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The French Revolution 1789-1799. What were the causes of the French Revolution?. What were the causes?. Unfair social classes Unfair tax system Social inequality. 1% of Pop. Owned 5-10% of Land Received 10% Tithe Paid no taxes. 2% of Pop Owned 25% of land Held all govt. and

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The French Revolution 1789-1799

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The French Revolution1789-1799

What were the causes of the French Revolution?

What were the causes?

  • Unfair social classes

    • Unfair tax system

    • Social inequality

1% of Pop.

Owned 5-10% of Land

Received 10% Tithe

Paid no taxes

2% of Pop

Owned 25% of land

Held all govt. and

military positions

Paid no taxes

Received Feudal Dues

1st 2nd

Estate Estate

3rd Estate




97% of Population

Paid all of the taxes

No Voice in Government

Inspired by Enlightenment Ideas

The Three Estates

What were the causes?

2. Enlightenment Ideas/American Rev.

  • Enlightenment spread through French “Salons”

  • Belief all men should have natural rights

  • Right to overthrow an unjust gov’t

  • Equality for all

  • American Revolution

    • Dec. of Independence

    • Constitution

  • Called for the end of Absolute Monarchy

What were the causes?

  • King Louis XVI’s Weak Leadership

    • Absolute Monarch

    • 19 years old

    • Indecisive

    • Extravagant parties

What were the Causes ?

4. Economic Problems

  • Wars: 7 Years War/French & Indian, American Revolution

  • Louis XVI lifestyle

  • Economic Depression

    • Crop failures

    • Unemployment

Causes of French Revolution

Unfair Social Structure of France

Unfair taxes

Unfair class system

Enlightenment Ideas

Poor Leadership of Louis XVI

4. Financial Problems

Debt from wars – 7 Year War, American Rev, Louis XVI spending


Which type of government did Louis XVI have?

  • Constitutional Monarchy

  • Dictatorship

  • Absolute Monarchy

  • Theocracy

Which of the following is not a cause of the French Revolution

  • Unfair class system

  • Unfair taxes

  • Ignoring the Magna Carta

  • Expenses from the American Revolution

  • Excessive spending by the King

France’s Situation

  • France’s Government is in extreme debt. Half of France’s debt is contributed to war, especially money owed for helping the US gain independence. The Government is near bankruptcy and the banks are refusing to lend money to the troubled country.

  • Recent crop failures have caused a shortage in food, making famine a real possibility. Yet the newspapers publish stories about King Louis’ lash parties and his wife’s extreme spending habits.

  • Assuming the role you were assigned yesterday, what would you do to solve the problems in France?

King Called the Estates General to “convince” the 1st and 2nd Estate to pay taxes

What is the Estates General?

  • Legislative body, similar to parliament

  • Had not met since 1614 ( 179 years!)

  • Made up of members from all 3 Estates

  • Each Estate has one Vote

Estates General Voting

1 VoteFirst Estate


1 Vote Second Estate Nobles

1 Vote Third Estate



  • The Estates General has members from each Estate but each only has one vote regardless of the population. The Nobles and the clergy plan to force the third estate to pay even more taxes so they don’t have to. 2 votes against 1

  • Is there another alternative?

Is There Another Alternative?

300 Members 1st Estate

300 Members 2nd Estate

648 Members 3rd Estate

1 Vote per Representative

What is Citizen Action?

  • Social Action – a public demonstration of disapproval of government law or action (i.e. protest)

  • Political action – working within a political system to change a law or government action (petition, lobbying, referendum)

  • Revolution - A radical changing of government, typically through an overthrow of the current gov’t system.

Meeting of National Assembly (June 1789)

  • Third estate is upset there is not equal representation in Estates General

  • Noble and Clergy block 3rd estate vote

  • 3rd estate leaves and forms NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.

Political Action

Tennis Court Oath(June 1789)

  • Could be seen as the first act of Revolution

  • National Assembly locked out of Estates General

  • Meet on Tennis court, vow to not give up till France has a new constitution

Political Action/Revolution

Storming of Bastille (July 1789)

  • King Mobilized Troops

  • 3rd Estate feared King would dissolve the National Assembly

  • Bastille is symbolic of old regime/monarchy

  • 3rd Estate lets prisoners out, leads to attacks on nobles

Social Protest/Revolution

The Great Fear (July 1789)

  • Rumors spread to the countryside of nobles killing peasants and stealing property

  • In fear, Peasants broke into Manors, robbed and destroyed property, killed nobles.

