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The French Revolution

by: Patricia Quizon

The French Revolution HIST 1020-008

Marketplace > Auburn University > History > HIST 1020-008 > The French Revolution
Patricia Quizon
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About this Document

These notes cover The French Revolution (1/15 & 1/20)
World History II
Dr. Bohanan
Class Notes
World History, world history 2, the french revolution




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Patricia Quizon on Wednesday January 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 1020-008 at Auburn University taught by Dr. Bohanan in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 196 views. For similar materials see World History II in History at Auburn University.


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Date Created: 01/27/16
World History II notes 1/5/16 Origins of the French Revolution --Society under the Ancient Regime Society is divided into different classes with different benefits. The first class is the clergy: they are exempt from taxes and have many legal privileges, like owning much of the land. They are considered the 1 Estate. They are very powerful, and make up 1.5% of the French society at this time. nd The next class is the nobility—the 2 Estate. The nobility is made up of warriors, descendants of those who fought to defend the French society. Because of this, they thought to have paid their country with their blood, resulting in tax exemption. In the 18 century society, the nobility are very wealthy and control a lot of land. Some of the nobility are warriors, but some are also judges and office holders. They tend to dominate the government, army, and navy. Theystake upnd2-3% of the French population. Keep this in mind: the 1 and 2 Estates make up ~5% of the French population and they are the classes that hold special privileges. The 3 Estate is considered the “miscellaneous” category, making up ~95% of the population. Among them are the bourgeoisie, meaning “middle class”. These people can be divided into upper and lower. The bourgeoisie are made up of the educated— readers of the Enlightenment. The upper half is made up of merchants, some even as wealthy as the nobility. The lower half, also known as “petty”, is made up of small shopkeepers. Another group of the 3 Estate is the sans-culottes, the urban-working class. These are the day laborers. They get their name from their attire: they wore long trousers, which contrasted to the silk knee britches the upper class wore. These people led hard lives—poor, not a lot of job security. They had one advantage: they lived in towns and cities. The last group to make up the 3 Estate was the peasants, who were rural farm workers, and led miserable lives. --France experiences major fiscal crisis This happens under the rule of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They can’t raise taxes because of peasants who will cause a massive unrest. The royal advisor Calonne proposes a tax reform: a property/land tax to tax the nobility and also the church. To do this, they would need it to be approved by the Estates-General, the representative institution of France. This institution had not met since ~1610, since the era of absolutism had not called for it. They were many issues that would arise from this, however: the nobility would vote against the tax, and the Estates-General meeting could open other numerous issues for discussion. Louis XVI decides to forgo this proposition. The next proposal is to create Assembly of Nobles: the idea was to handpick 144 citizens that could be depended on, mostly nobility, to approve this land tax. Louis assumes that creating this would give the nobility the desire for more control and more privileges; with this, Louis decides to dump the idea and also fire Calonne. A new proposal is created that involves the Parliament, a judicial body, to approve the tax. They direct them back to Estates-General, which pretty much pisses Louis off. He has his opponents from Parliament exiled, in true absolutist fashion. Because of this, the exiled go on strike, refusing to cooperate with him. The sons of these judges, who are part of the nobility, follow suit. This sort of event reflects much of the thinking and actions of the American Revolution—no taxation without representation. Eventually, they wear Louis down, and he calls a meeting with the Estate-General. The Estates-General meets in 1789 in Versailles. They met by social classes, with their elected delegate to represent their estate. A single vote was given to each estate: this meant ~5% of the population were granted 2 votes (the 1 and 2 Estate) and rd rd ~95% of the population was only granted 1 vote (the 3 Estate). This causes the 3 Estate to become vocal about changing this voting system but Louis refuses to change (seems he really hates change or is just hella stubborn ((probably both))). The 3 Estates decide to rename themselves The National Assembly. They also want to write a national constitution, since France doesn’t have one at this time. The King throws a hissy fit about this because he’s Louis and he hates change!!! I’m supposed to be in charge here!!!! He orders for their chamber to be locked up within the Estates- General. On June 20, 1789, the National Assembly wanders to an empty tennis court, and decides to make an oath here to meet wherever they could to write a constitution for France—this event becomes known in history as The Tennis Court Oath. Louis decides since they are going to be meeting anyway and that yes, this is happening regardless of what I do, he forces the delegates of the 1 and 2 Estate to join them in their cause. This is where things start to heat up, and where pendulum theory is introduced: in history, resistance is met and this results in radical effects, swinging from the far left, to the far right (on the political spectrum). 