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Revolutions and the Age of Napoleon. “A little rebellion now and then... is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.” -Thomas Jefferson. American Revolution. Enlightenment ideas helped spur American colonies to shed British rule and create new nation.

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“A little rebellion now and then... is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”

  • -Thomas Jefferson
american revolution
American Revolution
  • Enlightenment ideas helped spur American colonies to shed British rule and create new nation.
  • Americans grew bitter over British taxes “taxation without representation”
  • Ex: Boston Tea Party
  • Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson (ideas of Locke)
how colonists won
How Colonists Won
  • Colonists Motivation to fight (defending homeland)
  • Overconfident British generals made mistakes
  • Location- Fighting war 3,000 miles from London expensive.
  • France helped USA / Alliance
  • Americans won independence from Britain
americans create republic
Americans Create Republic
  • Inspired French people.
  • 1781-Constitution created in USA Articles of Confederation. Weak national gov.
  • 1787-New Constitution checks and balances
  • Bill of Rights added-protected basic freedoms.
You are living in France in the 1700’s. Your parents are merchants who make a good living. However, after taxes they have hardly any money left. You know that other people, especially the peasants in the countryside, are even worse off than you. At the same time, the nobility live sin luxury and pays practically no taxes.
  • Many people in France are desperate for change. But they are uncertain how to bring about that change. Some think that representatives of the people should demand fair taxes and just laws. Others support violent revolution. In Paris, that revolution seems to have begun. An angry mob has attacked and taken over the Bastille, a royal prison. You wonder what will happen next…

Questions to Ponder….

  • How would you define an unjust government?
  • What, if anything, would lead you to take part in a violent revolution?
France in the 1700s-France most advanced country of Europe, large population, prosperous trade. Center of Enlightenment, and culture praised.
  • Causes of French Revolution: bad harvests, high prices, economic and social inequalities, Enlightenment ideas, weak and indecisive leadership, economic problems
An Englishman’s view of French peasants, 1787 – 1790.
  • I was joined by a poor woman who complained of the times. Her husband had only a morsel of land, one cow and a poor horse. But they had to pay 20kg of wheat and three chickens as feudal dues to one lord, and 60kg of oats, one chicken and five pence to another, along with very heavy taxes to the king’s tax collectors: “The taxes and feudal dues are crushing us.”
  • (Travels in France – Arthur Young, 1792)
under the old regime in france people divided into three large social classes estates
Under the Old Regime in France people divided into three large social classes (estates)
  • - Nobles had almost complete authority over peasants.
  • - Nobles did not have to do military service.
  • - Nobles were exempt from most taxes.
  • - Nobles collected tolls from people using roads and markets.
  • - Many nobles and clergy lived in great luxury in chateaux and palaces.
  • - Peasants were forced to do military service.
  • - Peasants could not hunt or fish on nobles’ estates.
  • - Peasants had to pay taxes to their lord, the king and the Church.
  • - Peasants had to use the lord’s mill, oven and winepress, and pay for them.
  • - Peasants made up 90% of the population.
Yearly incomes compared.
  • Archbishop of Paris 50,000 livres
  • Marquis de Mainvillette 20,000 livres
  • Prince de Conti 14,000 livres
  • A Paris parish priest 10,000 livres
  • A typical village priest 750 livres
  • A master carpenter 200 livres
  • (The livre was replaced by the franc in 1795. In the 1780s, there were about 4 livres to £1).
The Peasant, shown

carrying the burden of

maintaining the

feudal lords and the clergy.

The caption reads

‘One hopes this will

end soon’

the third estate 3 groups
The Third Estate 3 Groups
  • The Third Estate-
  • Group 1- Bourgeoisie, (middle class) bankers, factory workers, merchants
  • Group 2- Workers of France’s city. Trades people, apprentices
  • Group 3 Peasants-Paid half income in dues to nobles, tithes to the Church, and taxes to the king’s agents.
The People should have power, 1775.

