23.1 - The French Revolution Threatens the French King


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The beginnings of the French Revolution.

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23.1 - The French Revolution Threatens the French King

  1. 1. Revolution Threatens the French King
  2. 2. <ul><li>It’s the 1770’s in France </li></ul><ul><li>At this time, France’s citizens are divided up into three different estates </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First Estate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This was the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They made up less than 1% of the population, but owned 10% of the land and paid about 2% of their income to the state. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><ul><li>Second Estate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>This was the nobles. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>2% of the population, but owned 20% of the land. Oh, and they didn’t pay taxes. Nice. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><ul><li>Third Estate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The other 98% of the population. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>They too were divided into three different groups. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The bourgeoisie were usually merchants and artisans. They could be rich but had to pay taxes and didn’t get the privileges of the nobles. They were into the Enlightenment. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The city workers were poor wage-earners. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The peasants made up about 80% of the overall population and paid out nearly half their income to various entities. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>So you have about 2% of the population owning 30% of the land and paying almost nothing in taxes while the other 98% is largely poor, disaffected, heavily taxed, shut out of the political process, and is being influenced by Enlightenment ideals of democracy, social contracts, and overthrow of sovereigns. </li></ul><ul><li>Not to mention the successful revolution those nice Americans just had. It just needs a spark. </li></ul>
  6. 7. <ul><li>Another part of the problem was the royal family. </li></ul><ul><li>The king, Louis XVI, while reasonably popular, was terribly indecisive. Modern scholars think he may have suffered from clinical depression. </li></ul><ul><li>During his bouts of depression, his queen, Marie Antoinette, took control. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marie was very unpopular. She was Austrian, flaunted extravagance, and resisted French social etiquette to the point of shocking the elite. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In her defense, however, Marie was married at age 14 just hours after meeting Louis for the first time (Louis was just 16, painfully shy, ate a lot, and their marriage was reportedly not consummated for seven years) and the French etiquette in the royal court was ridiculous with the royals always on display. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 10. <ul><li>Thrown into this volatile mix was a bad economy </li></ul><ul><li>First off, the crown was spending a lot. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Like most kings, Louis 16 was spending a lot on wars, including helping out those nice American revolutionaries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Louis and Marie were also spending a lot on their own personal luxuries, which was bad enough in itself, but also looked bad to others. Marie actually had no real concept of the value of money. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 11. <ul><li>The system of taxation, while unfair, was also inefficient and unbalanced. </li></ul><ul><li>One finance minister even proposed further spending to inspire confidence in the state’s finances, though he also wanted better taxation. </li></ul>
  9. 12. <ul><li>Louis tried reforming the tax system, but the noble assemblies resisted him. </li></ul><ul><li>Finally, the Estates-General is called in 1789 at Versailles. </li></ul>
  10. 13. <ul><li>Estates-General </li></ul><ul><li>This was an assembly of representatives of all three estates. </li></ul><ul><li>Each estate met separately and submitted one vote each on proposals. The first and second estates, with similar interests, could defeat the third estate. </li></ul>
  11. 14. <ul><ul><li>This didn’t sit well with the third estate. Especially, since they thought they had won a victory by getting double representation. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>So the third estate demanded to meet as one body with each deputy having one vote, which would swing favor to them. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>One of their leaders was the Abbe Sieyes who released a pamphlet asking, “What is the Third Estate? Everything. What has it been up to now in the political order? Nothing. What does it demand? To become something herein.” </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 15. Sieyes - Would like to become something herein.
  13. 17. <ul><li>The third estate thus forms itself into the National Assembly, with the power to pass laws for the people. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This was pretty radical in itself and the Assembly declared itself the power in France. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They got locked out of their chamber, barged into an indoor tennis court and took what has become known as the Tennis Court Oath. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The oath: We swear never to separate ourselves from the National Assembly, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the realm is drawn up and fixed upon solid foundations. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Again, revolutionary in that they were declaring power derived from the people and not the king. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  14. 19. <ul><li>Louis tries to make nice with the National Assembly and even orders the other two estates to join them. </li></ul><ul><li>He’s also getting paranoid and distrusts his guards and starts using mercenaries who the people distrusted. </li></ul><ul><li>Other events take place and the unrest grows. </li></ul>
  15. 20. <ul><ul><li>Eventually the Bastille is stormed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Bastille was a prison and a symbol of the ancien regime. It was also a weapons depot and the mob wanted the weapons and gun powder. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>It wasn’t much of an active prison at this point and was slated for closure. At the time, it had only seven prisoners: four forgers, two lunatics, and a pedophile. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Vive la revolution! You want some candy?