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					The French Revolution
Nancy Ko
Kristin Butcher
Natasha Lelchuk
 • Resent royal absolutism
      - pursued free speech
      - kings‟ „absolute power‟ was hindered by the
   nobility and clergy (feudalism)
 • Inspired by the American Revolution
      - France helped in the American revolution
   and some of it‟s ideals spread to France
• Middle Class
   - pursued ideas of freedom and equality
  because of Voltaire, Diderot etc.
• Famine
  - Food shortages in 1780s led people to move to
  - high prices for bread
  - Paris became overcrowded
• Monarchist Regime
  - oppressed working class; frustrated
• The Estates General
 ▫ First Estate: clergy (300 representatives)
 ▫ Second Estate: nobility (300
 ▫ Third Estate: everybody else (600
• Cahiers de doleances
 ▫ Grievances drafted for the king during the
   election process
 ▫ Louis ignored them
• Taxation
   - though not extraordinarily high, they hit the
  common people very hard
   - taxes were controlled by „tax farmers‟ who
  were permitted to raise taxes far above what they
  should have been
   - Nobles and clergy were orignally exempt from
  taxes; commoners unhappy
   - When kings tried to tax nobles, parliament
  (mainly nobles) refused
 Marie Antoinette
 Austrian queen of Louis XIV
 Known for her eccentricities -> built a “peasant
  cottage” behind Versailles
 HATED by the French people
   - Called the “Austrian Whore”
   - “Let them eat cake”
   - The Necklace Scandal: friend purchased a 1.6
  million livre necklace in her name
• Debt
   - Royalty paid for their luxuries by over taxing
  the people and selling titles
   - by the French revolution, things like the palace
  of Versailles had the French basically bankrupt
• Catholic rulers at the time very intolerant
    - minorities persecuted
1: The people are really angry
A. The Parisians storm the Bastille
  ▫ July 14, 1789
  ▫ Release the prisoners (mostly debtors, non-
  ▫ Symbolic beginning of the Rev.
  ▫ Weapons from the Bastille garrison are
    distributed amongst the rebels
And destroy things
B. Peasant revolt (The Great Fear)
  ▫   Bad harvest
  ▫   July 20, 1789
  ▫   Occur across outlying provinces
  ▫   Attack nobility‟s estates and manors
  ▫   “The Great Fear” -> breaks control of nobility
 2: The National Constituent Assembly
 (1789-1791) meets
A. Tennis Court Oath
  ▫ Resolves not to
    disband until they
    have a Constitution
  ▫ Moves to an indoor
    tennis court at
B. August Decrees (Aug. 4-11, 1789)
  ▫ Establishes equality of classes
  ▫ Renunciation of aristocratic privileges
C. Declaration of the Rights of Man (Aug. 26, 1789)
  ▫ Incorporates ideas of the philosophes
  ▫ Natural rights, general will, consent for taxes,
    separation of powers
  ▫ Does not outline the role of the king
And declares some things
C. The tricolor flag
  ▫ White of Bourbons
    and red/blue of Paris
D. Reorganizes the
  ▫ 83 new departments
  ▫ Creates a uniform
  ▫ Goal is to rationally
    reorganize France
 3: The ladies want in
A. Dec. of Rights of the Woman and
    Citizen (1791)
  ▫ Olympe de Gouges: playwright and
    activist who was associated with the
    Girondists and later executed by
  ▫ Against patriarchal system
  ▫ Gave women political rights
B. March of the Women, Oct. 5-6, 1789
  ▫ King still has 18,000 soldiers
  ▫ 7000 women march to Versailles and
    appeal to the soldiers, who join them
  ▫ Take the royal family back to Paris
  ▫ National Assembly moves back to
4: The Revolution turns on the Church
A. Confiscation of church lands, 1790
  ▫ Asignats (new currency) issued by Nat‟l
    Constituent Assembly
  ▫ Values depreciate
B. Civil Constitution of the Clergy (July 12, 1790)
  ▫ Requires church members to take an oath
  ▫ Jurying vs. non-jurying (refractory) clergy
     Non-jurying get removed because they won‟t take
      the oath to support the new government
  ▫ Peasants lose their local priests and clergy ->
    alienates most of France
5: All the political groups make a
A. The Jacobins
  ▫ Began as anti-king
    political club
  ▫ Grow to gain control
    of National Assembly
  ▫ Advocate a radical
  ▫ Want full democracy
    and distribution of
B. The Montagnards (The Mountain)
  ▫ Were a subset of the Jacobins
  ▫ Power base in Paris
  ▫ Main support from the sans-culottes
  ▫ Would adopt extreme measures to achieve their
  ▫ Saw Paris as the center of the revolution
  ▫ More centralized approach to government
  ▫ Split into factions during the Reign of Terror
C. The Girondists
  ▫ Power base in provinces
  ▫ Feared influence of the sans-culottes
  ▫ Feared the dominance of Paris in national politics
  ▫ Supported more national government centralization
  ▫ All executed during the Reign of Terror
D. The Cordeliers
 ▫ Began as a populist club with a wide membership
 ▫ Radicals who favored the abolition of the
   monarchy and the establishment of a republican
Notable Cordeliers
Georges Jacques Danton
                         Jean-Paul Marat (1744-1793)
6: Things start to look really bad for
the rich people
A. Emigrés leave France
  ▫ Old aristocracy and foreign nationals free the country
  ▫ Mostly go to Austria
  ▫ Pressure Austrian government to intervene on behalf
    of Louis and Marie Antoinette
     King and Queen try to run away (flight to Varennes, June
      20, 1791)
       Arrange for royal family to flee to Netherlands
       Stopped at a pub and get caught and brought back to Paris
       Girondists discredited
B. Declaration of Pillnitz (Aug. 1791)
  ▫ Force Louis to accept a constitution
  ▫ King gets “suspensive” veto that says he can‟t pass
    laws for 4 years
  ▫ Bourgeois continues
C. First Coaltion and Brunswick Manifesto
  ▫ Duke of Brunswick (Commander of Prussian army)
    says that if the royal family is harmed he will
    destroy Paris
  ▫ War of First Coalition (1792-1797) = France vs.
    Austria, Prussia, Britain, Spain, and Piedmont
  ▫ French army is too weak

