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French Revolution. Origins. Causes of the French Revolution include the following:. Resentment of royal absolutism . Resentment of manorialism by peasants, wage-earners, and, to a lesser extent, the bourgeoisie The rise of enlightenment ideals.

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causes of the french revolution include the following
Causes of the French Revolution include the following:
  • Resentment of royal absolutism.
  • Resentment of manorialism by peasants, wage-earners, and, to a lesser extent, the bourgeoisie
  • The rise of enlightenment ideals.
  • An unmanageable national debt, both caused by and exacerbating the burden of a grossly inequitable system of taxation.
  • Bad economic conditions, partly because of France's involvement and aid in the American Revolution.
  • Food scarcity in the months immediately before the revolution.
  • Resentment at noble privilege and dominance in public life by the ambitious professional classes.
  • Louis XIV
    • War of Austrian Succession
    • War of Spanish Succession
  • Louis XV
    • Seven years war
  • Louis XVI
    • American Revolution
    • Inability to effectively tax
jacques necker 1776 1781
Jacques Necker 1776-1781
  • Swiss Banker
  • Resumed traditional policy of borrowing money and increasing spending
    • Had to pay high rate of interest to secure loans
  • Dismissed in 1781 after coming into conflict with Marie Antoinette
charles calonne 1783 1787
Charles Calonne 1783-1787
  • Spent large amounts of money, reminiscent of Louis XIV
  • By 1786 the France could no longer borrow any money.
  • Proposed tax reforms (land tax) and asked the King to call an assembly of notables to consider the tax proposals
  • This assembly of notables was called in Feb. 1787
the estates general
The Estates General
  • In July 1788, in an attempt to win popular support for new taxes, Louis decided to summon into session an Estates-General
  • The Estates-General would meet in May, 1789.
  • Each Estate would elect delegates who would also prepare a list of grievances or “Cahiers”.
parliament of paris
Parliament of Paris
  • In Sept 1788 the POP declared that the EG should meet as it did in 1614
    • One vote per estate
  • It became clear to the bourgeoisie that the privileged classes wanted power for themselves and not justice for the nation as a whole.
  • Bourgeoisie now demanded double representation
    • 1st estate 300, 2nd 300, 3rd 600
    • And to vote by head not estate
abbe sieyes what is the 3 rd estate jan 1789
Abbe SieyesWhat is the 3rd Estate? Jan 1789
  • The plan of this book is fairly simple. We must ask ourselves three questions.  1. What is the Third State? Everything.  2. What has it been until now in the political order? Nothing.  3. What does it want to be? Something....  and ends:-  The Third Estate embraces then all that which belongs to the nation; and all that which is not the Third Estate, cannot be regarded as being of the nation.  What is the Third Estate?  It is everything.
cahiers list of grievances
Cahiers- list of Grievances
  • Clergy
    • no pluralism and non nobles able to become Bishops
    • Were willing to give up financial privileges of the Church
    • Would not give up dominant position of the Church
    • Catholicism should remain the established religion and retain control of education
  • Nobility
    • Surprisingly liberal
    • 89% prepared to give up financial privileges
    • 39% supported voting by head at EG
  • Third estate in general
    • End to special privileges enjoyed by the clergy and the nobility
  • Peasants
    • Demanded the abolition of the Gabelle, the corvee and the tithe
  • Middle class (bourgeoisie)
    • Called for an end on mercantilist restrictions on industry and trade, Constitutional monarchy
  • The Cahiers of all three orders had a great deal in common. All were against Royal power and all wanted a King whose powers would be limited by an elected assembly, which would have the right to vote taxes and pass laws. Only one major issue separated the 3rd estate from the other two orders - voting by head. It was this that was to cause conflict when the EG met.
estates general
Estates General
  • First met May 5, 1789
  • Debate over to vote by order or delegate
  • Third Estate boycotted for 6 weeks
  • June 17, 1789 the third estate voted to call itself the national assembly (NA) and invited the members of the other estates to join it
  • June 20, 1789 Tennis court oath
    • LXVI decided to hold a Royal session on 6/23
    • The hall that the 3rd estate met in was closed to prepare
    • The NA pledged not to disband until they had given France a Constitution
eg cont
EG cont.
  • At the Royal session LXVI declared null and void the decisions made by the deputies on 6/17
  • He would not allow the privileges of the nobility to be discussed in common
  • He was willing to make reforms…too late
  • 6/24 151 clergy and 47 nobles joined the NA
  • There were popular demonstrations in Paris in favor of the NA
june 27
June 27
  • On June 27 the King gave in
  • He reversed the decision of 6/23 and ordered the nobles and clergy to join the NA
  • Was the king sincere in this change. The number of soldiers surrounding Paris began to rise quickly.