Social Protest/Revolution

Declaration on the Rights of Man and the Citizen (Aug 1789)

  • French created their own Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen modeled after TJ’s Declaration of Independence

  • All people equal before law

  • No taxation without representation

  • Similar to Bill of Rights

  • Louis XVI rejects declaration

Political Action

Constitution of 1791

Constitution of 1791

  • Constitutional Monarchy

  • Guaranteed basic rights

  • Property owning males could vote

  • All legislators get a vote

Political Action

Women’s March on Versailles (Sep. 1791)

  • 6000 angry women march on Versailles

  • Food prices in France were soaring

  • Wanted King to move to Paris and accept the National Assembly and Declaration of Rights

  • Louis XVI arrested and forced to leave Versailles for Paris

Social Protest

Which of the following is the last event to occur?

  • Tennis Court Oath

  • Declaration of the Rights of Man

  • Third Estate forms the National Assembly

  • Convening of the Estates General

Which event describes the first act of the revolution?

  • Storming of the Bastille

  • Declaration of the Rights of Man..

  • Tennis Court Oath

  • Calling of the Estates General

Which of the following declared an end to the three estates?

  • Declaration of the rights of man…

  • Tennis Court Oath

  • Women’s March on Versailles

  • Storming of the Bastille

Which of the following was not a citizen action during the French Revolution?

  • Formation of the National Assembly

  • March on Versailles

  • Civil War

  • Storming of the Bastille

Which of the following events is the best example of a protest against the government’s actions?

  • National Assembly

  • March on Versailles

  • Storming of the Bastille

  • Constitution of 1791?

What type of government did France decide on?

  • A Republic

    • A government without a King

    • Constitution limits the power of the leaders who are elected by the people.

    • Every man could vote

What happened to King Louis XV1?

  • He was tried and executed

What was the Reign of Terror?

  • Radicals called Jacobins took control of the government

  • Leader

    • Maximilien Robespierre

  • People hunted down suspected traitors and turned them in

  • 40,000 people executed

What Happened to Marie Antoinette?

  • She is executed during the Reign of Terror

How does the Reign of Terror End?

  • Robespierre is executed

  • The Directory takes over

    • Committee of five conservative men

    • Still has many problems

  • Napoleon Bonaparte stages coup d'état – quick seizure of power

    imposes new constitution - declares himself first emperor

What do you think is the

Reaction Of the French?

I am Emperor

Ooh la la

Finally, we can

have peace and

stability again

Roman Empire

French Empire

Napoleon Bonaparte

What are the top 5 facts to know about Napoleon Bonaparte?

  • Became Dictator of France – people were tired of the Revolution

  • Conquered most of Europe

    • 3 major losses contributed to his downfall

      • Battle of Trafalgar against English Navy

      • Invasion of Russia

      • Battle of Waterloo against Prussia, Britain, Netherlands

  • Created the Napoleonic Code –

    • New law code

    • Enlightenment ideas – equality, religious freedom

  • Continental System – protected France’s industries at the expense of Great Britain (similar to Navigation Acts it was considered “protectionism”

  • Exiled to Elba after defeat by foreign armies , but escaped to rule for 100 more days until his defeat at Waterloo

Results of the French Revolution

  • The French rev ended with the est. of a military dictatorship

  • The rev influenced French society to measure status by ability rather than birth

  • The ideals of the French rev spread throughout Europe.

-It brought an end to legal inequities between the estates.

What type of government did Napoleon have?

  • Parliamentary Democracy

  • Absolute Monarchy

  • Constitutional Monarchy

  • Dictatorship

What was the purpose of Napoleon’s Continental System?

  • To conquer all of Europe

  • To benefit France’s economy and hurt England’s economy

  • To enslave anyone who wasn’t French

  • To attack Russia in the winter

Which of the following was a result of the French Revolution?

  • The three estates no longer existed

  • The country became a Parliamentary Democracy

  • Enlightenment Ideas failed to spread

  • Social inequities continued to exist

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