Background Economic and social inequalities in the Old Regime helped cause the French Revolution. The Forces of Change – Enlightenment ideas – Economic problems • High taxes, crop failure, extravagant spending – A weak Leader • Louis XVI
The Meeting of the Estates General
The Meeting of the Estates General What were the “Estates” ? – The French population was divided into three classes known as estates: 1. The First estate was made up of the Roman Catholic clergy. They had access to high offices and did not have to pay taxes – 2. The Second Estate was made up of the rich nobles who got their wealth from owning land. They had the same privileges as those in the First Estate.
The Meeting of the Estates General: The 3rd Estate The Third Estate was the remaining 98% of the population 1. Bourgeoisie (merchants, well educated, believed in liberty and equality, and had to pay high taxes though still retained much of their wealth) 2. Workers in the cities (earned low wages, often unemployed and often hungry) 3. Peasants (half of their income was paid out to the nobles, taxes and the church)
The Meeting of the Estates General The estates general was an assembly of representatives from all three estates to get approval to reform the tax structure, specifically to begin taxing the nobles and aristocrats This meeting was held at the Palace of Versailles on May 5, 1789
The Meeting of the Estates General– This meeting worked in the following manner: • Each estate’s delegates met separately and each estate had one vote. • The Third Estate demanded 1 vote per delegate as to give themselves the advantage. • However, this was denied by King Louis XVI.
The Tennis Court Oath
The Tennis Court Oath During the Meeting of the Estates General the delegates from the Third Estate named themselves the National Assembly – They gave themselves the power to pass laws on behalf of the French people on June 17, 1789. – They vowed to put an end to the absolute monarchy of King Louis XVI
The Tennis Court Oath On June 20, 1789 the delegates of the Third Estate were locked out of their meeting room The Third Estate delegates (National Assembly) then broke down a door to an indoor tennis court in the Palace of Versailles and took an oath to stay there until they had drawn up a new constitution. King Louis XIV gave into their demands for one vote per delegate rather than 1 vote per estate.
Storming of the Bastille
Storming of the Bastille King Louis XVI began to fear an uprising of the people given the events at the Meeting of the Estates General. When he gave into the demands of the National Assembly he knew that he was weakening and feared a revolution.
Storming of the Bastille He no longer trusted his own troops (as almost all of them were from the Third Estate) so he called in the Swiss troops to keep the peace in Paris. When the Parisians saw the Swiss troops they panicked. They thought that they were under attack and rushed the French prison known as the Bastille in order to get gun powder for their weapons in order to defend Paris This occurred on July 14, 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man August 4, 1789 the National Assembly met for a late night meeting – They adopted a statement of revolutionary ideas known as the Declaration of the Right of Man. – This document was centered around the principles that men (did not apply to women) are born and should remain equal. – They also developed the slogan of their revolution – “Life, Liberty and Fraternity” – State controlled church: The National Assembly took over land held by the first Estate.
The March on Versailles
The March on Versailles Following the storming of the Bastille, riots and violence erupted across Paris and France. These riots were led by angry peasants who feared that the nobles were hiring outlaws to terrorize them and starve them out of France.
The March on Versailles Eventually these peasants stormed the Palace of Versailles Some say this was mostly women seeking the stores of bread in the palace They forced King Louis XVI out of the palace and out of power. King Louis XVI, knowing he was beaten, fled to the Austrian Netherlands. He was caught and returned.
A limited Monarchy The National Assembly created a limited Constitutional Monarchy. The Constitution of 1791: The new Constitution stripped the King of his power to a new assembly. The Legislative Assembly was created by the National Assembly to create new laws. This Legislative Assembly divided themselves into three groups. The extremes within the Legislative Assembly broke away …
Factions Split France The extremes of the Legislative Assembly: – Radicals – Sans-cullottes (extremely poor merchants and peasants) – Conservatives – Known as the Émigrés (Former members of the Second Estate who had fled but now returned)
Factions Split France The radical Parisians opposed the movement to return King Louis XVI to power and in protest they raided the prisons of Paris, killing more than 1,000 people. This is known as the September massacre. The Legislative Assembly reacted by setting aside the new constitution, kicking King Louis XVI out of power, and dissolved their assembly, calling for the election of a new legislature.
National Convention From this political chaos arose a group known as the Jacobin Club – a radical political group who wanted to abolish the monarchy and establish a republic. – They were led by Jean Paul Marat. Jacobin’s seized power from the disorganized Legislative assembly. – They executed King Louis XVI for treason – Named themselves the National Convention and established a republic
The Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror A rebel with radical beliefs similar to those of the Jacobins seized control. His name was Maximilien Robespierre. – He set out to create a “republic of virtue” by eliminating the entire monarchy and nobility. – As leader of the Committee of Public Safety, He and he alone decided who was to be considered enemies of the state.
The Reign of Terror The period during which Robespierre reigned is known as the “Reign of Terror” because he ruled as a dictator and executed approximately 85% of all the peasants (40,000 people) Eventually Robespierre was captured and executed by the National Convention. His reign caused the views of the French population to change their views and adopt a less radical position.
The Rise of Napoleon
The Rise of Napoleon Following the Reign of Terror a new government emerged which place the power in the hands of the upper-middle class The government consisted of 2 parts: – First, a 2 house legislature – Second, the Directory (a body of 5 men that acted as an executive branch) were formed).
The Rise of NapoleonThis new government chose Napoleon Bonaparte to lead its army