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The French Revolution: Part Deux. EQs: Why did a second Revolution occur and why was it more radical than the first? What charismatic individuals ruled during this time period. Let’s Recap…. The First Phase of the Revolution included:

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the french revolution part deux

The French Revolution: Part Deux

EQs: Why did a second Revolution occur and why was it more radical than the first? What charismatic individuals ruled during this time period

let s recap
Let’s Recap…
  • The First Phase of the Revolution included:
    • Political reforms, desire for a Constitutional Monarchy (Constitution #1)
    • Land reforms, taking land from the church
    • Peasant fear, heightened by mistrust of the nobility…nobility did repeal all feudal standing
  • The next phase becomes radical for several reasons:
    • Louis XVI is a complete butthead! He rejects his role and tries to flee!
    • Factions begin to argue over proper ruling technique under the new constitution
    • Peasants STILL mistrust the nobility, fueling the factions to become radical
    • There is a complete leadership vacuum (no single strong individual takes full/complete charge, though there are “personality” leaders
run louis run
Run Louis Run…
  • Easter, 1791…Louis wants to leave Paris to attend mass of a priest who was a childhood friend…he is not allowed to leave
  • Louis XVI feels trapped…sympathetic nobles and army leaders hatch a plan to help the royal family flee to a chateau near the Belgian border in Metz…on the night of June 20, 1791, they sneak off disguised as servants, but when they reach Varennes, they are recognized by local officials…on June 24, 1791, the royal family was captured
  • The National Assembly, to save face for the king, declared that he had been abducted…rumors spread to the contrary…this brought to light another serious issue for the National Assembly, the flight of nobles (emigres) out of France
run louis run the result
Run Louis Run…The Result
  • Louis’ flight was interpreted as rebellion by several factions…many began to cry for the formation of a Republic…this would be the eventual result but in the meantime, the king was forgiven
  • The one faction in the Assembly that touted “Republic” was the Jacobin faction…the Jacobins were a “club” of like-minded thinkers and lawyers who had been elected to the Assembly…their leader was a charismatic lawyer named Maximillian Robspierre
  • Inside the Jacobin faction, you had several other smaller factions
    • Feulliants – Conservatives, leaned toward supporting the crown
    • Girondists –Were concerned with the nobles and wealthy people leaving France, wrote legislature to penalize these emigres by loss of wealth…this was rejected by Louis XVI. They were also Jingoists! Declared war on Austria
  • Louis XVI revelled in the Girondists move to declare war on Austria…he hoped that they would help restore the monarchy and Old Regime to absolute power…the Jacobins and Robspierre were anti-war…realizing this issue, they decided to become radical…they called for the dissolution of the National Assembly and a new Revolution to occur!
the second revolution
The Second Revolution
  • In June 1792, Louis XVI created the Brissotin cabinet to assist in the war effort…they were fired just over a month later for being “incompetent” as the war effort was not going good
  • On August 10, 1792, the Brissotins, with the backing of a group of urban class workers incited by the Jacobins stormed the Tuileries Palace were Louis XVI was residing…he ran to the National Assembly, but the Jacobins there branded him a traitor and called for the dissolution of the monarchy
  • It was determined by the new Paris Commune government that the first constitution of France was a failure…a republic was declared and the royal family was then imprisoned
  • Thereafter in September 1792 as the Prussian armies approached Paris, mob rule was in charge…several massacres occurred
the second revolution1
The Second Revolution
  • After the massacres, the Paris Commune called for elections and a new constitution…they charged the Convention with the task
  • One of the leading personalities in the convention was another charismatic individual named Georges Danton…Danton was chosen as the “executive” by the Convention…his message was clear and simple -> The king betrayed us, he must die!
  • With the assistance of the sans-culottes (“without breeches”) the working and urban class within the Assembly, the king was put on trial for treason…despite his lawyer’s decree that the king was immune from prosecution, the Convention found Louis XVI guilty and ultimately sentenced him to death by guillotine on January 21, 1793
the second revolution2
The Second Revolution
  • Things for the Convention were going pretty good…the French had successfully invaded neighboring states in an effort to spread revolutionary ideas…in those areas, the nobility were targeted as was the church
  • Unfortunately, this success was short lived as other European states banded together to repel the French (for instance, the French were kicked out of Belgium in the Spring of 1793)…several French generals defected (like Lafayette) and the Girondist jingoists were demoralized
  • In some areas of France civil war broke out…peasants were happy that the monarchy had been toppled, BUT some were angry that the church was targeted…still, most peasants received very few benefits from the Revolution…they were still poor and still had little government representation.
