The French Revolution !
French Revolution Terms to Know: Section 1
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.
Old Regime Estate Louis XVI Marie Antoinette Estates-General National Assembly Tennis Court Oath Great Fear
Legislative Assembly Émigré Sans-culotte Jacobin Guillotine Maximillian Robespierre Reign of Terror
Causes for the French Revolution
• Louis XV fought many wars, bringing France to the verge of bankruptcy.
• Louis XVI supported the colonists during the American Revolution.
• The national debt amounted to almost 2 billion livres.
• Lack of social services for war veterans.
• An inefficient and antiquated financial system unable to manage the national debt.
• The court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette at Versailles continued spending.
• High unemployment and high bread prices.
• The Roman Catholic Church, the largest landowner in the country, levied a tax on crops.
• Widespread famine and malnutrition.
• Poor transportation infrastructure for bulk foods.
• No internal trade and too many customs barriers
• Resentment of royal absolutism.
• Resentment by the ambitious professional and mercantile classes towards nobles. • Resentment by peasants toward the nobles.
• Resentment of aristocratic bishops by the poorer rural clergy.
• Continued hatred for Catholic control and influence on institutions of all kinds, by the large Protestant minorities.
• Aspirations for liberty and republicanism.
• Anger toward the King for firing Jacques Necker and A.R.J. Turgot who were popularly seen as representatives of the people.
• The almost total failure of Louis XVI and his advisors to deal effectively with any of these problems.
Estates-General of 1789 • In February 1787, his finance minister, Loménie de Brienne, convened an Assembly of Notables.
• The ControllerGeneral of Finances, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, asked the Notables to approve a new land tax. • For the first time this would include nobles and clergy.
• The assembly did not approve the tax.
• The assembly demanded that Louis XVI call the EstatesGeneral.
• As part of the preparations books of grievances were drawn up across France, listing the complaints of each of the orders. cahiers de doléances
• There was growing concern, however, that the government would attempt to gerrymander an assembly to its liking.
• To avoid this, the parlement of Paris proclaimed that the Estates-General would have to meet according to the forms observed at its last meeting.
• The 1614 Estates consisted of equal numbers of estates and each estate receiving one vote. -First Estate (the clergy) -Second Estate (the nobility) -Third Estate (the remainder of the population)
• This provoked an uproar.
• Necker argued that the size of the Third Estate should be doubled, but the question of voting by headcount was left for the meeting of the Estates themselves.
• Estates-General convened in Versailles on 5 May 1789. • The Third Estate now demanded that credentialing itself should take place as a group.
The and nd 2 Estates continued to support voting by order.
National Assembly (1789) • On 10 June 1789 Abbé Sieyès moved that the Third Estate, proceed with verification of its own powers • The other two estates were invited to take part.
• The process was completed on June 17th.
• Then declared themselves the National Assembly • An assembly not of the Estates but of "the People."
• In an attempt to keep control of the process and prevent the Assembly from convening, Louis XVI ordered the closure of the Salle des États where the Assembly met.
• He made an excuse that the carpenters needed to prepare the hall for a royal speech in two days.
• Weather did not allow an outdoor meeting, so the Assembly moved their deliberations to a nearby indoor tennis court
• Here they proceeded to swear the Tennis Court Oath (20 June 1789) • They agreed not to separate until they had given France a constitution.
• By 27 June the royal party had overtly given in, although the military began to arrive in large numbers around Paris and Versailles.
• Messages of support for the Assembly poured in from Paris and other French cities. • On 9 July the Assembly was renamed National Constituent Assembly.
National Constituent Assembly (1789–1791) • By this time, Necker had earned the enmity of many members of the French court for his support and guidance to the Third Estate.
• On 11 July, after Necker suggested that the royal family live according to a budget the King fired him, and completely reconstructed the finance ministry
• Many Parisians presumed Louis's actions to be the start of a royal coup by the conservatives and began open rebellion when they heard the news the next day.
• They were also afraid that arriving soldiers - mostly foreigners under French service rather than native French troops - had been summoned to shut down the National Constituent Assembly.
• The Assembly, meeting at Versailles, went into nonstop session to prevent eviction from their meeting place once again.
• Paris was soon consumed with riots, chaos, and widespread looting.
• The mobs soon had the support of the French Guard, including arms and trained soldiers.
• The royal leadership essentially abandoned the city.
• On 14 July, the insurgents set their eyes on the large weapons and ammunition cache inside the Bastille fortress, which also served as a symbol of tyranny by the monarchy.
Century French Dagger Pistol
century French Sword
French Infantry Soldiers Sword
Century Sword Belt
• After several hours of combat, the prison fell that afternoon.
• Despite ordering a cease fire, which prevented a mutual massacre, Governor Marquis Bernard de Launay was beaten, stabbed and decapitated • His head was placed on a pike and paraded about the city.
• Returning to the Hôtel de Ville (city hall), the mob accused the prévôt des marchands (mayor) Jacques de Flesselles of treachery; his assassination took place en route to an trial at the Palais Royal.
