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Modern Europe I HIS-106
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Modern Europe I HIS-106

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  1. Modern Europe IHIS-106 Unit 10 - The French Revolution

  2. What is a Revolution? • A “revolution” can be broken down into four requirements: • An overthrow of the existing government but not just a simple coup d’etat • The placement of a new governmental system to replace the old • The participants of the revolution must be “home grown” and not be pushed by an outside group • It occurs in the modern period as most of the ideas of “revolution” come out of the Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries

  3. Importance of the French Revolution • There are three things that made the Revolution important: • What occurred in France becomes a model for future revolutions in Europe even up to modern day • It changed the political map of Europe for the rest of the modern period • It brought the people into politics • Before, politics had been limited to the upper classes, the nobility, and the clergy • Afterwards, the masses were able to participate in government

  4. What Makes France So Special? • In the 18th century, France was the most advanced and powerful country in Europe • It was one of the dominant military powers, rivaled only by Britain • France helped the Americans win their independence from the British • It was the most populous country in Europe • The population of France was around 24 million which was even larger than Russia before the divisions of Poland • Paris was only rivaled by London in size

  5. What Makes France So Special? • France was also the center of the Enlightenment and the radical ideas of the time • This was ironic since it was also one of the most oppressed countries in Europe when it came to freedom of speech • The philosophes set down the modern political and social theories that sparked many of the revolutions • French culture also dominated Europe • French became the “official” language of many of the courts of the time • When the revolution breaks out in France, it was going to have a major impact on Europe, for good or for bad

  6. France Before the Revolution • The Ancien Régime • The ruling dynasties were the Valois and Bourbon (1328-1792) • It was a period of aristocratic privilege similar to the old feudal system of the Middle Ages • Starting in the 18th century, tensions arose among the various classes • Aristocrats resented the freedoms the monarchs had allowed the middle class • Middle class resented a society of privilege that was outmoded • Peasants resented the increasing demands of the central government

  7. Causes of the French Revolution • Four categories of causes of the French Revolution • Intellectual Causes • Mainly based on the influence of Enlightenment ideas • Liberal ideals • “Rights of Man” - Life, liberty, and property • Self-Determination - A government “by the people” • Equality under the law • End to Feudalism and State-Controlled Economy • American Revolution also played a role • Creation of a Free Republic • Many French fought in the American Revolution

  8. The Three Estates

  9. The Three Estates • Social causes of the Revolution are based on the archaic three estate system • First Estate (premier état) - The Church • Second Estate (deuxieme état) - The Nobility • Third Estate (tiers état) – Everybody else • Power was in the hands of the first two estates • Made up only around 5% of the population • Controlled most of the wealth and political power • Third Estate paid most of the taxes • Did not enjoy any political power even though its wealth and numbers were growing

  10. The Three Estates • First Estate - Clergy • Made up 1% of the population (~100,000) • Owned 10% of the land in France • Exempt from property taxes • This estate collected a tithe, a 10% annual tax • Second Estate - Nobility • Made up around 2.5% of the population (~400,000) • Owned 20% of the land • "Noblesse d'épée" - ("Nobility of the Sword“) – Old Nobility • 50,000 new nobles created between 1700 and 1789 • "Noblesse de Robe" - ("Nobility of the Robe“) – New Nobility

  11. The Three Estates • Third Estate – Everybody else • Made up approximately 97% of the population • Mainly peasants who paid most of the taxes • Owed obligations to landlord, church, and state • Direct and indirect taxation a heavy burden • The corvée • Social boundaries between noble and non-noble ill-defined • Most noble wealth was proprietary (tied to land) • Influx of new wealth from banking, shipping, slave trade, and mining • Bourgeoisie identified with the nobility, not the common people

  12. Louis XVI • (1774-1792)

  13. Louis XVI (1774-1792) • The political cause centered around the reign of Louis XVI • Louis XVI came to the throne at the age of 19 • He had no interest in running the government • Like his grandfather, he was more concerned about hunting • On July 14, 1789, he put in his hunting journal only one word: “rien” (“nothing”) • Hired Jean-FrédéricPhélypeaux, Count of Maurepas, to be his chief advisor • Suggested the revival in the use of the parlements • These had been abolished during the reign of Louis XV • Louis thought this would increase his popularity with the nobility