The Second Revolution
The First French Republic
Overview: The French Governments
during the Revolution
   Estates                    Assembly
  General                      (October
(convened at                 1791-August                   The Directory
May 5, 1789)                    1792)                       (1795-1799)

                 National                    National
                Assembly                    Convention
               (1789-1791)                  (Sept. 1792-
1: The people in Paris are angry again

• Storming of the Tuileries
  ▫ King Louis XVI and royal
    family placed on house
    arrest no longer has any
    control over French
• The September Massacres—
  Parisian men and women
  stormed prisons and killed
  prisoners in response to a
  rumor of a coup organized
  by imprisoned aristocrats
  and clergymen.
 2: The National Convention is elected and makes
 a few changes
                                    • National Convention elected by
                                    popular vote (universal male

Political           Social                Calendar           Religious
- Declared France   -Attempts to foster   -No saints days     - democratic,
a republic (Sept.   social equality by    - renamed months secular festivals
22, 1792)           changing              and days after
-Voted to execute   language, custom,     seasons of the year
Louis XVI on the    culture.              - year begins on
guillotine for                            Sept
treason             (“thou” not “you”)
- Further foreign
3: The Convention faces a national
 • Financial crisis
   ▫ Assignats (paper currency) falls 50%
   ▫ Food shortages
 • Brink of civil war
   ▫ Peasant rebellions
 • Foreign war with Austria and Prussia, (and now)
   also with Holland, Spain, Great Britain.
   ▫ War of the First Coalition (1792-1797)
And so more radicals appear in the
revolutionary leadership

    The         “The         The
 Girondists    Plains”     Mountains
But the Sans-culottes decides who is in
Sans-Culottes                          Peasants

- Urban commoners                      - Rural commoners
- artisans, day laborers, market       - Economic interest only
women, garment workers                 - Conservative after 1789
-Economic AND political interest
after 1793

>> Significance: broke the deadlock    >> Significance: Against the
between the Girondists and the         Mountains against the National
Mountains. Sided with the Mountains.   Convention.

