I. Background to the Revolution
a. The French Revolution and
Beginning of the U.S. both
occurred in 1789.
b. Causes of the French Revolution.
i. French society was based on
c. France was divided into three
d. Three estates
i. First Estate- clergy
1. 130,000 people.
2. Exempt from France’s chief tax.
i. Second Estate- Nobility.
– 350,000 people.
1. Held many of the leading positions in
2. They wanted to increase their power.
iii. Third Estate- commoners.
1. 98% of the population.
2. Relics of feudalism.
3. Economically hurt by the rise of prices
e. Bourgeoisie or middle class-
Owned about 25% of the land.
i. Upset about the privileges given to
Division in France:Division in France:
The three EstatesThe three Estates
f. Aristocrats and members of the middle
class were drawn to the political ideas
of the enlightenment.
i. Opposition of these elites to the existing
order led them to drastic action against
f. The immediate cause of the French
Revolution was the near collapse of
the government’s finances.
i. The French economy suffered a series of
crises for 50 years.
ii. 1/3 of the population was considered
iii. The poor lived in absolute squalor.
h. The French gov’t continued to spend
lavishly on wars and court luxuries.
i. Marie Antoinette, was especially known
for her extravagance.
II. From Estates-General to National
a. Each order of French society had
representatives in the Estates-General.
i. To fix the economic situation the Third
Estate wanted to set up a constitutional
gov’t that would eliminate tax exemptions.
The Number of RepresentativesThe Number of Representatives
in the Estates General: Vote byin the Estates General: Vote by
The Suggested Voting Pattern:The Suggested Voting Pattern:
Voting by EstatesVoting by Estates
Louis XIV insisted thatLouis XIV insisted that the ancient distinction of thethe ancient distinction of the
three orders be conserved in its entirety.three orders be conserved in its entirety.
b. Tennis court oath- Agreement that the
National Assembly would continue to
meet until they finished drafting a
c. Commoners stormed and dismantled
i. The royal armory and prison in Paris.
ii. The kings authority collapsed.
iii. Local revolutions broke out throughout
““The Tennis Court Oath”The Tennis Court Oath”
by Jacques Louis Davidby Jacques Louis David
June 20, 1789June 20, 1789
d. Peasant rebellions became known as
the Great Fear.
i. Panic hit France in 1789 because of a
fear of invasion from foreign troops in
support of the monarchy.
ii. People in the countryside formed militias.
III.Destruction of the Old Regime
a. National Assembly’s first act was to
destroy the relics of feudalism or
b. Declaration of the Rights of Man and
the Citizen- proclaimed freedom and
equal rights for all men.
i. Ended exemptions from taxation.
ii. Adopted freedom of speech and press.
The Declaration of theThe Declaration of the
Rights of Man and of theRights of Man and of the
CitizenCitizen August 26,August 26,
V Resistance toResistance to
V Thomas JeffersonThomas Jefferson
was in Paris at thiswas in Paris at this
c. Did “all citizens” include women? Deputies
said that it did if women stayed out of
i. Olympe de Gouges didn’t accept the exclusion
1. Wrote Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the
d. Louis XVI stayed at Versailles and refused
to accept the laws of the National Assembly.
e. A delegation of these women met with Louis
XVI and told him how their children were
i. They forced the king to accept new decrees.
d. The Assembly adopted its Constitution in
i. It set up a limited monarch with a king and a
Legislative Assembly with the power to make
ii. Men over 25 and paid taxes could vote.
March of the Women,March of the Women,
October 5-6, 1789October 5-6, 1789
We want the baker, the baker’s wifeWe want the baker, the baker’s wife
and the baker’s boy!and the baker’s boy!
A spontaneous demonstration of Parisian womenA spontaneous demonstration of Parisian women
for bread.for bread.
g. By 1791 the old order was destroyed.
i. Lower classes were hurt by the economic
ii. King tried to flee unsuccessfully from
g. Austria offered to help Louis regain his
i. Legislative Assembly declared war on
ii. France lost battles with Austria, distrust
began to hit France.
i. War defeats and economic shortages
led to new political demonstrations.
i. Radicals organized mob attacks on the
1. They captured the king and demanded the
end of the monarchy.
i. Sans-culottes- ordinary people without