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French revolution

French revolution

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French revolution

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  1. French revolution

  2. OVERVIEW • The French Revolution became the most momentous upheaval of the revolutionary age • Replaced the “Old Regime” with a “modern society” • Profoundly influenced future revolutions

  3. Louis XV • Nobility gained influence during reign • Ministers and mistresses exercised undue influence on him • Controlled affairs of the state • Undermined authority of the monarchy • Madame de Pompadour

  4. PARLEMENT • High court of Paris • Power to approve/disapprove king’s decrees • Former members of the middle class • Nobility of the robe – purchased titles • Louis sought to raise funds for Seven Years’ War • Parlement refused • Similar to taxation struggle of English Parliament and James I/Charles I

  5. FRANCE IN 1789 • In many ways the most advanced country in Europe in 18th century • Popultion of 25 million • Wealthiest (not per capita) • Productive economy • More exports than Britain to European continent • French culture dominated the continent • Official language of diplomacy • Center of the Enlightenment • Most powerful military in Europe

  6. THREE ESTATES • First Estate (the clergy) • Less than 1% of population • Exempt from taxation • Second Estate (nobility) • 2-4% of total population • Exempt from taxation • Allowed to tax peasants for personal gain • Third Estate (everyone else) • Bore majority of tax burden

  7. Socio-Economic Data, 1789

  8. TAXES OF THE THIRD ESTATE • Taille – land tax • Tithe – church tax (10% of annual income) • Income tax • Poll tax • Salt tax • Feudal obligations (taxes/fees to landlord)

  9. The French Urban Poor

  10. LETTRES de CACHET • The French king could warrant imprisonment or death in a signed letter under his seal. • A carte-blanche warrant. • Cardinal Fleury issued 80,000 during the reign of Louis XV! • Eliminated in 1790.


  12. LONG TERM CAUSES – Breakdown of an old order • Partially influenced by American Revolution • Increasing criticism of French government was spurred by rising expectations of the Enlightenment • Political theories, laissez faire economics, criticism of government inefficiency, corruption and privileges of the aristocracy • Divine right theory no longer fit in the age of “enlightened despots”

  13. LONG TERM CAUSES – Three Estates • Three Estates system did not reflect the realities of wealth and ability in French society • Bourgeoisie demanded political and social power be congruent with their emerging economic power • Resented the First and Second Estates who held all social and political power • Wanted reduction of privileges of the nobility and tax relief for themselves

  14. LONG TERM CAUSES – Class Conflict • Parallel social interests between the nobility and the bourgeoisie • Plagued by internal rivalries • Bourgeoisie frustrated by social position, united by economic position • Rise up to lead Third Estate in the Revolution • Resulted in the abolition of feudal privileges and established a capitalist system based on individualism and market economy

  15. IMMEDIATE CAUSES – Financial Mismanagement • During reign of Louis XIV, France went nearly bankrupt • By 1780’s nearly half of budget went to pay interest • Participation in American Revolution • Could not declare bankruptcy • No central bank, no paper currency, no means of creating credit • ONLY WAY TO INCREASE REVENUE WAS TO INCREASE TAXES!!!

  16. FRENCH BUDGET 1774

  17. IMMEDIATE CAUSES – Financial Mismanagement • Government dependent on poorest classes • Taxed to the max • Mercantilist economy • Inflation (1730-1780s) • Increased prices, but wages remained the same • Privileged classes refused to pay any taxes • Parlements controlled by nobility • Blocked tax increases, as well as new taxes • Forced king to share power with Second Estate

  18. Financial Problems in France 1789 • Urban Commoner’sBudget: • Food 80% • Rent 25% • Tithe 10% • Taxes 35% • Clothing 20% • TOTAL 170% • King’s Budget: • Interest 50% • Army 25% • Versailles 25% • Coronation 10% • Loans 25% • Admin. 25% • TOTAL 160%

  19. IMMEDIATE CAUSES – Financial Mismanagement • July 5, 1788, Louis XVI reluctantly summoned spring session of Estates General • Asked all parties to study tax situation and make proposals

  20. Convening the Estates General May, 1789 Last time it was called into session was 1614!

  21. ESTATES GENERAL – 1789 • Feudal assembly that respresented the Three Estates • Each estate was asked to compile a list of grievances and suggestions and present them to the king • Common agreements among the Estates • France should have a constitutional monarchy • Individual liberties must be guaranteed by law • Abolition of internal trade barriers

  22. ESTATES GENERAL – 1789 • Main issue dividing the Estates was how the Estates General should vote • Each Estate elect its own representatives • Finance Minister (Jacques Necker) oversaw Estates General • Convinced Louis to double number of representatives in Third Estate

  23. The Suggested Voting Pattern:Voting by Estates Clergy 1st Estate 1 Aristocracy 2nd Estate 1 1 Commoners 3rd Estate Louis XIV insisted that the ancient distinction of the three orders be conserved in its entirety – Parlement ruled this would continue

  24. The Number of Representativesin the Estates General: Vote by Head! Clergy 1st Estate 300 Aristocracy 2nd Estate 300 648 Commoners 3rd Estate

