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Crane Brinton's French Revolution
Transcript of Crane Brinton's French Revolution
The Third Estate calls for a National Assembly and a Constitutional Monarchy
Angry mobs begin to storm Bastille Unsuccessful government attempts to suppress revolutionaries. King orders the Estates Generals to follow the medieval rule
Therefore the King orders the Third Estate to be locked out of the Assembly Revolutionaries gain power and seem united. The Third Estate seems to gain power and momentum
The government becomes to weak and unorganized to suppress the rebellion, thus making it easier to become more powerful and allow their voice to be heard. Once in power revolutionaries begin to quarrel among themselves, and unity begins to dissolve. The National Assembly strips the Church of its land
The peasants became alienated by the changes made by the Revolutionaries .
The Assembly split into three groups: radicals, moderates, and conservatives. The moderates gain the leadership but fail to satisfy those who insist on further changes. The moderates form a monarchy and a legislative assembly
The radicals begin to demand further, more server action. Power is gained by progressively more radical groups until finally a lunatic fringe gains almost complete control. Robespierre gains control over a large portion of the faction that is seeking a new government A strong man emerges and assumes great power. Robespierre gains a significant amount of power over the peasant class.
He demands them to storm cities of the higher class systems The extremists try to create a "heaven on earth" by introducing their new program and punishing all opponents. The moderates dissolve the national assembly, gets rid of the monarchy, and declares France a republic.
Louis XVI is executed
The Jacobins gain control A period of terror occurs. The phrase "The Revolution eats its children" is said by Jacques Mallet du Pan
Opposition arises to counter radical rebellion, but they resort to violent methods to kill the officials that are trying to oppress them. Moderate groups regain power. The revolution is over. The Moderates gain power and draft a constitution giving the middle class power in the government
A two house legislature and a directory is created Characteristics of the French Revolution according to Brinton's theory. Symptoms of The French Revolution according to Brinton's theory. People from all social classes are discontented. People feel restless and held down by unacceptable restrictions in society, religion, the economy or the government. The peasantry feels as though they are being restricted by higher classes.
They are forced to serve military time, whereas the clergy and nobility do not.
They are heavily taxed while not being helped or represented in the government.
They are restricted by the lords in the use of mills, ovens, and wine presses.
They can't hunt or fish on the nobility's estates. People are hopeful about the future, but they are being forced to accept less than they had hoped for. The peasant farmers were met with a harsh reality during the years of 1787 through 1789.
The weather was terrible bringing heavy rain, hard winters, and extremely hot summers.
Over the tree years, this led to three failed harvests.
The farmers were low on income, some even unemployed, and the price of food increased sharply. Most struggled to feed their families, while others starved. People are beginning to think of themselves as belonging to a social class, and there is a growing bitterness between social classes. The Third Estate began to realize the reality that the First and Second Estates were not struggling to maintain a comfortable life as much as they were.
While they were paying taxes, the nobility was working a corrupt tax system, and not giving all of the money collected to the government.
When Louis XVI called the Estates General Assembly the peasantry noticed the difference in the way the other Estates lived.
This riled their spirits about the government and a need for change. The social classes closest to one another are the most hostile. The fact that the nobility and clergy worked with the peasants on a daily basis made tensions more evident and more likely to grow.
The Nobles collected money from the peasants on roads or in markets.
The clergy owned 10% of Frances land, which meant that the peasants were forced to pay heavy and outrageous fees if the wanted access to the land.
The peasants made up all of the military, meaning that the soldiers who died were fighting for causes that Royalty and Nobility supported, not causes the peasants were necessarily even aware of. The scholars and thinkers give up on the way their society operates. Enlightenment thinkers such as Locke, Rousseau, and Montesquieu all abandoned the traditional type of absolute monarchy that France had been governed under, and expressed new ideas of what the definition of government should be. The government does not respond to the needs of its society. The First and Second Estates along with the King did not respond to the needs of the peasants:
they were in poverty, but taxed heavily; the government gave no assistance
bad harvest led to high food prices leading to unemployment and suffering; the people were starving and were not helped.
Louis XVI did not respond to the Estates General
Nobility wanted more control
Third Estate wanted more representation
Louis locked Third Estate out without compromise The leaders of the government and the ruling class begin to doubt themselves. Some join with the opposition groups. The members of the First and Second Estate's generally remained allied with their faction because they were in a place which was not terrible like the Third Estate.
The Third Estate gained a large majority of its 90% portion of the population to counter the nobles and the clergy.
Yet, it was rare you found people switching sides. The government is unable to get enough support from any group to save itself. The Third Estate outnumbered the First and Second Estate by a 9 to 1 margin.
This caused a generally easy overtake by the lower class peasants.
The Third Estate also made up the entire military, leaving the nobility with no troops. The government cannot organize its finances correctly and is either going bankrupt or trying to tax heavily and unjustly. The nobility continued the frivolous spending on unnecessary luxuries and habits.
The cost of war was also put a heavy burden on the lower, peasant class for two reasons: they were the army and they were financing it.
Nobility was not forced to pay taxes like the peasants were, and when more money was needed by the government the peasants were subject to paying that higher tax. First Estate, the clergy, and the Second Estate, the Nobility are unhappy because Louis XVI wants them to start paying taxes for the first time because of the poor financial situation the country is in.
The Third Estate, which makes up 90% of the population, is unhappy because they are being heavily and unjustly taxed by the Church, Lords, and King, and are living in a life of poverty while the nobility and clergy are living in luxury.