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The French Revolution
Transcript of The French Revolution
Most of the eight percent of citizens in the Bourgeoisie were educated and read books by the Enlightenment thinkers like Rousseau, Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire and others. This lead to some class conflict as the inequality with the second estate was exposed.
The First Estate clergy were targets of criticism
due to the ideas spread by the reformation and
resistance to the recent rule by powerful regents
like Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin.
The first two estates owned thirty percent of the land
but paid no taxes. The peasants and poor city workers paid little or no taxes either, therefore most of the economic burden fell on the 8% in the Bourgeoisie.
France had huge debts from excesses of French monarchs like Louis XIV and his successors.
The French lent both monetary and military support to the Americans during the American Revolution.
France lost huge amounts of money and land in the Seven Years' War.
By 1789 half of all government expenses went to paying off interest on the national debt.
Throughout the 1780s France suffered through terrible summer droughts and storms which created shortages of food and led to bread riots.
In the summer of 1789 King Louis XVI called the Estates General for the first time in seventy years to consider tax reform.
Citizens of the Third Estate
First Estate: Clergy
Second Estate: Nobility
Third Estate: Bourgeoisie
King Louis XVI convened the Estates General in May 1789 at the Palace of Versailles. Traditionally the first two estates voted as a block against the Third Estate to preserve their privileges. To force through tax increases without hearing dissent from the Bourgeoisie, the first two estates met early and locked the door to the meeting room....so the Third Estate met on their own in the most convenient location they could find to hold all the delegates.
Tennis Court Oath
Delegates from the Third Estate and some sympathetic members of the Clergy and lesser nobility voted to meet until they formed a new Constitution based upon the Enlightenment reform principles similar to England and America.
While reformers worked on a Constitution, radicals took matters into their own hands in Paris.
The Bastille, a prison in Paris, was rumored to be stockpiling food and weapons for the king.
On July 14, 1789 800 Sans-Culottes stormed the building released the prisoners, burned the warehouses, and killed the warden and some guards but found no food or weapons.
The Storming of the Bastille - the spark of the Revolution
July 14, 1789
The Great Fear - Summer 1789
Thousands of starving peasants and poor city workers raided the homes and businesses of the wealthy. Rumors spread that the rich were hoarding food and intentionally raising prices and creating shortages.
Marquis de Lafayette
Lafayette, a hero in the American Revolution when he served on Washington's staff, attempted to steer the revolution in a less radical direction. He authored "The Declaration of the Rights of Man" largely modeled on the American Declaration of Independence.
King Louis XVI
Queen Marie Antoinette
The slogan of the Revolution was
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity"
Isolated within their palaces and among their peers, the king and queen ignored or didn't recognize many of the revolutionary signs.
Marie Antoinette was a Hapsburg princess and came under very pointed criticism for her careless remarks and perceived indifference to the suffering of her subjects.
Chapel at Versailles
The Women's March on Versailles - October 5, 1789
Reforms of the National Assembly:
1. the state seized Catholic Church landholdings
2. drafted a new Constitution in 1791 including...
- a limited monarchy like Britain
- elected officials instead of appointed by monarch
3. abolition of feudal titles and land holdings
(landholders were compensated, however)
In June 1791 the royal family was captured during an attempt to flee to Austria. The king and queen lived under house arrest for the rest of their lives.
The king's face was recognized during the flight from his image on coins.
Radical Phase of the French Revolution
September 1792 - July 1794
Olympe de Gouges
De Gouges wrote the
Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen
in response to Lafayette. De Gouges was also a playwright who wrote several plays about the revolution and the role of women in a republic as equal citizens with men. Additionally she was a leading abolitionist arguing for the rights of people held in bondage.
Outside France news of the revolution was received with mixed reviews.
Edmund Burke, was an Irish member of the British Parliament. He supported the American colonists in the American Revolution, but condemned the excesses of the French Revolution.
Perceptions about the atrocities in France were enhanced by the thousands of refugees that fled the violence.
After the capture of the royal family, Prussia and Austria issued declarations of support for the French monarchy.