  25. Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès 1stWhat is the Third Estate?Everything! 2nd What has it been heretofore in the political order? Nothing! 3rd What does it demand? To become something therein! AbbéSieyès1748-1836

  26. May 5, 1789 • Third Estate is furious voting is by Estate and not per capita • Each Estate ordered to meet separately • Third Estate refused; said entire Estates General needed to meet together • Deadlock until June

  27. Europe on the Eve of the French Revolution


  29. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY • June 17, 1789 • Third Estate declares itself the true National Assembly of France • When locked out of their meeting place by Louis XVI they met at an indoor tennis court • Tennis Court Oath – the Third Estate swore to remain together until it had given France a written constitution • Third Estate thus assumes sovereign power on behalf of the nation

  30. “The Tennis Court Oath”by Jacques Louis David June 20, 1789

  31. STORMING OF THE BASTILLE • July 14, 1789 • King summoned 18,000 troops to Versailles following Tennis Court Oath • Workers and tradesmen began to arm themselves in response • Angry mob stormed Bastille in search of weapons and gunpowder • Saved National Assembly – king had been willing to use force to shut it down

  32. Storming the Bastille, July 14, 1789 • 18 died • 73 wounded • 7 guards killed • It held 7 prisoners [5 ordinary criminals & 2 madmen] • Heads of the prison governor and mayor put on pikes and paraded through streets

  33. THE GREAT FEAR of 1789 • Spirit of rebellion spread to countryside, sparking wave of violence • Peasants attacked manor houses in attempt to destroy legal records of their feudal obligations • Taxes went unpaid • Old common lands were reoccupied, forests seized • Middle class responds by forming National Guard Militia to protect property rights

  34. The Pathof the“GreatFear”

  35. NIGHT SESSION – AUGUST 4, 1789 • National Assembly voted to abolish feudalism in France • Declared equality of taxation to all classes • One of the two great social changes of the Revolution • Attempt to stop further violence • Ended serfdom, exclusive hunting rights for nobles, fees for justice, and corvée • Peasantry achieved a great victory

  36. NATIONAL ASSEMBLY 1789-1791

  37. National Constituent Assembly1789 - 1791 Egalité! Liberté! Fraternité! August DecreesAugust 4-11, 1789 (A renunciation of aristocratic privileges!)

  38. The Tricolor (1789) The WHITE of the Bourbons + the RED & BLUE of Paris Citizen!

  39. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen August 26, 1789 • Liberty! • Property! • Resistance to oppression! • Thomas Jefferson was in Paris at this time.

  40. DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN AND CITIZEN • Became the constitutional blueprint for France • Influenced by American constitutional ideas • Enlightenment philosophy • Freedom of expression and religion • Liberty defined as freedom to do anything so long as it does not threaten the safety of others • Taxes raised only with common consent • Separation of powers – separate branches • Confiscation of property only with due compensation • “citizen” applied to all French people, regardless of class

  41. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen Posed New Dilemmas Did women have equal rights with men? What about free blacks in the colonies? How could slavery be justified if all men were born free? Did religious toleration of Protestants and Jews include equal political rights?

  42. RIGHTS OF WOMEN • Women gained increased rights to divorce, inherit property and to get child support from fathers of illegitimate children • ***women did not share in equal rights in Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen • could not vote, hold office • Men had advantage in family law, property rights, and education

  43. THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN, 1791 • Olympe de Gouges • The Rights of Woman, 1791 • Applied each of the 17 articles in the Declaration explicitly to women • Asserted the right of women to divorce, to control property, equal access to higher education and civilian careers and public employment • Mary Wollstonecraft – England, published ideas similar in Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792

  44. March of the Women,October 5-6, 1789 A spontaneous demonstration of Parisian women for bread. We want the baker, the baker’s wife and the baker’s boy!

  45. OCTOBER DAYS, 1789 • 7,000 women march 12 miles from Paris to Versailles • Demand king address their economic problems • King and Queen forced to moved to Paris to live at Tuleries • Louis XVI met with group of women in Tuleries and guaranteed reasonable bread prices in Paris • National Assembly also moved to Paris

  46. CREATION OF THE CONSTITUTION • The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) • In essence, secularized religion • Created a national church • Biggest mistake made by the National Assembly • Represented first significant failure • Clergy forced to take loyalty oath to new government • RESULT: deeply divided France over issue of religion

  47. ECONOMIC REFORM • How to finance new government? • Favored middle class rather than the lowest classes • Metric system • Replaced sloppy system of weights/measures • Internal tariffs abolished • Le Chapelier Law (1791) – outlawed strikes, workers coalitions and assemblies • Assignants – became new paper currency • Confiscated Church lands – sold to pay off national debt • Much of it purchased by peasants

  48. LOUIS XVI ATTEMPTS TO FLEE • Louis XVI tries to flee to avoid having to approve Constitution of 1791 • Tries to raise a counterrevolutionary army • Captured, returned as prisoner of Paris mob • Forced to accept Constitutional Monarchy

  49. INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS • Edmund Burke • Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) • Defense of European conservativism • Defended inherited privileges • Predicted anarchy and dictatorship in France • Thomas Paine • Rights of Man (1791) • responded to Burke by defending Enlightenment principles • Saw triumph of liberty over despotism