1/20/16 --French Revolution The Storming of the Bastille, occurring on July 14, 1789, highlights the flashpoint of the revolution. The Bastille was a medieval fortress and royal prison and was a symbol of monarchal oppression. In the events before the storming, Louis XVI was advised by counter-revolutionaries to move troops into the vicinity of Versailles, even Paris itself. This caused citizens to become upset, resulting in mobs to form and gather arms. They try to demand weapons from the Bastille, and when they are refused, they charge in and kill the leader, hoisting his head on a pike while parading through the streets. This is a signature movement in which they overtake absolutism, and also represents French independence. This movement drives the revolution farther to the left (remember the pendulum theory?) and also leads to the Great Fear. The Great Fear was a state of paranoia that grips particularly the peasants/serfs of the 3 Estate, aroused by rumors that the nobility would turn on them. They end up storming manor houses of the nobility, resorting to violence to eradicate records of their debt. This fuels the revolution even more. --Work of the National Assembly Decrees of August 4: an enlightened nobleman decides to renounce all dues and payments owed to him by his peasants, resulting to their freedom. Many noblemen follow suit, eventually leading to the end of serfdom in France. Declaration of Rights of Man: was drafted by the Marquis de LaFayette, which stated all MEN are free and equal in rights, regardless of social status (did not include women). This was the first document of its kind in Europe thus far. In 1791, the new constitution was finished. It created constitutional monarchy, which preserved the king as a constitutional monarch. This limited the king’s monarchal powers. --Government of Legislative Assembly A new representative assembly is created, and this assembly is way more radical than the group that even started it. The constitutional monarchs are considered conservative in this assembly—they are satisfied with the assembly’s current state. If these people are on the right, on the left are the republicans: within them are two organizations, the Girondins and the Jacobins. They want to push the assembly even further. The Girondins are supported by the middle-class, mostly the bourgeoisie and are proponents of laissez-faire (hands free policy, no government intervention). The Jacobins are more radical and draw support from the working class; they are against laissez-faire and want all the help they can get from the government. Among them are George Danton, who is a man of the people and a great orator, and Maximilien de Robespierre, who is icy and reserved in contrast to Danton and a major force of the revolution. --France wants to push the revolution to the rest of Europe Many European monarchs are prepared to go to war to stop this. Marie Antoinette is a Hapsburg from Austria, and the Hapsburgs are willing to intervene. Everyone in France largely supported the idea of going to war, believing it would strengthen their cause. Robespierre, however, believed they would lose if they went to war, resulting in the discrediting of the Assembly, allowing them to reverse its direction (which was towards the left). The war eventually ends and so does the Legislative Assembly, leading to another government. --Another revolution??? France goes through another revolution, leading to the National Convention, dominated by the Jacobins and Robespierre (the radical left). They order the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. France is currently invading armies in Austria and Prussia in the spring of 1793, also. Men are drafted to support the war with the universal draft. Women and children are also helping the cause; women were working in hospitals, while children were making bandages. This mobilization of war committed the political idea of liberty, fraternity, and equality. By the winter, France is winning the war because of this citizen-soldier army. --The National Convention believed they are still in jeopardy This is mostly due to the counter-revolutionaries. The Jacobins draft a new constitution, and execute a political purge of sorts. Danton is executed, among numerous opponents. They also censored everything—the press, the theater, etc. They even changed the system of the calendar, making it more secular; Year 1 was considered the birth of the French Revolution. Fashion changed, too—it mimicked the Roman republic look. Games changed as well, removing kings and queens from playing cards. This era is known as the Reign of Terror. 1/22/15 --The Directory Robespierre tries to start another political purge. Many start to believe he is too radical. Deputies in the National Convention delivered a counterstrike against Robespierre, arresting and executing him along with other contemporaries. This removal of power is known as the Thermidorian Reaction, and also refers to the divergence of the revolution’s course, settling to rest in the center on the spectrum. A new government was created, and established a new governmental system for France, a bicameral legislature led by a five-member collective leadership, the Directors. The government was divided into the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients. The Council of Five Hundred was the lower house of the legislature. They proposed the list out of which the Council of Ancients would choose five Directors. The Council of Ancients was the upper house of the Directory. They could accept or reject laws put forward by the Five Hundred. They had no power to draft laws, but if they rejected any laws, they could not be reintroduced for another year. A decree was made that required 2/3 of the Five Hundred must come from members of the Convention because of weariness of another revolution. This also made it difficult for voters to choose other candidates. The new constitution wanted to create a separation of powers, so the directors had no voice in legislation or taxation and couldn’t sit in either house. There was a freedom of religion, press, and labor, but armed assemblies and public meetings of political societies were forbidden. Because the nation was tired of the violence from the Reign of Terror, the Directory wanted to operate quietly in a noncontroversial manner, but that would never be possible.


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