Man is born free. No man has any natural authority over others; force does not give anyone that right. The power to make laws belongs to the people and only to the people. (a pamphlet, banned by the French government in 1775, Jean Jacques Rousseau.)

the forces of change in france
The Forces of Change in France
  • Inspired by the American Rev.
  • Demand equality, liberty, and democracy.
  • Problems: heavy burden of taxes, Cost of living rose, bad weather, price of bread doubled-starvation
poor leadership
Poor Leadership
  • 1770s-1780s Gov sank deep into debt
  • Extravagant spending by monarch Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette
  • Borrowed heavily to help American Rev.
  • Marie member of royal family of Austria(Habsburg), unpopular in France “Madame Deficit” gowns, jewels, gambling, and gifts.
  • Louis solution: impose taxes on nobility
dawn of the revolution
Dawn of the Revolution
  • Tennis Court Oath -Third Estate delegates locked out of meeting room, they broke down door to indoor tennis court demanded new constitution
  • Response: Louis stationed mercenarily army of Swiss guards around Versailles.
dawn of the revolution1
Dawn of the Revolution
  • Estates General meeting called to approve new tax held in Versailles
  • Third Estates delegates create “National Assembly” pass laws and reforms in the name of French people.
  • June 17, 1789- establish National Assembly end of absolute monarchy and beginning of representative gov.

Oct 1789 Women’s March on Versailles -March began women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Women’s March on Versailles

Cartoon published in 1789. The members of the three estates working together to hammer out a new constitution for France.
storming of the bastille
Storming of the Bastille
  • Bastille -prison in France that the kings and queens used to lock up the people.
  • People began gathering weapons to defend city from attack.
  • July 14 1789- mob searched for gunpowder and arms stormed the Bastille
  • Attack on Bastille killed 100 people.
  • Mob overwhelmed guard and seized control of building.
  • Prison commander and several guards killed and paraded dead men’s heads on the pikes.
a great fear seeps paris
A Great Fear Seeps Paris
  • Rebellion spread from Paris to countryside
  • Thousands rioted over Paris bread
  • Few hours later, June 1791, Louis and royal family tried to escape from France to Austrian Netherlands. They were caught by guards and were to return to Paris.
Louis and family being brought back to Paris. The caption read, ‘the family of pigs being brought back to the pigsty’
reform and terror
Reform and Terror
  • Aug 4, 1789 National Assembly made commoners equal to nobles and clergy. Old Regime dead.
  • The Declaration of Rights of Man “men are born and remain equal in rights.” Rights include liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.”
  • Equal freedom, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion.
  • Men are born equal and remain free and equal in rights which are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression. Liberty is being able to do whatever does not harm others. The law should express the will of the people. All citizens have a right to take part personally, or through their representatives, in the making of the law. Every citizen can talk, write and publish freely, unless the liberty is abused in a way which breaks the law.

Olympe de Gouges- Declaration Rights of women written and rejected. She was Called enemy of Rev and later executed.

a state controlled church
A State Controlled Church
  • Nat Assembly- Church officials and priests are elected and paid as state officials. Catholic church lost land and political independence. By selling church land it helped pay off debt.
divisions develop
Divisions Develop
  • Constitutional Monarchy-Sept 1791 New constitution complete, stripped king of authority, new legislative body called Legislative Assembly.
  • Create laws and to approve or disapprove declarations of war and King could enforce laws.
  • Three groups emerge :Radicals-wanted extreme changes, Moderates-limited changes and Conservatives limited monarchy with few changes.
  • Aug 10, 20,000 men and women invaded palaces (Tuileries) where royal family was staying. Mob imprisoned Louis, Marie Antoinette, and their children.
  • September Massacres-Raided prisons and murdered 1,000 prisoners.
  • Sept 21-National Convention created.
  • Effects: Abolished monarchy, France was a republic, Adult male citizen could vote and hold office.
jacobins take control
Jacobins Take Control
  • Jacobins-Radical political organization involved in September Massacres.
  • Nat Convention made King Louis commoner and prisoner
  • Jacobins- tried Louis for treason.
  • The Nat Convention found him guilty, sentenced him to death.
  • Louis beheaded guillotine.
the guillotine
The Guillotine
  • Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotine proposed machine “Wouldn’t even feel slightest pain.” efficient, humane, and democratic.
  • Before each execution, victims traveled from prison in horse drawn carriages.
  • 1 ½ hour procession through city streets.
france at war
France at War
  • Austria and Prussia demanded Louis restore to Monarch, Legislative assembly declared war.
  • Battle of Valmy- French army beat Austria and Prussia.
  • GB, Holland, and Spain form alliance agst France- French started to get defeated.
  • Convention ordered draft of 300,000 French citizens btwn 18-40yrs old 800,000 people including women
the terror grips france
The Terror Grips France
  • Jacobins enemies- anyone horrified by king’s execution, priests who did not accept gov control, rival leaders stirring up rebellion in provinces.
  • Committee of Public Safety- protect revolution from “enemies”, Robespierre became leader.
  • 1793 Jacobin leader Maximilien Robespierre gained power.
  • Robespierre governed France as a dictator –this time is known as the Reign of Terror.
“Robespierre is extremely touchy and suspicious” (mayor of Paris 1791)