  • The second Constitution of France was now being drafted, to define what the new French republic should look like
the reign of terror
The Reign of Terror
  • The one thing that plagued the Revolution during this period was the lack of a strong executive presence…Georges Danton had filled that void early on, but one individual was not trusted…a Committee on Public Safety was formed and operated as a triumvirate of executive power under Danton, Robspierre and Lazare Carnot
  • This group vehemently defended not only the Revolution but also the foreign efforts abroad…but each feared how internal issues would disrupt the revolutionary process
  • These men hatched the Reign of Terror to surge fear into the populace…individuals from all walks of life were threatened with death by the guillotine if they spoke out against the Committee or the revolutionary process
  • Carnot issued a levee en masse in the summer of 1793 which demanded military conscription of all males…this army of conscripts became largely responsible for the undertakings of the Reign of Terror, enforcing the will of the Committee throughout France
the reign of terror1
The Reign of Terror
  • Among the early victims of the ROT were Marie Antoinette, Jean Pierre Brissot (leader of the Girondists) and other Girondists
  • In the countryside, the conscripted troops massacred whole villages of peasants who resisted that will of the CPS
  • All told, during the 1 year ROT, 17,000 people were tried and executed, 20,000 people died in prison waiting to be executed and untold numbers of peasants (estimates as high as 30,000) were murdered
  • Another victim of the ROT was time! In an effort to strip the church of social control, any elements of life that were associated with the church were secularized…the calendar was on such element!
  • Robspierre had now reached the status of a cult leader…he had essentially created a state of fear while at the same time a “cult of the supreme being” (which even had a festival on June 8, 1794)…there was a point where Robspierre reached complete paranoia, leading to the death of his fellow executive Georges Danton (Lazarre Carnot lived to see another day)
the thermidorian reaction
The Thermidorian Reaction
  • After 1 year, the ROT had gone too far…on July 26, 1794 (8 Thermidor), Robspierre got up in front of the Convention and just started ripping into people he was paranoid of, declaring them traitors to the state…the next night, before he could speak a group of Convention members who had had enough of all the killing and paranoia demanded his head…Robspierre ran from the Convention, tried to hide, was arrested, tried to kill himself, pled with the people of Paris to rescue (they didn’t) and was summarily beheaded on July 29th
  • This sequence of events became known as the “Thermidorian Reaction” or the “Coup of Thermidor” and was a sign that the revolution needed to return to its focus on reform of politics, society and economy and get away from the radicalism of the ROT
  • Subsequently, the Jacobin party lost control of the National Convention…Girondists who were imprisoned or fled France returned to power…Paris became revived…it was no longer a city of fear and repression as it was in the ROT…parties, theater even the Salons of the Enlightenment were revived…elements of the old order began to resurface
  • The most important result of this coup, the National Convention got back on track to write yet ANOTHER Constitution for France
constitution 3
Constitution #3
  • The basic premise of the new Constitution was simple…it had to be anti-republic and anti-dictatorship…what the third constitution did create, in the spirit of Montesquieu was a system of check and balances
  • A 2 house legislature with a lower house of 500 (commons) and an upper house of 250 “elders” (nobles, wealthy)
  • The Committee of Public Safety was renamed “The Directory” and it’s members were directly chosen by the elder house from a list of people submitted by the lower house
  • Now that the structure was finalized, Convention members feared that they might not be elected to this new government based on the past actions of the membership…so they slyly passed a 2/3 Ordinance which decreed that 500 of the 750 people elected to the new government had to come from the Convention
  • This move by the convention met with great resistance…royalists who desired to restore the monarch led the Insurrection of Vendremiare (October) 1795…their main protest was against the 2/3 Ordinance…a young Napoleon Bonaparte was charged with dispersing the crowd
  • Despite this 2/3 Ordinance, of the other 250 elected to serve, 90% of those voted into office were new to the political process
the directory
The Directory
  • Ruled France from 1795 to 1799
  • Consisted of 5 elected members, one of which was Lazare Carnot from the Committee of Public Safety…the main force in the Directory was Paul Barras, who urged France to revive it’s expansion into Europe AND spread of revolutionary ideas to neighboring states
  • Barras enlisted the help of that same young soldier who defended the Convention in 1795, Napoleon Bonaparte…Bonaparte became a key general in the French army and won many victories for France in Spain and Italy
  • The Directory was not w/o its problems…in 1796 a faction under the leadership of Gracchus Babeuf led the “Conspiracy of Equals” demanding greater democracy for French citizens
  • It only became a matter of time before the Directory itself would begin to fail the French people and another ambitious leader would emerge to take over France, promising the nation glory!