In 1792 radical Jacobins (High Bourgeosie assemblymen) won control of the National Assembly and declared war upon Austria, Prussia, and Britain. These radicals wanted to carry the revolution across Europe and destroy Monarchies everywhere.
In September 1792, the September Massacres occurred. Thousands of nobles that had been imprisoned for treason against the Third Estate were hauled out of prisons and their homes and killed without trial or cause.
The Committee of Public Safety was created by the National Assembly as an emergency measure for the Revolutionary wars and was led by Maximilian Robespierre.
The Reign of Terror lasted from July 1793- July 1794
In this event over 40,000 "Traitors to the Republic" were executed across France - including the King and Queen.
Radical Reforms during the Reign of Terror....
- outlawed all noble titles and arrested enemies of the republic (40,000 traitors were executed by the guillotine)
- erased any system connected to old order including
weights and measures (creating new metric system),
religion and the calendar
- conscription (draft) for all able men
- Robespierre himself was executed on July 28,1794
ending both the committee and the Reign of Terror
1795 Constitution - after the extremism of the Terror, Girondist moderates composed a new constitution with a "Directory" of five directors. The Directory quickly negotiated treaties with most of France's neighbors and delivered more funding to their greatest military commander, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Napoleon in the Directory
After mixed results fighting in Egypt, Napoleon returned to France and overthrew an increasingly less popular Directory in 1799 forming the Consulate (a three man dictatorship he dominated).
As First Consul, Napoleon signed the Concordant of 1801 which re-established the Catholic Church as the official religion of France.
Olympe De Gouges was also executed as a traitor on November 3, 1793 for writing a play that portrayed Queen Marie Antoinette with some sympathy.
Napoleon won a remarkable string of victories across Italy and Austria before crossing the Mediterranean and attempting to seize lands in the Middle East to thwart British control of the overland trade routes to India and the near east.
In 1804, Napoleon invited Pope Pious VII to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris to crown the First Consul as Emperor of the French, but in a moment of rashness Napoleon took the crown from the Pope and Crowned himself.
Napoleon issued the Napoleonic code as a set of rules for his entire Empire. The Code was a mix of both new and old traditions...
The Rights of women were revoked and they were once more seen as the property of their fathers and husbands.
Public schools were funded to re-educate children and revoked most of the more radical revolutionary reforms with the exception of the more logical metric system.
Noble titles were reinstated, aristocratic lands were restored, many wealthy refugees returned to France, including some much needed military leaders.
Beginning in 1803, Napoleon launched an all out military campaign which made him ruler of half of Europe within seven years....
French troops under Napoleon found the Rosetta stone in 1799 in Egypt
British Lord Horatio Nelson's Fleet destroyed Napoleon's Fleet at the Battle of the Nile, largely trapping his army there
Lord Horatio Nelson
Due to the destruction of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile, and continued domination by the British Navy, Napoleon sold Louisiana (recently reacquired from Spain) to the United States in 1803 for $15million to finance reconstruction of his fleet.
Napoleon constructed a new fleet for a proposed invasion of Britain (the only country standing in the way of European domination).
Troops assembled at Calais in 1805 waiting for the French fleet to ferry them across the English Channel for the invasion.
Nelson set a trap for Napoleon's navy off the coast of Spain and destroyed the Emperor's navy for a second time at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Unfortunately for the British, their best naval commander was fatally wounded in the battle.
Britain and France were now at a stalemate. Britain was the undisputed master of the seas and Napoleon had complete mastery of the continent with his seemingly invincible army.
To break the stalemate, Napoleon issued the Continental system in 1806 forbidding European countries under his control from trading with the British.
The French Revolution in less than 5 minutes
About 8% of the total population
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
Hall of Mirrors - Versailles
A French noblewoman named Madame Toussad escaped the guillotine by using her talent as a sculptor to make wax figures of the victims.
Now see the Napoleonic timeline on powerpoint
Summary of the Reign of Terror
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Robespierre's "cult of the supreme being" along with the quickening pace of death during the great terror led to resistance within the ruling convention. Robespierre was arrested for treason by the convention on July 27, 1794 and guillotined without a trial the next day, thus ending the Reign of Terror.