Eugene Delacroix: Liberty Leading the People [(Louvre) 1830]
Atlantic Cape Community College Heritage of the Western World II Keith Carson, Senior Adjunct Professor of History Clergy First Estate Nobility Second Estate Commoners Third Estate
FIRST ESTATE: Clergy and Church Hierarchy; power and privileges of the Gallican Church created, in effect, a state within a state; functions traditionally within the domain of the Church included birth registry, death records, marriage licensing, education, censorship, collection of tithes, and poor relief; Church itself was exempt from taxation by the state and owned about 10% of the land; Gallicanism enjoyed a monopoly on public worship that was state-sanctioned; Protestantism was outlawed following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1689 by Louis XIV; clergy reflected larger social divisions within France: upper clergy shared the attitudes and way of life of the aristocracy from within which its ranks were drawn, while the lower clergy , or the parish priests, commoners themselves, resented the haughtiness, luxury, privilege, and decadence of the upper clergy; in 1789, when the French Revolution began, many local priests sympathized with the reform-minded Third Estate
SECOND ESTATE: aristocracy, or titled nobility; aristocracy was a privileged class or artificial order whose members held the highest positions in the church, government, and military; nobility was exempt from most taxes, or used their influence to evade taxes; nobles collected feudal manorial dues from peasantry, also known as estate income; in addition to estate income the aristocracy was increasingly coming to dominate such non-aristocratic enterprises such as banking & finance, commerce, and industry; leading patrons of the arts & culture often taking cues from the King and court life; many key philosophes were nobles (Condorcet, d’Holbach, and Montesquieu), although most aristocrats were intolerant and suspicious of the reformist ideals advanced by the philosophes ; nobility owned about 25-33% of French land; nobles of the sword : families that could trace their noble lineage back several centuries; highest of the ancien noblesse were engaged in court life and social circles at Versailles and Paris; they received pensions and sinecures from the monarchy, but performed few useful functions or services for the state; most nobles of the sword, unable to afford the gilded life at court, remained on their provincial estates, the poorest of them barely distinguishable from prosperous peasants; nobles of the robe new order of nobility ( nouveau riches ) created by monarchy to obtain money (sale of titles), rewards, favors, and control and weaken the authority of the old aristocracy; mainly comprised of aspiring, socially ambitious, and burgeoning bourgeoisie (middle class) as well as conferring noble status on certain government offices purchased by wealthy bourgeois
THIRD ESTATE: commoners; bourgeoisie, urban laborers, peasants, and poor; bourgeoisie : merchants, manufacturers, wholesalers, bankers, master craftsmen, doctors, lawyers, intellectuals, and government officials below the top ranks; bourgeoisie possessed wealth, but lacked social prestige; barriers to social advancement included high cost of purchasing office, limited number of offices for sale, resistance from the aristocracy, and the hostility of the established nobility to those recently ennobled; for most of the 18th century, the bourgeoisie did not challenge the French social structure and accepted the privileges of the nobility; by 1789, the bourgeoisie had amassed a list of grievances including lack of meritocracy, a more effective, reformist parliament, lack of a constitution to impose limits on the absolute powers of the monarchy, no guarantees of specific rights such as fair trial, freedom of thought, and religious toleration, and the lack of administrative reform to eliminate waste, inefficiency and curb royal interference in business and commerce; peasantry : by 1789 there were about 21 million peasants in France; serfdom had mostly disappeared in France by the 18th century, although feudal customs and dues were still largely observed; peasantry lived in poverty which only increased in the final years of the Ancien Regime ; many peasants owned land and some were even prosperous; peasants owned between 30-40% of the land, but most holdings were too small to support the peasant and his family; ; rising peasant birth rates in the 18th century led to continual subdivision of peasant farms; many peasants did not own land, but instead rented it from the nobility or prosperous neighbors; still other peasants worked as sharecroppers turning over a considerable share of their harvest to creditors; many peasants attempted to earn extra income by hiring themselves