 Forced Convention to arrest
Girondist Officials in Convention      Peasant revolts after Committee of
The Mountain now controlling all of   Public Safety established.
France                                 “Paris against the Rest of France”
                                        Brink of Civil War
4: The National Convention establishes
the Committee of Public Safety
• A committee given dictatorial power by the
  National Convention to deal with the national
  crisis. (Brink of civil war, foreign invasion,
  economic crisis.)
• Given power to control military, economic,
  political affairs
• Headed by Robespierre
A. The Committee creates a total war
• Economic: Total war economy
        Increased unity and nationalism (we‟re all participating in the war
  effort against one common enemy.)

Before the Economic Changes              After France is converted to a
Initiated by the Committee               “total war” economy
-Assignats (paper currency)— used to     -Decrease of laissez faire economics
finance revolution                       (supported by the middle-class liberals
   dropped 50% in value                 of the National Assembly)
      price inflation                   - Control prices (fixed prices for bread)
-Food shortages                          - Rationing (“bread of equality”)
                                         - Nationalization of workshops, artisans
                                         told what to make for the military.
                                         - Production of goods: mostly for the
                                         war effort.
B. And weeds out the “traitors”
• Social: The Reign of
  ▫ To weed out counter-
  ▫ Special revolutionary
    courts were severe and
  ▫ 40,000 died
• Many lost faith in the
• The Guillotine
C. So everyone is “one big family”
• Political: Nationalism
• Common language and tradition + moral ideas
  of popular sovereignty and democracy = intense
• Precursor to Socialism, greatly influenced future
  Socialist ideology
 ▫ Gracchus Babeuf (precursor to Marxism)
And for the 1st Time in History:
                    Planned Economy
                  Revolutionary Terror
              +           Nationalism

                  Total War Effort
5: The National Convention creates a
new army
• New French army restructured by the National
  Convention (got rid of the old professional army)
• Levée en masse—draft that created the new,
  citizen-soldiered army
 ▫ Increases nationalism (we‟re all fighting this war
• Rank based on merit
     best officers on top
             triumphant battles
• 800,000 men (largest European army thus far)
And they win a few battles
• Battle of Valmy (late 1792): first
  victory of a citizen-army.
  Turning point.
  • Huge increase of morale and
    faith in the revolution 
    revolution continued, 1st
    French Rep. declared
• Expanded into the Austrian
  Netherlands (1794)
• Take over Rhineland
  (1794)occupy for 20 years           KEY
                                       T: Tuscan
• Gained some support of the           P: Papal States
                                       V: Venice
  peasants and middle class,           Sa: Savoy
  but also pillaged and looted.        Sard: Kingdom of Sardinia
                                       Sw: Switzerland
                                       D: Denmark
                                       Sn: Spanish Netherlands
                                       N: The Netherlands/ Dutch Republic
6: The people have enough of
bloodshed and terror
• Thermidorean Reaction (1794-1796)—conservative
  reaction against the radical actions of the National
  Convention and the Committee of Public Safety
• Led by middle-class lawyers and professionals
  (same group who led liberal rev. of 1789)
• Robespierre executed (began the Thermidorean
• Got rid of many economic controls reappearance
  of upper-class life and luxuries
• Middle class now in power
• Robespierre condemned
   - people tired of worrying if
  they‟d be the next victim
• Elimination of the
  Committee of Public Safety
• Freed thousands of political
• Convention disbanded
  1795, new short lived
  government - Directory
• Gov‟t controlled by middle class
    -representatives had to be property holders
  even though they were elected by taxpayers
• Antidemocratic, antiroyalist
• Depended on the new professional army to
  pursue anti-royalist principles
• Directory urged military expansion
    - three armies sent out, 2 failed
    - army led by Napoleon (sent to Austria)
  crossed the alps and crushed the
• Women
    - women were no longer allowed in the
  Convention. A return to times of sexual
 Compare and Contrast: The “Parliaments” of France
Estates      National      Legislative    National     The
General      Assembly      Assembly       Convention   Directory
                A Thematic Overview of the French Revolution








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