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French Revolution . Essential Questions . What caused the French Revolution? What happened during the first events of the Revolution? How did the French create a new nation?. King Louis XIV and Queen Marie Antoinette . Old Regime . French society divided into 3 orders, or estates Clergy

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French Revolution

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essential questions
Essential Questions
  • What caused the French Revolution?
  • What happened during the first events of the Revolution?
  • How did the French create a new nation?
old regime
Old Regime
  • French society divided into 3 orders, or estates
  • Clergy
  • Nobles
  • Peasants (everyone else)
1 st estate
1st Estate


  • Church was a state within a state
  • Responsibilities:
    • Registered births, marriages, and deaths
    • Collected tithes
    • Censored books dangerous to religion and morals
    • Operated schools
    • Distributed wealth to poor
  • Owned 10% of the land
  • Paid NO taxes, gave a “free gift”
  • Upper clergy similar to nobility
2nd estate
2nd Estate


  • 2 sets: nobles of the sword and nobles of the robe
  • Held highest positions
  • Paid NO taxes
  • Owned between 1/4 and 1/3 of the land
3 rd estate
3rd Estate

Bourgeoisie, peasants, and urban laborers

(96% of the population)

  • Bourgeoisie
    • Merchants, lower officials, intellectuals
    • Wanted to rise socially
  • Peasants
    • Given low wages and taxed the most
  • Sans culottes
    • Artisans and workers of the cities
    • Lived in poverty No work = no food
early influences
Early Influences
  • American Revolution
  • Enlightenment philosophes
  • Financial issues
  • Bourgeoisie grievances
liberty equality fraternity
“Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”
  • Legitimate governments:
    • Written constitution
    • Elections
    • Powerful legislatures
  • Equality before the law for everyone
  • Nation’s well being could override individual interests
french financial problems
French Financial Problems
  • Tariffs on goods going across provinces
  • Overlapping and conflicting law systems
  • Wars, including aid for American Revolution
  • Inefficient and unjust tax system
  • King and Queen’s lavish lifestyle
estates general
Estates General
  • Louis XVI ordered Estates General to meet to solve financial problems
    • Had not met in 175 years
    • Each estate wrote “notebooks” called cahiers which stated their grievances
    • Third Estate wanted to change voting rules
      • Proclaimed themselves a legislature (the National Assembly)
      • Were locked out of meeting
    • Tennis Court Oath: wouldn’t leave until constitution was written for France
national assembly 1789 1792
National Assembly 1789-1792
  • Conflict between the 1st and 2nd Estate and 3rd Estate
    • 1st and 2nd Estate represented 20% of population
    • 3rd Estate represented 80% of population
  • 3rd Estate invited 1st and 2nd to join assembly
    • Not one noble came
  • On June 17, 1789, 3rd Estate established NA
  • Louis XVI commanded NA into orders, but 3rd Estate refused
  • Nobles/clergy join king
national assembly reforms
National Assembly Reforms
  • Abolition of special privileges
  • Statement of human rights
  • Subordination of church to state
  • Constitution to France
  • Administrative and judicial reforms
  • Aid for business
declaration of the rights of man and citizen
Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
  • liberty, equality, fraternity”
  • Inspired by the Bill of Rights, American Declaration of Independence, and writings of Enlightenment philosophers
  • “All men are born equal and remain equal before the law”
  • Rights did not extend to women
storming of bastille
Storming of Bastille
  • In July 1789 tensions were high in Paris
  • Fearing aristocratic plan to crush them, peasants search for weapons
  • July 14: 900 Parisians gathered at Bastille and take over
  • Crucial victory: Bastille seen as symbol of Old Regime
the great fear
The Great Fear
  • Great Fear was a peasant myth of terror
  • Economic crisis worsened
    • Burn manor houses, refuse to pay royal taxes, tithes, and manorial dues
  • Feared aristocrats banding together to crush them
    • Took up arms to fight
  • Result: Nobles give up special privileges (August decrees)
march on versailles
March on Versailles
  • Parisian wives (and men) marched to Versailles in 1789
  • Protest lack of bread
  • Joined by Paris Guards, 20,000 citizen guards

