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The French Revolution

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Ms. Mc Caffrey

on 23 January 2018

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Transcript of The French Revolution

The French Revolution
2. The Age of Enlightenment
The 18th century was called the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason.
In France, thinkers such s Rousseau, and Voltaire criticised the system of government.
They said the king had too much power.
They wanted him to share power with a parliament.
3. The Privileges of the Nobility and the Clergy
The people of France were divided into 'three estates'
The clergy and nobility had special privileges, or concessions, they did not have to pay taxes.
The Third Estate
The Third Estate paid taxes
4. The Influence of the American War of Independence
French people had admired what the Americans had done in the War of Independence by over throwing the might of the British Empire.
They felt the ideas of French thinkers could be put into practice.
Some French soldiers involved in the revolution in America became involved in the revolution in France.
France was also nearly bankrupt because of helping America King Louis XVI was now charged with the problem of how he would pay for the cost of war.
Learning Intention
At the end of this chapter you should understand....
The causes of the French Revolution
The role of Robespierre in the Reign of Terror
The results of the French Revolution
Backgrounds and Causes
In 1789, revolution broke out in France.
What caused the revolution?
1. Absolute Monarchy
In the late 18th century, France was ruled by an absolute monarch, Louis XVI.
The king had power over everybody.
There was no parliament, and he could make laws as he wished.
He believed he got his power from God - this was called the divine right of kings.
His wife, Marie Antoinette, an Austrian, was not liked. She displayed too much wealth in the palace of Versailles.

The First Estate: The clergy (bishops and priests)
The Second Estate: The nobility
The Third Estate: The rest of the French people.
The Third Estate was made up all French people who were not members of the clergy or the nobility.
Some were well off such as merchants or bankers.
Others were less well off, such as shopkeepers.
Below them were poorer peasants and laborers in the town and countryside.
Many of these were very badly off.
i) Taille: This was a land tax

ii) Tithe: Peasants had to hand over one-tenth of their crops every year to support the clergy of the Catholic Church.
5. The Meeting of the Estates-General
King Louis XVI wanted to raise taxes to pay off France's debts.
He called a meeting of the three estates for May 1789.
This meeting was called the Estates-General (or parliament).
As soon as the Estates-General met,there was serious disagreement over the system of voting.
The Third Estate wanted one vote for each member so that its 621 members could outvote the First Estate (308 members) and Second Estate (285 members) combined.
5. The Meeting of the Estates-General
When the members of the Third Estate were locked out of their meeting place in Versailles, they met in the royal tennis court.
Here they took an oath - known as the Tennis Court Oath - to stay together until a constitution was drawn up.
Eventually, the king ordered his loyal clergy and nobility to join the Third Estate.
The three estates of France now became known as the Constituent Assembly.
Later called the National Assembly.
6. The Revolution Begins: The Fall of the Bastille, 14 July 1789
During these months, excitement was growing in Paris.
People were getting angry because of bread shortages and high prices.
The city of Paris formed its own militia (part time voluntary soldiers), called the National Guard.
This was the spark that set off the revolution.
On 14 July 1789, a large crowd attacked the Bastille.
6. The Revolution Begins: The Fall of the Bastille, 14 July 1789.
Bastille was a large prison fortress in the centre of the city - because they thought that guns were stored there.
They captured Bastille and killed the governor.
This event is honoured on 14 July every year in the French national holiday, Bastille Day.
Full transcript