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The French Revolution

Hope you enjoy.

Thomas Webster

on 22 September 2013

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Transcript of The French Revolution



Ten years of absolute terror!
The French Revolution was an uprising in French society from 1789 to 1799.

It is one of the most famous revolutions of all time and changed the nature of society today by giving common people a voice.

It was much more revolutionary than it's American counterpart which occurred about the same time.
What was France like
at this time?
In the eighteeenth century France was rich county with lots of people. It was ruled over by Louis XV who was suceeded by his grandson Louis XVI.

France was divided into three estates:

* the first estate the clergy,
* the second estate the nobility and
* the third estate was... well...everyone else.

The King was outside of all that, but considered to have god-given power to rule. At this time France had a system with kings and queens we now call the "Anciene" regime.

What was the Estates General?.. and the National Assembly?
Before the revolution (as I said before) people were divided up into three estates. At the top was the clergy representing god, the second estate was the nobility and the third estate was well just the people. By far the biggest estate - in terms of numbers of people -was the the third estate with 97% of the population ( The nobility made up 2% and the clergy was only 1%.)

The Estate General was like a super Parliament made of representatives from the three estates, but it wasn't really representative because the third estate had 600 representatives and each of the second and first estates each had 300 representatives even though they were a much smaller percentage. The 600 representatives said this wasn't fair and they declared that they wanted to set up their own national assembly.

During a break the King locked them out thinking he would stop their plan -
Ha Ha - cheeky!

Instead they found somewhere else to meet in an indoor tennis court!
They swore the very famous " tennis court oath" ,
and agreed to work until a new constitution would be created.

What was The French Revolution
The revolution was caused by these main things:

In the 1780s France was in serious debt from supporting the American revolution. (They did so, not because they were supporting democracy, but because it was a war against their long term rival Britain )

There were extreme weather events which caused crop failures and food shortages and pushed up the price of bread. The high price of bread caused people to suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

The peasants were already the ones who

paid the most tax. This meant they resented the nobles who didn't pay tax and who could afford to eat and build big houses. France also had

The Roman Catholic church, which owned most of the land in France, put a new tax on crops called the dime

which hurt the poor and hungry;

People could see that in other countries (such as America) people had influence on government and religion. Many people disliked the total rule by the king and nobility and began to see there could be a different way
So what went wrong
Well the King didn't like some of the ideas and sent in the army against his people, and as sometime happens, the people fighting against the power got power hungry themselves. They forgot they'd said people shouldn't use violence and started to think they could justify using it against the King and nobility. As the people got really annoyed on the 14th of July 1789 they attacked the Bastille - a famous prison in the center of Paris. (There was only really about seven people that were in the prison - it was mainly to get guns. )

This event sets the entire revolution alight with more and more revolutionary spirit.

The rebels then seized Paris in a monstrous effort.
The revolution had really begun!

What caused the revolution
How did France get rid of their monarchy
Well the Estates General could see the people were really angry at the First and Second estates and decided to enforce the rights of Man and Citizen - meaning everyone could get a say on what they wanted.

But the revolution didn't stop there!

By now France's neighbours were getting a little worried that King Louis was going to get booted off his throne. They joined together to form a pact between Leopold the second of the Holy Roman Empire (which really was just Austria) and King William Fredrick II of Prussia (the old name for Germany) to keep the monarchy around Europe....then Louis came up with a plan to invade Austria.

When the National Assembly found out, they then realized
Louis was an enemy of the revolution and by one vote
......sentenced him to die......
...by a guillotine! Harsh!

What was the great terror
So after Louis was decapitated, the new government basically ruled France and was led by a group of people called the "committee of public safety", who actually really sucked at protecting it's people.

This group was led by a guy called Maximilian Robespierre who decided to execute everyone in his path, even his own people. I know! great public safety -right!

As it happened, Robespierre himself was executed in 1793.

Another complication (just to add to the confusion!) was that after the Roman Catholic church was chucked out in the overthrow - the government decided to rename all the days and months because the ones that came before (and which we have now) came from a Christian origin.
So how did the revolution end
So the revolution was turning into absolute chaos now. France was fighting way too many wars at once and it seemed that everyone in Europe was ganging up on them. The Holy Roman Empire, Prussia, their long time rivals, the British, and their allies as well, were all fighting the French!

Strangely enough France ended up winning thanks to a corporal named Napoleon Bonaparte, who after a coup d'etat (a govermental overthrow), began his... wait for it.... Dictatorship!

Great! , France had gone all the way from a monarchy to a dictatorship - achieving nothing whatsoever through a period from 1789 to 1799. It was the worst outcome ever!

What were the effects of the revolution?
Map of France during the revolution
The Guillotine
Thanks for watching!!
The French Revolution made many changes to make the world different. It changed the way that we live by abolishing unequal taxation and gave everyone a chance to have a say.

Maybe the revolution brought bad things into the world like the guillotine and violence, but overall the revolution wasn't really a disaster.

I mean if France hadn't had the revolution we might not have the right to vote.

The French revolution also sparked other revolutions like the Haitian and Latin American revolutions. All of these helped make the world a better place and gave people
a sense of equalness, pride, passion and hope.
This production has been directed by Thomas Webster
France (Horrible Histories Special)
Terry Deary (Author), Martin Brown (Illustrator

Rowdy Revolutions: France (The Horrible Histories Collection) by Terry Deary, Martin Brown, Patrice Aggs and Bob Bond (2003)
Check this video out
Full transcript