Result: King had to return to Paris

    • Promise of bread
    • Approved decrees and Declaration of Man
results of the moderate stage
Results of the Moderate Stage

Accomplishments of 1789 Revolution:

1. Equality before the law

2. Careers open to talent

3. A written constitution

4. Parliamentary government

Revolutionaries felt no need to go futher

formation of a new government
Formation of a New Government
  • 1791: Constitution completed by Assembly
    • Broad voting rights for citizens
      • Men at least 25 years old had right to vote
    • Kept the monarchy
      • Severely restricted the king’s power
    • Created new legislative body called the Legislative Assembly
radical stage 1792 1794
Radical Stage 1792-1794

1. Bourgeoisie

2. Sans-culottes

3. Foreign invasions

4. The Jacobins

bourgeoisie vs san culottes
Bourgeoisie vs. San-culottes
  • Discontent of sans-culottes propelled radicalism
  • Feared bourgeoisie would replace the fallen aristocracy
  • By close of 1792 demanded equality with the bourgeoisie
foreign invasion
Foreign Invasion
  • Revolution might not have gone radical if France remained at peace
  • War with Austria and Prussia in April of 1972
  • Worsened internal dissensions, economic conditions, and threatened to undo Revolution reforms
end of the monarchy
End of the Monarchy
  • August 10, 1792 – mob marched on Tuileries Palace
    • Slaughtered guards
    • Threw Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, and children in prison
  • Legislative Assembly calls for election of new legislature
    • National Convention
      • Favored extreme change (radicals)
      • Declared France a republic
essential questions1
Essential Questions
  • What changes did the radical government make in French society and politics?
  • What was the Reign of Terror, and how did it end?
the republic 1792 3
The Republic 1792-3
  • In September 1792, National Convention abolished the monarchy and created a republic
  • Tried to purify France and start over
    • Got rid of King and Queen
    • Got rid of anything that dealt with the Old Regime
revolutionary culture
Revolutionary Culture
  • Reminded people everyday that they were patriots, rational, and non religious society
  • Brought rise to modern nationalism
the jacobins
The Jacobins
  • Replaced leadership in 1793
  • Wanted strong, centralized government in Paris
  • Opposed government interference in business
  • Supported by the sans-culottes
  • Civil war
  • Economic distress
  • Blockaded ports
  • Foreign invasion

*Feared that liberty and equality would perish if they failed

  • New constitution (1793)
    • Gave all adult males the right to vote
    • Abolished slavery in French colonies
    • Made plans for free public education
    • Never gets implemented
the terror 1793 94
The Terror (1793-94)
  • Robespierre, active Jacobin
  • Made terror a governmental policy
  • Enemies of the state were executed
    • Massive executions took place
    • 16,000 died by guillotine; 40,000 executed; 20,000 died in prison
  • Formulated questions:
    • What was the meaning of the French Revolution ?
    • To what extent reversed the ideals of Declaration?
    • Violence of mass executions indicate abandonment of reason
fall of robespierre and the jacobins
Fall of Robespierre and the Jacobins
  • On July 28, 1794 he was guillotined
  • Jacobins dismantled
  • In 1795
    • New constitution
    • Reestablished property requirements for voting
    • New republican government (Directory) takes over
  • Eventually ends with Napoleon in 1804 declaring himself “Emperor of France”
consequences of the french revolution
Consequences of the French Revolution
  • Dynastic state was transformed into the modern state
  • Modern state: national, liberal, secular, and rational
  • State belonging to the people as a whole
    • No longer subjects, but citizens
  • Served as frame of reference for 19th century movements: conservatism, liberalism, socialism
  • Unleashed 3 destructive forces: total war, nationalism, and utopian mentality