out for whatever labor was available in the region (agrarian workers, charcoal burners, wine transporters, or textile workers, etc.); increasing birth rate resulted in an oversupply of rural laborers and reduced the landless to beggary; onerous tax burden fell upon the peasantry; Louis XIV financed his courtly grandeur and paid for his wars by soaking the peasantry; the state employed an army of tax collectors to victimize the peasantry; in addition to royal taxes, peasants also were required to pay church tithes and manorial dues; lords continued to demand obligations from peasants as they had in the Middle Ages; inefficient farming methods, prices rising faster than wages, and poor harvests in 1788-1789 also contributed to peasant hardship; urban laborers : journeymen working for master craftsmen, factory workers, and wage earners such as day laborers, gardeners, handymen, and deliverymen who were paid by those they served; poverty of urban poor, like peasantry, worsened in the late 18th century; from 1785-1789 the cost of living soared 62% while wages rose only 22%; from 1789 to 1799 urban workers struggled for their lives as well as their livelihoods in the face of food shortages and rising prices; increased prices for the staple of the basic French diet, bread, hit urban laborers and peasants particularly hard; material deprivation drove the urban poor to acts of violence that affected the course of the French Revolution
Atlantic Cape Community College Heritage of the Western World II Keith Carson, Senior Adjunct Professor of History Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs SELF-ACTUALIZATION: acceptance of facts; creativity; lack of prejudice; morality; problem solving; spontaneity ESTEEM: achievement; confidence; respect by/of others; self-esteem LOVE/BELONGING: family; friendship; sexual intimacy SAFETY: security of body, of employment, of family, of health, of morality, of property, of resources PHYSIOLOGICAL: breathing, excretion, food, homeostasis, sex, sleep, water
On June 20, 1789, hundreds of deputies of the Third Estate of the Estates General of France, joined by a handful of members of the Second Estate, assembled at Versailles, signed the Tennis Court Oath pledging to continue meeting until a constitution was written.
Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel : Prise de la Bastille (1789). On July 14, 1789, Parisians stormed the Bastille, a royal prison, as a sign of protest against the policies of Louis XVI of France.
The French Revolution was inspired by the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence (1776).
Americans, such as Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense , a political pamphlet arguing for American independence from England, participated in the French Revolution.
La Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du citoyen (1789). The Assemblée nationale constituante adopted this fundamental document of the French Revolution in August, 1789.
During the Moderate Stage, many Frenchmen hoped to see an orderly transition to constitutional government, republican institutions, and protection of basic human rights. Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, Lafayette, a French aristocrat, and war hero of the American Revolution, was elected Vice-President of the National Assembly on July 11, 1789 and proposed the drafting of a declaration of rights. Lafayette was a constitutional-limited monarchist. On August 19, 1792 the National Assembly declared him a traitor following printed media attacks by the radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat. As the Revolution turned towards terror Lafayette became demonized by increasing Jacobin fanaticism.
The Reign of Terror (1793-1794) marked a violent and bloody turn in the French Revolution. One of the Terror’s most important leaders was Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794), a member of the Committee of Public Safety.
Jacques-Louis David: The Death of Marat (1793). The French radical journalist and revolutionary politician Jean-Paul Marat was assassinated in his bath tub by Charlotte Corday on July 13, 1793. The assassination signaled the downfall of the Girondins, a coalition of republicans in the Legislative Assembly.
Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry: Charlotte Corday (1860). Charlotte Corday, Marat’s assassin.
During the Radical Stage of the Revolution, Jacobins attempted to secularize French society and eliminate all references to God and religion. The Revolutionary Calendar of France.
Technology meets revolution: The guillotine was developed as a more humane method to execute people found guilty of betraying the revolution.
World on fire: An illustration picturing the guillotine with a burning globe.
The Execution of King Louis XVI of France, 1793.
