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The French Revolution

A summary of the French Revolution with audio

Brad Coulter

on 26 January 2015

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Transcript of The French Revolution

National Assembly
The 3rd estate forms the National Assembly

They were tired of paying all of France’s taxes and widespread famine

Louis XVI was worried he was losing power so he locked them out during a break

Money Problems
France was broke for 3 major reasons:
Louis XIV left France in huge debt
Spent a ton of money fighting the British in the Seven Years War
Helped fund the American Revolution
Social Structure
French society was made up of an Absolute King (Louis XVI) and Three Estates (social classes)
Declaration of the Rights of Man
Tennis Court Oath
National Assembly found the only room big enough to hold them, a Tennis Court
Vowed to form a “Constitution of France", called this the Tennis Court Oath
Louis XVI secretly called troops to Paris
Made by the National Assembly
Stated that every person had a right to Life, Liberty and Security
Used Locke’s Natural Rights and Jefferson’s Declaration
Basis for a nation of free individuals protected equally by law
Reign of Terror
The Guillotine Reigns Supreme 1793-94
European kings pressured France to restore Louis XVI’s power
Radical government made up of Jacobins found him guilty of treason and executed him in the guillotine
Robespierre governed France as a dictator utilizing fear of the guillotine
During the Reign of Terror some 40,000 people were executed

Mothers Storm Versailles
Nationwide Hanger
Families continue to starve
Rumor began that Marie Antoinette was hoarding bread
A hoard of angry peasant women stormed Versailles
They demanded the King and Queen move to captivity in Paris
The French Revolution
the tree of liberty grows only when watered by the blood of tyrants
Bertrand Barère

Louis XIV
First Estate
The first estate included members of the clergy (leaders of the church)

Only .5% of the population
Second Estate
The Second Estate was made up of nobility (wealthy landowners with titles, lords and ladies)

Only 1.5% of the population
Third Estate
The Third estate consisted of everyone else

This includes soldiers, business owners, merchants, farmers, the poor, etc...

Made up 98% of Frances Population
Major Problems in France
The French Revolution was caused by Three Major Problems going on in France
Social (Uneven Social Structure)
Money (Debt, Spending and Taxation)
Hunger (Widespread Famine)
Like the American Revolution, one major cause was money

Although they had massive debt, France continued two major economic issues:

Which French king put the country in horrible debt?
Spending Problems
Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette continued to live an expensive lifestyle
Taxation Issues
The 1st and 2nd estates had most of the money

There was no system to tax the 1st and 2nd estates

The already poor 3rd estate ended up getting taxed
Hunger Problems
Poverty was widespread in the 3rd Estate
A huge grain crop disaster caused people to starve
The hungry people looked to the government for help
They saw the king and nobles still eating well and throwing extravagant parties
Louis XVI failed to make any changes which angered the people

Educated members of the 3rd Estate spoke out against the king

Looked to enlightenment writing by Locke, Rousseau and Jefferson

American Revolution showed no need for kings
Louis XVI hears complaints and calls an Estates-General
Like Parliament at Versailles
Hadn't met in 150 years
Made up of over 1200 people from all 3 Estates
After nothing got accomplished and the 3rd estate stormed out
The Bastille
The Bastille was a prison that held political prisoners of the King
July 1789 the 3rd Estate stormed the Bastille
Only freed 7 prisoners, but took guns to start their rebellion
Marks the beginning of the French Revolution
End of Terror
Tired of fear, Robespierre was executed in the guillotine
They drafted a more balanced government
Conditions in France continued to not improve, but a young general defended France from conquest by European Kings
News of Napoleon Bonaparte's victories abroad inspired Nationalism in the French People
Recap of Effects
Ended monarchy in France
Proclaimed all men equal before law and gave people a vote
Ended nobility rights and feudal ties
Limited churches power
Everyone payed taxes
Led to widespread panic and death
Napoleon's rise in popularity
Idea of Nationalism born
Reign of Terror
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!
(liberty, equality, brotherhood)
“The revolutionary government owes to the good citizen all the protection of the nation; it owes nothing to the Enemies of the People but death.”
Key Terms
Louis XIV
3 Estates
Estates General
National Assembly
Tennis Court Oath
Storming the Bastille
Declaration of the Rights of Man
Women's March
Reign of Terror
Napoleon Bonaparte
Full transcript