  14. Louis XVI (1774-1792) • In France, there were 13 parlements • The parlements did not write legislation • Instead, they were only required to ratify laws and take care of some administrative tasks • The king always had the right to veto any act of parlement • The most powerful of the parlements was the one in Paris • Here was where the king would request a lit de justice to have royal edicts passed • For a short period of time during the reign of Louis XV, the parlements were given the right to veto a king’s act • As their members came from the Second Estate, they were unwilling to bring about any reforms that would threaten their power

  15. Louis XVI (1774-1792) • Louis also did not show much interest in producing an heir to the throne • Married Marie Antoinette in 1700 at age 15 • However, the marriage was not consummated until seven years later • May have been due to immaturity, impotence, or may have had a condition known as phimosis • Marie Antoinette was not very popular • She dispensed patronage among her friends • In 1783, the Hameau de la Reine ("The Queen's hamlet") was built for her by Louis XVI • In 1785, there was the Diamond Necklace Affair

  16. Marie Antoinette • (1755-1793)

  17. Economic Causes of the Revolution • Major cause of the Revolution: Economics • Played a role both in the long and short term • By 1780s, French economy was failing • Massive national debt • Accumulated during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV • Due to the number of wars • Old tax system could not pay off the debt • The debt was viewed not as the country’s debt but the king’s • By 1764, the national debt was up to 2.3 billion • Worth ~ $15.5 billion in 2010 currency • Interest on these loans was costing 60% of the annual budget

  18. Economic Causes of the Revolution • Many countries in Europe were also in debt • Due to wars and economic depressions in the mid-1760s • Their tax systems were more efficient • Wartime taxes • Tried to extend wartime taxes to help pay these debts • Parlements opposed them • Focused instead on paying the interest rather than principle • Antiquated tax system • Taxes were collected by tax “farmers” • They collected the indirect taxes, such as tailleand gabelle(salt tax) • Able to keep a percentage of the taxes collected

  19. Economic Causes of the Revolution • Only the Third Estate paid all the taxes • Taxation tied to social status and varied from region to region • It was mainly paid by the peasantry whose incomes were the lowest in the country • Not enough money going into the royal treasury • Yet France was considered one of the wealthiest countries • Attempts to reform taxes • Were attempts to tax nobility • All were opposed by the parlements • This conflict peaked during the reign of Louis XVI

  20. Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot • French Finance Minister • (1774-1776)

  21. Rising Economic Crisis • Louis hired a number of financial ministers to help with the debt • Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot • He strongly followed laissez-faire styled economics • Wanted to implement a property tax • Parlements vetoed Turgot’s proposals • Could have saved France? • Jacques Necker • “Old school” economist and mercantilist • Managed financing for the American Revolution • Got loans to pay for the 1.3 billion livre cost • Ended up making the debt much worse

  22. Jacques Necker • French Finance Minister (1777-1781)

  23. Rising Economic Crisis • Tensions between the central governments and the provincial parlements slowed reform • Parlements defend nobility’s exemption from paying taxes to pay for the Seven Years’ War • Charles-Alexandre de Calonne • Was appointed as finance minister in 1783 • By August 1786, France had a deficit of 112 million livre • The loans accumulated since 1776 totaled 1.25 billion in debt • At this point, France had no way of paying all of its debts • Calonne realized that minor changes would not help the government get out of debt

  24. Rising Economic Crisis • Calonne proposed a tax on all the people of France • This would include the nobility • General tax on all landowners to replace the taille • Calling of the Assemblée des notables • Calonne knew he would have problems getting these taxes through the Parlements • Called an Assemblée des notables instead • If they supported his plan, he would have little difficultly getting it passed in the Parlements • Assembly of Notables was called on February 22, 1787 • There were 144 people in attendance • Included the highest of the nobility, church, and bourgeoisie

