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French Revolution. 3 Estates. -Most of the land and wealth in France was owned by members of the 1 st and 2 nd Estates - First Estate - Clergy – Roman Catholic Church - Exempt from paying taxes - Second Estate - Rich nobles – made up 2% of the population - Exempt from most taxes

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3 estates
3 Estates

-Most of the land and wealth in France was owned by members of the 1st and 2nd Estates

-First Estate

-Clergy – Roman Catholic Church

-Exempt from paying taxes

-Second Estate

-Rich nobles – made up 2% of the population

-Exempt from most taxes

-Third Estate

-Everyone else – 97% of the population

-Peasants were 80% of it

-Paid taxes on everything (salt tax)

forces for change
Forces for Change

-Growing resentment among the lower classes

-3rd Estate was inspired by the American Revolution

-Began to question their society

-Serious economic problems

-Heavy burden of taxes made it nearly impossible to conduct business profitably within France

-Weak and indecisive leadership

-Extravagant spending of Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette aka Madame Deficit

-Louis XVI never attacked these problems

-Estates General – a meeting called by the 2nd Estate which was an assembly of representatives from all 3 estates to approve a new tax

-Each estate had one vote so the two privileged estates could out vote the 3rd Estate

-3rd Estate wanted each delegate to have a vote – had the most delegates

-3rd Estate wanted to be known as the National Assembly and pass laws and reforms for the French people


-3rd Estate started the National Assembly on June 17, 1789

-Proclaimed the end of absolute monarchy

-This vote was the first act of the Revolution

-Nobles and clergy who favored reform began to join the 3rd Estate delegates

-Louis XVI stationed his army around Versailles

-People began to gather weapons thinking that Louis was going to use military force to end the National Assembly

-Storming the Bastille (July 14, 1789)

-A group of people looking for gunpowder break into the Bastille, a Paris prison

-Killed the guards and took control of the prison

-Became a very symbolic act of revolution

-July 14th – Bastille Day – a French national holiday (4th of July)

revolt cont
Revolt cont.

-Rebellion spread from Paris into the countryside

-Great Fear – a wave of senseless panic

-rumors of nobles hiring outlaws to terrorize the peasants

-therefore the peasants became outlaws themselves

-Peasants were going around burning down Nobles manor houses

-Bread Revolt – October 1789

-Thousands of women in Paris rioted over the rising price of bread

-Stormed the palace killing guards

-Louie and Marie left their great palace in Versailles

-Their exit signaled the change of power and radical reforms about to overtake France

new government
New Government

-Declaration of the Rights of Man

-Reflection of the American Declaration of Independence

-Natural rights: liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression

-Revolutionary leaders adopted the expression “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” as their slogan

-This is all done by the National Assembly

-Limited Monarchy

-September 1791 – new constitution which Louis reluctantly approved

-took a lot of authority away from the king

-It also created a new legislative body – Legislative Assembly

-Create laws and approve or reject decisions to go to war

-Many nobles wanted the old regime back and many peasants wanted more revolutionary action

austria and prussia
Austria and Prussia

-Austria and Prussia were afraid that revolutionary action may break out in their country

-They tried to restore Louis to his position as an absolute monarch

-Legislative Assembly responded by declaring war in April 1792

-The war went awful for France early on

-French didn’t know who was fighting for what

-Legislative Assembly dissolved and called for the election of new legislature

-National Convention – new governing body – took office on September 21, 1792

-Abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic

-Adult male citizens were given the right to vote

-Most of the people involved were from a radical political organization – the Jacobin

-Louis XVI was tried for treason – guilty and beheaded

-France began to win a few battles in the war – Jacobins ordered a draft and increased the army to 800,000 French men and women

reign of terror
Reign of Terror

-Maximilien Robespierre – Jacobin leader who began to gain more power

-Wanted to wipe out all of France’s past

-changed the calendar

-closed all churches

-Robespierre had enough power to where he was governing France virtually as a dictator

-The period of his rule became known as the Reign of Terror

-Tried in the morning and guillotined in the afternoon

-Example: an 18 year old youth was sentenced to die for cutting down a tree that had been planted as a symbol of liberty

-About 40,000 executed during this time

-Robespierre was finally betrayed and his once supporters guillotined him which ended the Reign of Terror

effects of the revolution
Effects of the Revolution

-Ideas of good citizenship

-Primary education expanded

-Wage and price controls

-Abolished slavery

-Religious toleration and separation of church and state

-Metric system introduced