  • Was the King going to dissolve the NA by force?
the economic crisis
The Economic Crisis
  • 1788 very poor harvest
  • Normal times a worker spent 50% of his income on bread
  • By Spring of 1789 a Paris worker could be spending 88% of his wages on bread
  • The situation was very volatile when the Estates General met
the revolt of paris
The Revolt of Paris
  • On July 11 Louis had 30,000 troops near Paris
  • Louis felt strong enough to dismiss the popular finance minister, Necker
  • When news of Necker’s dismissal hit Paris the next day Parisians were encourage to take up arms
  • The deputies thought Louis might next attempt to dissolve the Assembly and arrest the leading members
  • A frantic search for guns and ammunition began in Paris
fall of the bastille
Fall of the Bastille
  • The Parisians first went to the Invalides where they got 28,000 muskets and 20 cannons
  • Still short of gunpowder so they marched on the Bastille
  • On July 14, 1789 a Paris mob (Sans Culottes) stormed the Bastille
  • Saved the Assembly
great fear
Great Fear
  • Swept the Provinces, summer of 1789
    • July 20- August 6
  • Rumors of impending famine, bandits attacking peasants
  • peasants sacked the castles of the nobles and burned documentation recording feudal obligations. (terriers)
  • Demonstrations and riots against taxes, the tithe and feudal dues spread throughout the country side
night of august 4
Night of August 4
  • Ended when the National Assembly abolished what remained of feudalism August 4, 1789
  • All forms of the tithe were abolished
  • All French citizens now became equal in the eyes of the law
declaration of the rights of man and citizen aug 26 1789
Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen Aug. 26 1789
  • All men are born free and remain equal in rights
  • Natural rights include the rights to liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression
  • Freedom of speech, press, assembly, to petition the government, religion and freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment
  • Source of all sovereignty is essentially in the nation
women march on versailles
Women march on Versailles
  • By October 1789, Louis XVI still had not approved either the August 4th decrees or the Declaration of Rights of man
  • Rumors said the King was planning to use force to restore his authority
  • On October 5-6, 1789 women angry about the rise in bread prices marched on Versailles and forced the Royal family to return to Paris to the Tuileries
  • King agreed to provide Paris with Grain and to approve the August decrees and the Declaration of Rights
  • In Paris the King regarded himself as a prisoner of the Paris mob and therefore not bound by anything he was forced to accept.
assembly and the church
Assembly and the Church
  • November 1789 in an attempt to deal with the financial crisis facing France, the National Assembly confiscated the land owned by the Roman Catholic Church
  • Assembly then issued paper money, Assignats, based on the property
  • Assembly now took on job of paying French Catholic clergy
  • Assembly adopted the Civil constitution of the Clergy on July 12, 1790
civil constitution of the clergy
Civil Constitution of the Clergy
  • Bishops and Priests would now be elected by the people
  • The clergy were required to swear an oath to the new arrangement
  • ½ did, ½ did not
  • The Pope condemned not only the Civil Constitution of the clergy but the revolution as well
flight to varennes
Flight to Varennes
  • On the night of June 20, 1791, the King and his immediate family fled from Paris, intending to leave France and secure foreign assistance against the Revolutionaries
  • The King and his family were caught in Varennes and were compelled to return to Paris
  • King lost what was remaining of his popularity
champ de mars july 17 1791
Champ de Mars July 17, 1791
  • 50,000 people flocked to the Champ de Mars
  • Political demonstration calling for a Republic
  • The Assembly sent the National Guard to break up the meeting and it declared Martial Law
  • About 50 people were killed
the constitution of 1791
The Constitution of 1791
  • September 14, 1791 Louis XVI accepted the new Constitution
  • Established a limited monarchy with separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches
  • Unicameral legislative body
  • Active vs. passive citizens
  • Created the Legislative Assembly
    • Elected assembly was almost entirely Bourgeoisie
  • Self Denying ordinance
legislative assembly reforms
Legislative Assembly Reforms
  • Abolished titles of Nobility
  • Abolished Parlements which had been dominated by the Nobility
  • Use of torture was ended
  • Juries introduced for trials
  • Laissez faire economic policies
edmund burke reflections on the revolution in france 1790
Edmund Burke “Reflections on the Revolution in France” 1790
  • Burke became one of the earliest and fiercest British critics of the French Revolution, which he saw not as movement towards a representative, constitutional democracy but rather as a violent rebellion against tradition and proper authority and as an experiment disconnected from the complex realities of human society, which would end in disaster.
mary wollstonecraft
Mary Wollstonecraft
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790)
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)
political clubs
Political Clubs
  • Feuillants
    • More conservative
    • Favored limited monarchy
  • Cordeliers
    • Danton, Desmoulins, Marat
  • Jacobin Club
    • At first relatively moderate
    • Gradually became more radical demanding a Republic
    • Robespierre
intervention by foreign powers
Intervention by foreign powers
  • August 27, 1791 Prussia and Austria declared their readiness to intervene to protect the French Royal family (Declaration of Pilnitz)
  • Legislative Assembly responded by declaring war on Austria in April 20, 1792 (Joseph II, brother of French Queen Marie Antoinette)
  • Prussia declared war on France a month later
brunswick manifesto
Brunswick Manifesto
  • The "Brunswick Manifesto" issued on July 25, 1792 threatened war and ruin to soldiers and civilians alike, should the Republicans injure Louis XVI and his family. His avowed aim was
    • "to put an end to the anarchy in the interior of France, to check the attacks upon the throne and the altar, to reestablish the legal power, to restore to the king the security and the liberty of which he is now deprived and to place him in a position to exercise once more the legitimate authority which belongs to him."