  25. Political cartoon of the Assembly of Notables “My dear creatures, I have assembled you here to deliberate on the sauce in which you will be served”

  26. Rising Economic Crisis • Aristocrats used the financial emergency to extract constitutional reforms • Were willing to make some radical changes • This included the implementation of a land tax • Insisted that any new tax scheme be approved by the Estates-General • They refused to pass anything resembling a general tax • On April 8, 1787, Louis XVI fired Calonne • Replaced with Etienne Charles Lomenie de Brienne • Brienne was also unsuccessful at getting the tax laws passed

  27. Rising Economic Crisis • Brienne turned to the clergy for help • Requested a large payment from them to help out the country’s finances • They refused • Brienne realized that there was nothing else he could do • Nothing would get passed without calling the Estates General • In August 1788, the financial crisis had worsened • On August 8, he announced that the Estates General would meet in May 1789 • On August 16, the government stops repaying loans

  28. Qu'est ce que le Tiers Etat? • What is the Third Estate? By Abbé Sieyès (January 1789)

  29. Calling of the Estates General • Estates-General had not been called since 1614 • The Three Estates elected delegates • Drew up the cahiers et doléances (list of grievances) • The delegates of the Third Estate represented the outlook of the elite • 25 percent lawyers, 43 percent government officials • Strong sense of common grievance and common purpose • Should the estates vote by estate or by individual? • Parlement of Paris stated that each of the estates would have only one vote each • Third Estate wanted double representation in the Estates

  30. Calling of the Estates General • Double representation • On December 27, 1788, Louis allowed for double representation for the Third Estate • What is the Third Estate? (January 1789) • Pamphlet written by AbbéSieyès • Stated that the true desire of the Third Estate was to have true political power and have equal power to the first two estates combined • He also stated that the votes should be taken by head, not by estate • This sparked further debates throughout France • Lambasted the Second Estate as being useless without the Third Estate

  31. Meeting of the Estates General (May 5, 1789)

  32. The Estates General • The delegates for the Estates General met at Versailles on May 2, 1789 • First two estates were greeted by Louis in the Hall of Mirrors • Third Estate was forced to wait until four hours later to meet the king in a different part of the palace • The Estates General opened on May 5 • The three estates were to be seated in different chambers • The Third Estate refused to be segregated • Requested that all three estates sit in the same chamber • King announced that the voting would be by estate with each having one vote • Third Estate refused to pass any measures

  33. The Estates General • On May 28th, the Third Estate began meeting on its own • They now called themselves the Communes (“Commons”) • AbbéSieyès also told the Commons that they should invite members of the other two estates to join them • They were hoping to attract the parish priests as many of them were poor • A number of clergy did join them • Commons wanted to create a new legislative body • This was because more than one estate was in attendance • AbbéSieyès stated that this body represented 98% of the country • It should start work immediately on the restoration of France

  34. Abbé Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès • (1748-1836)

  35. The National Assembly • Creation of the National Assembly • Created by vote on June 17, 1789 • Passed a measure stating that all taxes could not be collected unless passed by the National Assembly • Assembly continued to invited members of the other two estates to join • By June 19, 1789, over 100 clergy and nobility had joined • Louis planned a séance royale(Royal Session) • The purpose was to try to get the three estates back on track • The location was to be in the Salle des États, the meeting place of the Assembly • When the National Assembly showed up to the Salle des États on June 20, 1789, they found the doors locked

  36. The Tennis Court Oath (June 20, 1789)

  37. The National Assembly • The Assembly moved to a nearby indoor tennis court • Tennis Court Oath (June 20, 1789) • The members in attendance gave the following oath: • “We swear never to separate ourselves from the National Assembly, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the realm is drawn up and fixed upon solid foundations.” • It was passed 576-1 by the members • This was a key action by the National Assembly • They were going to put together a constitution with or without the king • The Assembly had true power of the country as it represented the people

  38. The National Assembly • On June 22, 1789, the Assembly found itself locked out of the tennis court • The group went on to meet in the church of St. Louis • Louis recalled over 18,000 soldiers to Versailles • He would use them disband the Assembly by force if necessary • By June 24, most of the clergy had joined the Assembly along with 48 nobility • On June 27, Louis ordered all the delegates to join the Assembly • On July 9, the Assembly renamed itself the National Constituent Assembly

