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Why did Constitutional Monarchy come to an end in France in

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Niamh Harrison

on 9 April 2014

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Transcript of Why did Constitutional Monarchy come to an end in France in

Why did Constitutional Monarchy come to an end in France in 1792?
Niamh Harrison
Impact of the Church
The Civil Constitution of the Clergy:

-Destroyed national unity
- Juring vs. non-juring priests - split the Church - birth of counter-revolution
- Louis torn: "stiffening his unwillingness to cooperate in the constitutional experiment" - D.G. Wright on Louis' reaction to the CCC
- Louis used his suspensive veto
People were torn between religion and revolution:
-Particularly Catholic in the West, North-East and South
-Pope's declaration of condemnation
-When refractory priests were expelled people felt a sense of betrayal
-Giving civil rights to Protestants and Jews was unpopular with the Catholic population
-Selling church land to raise funds
Historians' views:
D.M.G. Sutherland
CCC one of the greatest crises of the Revolution, giving a great boost to counter-revolution and making religious settlements unworkable in many areas of the country
Nigel Aston
Supports the view that prior to Revolution, the Church was facing many internal stresses, that the support of masses of clergy for the Revolution was undermined by the CCC, which led to a schism within the Church which helped pave the way for a republic that actively sponsored alternative beliefs to Christianity - Robespierre's Cult of the Supreme Being
George Rude
CCC divided clergy into two more or less evenly balanced opposing blocks of jurors and non-jurors, which led to emigration, denouncement and even a massacre of priests
D.G. Wright
Sees the CCC as a sensible, logical settlement, and claims that the clergy did not rush to reject it
John McManners
Before the Revolution the Church gave an enormous amount of charity, but unity was more apparent than real - claims many clerics were asking for reform which culminated in the CCC - considers this the point when the Revolution 'went wrong'.
The Weaknesses of the New Constitution
'Universal suffrage'
Straight-up lie - active and passive citizens - had to pay for the right to stand in elections/ National Assembly - sans-culottes were not happy
Decentralised government
-In the hands of the bourgeoisie
Reformation of the tax systems and financial system
Attempt to retain the old taxes- overturned
Assignats led to inflation
Selling of Church land created anger
End of feudal dues?
Not really - many systems remained in place, meaning peasants were not happy
Constitutional Monarchy?
Louis retained 'supreme power' - suspensive veto - created divisions with radicals who demanded a republic
People with royalist sympathies were disenfranchised - radicalism of the Assembly
King wasn't happy- particularly with the CCC
It compromised on many issues, so no one was fully happy
The impact of war
Cost of war
Rising prices led to unrest and radicalisation
Brunswick Manifesto
Fury among the common people - foreign intervention in their affairs
Many who had supported monarchy turned against it
Pétion- Legislative Assembly to demand abolition of monarchy
11th July 1792, Assembly decrees state of emergency, called on every Frenchman to fight, including passive citizens
Supported demands for greater democracy - how could you ask a man to fight and not give him the vote?
Consolidation of Republicanism
Similar desire for war (but for very different reasons!) led Lafayette to collaborate with Brissotins
Brissot wanted a republic and to give them power
Military defects blamed on traitors & tension & fear in Paris
Girondins under pressure to take action against 'traitors'
fédérés -> Paris
Collaborated with Jacobins and Robespierre
Robespierre - said there should be no international war, instead should be waging war on enemies of the Revolution
Louis/ Marie-Antoinette
'Armoire de fer' documents, military secrets
Historians' views
D.G. Wright
War made the revolution international and hence, under more extreme attack by the crown heads of Europe
'News of the (Brunswick) Manifesto's contents inflamed public opinion against Louis'
With regards to war - "revolutionised the revolution"
Girondins wanted to expose treacherous priests and monarchist anti-revolutionaries
Problems of the émigrés
Church backlash
Disunity in the country caused by the various church settlements meant the émigrés received more support as people felt united against the Revolution
Emigrés could bring support for counter-revolution
Need to reduce power of potential counter-revolutionaries - laws introduced making all non-jurors suspect and making people who'd left France forfeit their land
Historians' views
"...stirring up counter-revolutionary movements in France and urging the powers to launch an attack for the purpose of restoring the ancien regime."
"...the long-awaited expedition of the émigrés... luckless royalists who could not escape in the British fleet were captured and butchered"
D.G. Wright
"émigrés were henceforward to enjoy a substantial measure of popular support in France"
Attempted émigré revolt
The eventual movements of the émigrés ultimately failed, and many who didn't manage to escape were brutally murdered
émigrés were seen as traitors and treated and punished accordingly
Foreign intervention
The King felt pressure from groups of people including the émigrés to encourage foreign intervention.
However although gaining support from the people, the National Assembly gained support from the peasants by selling the émigrés' land
Too much reform too quickly
