, and lower classes hurt by the rise in the cost of living, and radicals who wanted more drastic solutions – opposed the new order• Louis XVI also made things difficult for the new government; he attempted to flee in 1791
The King’s Return to ParisUnder pressure from the National Guard, theKing also agreed to return to Paris with his wifeand children. It was the last time the King sawVersailles.Although the King reluctantly accepted the new constitution, hecould not accept all the reforms (e.g., the Civil Constitution of theClergy) and decided to leave the country.On June 20, 1791, the King and his family set out for the border in acarriage. The King was disguised as a steward and his son was wearing a dress. At the border village of Varennes, he was recognized and eventually apprehended and brought back to Paris.
War with Austria & Rise of the Paris Commune• The rulers of Austria and Prussia feared the revolution would spread to their countries and they threatened to use force to restore Louis XVI to the throne.• The Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria in 1792, but fared badly in the initial fighting.• Defeats in war and economic shortages led to new political demonstrations, especially against the king.• In August of 1792, radical political groups in Paris declared themselves a commune and organized a mob attack on the royal palace and Legislative Assembly – They took the king captive and forced the Assembly to suspend the monarchy and call for a National Convention, chosen on the basis of universal male suffrage, to decide the nation’s future form of government• The French Revolution entered a more radical and violent stage; power passed from the Assembly to the Paris Commune
Move to RadicalismLed by Georges Danton, the sans-culottes were beginning tobe politically active in their own right and sought revenge onthose who had helped the King. Thousands were massacred. – They were called sans-culottes (literally, without trousers) because the working men wore loose trousers instead of the tight knee breeches of the nobility. – Eventually sans culottes came to refer to any revolutionary citizen. Georges-Jacques Danton, A leader of the Committee of Public Safety and a revolutionary leader and a powerful orator, rose in the Assembly on September 2nd 1792 and boomed out these Another leader of the memorable words in his deep people emerged, Jean- bass voice: "When the tocsin Paul Marat, who sounds, it will not be a signal of alarm, but the signal to charge published a radical against the enemies of our journal called Friend of country. . . To defeat them, the People gentlemen, we need boldness, and again boldness, and always boldness; and France will then be saved."
Two Radical Groups During the constitutional monarchy there were two radical groups vying for power, the Girondins and the Mountain. Both members of the Jacobins. Although both groups were more radical in their views than the moderates who had designed the constitutional monarchy, the Girondins were somewhat less radical. In late 1791, the Girondins first emerged as an important power in France. The Mountains convinced the National Convention to pass aOn January 21, 1793, the king was decree condemning the king tobeheaded using the guillotine, a death.machine that killed quickly by cuttingoff the head of its victims.
Crises & Response• Disputes between the Mountains and Girondins were only one problem in France• Within Paris, the local government – the Commune – favored radical change and put pressure on the National Convention to adopt ever more radical positions• Foreign crises were also a problem; royalty throughout Europe was outraged about the death of Louis XVI; several countries took up arms against France – To meet this challenge, the National Convention gave broad powers to a special committee of 12 known as the Committee of Public Safety; it was dominated by Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre
Reign of TerrorCommittee of Public NationalSafety: 12 members Convention: WasWas created and called by thegiven many powers in Legislativeresponse to the Assembly becauselooming threat of the Paris Communewar against France.(run by first by Danton thenby Maximilien Robespierre) "Terror is nothing other than justice, prompt, severe, inflexible" Robespierre Rein of Terror:40,000 people were killed. 16,000 on the guillotine
The Reign of Terror• After the death of Louis in 1793, the Reign of Terror began. – Marie Antoinette led a parade of prominent and not-so- prominent citizens to their deaths. – The guillotine, the new instrument of egalitarian justice, was put to work.• Public executions were considered educational. Women were encouraged to sit and knit during trials and executions.• The Revolutionary Tribunal ordered the execution of 2,400 people in Paris by July 1794. Across France 40,000 people lost their lives.
Jean-Paul Marat• When Jean-Paul Marat, a Jacobin journalist who showed little regard for the truth, was arrested for attacking Girondins, the people of Paris turned even more toward the Jacobins.• The people loved Marat and he seemed to love them too.• When he was acquitted of the charge, the crowds swarmed around him, scooped him up on their shoulders and carried him to the Convention, cheering all the way.
Republic of Virtue• The Committee of Public Safety took radical steps to control France and create a new order – Robespierre believed in a Republic of Virtue, or a republic composed of “good citizens.” – By the spring of 1793, the Committee was sending representatives as agents of the government throughout France to implement laws of wartime emergency – The Committee also established economic controls by limiting prices on food, drink, fuel, and clothing – The Committee also pursued a policy of dechristianization – renaming streets with “saint” in the name, pillaging churches, rededicating cathedrals to secular buildings, and creating a new calendar based on the first day of the French Republic and eliminating Sundays and church holidays
The Last Victim of the Reign of Terror• Even the radical Jacobins, the supporters of Robespierre, come to feel that the Terror must be stopped. – Danton rose in the Convention calling for an end to the Terror. He was its next victim. – When Robespierre called for a new purge in 1794, he seemed to threaten the other members of the Committee of Public Safety.• The Jacobins had had enough. – Cambon rose in the Convention and said “It is time to tell the whole truth. One man alone is paralyzing the will of the Convention. And that man is Robespierre.” – Others quickly rallied to his support. – Robespierre was arrested and sent to the guillotine the next day, the last victim of the Reign of Terror.
The Directory• People had grown tired of the instability and bloodshed of the revolution and were ready for something more moderate.• By 1795, the republic was gone, and 5 men with business interests had the executive power in France.• Royalists: People in France that wanted to restore the French monarch.• This new government was called The Directory. – It was far more conservative than the Jacobin republic had been. – It was also ineffectual. – Ruled France, created by the Council of Elders and made up of 5 people to act as the executive committee. (1795- 1799)
End of the Revolution• The Directory was unsuccessful in its attempts at governing France – The four-year period of The Directory and Legislative rule was a time of corruption throughout France• Royalists who wanted the monarchy restored plotted against the government• In 1799, a coup d’etat (a sudden overthrow of government) led by the successful and popular general Napoleon Bonaparte toppled the Directory, Napoleon seized power, ending the Revolution
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