“The bastard isn’t satisfied with being the boss, he’s got

to be God as well” (a sans-culottes)

“Robespierre was bred a butcher..” (from the London


“…dictatorship..he believed was the only way to stop the

spread of evil.” (Bertrand Barere 1832, he sat on the Committee with Robespierre)

“a depraved monster of small talent.” (a government enquiry)

“..physically repulsive..humourless” (British newspaper, 1987)

He had been the equal of emperors and kings…he was the most hateful character in history” (Lord Acton, British historian, 1890s)

“The first maxim of our politics ought to be to lead the people by means of reason and the enemies of the people by terror. If the basis of popular government in time of peace is virtue, the basis of poplar government in time of revolution is both virtue and terror; virtue without terror is murderous, terror without which virtue is powerless. Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice; it flows, then from virtue.” -Robespierre
Robespierre: “One’s duty is to punish traitors, to help the needy, respect the weak, defend the oppressed, do good to one’s neighbour and behave justly.” “Terror is nothing but quick and hard justice.” “ I detest the death penalty.” “ a revolution the state is at war, it doesn’t have to follow all the laws.”
reign of terror
Reign of Terror
  • “Enemies” tried in morning, and guillotined in the afternoon.
  • Marie Antoinette beheaded.
  • 1793-1794 any who led revolution receive death sentences. Radicals who challenged Robespierre leadership. “less radical”
  • Ex: 18 year old sentenced to death cutting down a tree that had been a liberty tree.
  • 40,000 executed during the Terror
  • 85% peasants or members of urban poor and middle class
end of terror
End of Terror
  • July 1794- Members of National Convention turn on and execute Robespierre.
  • July 28, 1794 Reign of Terror ended
  • Robespierre guillotined.
  • New government - Power in upper middle class, two house legislature, executive body five men (Directory), moderates, general to command armies Napoleon Bonaparte.
napoleon forges a empire
Napoleon Forges a Empire
  • Napoleon Bonaparte-military genius seized power in France and made himself an emperor.
1796-Directory appointed Napoleon lead French army agst Austria and Sardinia
  • Swept into Italy and won victories. Led expedition to Egypt.
  • Coup d’etat-1799 Directory lost control, Napoleon urged to seize political power.
  • Nov 1799-Troops surrounded legislature and drove out members. Directory dissolved

Napoleon Took control of First Consul-assumed powers of a dictator. “blow to the state” coup d'état

  • Britain, Russia, and Austria at war with France wanted to drive Napoleon from power.
  • All three nations signed peace agreements (war and diplomacy)
  • 1802-France at peace for first time in ten years.
Napoleon Reforms
  • Set up Tax collection and national banking system. Dismissed corrupt officials gov
  • Signed concordat-agreement with Pope Pius VII
  • Gov recognized influence of state, but rejected church control in national affairs.
  • Napoleonic Code-system of laws eliminated may injustices.
  • However, Order and authority over individual rights. (no freedom of speech or press)
  • Restored slavery to French colonies of Caribbean