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The Estates General

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					The Estates General
 In 1787, the nobles pressured the king to convene
  the Estates General.
      This body had been abolished in 1614 by Louis XIV
       who established absolutism under him.
      By the late 1700s no one really knew what the EG
       should look like
         How to select members.

         It was initially found that each of the tree estates
          would be evenly weighted.
         Local communities were left to determine who they
          wanted to represent them.
             Most chosen were wealthy bourgeoisie or minor officials /
              nobles.
Clash of wills
 By May 1789 the process of election / selection of
  members for the EG was complete.
 The king made one concession to the demands of
  the third estate: he allowed them to elect twice as
  many representatives as the other two.
      When the delegates met though they were told that
       despite the allowance of more members each estate
       was to vote as separate groups.
         The Third Estate demanded that they represented the
          people and as such were the “National Assembly”
             The invites the nobles and clergy to join them
                 The nobles refused and the clergy barely voted it
                  down
                 Church reps were low level clergy and ready for
                  reform
Tennis Court Oath
 On June 19, 1789 the Third Estate formally pronounced itself
  the people’s government and asked got the support of the
  nobles and clergy.
    Most of the clergy joined, the nobles refused with some
      exceptions.
 June 20, 1789 the National Assembly tried to meet but was
  locked out of its hall. They broke into a nearby tennis court and
  took an oath that they would not disband.
    The king did not respond as he was still in mourning over the
      death of his oldest son.
    On June 23, he met the Assembly and tried to re-exert his
      supremacy over them and have them vote as three groups.
           They refused
               Louis started reinforcing Paris with 20,000 Swiss and German
                mercenaries
Opening Shots
   Over the month of June both sides waited to see what would come.
   Between July 12 and 14 the people of Paris (Sans Culottes) became fearful of
    repression and began to demand weapons.
   On July 14, 1789 an angry mob of 80,000 stormed a military store and armed
    themselves.
        At the same time another group struck at a symbol of absolutist oppression: The
         Bastille
        The Bastille was a derelict castle that was a jail and insane asylum.
              In July 1789, it had 7 prisoners: 5 forgers and two insane people incarcerated at
               the request of their families.
                    To the people it represented a place that people would “disappear”
                         The Man in the Iron mask
   The mob besieged the Bastille until the governor could negotiate a surrender.
        In the end the mob seized the governor and killed him and displayed his head in
         their procession around the city.
        The king was reluctant to repress the mob and made no move.
        He did authorise the mobilisation of the Paris militia who immediately renamed
         itself the National Guard and offered to serve the National Assembly.
Lull in the Storm
 For the rest of July and September people waited to see what
  would happen.
 Paris was in revolt but no one knew if the people in the
  countryside would join them.
 On August 26, 1789, the National Assembly passed the
  Declaration of the Rights of Man
    This effectively legitimised the NA and affirmed the
     democratic rights of all citizens.
    On October 1, 1789, a regiment publicly vowed to support
     the throne which caused the NA to scurry back to Paris to
     plan their next move.
          By now the leaders of the NA had risen
              Mirabeau: ex-royal moderate
              Danton: republican moderate
              Marat: republican radical
                  The NA started to divide among these three
The Women Mobilise
 On October 5, 1789 a mob of 6,000 women
  marched from Paris to Versailles to petition
  the king for price controls on food.
 Rumour spread of Marie Antoinette’s
  response: “Let them eat cake.” Not true.
 Out of fear of violence the king reluctantly
  agreed to return to Paris with the mob.
     He was now unofficially a prisoner of the NA.
What to do With Them?
 Between 1789 and 1791 the king was a prisoner in Paris and
    the NA tried to rule on its own.
   They passed a constitution and wanted the king to sign it.
   He stalled until he could make plans to flee.
   On June 21, 1791 he and his family secretly fled Paris and
    almost made it to the German border. He was recognised and
    returned to Paris.
   He signed the constitution and waited to see what would
    happen.
   To the NA the king’s flight gave ammunition to the more radical
    elements of the NA who now argued for a permenant solution to
    the monarchy.
   In late 1792, the NA formally prosecuted the king: he was on
    trial for his life

				
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