Working toward a Constitution • On 4 August 1789 the National Constituent Assembly abolished feudalism, in what is known as the August Decrees.
This swept away both the seigniorial rights of the Second Estate and the tithes gathered by the First Estate.
• In the course of a few hours, nobles, clergy, towns, provinces, companies, and cities lost their special privileges.
• Looking to the Declaration of Independence of the United States for a model, on 26 August 1789, the Assembly published the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
• The National Constituent Assembly functioned not only as a legislature, but also as a body to draft a new constitution.
Women's March on Versailles • The women first marched to the Hôtel de Ville, demanding that city officials address their concerns.
• The women were responding to the harsh economic situations they faced, especially bread shortages.
• They demanded an end to Royalist efforts to block the National Assembly, and for the King and his administration to move to Paris as a sign of good faith in addressing the widespread poverty.
• Getting unsatisfactory responses from city officials, as many as 7,000 women joined the march to Versailles, bringing with them pieces of cannon and a variety of smaller weapons.
• Twenty thousand National Guardsmen under the command of La Fayette responded to keep order, and members of the mob stormed the palace, killing two guards.
• La Fayette ultimately convinced the king to accede to the demand of the crowd that the monarchy relocate to Paris.
• On 6 October 1789, the King and the royal family moved from Versailles to Paris under the protection of the National Guards, thus legitimizing the National Assembly.
Royal flight to Varennes • Louis XVI, opposed to the course of the Revolution cast his lot with General Bouillé, who condemned both the emigration and the assembly, and promised him refuge and support in his camp at Montmédy.
• On the night of 20 June 1791 the royal family fled the Tuileries wearing the clothes of servants, while their servants dressed as nobles.
• However, the next day the King was recognized and arrested at Varennes late on 21 June. • He and his family were paraded back to Paris under guard, still dressed as servants.
• When they reached Paris, the crowd remained silent. • The Assembly provisionally suspended the King. • He and Queen Marie Antoinette remained held under guard.[
Completing the Constitution • the Assembly still favored a constitutional monarchy, which left Louis XVI as little more than a figurehead.
• He had to swear an oath to the constitution, and a decree declared that retracting the oath, heading an army for the purpose of making war upon the nation, or permitting anyone to do so in his name would amount to de facto abdication.
• Jacques Pierre Brissot drafted a petition, insisting that in the eyes of the nation Louis XVI was deposed since his flight.
• An immense crowd gathered in the Champ de Mars to sign the petition.
• The Assembly called for the municipal authorities to "preserve public order". • The National Guard under La Fayette's command confronted the crowd.
• The soldiers first responded to a barrage of stones by firing in the air; but the crowd did not back down, and La Fayette ordered his men to fire into the crowd, thus killing as many as 50 people.
• In the wake of this massacre the authorities closed many of the patriotic clubs.
Declaration of Pillnitz Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II Frederick William II of Prussia King's brother Charles-Philippe Demanded Louis XVI total liberty and the dissolution of the Assembly, and promised an invasion of France on his behalf if they refused its conditions.
• The Assembly gathered the various constitutional laws they had passed into a single constitution • submitted it to the recently restored Louis XVI, who accepted it • The Assembly set the end of its term for 29 September 1791.
Legislative Assembly (1791–1792) War (1792–1797) • The politics of the period inevitably drove France towards war with Austria and its allies. • The King expected war would increase his personal popularity; he also foresaw an opportunity to exploit any defeat: either result would make him stronger.
• The Austrian emperor Leopold II, brother of Marie Antoinette, may have wished to avoid war, but he died on 1 March 1792. • France declared war on Austria (20 April 1792) and Prussia joined on the Austrian side a few weeks later.
• The invading Prussian army faced little resistance until checked at the Battle of Valmy (20 September 1792), and forced to withdraw. • France stood in turmoil and the monarchy had effectively become a thing of the past.
Constitutional Crisis • On the night of 10 August 1792, insurgents, supported by a new revolutionary Paris Commune, assailed the Tuileries.
• The King and queen ended up prisoners and a rump session of the Legislative Assembly suspended the monarchy: little more than a third of the deputies were present, almost all of them Jacobins.
• What remained of a national government depended on the support of the insurrectionary Commune. • The Commune sent gangs into the prisons to try arbitrarily and butcher 1400 victims, and addressed a circular letter to the other cities of France inviting them to follow this example.
• The Assembly could offer only feeble resistance. • The Convention was charged with writing a new constitution • They became the new de facto government of France.
• The next day it abolished the monarchy and declared a republic. • This date was later retroactively adopted as the beginning of Year One of the French Republican Calendar.
Reign of Terror • The Committee of Public Safety came under the control of Maximilien Robespierre, a lawyer, and the Jacobins unleashed the Reign of Terror (1793-1794).
• According to archival records, at least 16,594 people died under the guillotine or otherwise after accusations of counterrevolutionary activities.
• As many as 40,000 accused prisoners may have been summarily executed without trial or died awaiting trial. • The slightest hint of counterrevolutionary thoughts or activities could place one under suspicion.