Forcing people to take an oath of loyalty so soon after the CCC and before the Pope had given his verdict was too fast, especially given the radical reform was later opposed, meaning many clergy retracted their oaths
Louis' uneasiness with the new system was possibly exacerbated by the speed at which reforms came about
Led him to attempting to flee to Varennes
The rapid reform meant that no one person of group had the lasting power or authority to make constitutional monarchy work, particularly with Robespierre's self-denying ordinance
Various groups found their power disappeared quickly, making society and government unstable, undermining constitutional monarchy
Although technically not reform, France moved into war too quickly, before its army could be prepared properly, which according to Rees, it was this war that "had more decisive and far-reaching results than any other [event] in the whole of the Revolution... it led directly to the fall of the monarchy."
Historians' views
Louis "hoped that over time people would see [the Constitution's] inadequacies and correct them. But time, as Maurepas had reminded him, was not on his side."
"It [plans for the war] all sounded so simple in Paris, so simple that the date for the offensive was advanced at the last minute. Lafayette was given a mere six days to move his army to Givet, an adequate time if logistics were entirely ignored."
"the Brissotins had been by-passed by the movement they had started"
"The monarchiens...had become disturbed by the enlargement of the Revolution and feared lest its new social dimension would threaten the political gains of the early summer [of 1789]. They wanted to stop the Revolution at this point and felt that only the king could fill the vacuum created by the retreating nobility."
Intrigues of a radical minority
The Fédérés
National Guards from the provinces- militant
Wanted to destroy the monarchy
Radical Press
Method of spreading radical ideas - linked to economic protest and political demands
Marat - 'L'ami du Peuple' - widely read
Hébert - 'Père Duchesne
Favoured radical, direct action, insurrection and violent attacks on all forms of privilege
Occupied the Hotel de Ville - 9th August
Demanding active citizenship
Capitalised on fears of counter-revolutionaries
Pushed through laws on refractory priests and émigrés
Forced the King to appear the enemy through use of vetoes
Post-flight to Varennes
Radicals demanded that Paris should be armed in case of attack
Counter-revolutionaries, refractory priests & monarchists should be rooted out
Champs de Mars
Calls to dethrone the King
10th August journée
Tuileries attacked by fédérés, sans-culottes and National Guards who had joined the insurrection
600 of the King's Swiss Guards were massacred at the cost of 300 sans-culottes and 90 fédérés
Legislative Assembly occupied
Commune in control of Paris
King taken into custody -> trial -> execution
Historians' views
"The Rising [20th June] was as much a rejection of the Assembly (dominated by supporters of constitutional monarchy) as it was of the king"
"Moderate deputies disliked the idea od a republic but now (after the flight to Varennes) faced growing pressure to dethrone the King."
"they [the Fédérés] were a powerful pressure group in the radical sections, calling for the removal of the King."
The Economy
Louis' own failings
'Armoire de fer' documents
Corresponding with the enemy so that France loses the war and he is restored to power
Flight to Varennes
Abandoning his country and people, leaving behind a Proclamation denouncing the Revolution
Original refusal to sign the August Decrees and Declaration of Right of Man & Citizen
Gives the impression of a lack of interest in the people's welfare
Royal vetoes and dismissal of ministers
Responsible for bloodshed at Tuileries
Institutional indecisiveness
Louis was expected to abide by the majority opinion of his council
Marie Antoinette
Brought up to act the Austrian interest - usually kept out of politics but Louis came to depend on her more when he became despondent so was far readier to have foreign powers intervene to stop the Revolution
'Gave it a go'
Louis initially went along with the constitution if only to practically demonstrate its inadequacies
Helpin' peasants
Louis tried to help the peasants by freezing the taille in 1780 and his royal government made serious attempts to end tax evasion by the landed nobility
October Days
Wanted to negotiate the Constitution from a position of equality
October Days
At the feast, soldiers stomped on the tricolour, giving the impression that Louis was a traitor to the Revolution
Historians' views
basically, Hardman, Louis' biographer, is in love with him, takes a very sympathetic view
Poor harvests
As ever, a poor harvest (1791) is a reason cited for something going wrong- leads to food prices increasing and food riots
The Great Fear also came about relating to harvests - inciting many disturbances and anti-noble feeling
Introduction of free trade
National Constituent Assembly had introduced free trade and the removal of price controls - vastly unpopular decisions
There were fears it would cause scarcity, high prices and possible starvation...which it did
Nationalising Church land
Vastly unpopular with the Catholics
Led to erosion of poor relief, which they did nothing to replace - people were discontented & more likely to revolt
for Republicans, the King was seen to be workng towards "not merely the defeat of the Revolution, but the massacre of all patriots"
Introduction of assignats - government bonds secured on the value of nationalised Church land- soon used as paper money
But caused inflation because paper doesn't hold its value like gold
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