  39. Riots and looting in France • (March-May 1789)

  40. Revolution from Below • There were two sides to the revolution • The middle- and upper-classes were bringing about change for the country via politics • The lower-classes were making changes through riots • Suffering lower classes • They endured increases in the taille, gabelle, and in feudal dues • Hoped that the calling of the Estates General would help ease their financial burdens • Bread shortages • During the 1780s, weather patterns had a negative impact on crops • It was a peak period in the “Little Ice Age” • Eruptions in Iceland from 1783-1785

  41. Revolution from Below • These weather patterns led to a decline in crop outputs • Bad winter in 1787/1788 • Followed by severe hailstorm in July 1788 • Led to a sharp increase in the price of grain and bread • Bread was a mainstay of the peasant’s diet • By 1788, most peasants were spending upwards of 50% of their income just on bread alone • By 1789, 80% of their income went to bread (highest since 1714) • This led to a severe food crisis throughout France • From 1785 to 1789, the cost of living increased 62% • However, wages only went up 22%

  42. Revolution from Below • No government relief • Due to the country’s poor financial status • Some towns attempted to fix the price of bread • Failed to stop the growing famine in many regions • Economic depression made matters worse • Incomes of many workers declined rapidly • Rise in unemployment • Many peasants stopped paying their feudal dues and taxes • Some moved into the cities but were unable to find work • In the towns and cities, labor revolts broke out in the spring of 1789

  43. Revolution from Below • Increase in crime and vagrancy • Due to so many people out of work and searching for food • Growing paranoia • Lower-class was positive the king and nobility were going to shut down the Third Estate • Specifically, they were fearful that the king was going to forcibly disband the Constituent Assembly • Rumors circulated that Louis was about to stage a coup d’état • Many people and towns began to arm themselves for protection • Parisian workers (sans-culottes) organized a militia of volunteers

  44. Storming of the Bastille (July 14, 1789)

  45. Storming of the Bastille • Riots and looting broke out on July 12, 1789 • Many were looking for food and for weaponry • The GardesFrançaises (French Guards) stood back and allowed the looting to occur as they were sympathetic to the people • July 14, a mob took weapons from the Hôtel des Invalides • They were able to take 28,000 muskets and ten cannons • However, they were not able to secure enough ammunition • The next target was the fortress of the Bastille • There was the belief that the Bastille held 250 barrels (20,000 pounds) of gunpowder • The mob ransacked the prison and took the governor and guards hostage

  46. “This is how we punish traitors”

  47. Great Fear of 1789 • On July 17, 1789, the Revolution spread to the countryside • The situation there was already tense • Increase in vagrants, beggars, and criminals • Convinced that the nobility had employed these people to terrorize them • Rumors that the king’s armies were on their way • The peasants responded by arming themselves in self-defense • The peasants wanted to destroy the manorial system • Burned the buildings where the taxes were collected • It escalated to sacking and burning down the manor homes • The nobility was forced to flee the countryside

  48. The Great Fear of 1789

  49. August Days • On August 4, 1789, the Assembly voted to: • Give up their seigneurial rights and declared an end to serfdom • Declare an end to the tithe, special privileges, and tax privileges • The Declarations of the Rights of Man and Citizen • Issued by the Assembly on August 26, 1789 • Based on the ideas of the natural rights of man • Every citizen had the right to “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression” • All citizens were equal in the eyes of the law • “Law is the expression of the general will” • It called for the government by the people • The people were to decide how taxes were to be collected

  50. August Days • The period of all of these changes became known as the “August Days” • Legislation the “August Decrees” • Working on a new government and constitution • The differing factors in the Assembly made this a difficult task • Conservatives wanted to keep the king as the main authority of the government with a bicameral legislature • Liberals wanted a unicameral legislative body • This was out of fear that the nobility in the upper house would give themselves back some of its power • Louis had refused to recognize the Declarations