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WHY WERE THE FRENCH SO UNHAPPY BY 1789? Political causes Social causes Economic causes The spread of alternative ideas
WHAT WAS THE “OLD ORDER”? <ul><li>France and the rest of Europe were ruled under the “Ancien Regime” </li></ul><ul><li>Conservative ( resists change ) </li></ul><ul><li>Been like that for centuries </li></ul><ul><li>Not challenged by the people </li></ul><ul><li>No democracy </li></ul><ul><li>Feudal system </li></ul>
WHO RULED FRANCE? Louis 16 th – kings inherited their positions He was an autocrat He believed that he ruled by ” divine right” He appointed and dismissed ministers ( govt officials) at will He could detain anyone without trial He was unaware of the needs of his subjects( people)
WHAT WAS SOCIETY LIKE IN FRANCE? 1 ST ESTATE 2 ND ESTATE 3 RD ESTATE French society was divided into social groups based on birth. You could not move from one social group to the next It was a hierarchical system CHURCH NOBLES BOURGEOISIE WORKERS /PEASANTS/ AND ALL THE REST!!
WHY WAS THE ESTATE SYSTEM SO UNFAIR? The 1st and 2nd estates were privileged ( wealthy, paid no taxes and held all the high offices in the government and army) The 3 rd estate could not hold office although members of the Bourgeoisie were educated The 3 rd estate bore the burden of the taxes for the county but had no say in the way in which the country was run
WHAT WAS THE ECONOMY OF FRANCE LIKE? <ul><li>By 1789 France was bankrupt </li></ul><ul><li>France had borrowed money but by 1789 the interest on the debt exceeded the GNP </li></ul><ul><li>The tax system needed overhauling, but the Church and Nobles resisted this </li></ul><ul><li>The King called his minister of finance to advise him as France was in crisis </li></ul>wars taxation debt
HOW DID ORDINARY PEOPLE INTERPRET THE SITUATION? The palace at Versailles had been built at huge cost by Louis 14 th , the Grandfather of Louis 16 th and it was expensive to run
EXPENSES… Louis and Marie Antoinette entertained lavishly at the Court of Versailles Sometimes Nobles and their families and entourage would spend as long as half a year being entertained there at the taxpayers’ expense. The Hall of Mirrors
COURT EXPENSES… Marie Antoinette pampered and addicted to gambling Trianon Trianon M-A dresses As a rural shepherdess She loved fashionable clothes
ADDITIONAL ECONOMIC PROBLEMS… <ul><li>The harvests of 1788 and 1789 had been bad and people were starving </li></ul><ul><li>Bread prices had risen, but wages had not kept pace with inflation. </li></ul><ul><li>Ordinary people were disturbed to hear rumours that the King intended to increase taxes. </li></ul>
WHO COULD SPEAK FOR THE PEOPLE? <ul><li>The king decided to call the ESTATES GENERAL. </li></ul><ul><li>This body technically represented the whole of France but it hadn’t met for over 175 years. </li></ul><ul><li>Deputies representing the estates of France were told to draw up cahiers – a list of demands </li></ul><ul><li>The people waited with expectation that there might be reforms to come. </li></ul><ul><li>The calling of the Estates General is seen as the beginning of the revolution. </li></ul>
WHO WERE THE TRUE REPRESENTATIVES OF FRANCE? It was soon clear to the Third estate that the king wanted them to vote as a single entity. This would give the 1 st and 2 nd estates a 2/3 majority. The third estate believed that as they were the largest estate, they represented the “voice of the people” ( vox populi) Estates General 1 st estate 2 nd estate 3 rd estate
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY IS BORN! The 3 rd Estate left the proceedings and adjourned to a nearby indoor ballcourt. Here they swore the famous ” Tennis Court Oath” in which they promised not to disband until a new constitution had been drawn up for France. This action is significant as it is the first time that ordinary people have challenged the authority of the King. It becomes know as the Revolt of the Bourgeoisie and some historians regard it as the beginning of the revolution.
WHAT HAPPENED IN PARIS ON 14 TH JULY? Mobs storm the Bastille in search of gun powder. They attack the Gov-general and behead him This is the first act of violence in the Revolution. In the countryside, peasants attack the estates of their landlords, believing that they are storing grain. Many Nobles flee to neighbouring countries.
The Revolution has begun… <ul><li>Once the first acts of violence had started it was impossible to put back the clock. </li></ul><ul><li>The people of Paris set up their own army called the Revolutionary Guard </li></ul><ul><li>They begin to call for “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” </li></ul><ul><li>The National Assembly is reconstituted as the National Convention and begin a process of reforms </li></ul>
Reform begins… The declaration of the rights of man and citizen We declare that all men are born free and have equal rights We declare that… New reforms benefitted peasant and workers by removing privileges, feudal rights and limiting the rights of the Clergy