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The French Revolution: Radical Phase

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Amy Murray

on 8 December 2016

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Transcript of The French Revolution: Radical Phase

The Radical Phase
The French Revolution:
On 21 June 1791, Louis attempted to flee secretly with his family from Paris to the royalist fortress town of Montmedy on the northeastern border of France. By the time they reached Varennes, they were recognized and captured.
The fall of the monarchy marked a rapid radicalization of the Revolution. 
After the September Massacres which followed Louis XVI's imprisonment,
the new, popularly elected National Convention proclaimed France a republic on September 21, 1792. 
The Convention sentenced Louis XVI to death.
He was guillotined aged 38, on 21 January 1793, at the Place de la Revolution, in Paris.
As soon as the blood flowed, furious wretches dipped their pikes and handkerchiefs in it, then dispersed throughout Paris, shouting; "Vive la Republique! Vive la Nation!".
Girondins
Mountain/Jacobins
Named for the Gironde region north of Paris where many in the faction came from.
Favored starting a revolutionary war to free from tyranny those people living in absolutist states (i.e. Austria, Prussia)
Robespierre + Georges Jacques Danton
Members of La Montagne sat on the uppermost left-hand benches
of the assembly hall
Eventually evolved from a minority to the Jacobins under Robespierre's direction.
Both the Girondins and La Montagne were determined to continue the "war against tyranny."
However, they were locked in a life-and-death political struggle since the Girondins feared a bloody dictatorship by La Montagne and La Montagne believed that the Girondins would turn to conservatives and royalists to retain power.
Adding to the political tension, the laboring poor known as the sans-culottes became keenly interested in politics by the spring of 1793. 
The Girondins were fearful of the political influence of the sans-culottes and favoured the continuation of voting rights based on property ownership, while the Montagnards found increasing support among the sans-cullotes for opposing any such restrictions on the franchise.  
La Montagne joined the sans-culottes activists in the city government to engineer a popular uprising, which forced the Convention to arrest 31 Girondin deputies for treason on June 2. All power passed to La Montagne.
After the fall of the monarchy Robespierre became a central figure in the Jacobin Club, and his faction in the National Convention, assembled in the fall of 1792, became known as Jacobins. 
The Convention created two committees, the Committee of General Security and the Committee of Public Safety. 
It assumed virtually dictatorial power over France throughout the following year. 
Robespierre established a planned economy with egalitarian social overtones. Rather than let supply and demand determine prices, the government set maximum allowable prices for key products. 
The government told craftsmen what to produce, nationalized many small workshops, and requisitioned raw materials and grain from peasants.
Special revolutionary courts responsible only to the Committee tried rebels and "enemies of the nation" for political crimes.
With a common language and a common tradition newly reinforced by the ideas of popular sovereignty and democracy, large numbers of French people were stirred by a common loyalty. 
This was total war, a life-and-death struggle between good and evil; everyone had to participate in the national effort.
The Jacobins worked to create what they considered to be a Republic of Virtue. They felt that they had to obliterate all traces of the old monarchical regime.
The Thermidorian Reaction:
-Eventually the Terror began to turn on those who had first set it in motion.

-The success of the French armies led Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety to relax the emergency economic controls but they extended the political Reign of Terror. 

-In March 1794, Robespierre's Terror wiped out those who had been criticising him, the Hebertists. The Hebertists were anti-Christian and wanted to see the government implement further economic controls.
Danton and his followers were executed for arguing that it was time to bring the Terror to a close. 
On 8 Thermidor (July 26, 1794), Robespierre spoke before the Convention about the need for one more purge but he did not have any supporters.  
The following day, Robespierre and his leading supporters were arrested by the Thermidorians and after a quick trial the same day, they were escorted to the guillotine...
......where they met the same fate as the tens of thousands they sent before them.
Peasantry:
*The collapse of Robespierre's economic controls hit the working poor hard

*Peasants of Paris revolted & were immediately suppressed
-end of political influence until 1830

*Urban peasantry returned to Catholicism and pacifism
Military:
*Victory against invasion from Prussia and Austria

* Napoleon gained fame for his military victories/defeat in Italy and Egypt
The Fall of the Directory
Widespread disgust with war and starvation
Election of 1795- return of conservatives and monarchists in legislative assembly
The Directory annulled the elections and began ruling as a dictatorship
Public anger + draft + growing inflation > faith in government was destroyed 
Napoleon allowed his army to share his military loot; which meant the army was loyal to him, not to the government
Coup of 1799
1799: Abbe Sieyes elected to the Directory

Sieyes enlisted Napoleon to aid in a military coup

Occurred on Nov 9, 1799

Napoleon then dissolved the legislature and instituted himself as first consul

Military dictatorship
Napoleon Bonaparte
consecrated as
Emperor of France
in 1804
To be continued...
What's a Guillotine?
Full transcript