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The French Revolution 1789-1799. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. France in the 1700s. France was ruled by what is called, an authoritarian government. This means that political authority is concentrated in a small group of people. The First Estate.

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The french revolution 1789 1799
The French Revolution1789-1799

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity


France in the 1700s
France in the 1700s

  • France was ruled by what is called, an authoritarian government.

  • This means that political authority is concentrated in a small group of people.


The first estate
The First Estate

  • The First Estate The Clergy (Church leaders)

  • 1% of population

    • There were very wealthy abbots, members of the aristocracy who lived in luxury off of wealthy church lands

    • There were poor parish priests, who lived much like the peasants


The second estate
The Second Estate

  • The Second Estate The Nobles

  • 2% of population

  • Inherited their titles and got their wealth from the land

    • Some members of the nobility had little money, but had all the privileges of noble rank

    • Most enjoyed both privileges and wealth


The nobility
The Nobility

With the exception of a few liberals, the nobility wanted greater political influence for themselves but nothing for the Third Estate.


The third estate
The Third Estate

  • The Third Estate  Common People.

  • The largest group in France- 97% of population (25,000,000)

  • Everyone who was not a member of the first or second estates was a member of the third

    It included:

    • Merchants, some whose wealth was similar to the nobility

    • Doctors and lawyers

    • Shopkeepers

    • The urban poor

    • The peasants who worked the land


What does this contemporary political cartoon say about conditions in France under the Old Regime?


The tennis court oath
The Tennis Court Oath conditions in France under the Old Regime?

  • The National Assembly swore an oath of allegiance not to disband until a constitution had been created for France 

  • The delegates agreed and all but one of the 578 delegates signed it

    • Their oath is known as the Tennis Court Oath

    • It said: "The National Assembly, considering that it has been summoned to establish the constitution of the kingdom... decrees that all members of this assembly shall immediately take a solemn oath not to separate... until the constitution of the kingdom is established on firm foundations..."June 20, 1789


“Let us swear to God and our country that we will not disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”-M. Mounier


Tennis court oath
Tennis Court Oath disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”


Revolution spreads to common people
Revolution Spreads to Common People disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”

  • The Revolution was set in motion by the bourgeoisie (merchants/middle class), and now spread to the common people!!


Mobs search for weapons
Mobs Search for Weapons disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”

  • Mobs roamed in search of weapons

    • Although some muskets were found when they broke into a public hospital for wounded soldiers, there was no ammunition

    • The ammunition was stored in the Bastille


The Bastille as a medieval fortress disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”


The storming of the bastille
The Storming of the Bastille disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”

  • On July 14, 1789, the mob, joined by some of the King's soldiers, stormed the Bastille

  • The commander of the Bastille, de Launay, attempted to surrender, but the mob would not accept it

    • He was killed as they poured through the gates

    • No guard was left alive


The great fear
The Great Fear disperse until we have established a sound and just constitution, as instructed by those who nominated us.”

  • Riots in the countryside

  • Peasants burned their nobles' castles and destroyed documents which contained their feudal obligation (rent/taxes)

  • It was called "The Great Fear" 


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