Les Enragés : a radical group supported by the sans-culottes and opposed to the Jacobins. They believed the Jacobins were too lenient. “Liberty is no more than an empty shell when one class is allowed to condemn another to starvation and no measures taken against them,” Jacques Roux. Les Enragés included Jacques Roux, Jean Théophile Victor Leclerc, and Jean Varlet among others.
Spinning out of control: Robespierre was himself guillotined on 10 Thermidor An II (July 28, 1794).
The French Revolution was premised on the idea that people would govern themselves according to the rational principle of enlightened self-interest. In the Fête de la Raison the virtuous French citizenry celebrate the Cult of Reason, 1793.
The Reign of Terror ended any pretense of rational self-interest as violence soared and a horrified public looked on. The French people witnessed the curtailing of basic rights and due process as when Georges Auguste Couthon persuaded the Committee on Public Safety to expand the Revolutionary Tribunal’s prosecutorial powers while limiting the rights of the accused to defend themselves. The loi de la Grande Terreur , Law of 22 Prairial, was enacted June 10, 1794.
The French Revolution was a bourgeois , or upper-middle-class, revolution. The sans-culotte was a term coined by the French aristocracy to refer to the poorer members of the Third Estate who wore pantaloons , or trousers, rather than the knee-length britches fashionable among the nobility .
The fear, unrest, and violence of the Reign of Terror provoked the Thermidorean Reaction against the excesses of the French Revolution. 9 Thermidor An II (July 27, 1794) marked the date that Robespierre and Saint-Just came under concerted attack in the National Convention for their conduct of the revolution.
During the Coup d'état of 18 Brumaire, Napoleon Bonaparte seized the reigns of power in effect ending the French Revolution. During the Napoleonic Wars that followed, his supporters asserted that Napoleon was merely extending the blessings of liberty throughout Europe.
The dangers of democratic rebellion became clear to Napoleon I when Toussaint L’Ouverture led a slave rebellion against French rule on the Caribbean island of Saint Domingue (Haiti) in 1797.
Napoléon Bonaparte ended the French Revolution by force. He went on to become First Consul, and then Emperor of France on December 2, 1804.
Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d'Enghien: A relative of the Bourbons, D’Enghien was a Royalist executed March 21, 1804 on trumped-up charges during the First Consulate of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Edmund Burke, the father of conservatism, penned his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) condemning the violence and murderous zeal of the French revolutionaries. Burke addressed neither the Regicide nor the violence of the American Revolution.
Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825) and Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863) were both French artists affected and inspired by the French Revolution.
Some historians mark the French Revolution as the beginning of the Modern Era. The revolution’s impact was widespread: in 1817 German students demonstrated at the Wartburg festival at Wartburg Castle.
The motto of the French Revolution, Liberté, égalité, fraternité, ou la mort! (Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death!), has influenced other protests both peaceful and violent. Below: The New York City Draft Riots (1863).
A protestor demonstrates in favor of a woman’s right to vote in Washington, D.C. (1918).
Mohandas K. Gandhi led peaceful protests of South Africa’s apartheid system as well as efforts for India independence from Great Britain.
American Blacks protested against segregation and other racial injustices, such as denial of the right to vote, in the United States.
Rosa Parks refused to abandon her bus seat for a White passenger sparking the bus boycotts and freedom rides in the American South.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became one of America’s leading civil rights leaders before his assassination in 1968.
The Spirit of Democracy and Freedom: An unidentified protestor stands up to a Communist Chinese tank in Tiananmen Square, Beijing in 1989.
During the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt Boris Yeltsin stands atop a tank to address the Russian people (August, 1991).
At the dawn of the Twenty-first Century, freedom for all remains on the global agenda. [Below: Tibetan exiles, meeting in India, agree to follow the Dalai Lama’s “middle way” as a strategy in their independence movement with China (Photo: The New York Times, Saturday, November 22, 2008.)]