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French Revolution. Explain the connections among Enlightenment ideas and the French Revolution. French Revolution. The French Revolution began as a democratic movement. When it ended, however, France was ruled by the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. French Social Structure.

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French Revolution


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    1. French Revolution Explain the connections among Enlightenment ideas and the French Revolution.

    2. French Revolution • The French Revolution began as a democratic movement. • When it ended, however, France was ruled by the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte.

    3. French Social Structure • Late 18th century France was ruled by King Louis XVI, who exercised absolute power over his subjects. • French Society was divided into three classes, called estates.

    4. French Social Structure • The First Estate was made up of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church. • Clergy=members of the Catholic Church • The church owned about 15 percent of the land. • The higher ranks of clergy (cardinals and bishops) came from aristocratic families and were generally wealthy and powerful.

    5. French Social Structure • However, most members of the clergy were local parish priests, and they were often poor. • All clergy were exempt from paying the taille (a French tax).

    6. French Social Structure • The Second Estate was composed of wealthy nobles, who also did not have to pay the taille. • They owned approximately 20 percent of the land in France and often occupied the highest government and military positions.

    7. French Social Structure • The first two estates combined for only 2 percent of France’s population. • The monarchy owned about 20 percent of the land.

    8. French Social Structure • Ninety-eight percent of France’s population belonged to the Third Estate. • It included members of the wealthy middle class called the bourgeoisie.

    9. French Social Structure • These were mainly merchants. • The Third Estate also included workers and servants, skilled craftspeople, and peasants (the vast majority of the French population).

    10. French Social Structure • Although this group owned about half the land in France, the land was not equally distributed. • Many peasants had no land at all, and instead worked on estates owned by the nobles.

    11. French Social Structure • The members of the Third Estate were not exempt from the taille. • They had to pay 100 percent of taxes that supported the monarchy, nobles, and the Church.

    12. Outbreak of the Revolution • Enlightenment ideas of natural rights, the social contract, and limited powers of government appealed to the people of the Third Estate, especially to the wealthy and educated members of the middle class.

    13. Outbreak of the Revolution • Some of the members of the middle class decided to assert these ideas when King Louis XVI called the Estates-General, or assembly, into session in 1789 to pass new taxes. • The representatives from the First and Second Estates had more voting power than those from the Third Estate, even though the Third Estate had the largest number of representatives. • The Third Estate delegates demanded that this imbalance be corrected.

    14. National Assembly • When the members of the First and Second Estates refused to equalize the distribution of votes, the delegates of the Third Estate withdrew from the Estates-General. • They formed a separate assembly, which they named the National Assembly.

    15. National Assembly • Some members of the clergy and nobility joined the members of the Third Estate in the National Assembly and voted with them for reforms. • Violence erupted as the people of Paris stormed the Bastille, a hated prison in the city. • The turmoil soon spread from Paris into the countryside and other cities. • Peasants seized the homes of the nobles, and looted and burned them.

    16. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! • In August 1789, the National Assembly issued a revolutionary document known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. • This statement, based on Enlightenment ideas, called for universal freedom of speech, religion, and justice. • “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” became the main slogan of the French Revolution.

    17. Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity! • In 1790, the Assembly took away the privileges of the clergy. • In 1791, it issued a constitution that limited the powers of the monarchy and aristocracy. • In 1792, the French Revolution entered an even more violent stage.

    18. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! • The new legislative body, the National Convention, overthrew the French Monarchy. • By then, all male French citizens who paid taxes could vote.

    19. Napoleon Bonaparte and the End of the Revolution • The French Revolution ended with the rise to power of Napoleon Bonaparte. • Napoleon had won popularity with the French people by a series of military victories (1795-1799) over foreign leaders who had attacked France in support of the royal family.

    20. Napoleon Bonaparte and the End of the Revolution • By 1800, he had become First Consul of France. • In 1804, he was made emperor by the French Senate and votes of the French people.

    21. Napoleon Bonaparte and the End of the Revolution • While in power, Napoleon waged a number of wars with other European countries. • These resulted in the French military conquest of most of the European continent. • As Napoleon seized territory, he exposed the peoples of those regions to the liberal laws of the French government, such as equality before the law, freedom of religion, and the abolishment of state religions. • This was one way that the ideas of the Enlightenment spread across Europe.