Why 1789?Short-term causes and main events of the French Revolution
Food shortages and poverty• Bad harvest n 1788• Price of bread shoot up• Urban workers forced to spend more money on food• Decline in goods trade (nobody had money to buy manufactures)• Lower wages and unemployment
A bankrupt stateThe only way to avoid bankruptcy was to raise the taxes while imposing taxes to the nobles and the clergywho refused and asked the king to call the Estates General
Cahiers de Doléances• 1789: elections to choose deputies for the Estates General• People were invited to write down all their complaints (Cahiers de Doléances) so that the Estates General would discuss them• Over 60,00 cahiers were drawn up all over France
The Estates General• People in France had different ideas on how the Estates would come out – the King hoped it would agree to raise new taxes – the nobles hoped they would control it – the 3rd Estate had great hopes that it would solve all their problems• When the Estates General met in May 1789, Louis made a mistake: he did not propose major reforms
The Third Estate defies the King• Representatives of the 3rd Estate wanted greater freedom. They went as far to suggest that the Estates General meet together.• The nobility wanted the Estates to meet separately and vote by order –so the 1st and 2nd Estates would outvote the 3rd Estate• Frustrated at the strong possibility of being shut out by the other two Estates, the Third Estate declared themselves as the National Assembly on June 17, 1789
The Tennis Court Oath• All members of the Assembly (3rd Estate and a few members of the Clergy) swored that they would not disband until they had achieved their aims (Constitution for France)• The King was unwilling to use force and eventually ordered the first and second estates to join the new National Assembly. The Third Estate had won. Tennis Court Oath
Revolution!• People were afraid the King might use his army to destroy the Assembly• On July 14th, 1789 people in Paris stormed in Bastille -political prison for those who were considered enemies of the king jailed without proper trial.• The fall of the Bastille became a symbol of the fight against the tyranny and injustices of France’s absolute monarchy
Back to Paris, Louis!• People –mostly women- marched to Versailles to force the King and his family to return with them to Paris• Louis will now be surrounded by ordinary people
The Great Fear• After the siege of the Bastille, a series of riots continued to break out amongst the peasants in the countryside.• Targets of the riots included nobles’ châteaux, monasteries, and buildings that housed public records—especially those containing records of their feudal obligations.
The End of the Ancien Régime• August 4th: the National Assembly abolishes the Feudal System (Estates, feudal dues, privileges, labour services, tithe, tolls, corvée)
The End of the Ancien Régime• October 26th: the National Assembly agreed to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen that set out exactly how the people of France were to be trated equally and fairly -only men though: women and slaves were not included• Louis XVI refused to give his consent to the end of Feudalism or the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
The end of privilege• The King had to accept limitations to his power• The clergy lost lands and the Assembly decided that bishops and priests should be chosen by the people (like any other public officiales) and take an oath of loyalty to the new Constitution passed by the National Assembly
Royal blood!• Louis and his family tried to escape from Paris and find support from foreign armies to invade France and overturn the Revolution• The escape failed and Louis was forced to return to Paris• Found himself in a weak position, the King finally accepted the Constitution and most of his powers were removed• Austria and Prussia declared war on France• Violence (sans-culottes –workers who hate the monarchy)• September 1792: France becomes a Republic and the Louis and his family are imprisioned
Trial and execution• Jacobins (radical deputies) demanded trial and execution of Louis since there was proof he had been plotting against the Revolution• It was decided Louis should be executed. Nobody voted for his innocence.• Louis was executed on January 21st, 1793
March 1793 February 1793 REVOLT IN THE WAR GOING BADLY VENDÉE (countryside) June 1793 August 1793 PARIS WORKERS JACOBINS DEMAND DECLARE THAT STRONGER‘TERROR IS THE ACTION! ORDER OF THE They invade the DAY’ Convention and force out the moderates Summer 1793 OTHER AREAS OF FRANCE REBEL AGAINST THE NEW RADICAL JACOBIN GOVERNMENT
Was the Terror necessary?• That dangers that were facing France (war, revolts in the countryside, demands of the workers) led the Convention to take strong action. It was what we would call ‘taking emergency powers’• Different measures were aimed at allowing the Revolution to survive during a crisis: – Revolutionary tribunals to try ‘traitors’ – Quicker justice – War – Fear
Was the Terror necessary?• 1793-1794 Jacobins led the TERROR: the state used its power and violence to crush any opponents and resistence (jail, executions withot trial)• All these measures were aimed at allowing the Revolution to survive during a crisis• Wars to fight foreign threat to the Revolution
The Directory• After the Reign of Terror, the constitution of 1795 brought a new, more conservative government made up of 5 officers.• It had no legislative power, but it had the authority to appoint people to fill the other positions within the government.• The Directory had to get rid of the Jacobin influence and prevent royalists from taking advantage of the disorganization to reclaim the throne.• Focused more on keeping progressive members out rather than addressing the economic crisis.• This paranoia of a counter-revolution weakened the group.
1799: end of the Revolution• France was in a deep crisis – debt – food shortages – army had been defeated in Italy – republicans and reyalists were not happy with the government• Napoleon, one of France’s most successful military leaders seized power (coup d’ État). He used his army to create a new, strong government. Many people supported him, thinking that he was what the country needed to find a solution to the crisis
Crocodiles symbolize Egypt, the country British cartoon –whilenapoleon was returing from criticizing republican democracy, they nevertheless Crown showing Napoleon’s attcked Napoleon whom they autocratic aspirations considered to be an upstart Frogs suggest how French democracy got cought up in endless debates, the Government being compared to swamps in which ideas are left to rot
Consequences of the Revolution• Military -as a result of the Revolution, France declared war to the absolute European monarchies –first, to defend the Revolution, then to spread the Revolution, and finally, to build up an Empire• Ideological and political –the French Revolution consolidated new ideas: – the principle of Nation (and nationalism) – the assertion of the Sovereignty of the People: ‘govrnment of the people for the people’ – the assertion of Individual Liberty: old feudal distinctions were abolished and freedom of speech and expression extended – Revolution becomes part of the political tradition
Consequences of the Revolution• Social –society in France and in oter parts of Europe changed for good. The ancient structureof privilege was smashed and legal equality became the norm in France and Europe• Economic –the Revolution hurt more than it helped in development, setting back the economy a generation due to wars.