In Paris, Louis XVI was generally believed to be in treacherous correspondence with the Austrians and Prussians already, and the Republicans became more vocal in the early summer of 1792. It remained for the Duke of Brunswick's proclamation to assure the downfall of the monarchy by his proclamation, which was being rapidly distributed in Paris by July 28 apparently by the monarchists, who badly misjudged the effect it would have. The "Brunswick Manifesto" seemed to furnish the agitators with a complete justification for the revolt that they were already planning. The first violent action was carried out on August 10, when the Palace of the Tuileries was stormed.
the second revolution
The Second Revolution
  • August 10, 1792
  • King was suspended from office
  • Legislative Assembly replaced by the Constitutional Convention
    • Elected by Universal Male suffrage
  • The Paris Commune was established
  • The national assembly did all that the Paris Commune wanted
september massacres
September Massacres
  • The country was embroiled in a foreign war. The new government had declared war against the powerful Austria and in the beginning it did not go well for France. Complicating matters was the fact that counter-revolutionary Frenchmen were working with Austria in the hopes of turning back the revolution. In France people saw counter-revolutionaries under every rock.  
  • Georges-Jacques Danton, a revolutionary leader and a powerful orator, rose in the Assembly on September 2nd 1792 and boomed out these memorable words in his deep bass voice: "When the tocsin sounds, it will not be a signal of alarm, but the signal to charge against the enemies of our country. . . To defeat them, gentlemen, we need boldness, and again boldness, and always boldness; and France will then be saved."
  • Danton probably meant boldness in fighting the war against Austria. But many took his words to refer to enemies within  France. The radical press took up the cry, "Let the blood of the traitors flow," and within hours of Danton's speech the streets of France did indeed run with blood. Many thought the prisons held counter-revolutionaries and so mobs of citizens invaded the prisons, held mock trials, and slaughtered many of the inmates. Many of the inmates were clergymen who had refused to swear the oath which they felt put the state over the Pope. By September 7,  over 1000 were dead. 
national convention
National Convention
  • The Convention met for the first time on September 20, 1792.
  • On the next day it abolished the monarchy
  • The Mountain dominated the National Convention
    • Robespierre, Danton, Marat
  • The mountain had the support of the Paris municipal government and the sans-culottes
louis condemned to death
Louis Condemned to death
  • The Convention voted by a vote of 361-360 to execute Louis XVI
  • On January 21, 1793 Louis was executed
reforms of the national convention
Reforms of the National Convention
  • Abolished slavery in the French Colonies
  • Created metric system
  • New calendar; September 22, 1792 was day one
revolutionary calendar
Revolutionary Calendar
  • There were twelve months, each divided into three ten-day weeks called décades. The five or six extra days needed to approximate the tropical year were placed after the months at the end of each year. Each day was divided into ten hours, each hour into 100 decimal minutes and each decimal minute had 100 decimal seconds. Clocks were manufactured to display decimal time, but it did not catch on and was officially abandoned in 1795, although some cities continued to use decimal time as late as 1801.
revolution turns radical
Revolution turns RADICAL
  • Inflation still increasing
  • Jacobins use lack of progress to rid their rivals (Girondists)
    • San Culottes have been protesting and rioting over the cost of goods
    • Jacobins accuse the Girondists of being counter revolutionary
      • Use the San Culotte to eliminate them
      • Jacobin controls the mob, controls Paris, controls the Revolution
        • Turns RADICAL
foreign and domestic threats
Foreign and Domestic Threats
  • Prussia and Austria continued the war with France
  • The National Convention ordered the draft of 300,000 men in the Spring of 1793
  • Opposition to the National Convention mounted in many French cities, the convention now had to deal with the threat of a counter revolution as well as a foreign war.
committee of public safety
Committee of Public Safety
  • In an effort to combat the crisis, in April 1793, the Convention established the Committee of Public Safety-which exercised dictatorial authority
  • Members of the Committee included Danton, Robespierre, Marat
  • The moderate Danton was removed from the Committee.
levee en masse august 23 1793
Levee en masse August 23 1793
  • Mobilized all citizens to serve as soldiers or suppliers in the war effort
  • Under Lazare Carnot the French Army pushed back the Austrians and the Prussians
reign of terror june 1793 july 1794
Reign of Terror (June 1793 – July 1794)
  • Led by Robespierre
  • Focus turns to destroying the counter revolution and enemies of France
  • Uses C.O.P.S. and the Guillotine to achieve this
  • 18,000 to 40,000 people (estimates vary widely). In the single month before it ended, 1,300 executions took place.
execution of hebert
Execution of Hebert
  • March 24, 1794