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The French Revolution & Napoleon Chapter 18. I. The Revolution Begins French Revolution seen as major turning point in European history: –Sought to change

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  • TheFrench Revolution & NapoleonChapter 18

  • I. The Revolution BeginsFrench Revolution seen as major turning point in European history:Sought to change both political & social orderBecame a model for revolution world-wideDemonstrated the power of nationalismShowed the power of enlightened ideasThe masses challenged the protected interests of the privileged few


  • I. The revolution BeginsThe Three EstatesCauses of French RevolutionThe Three Estates: Population had been divided into groups since Middle Ages.1st Estate: Clergy (no taxes)0.5% of pop., they own 10 % of the land2nd Estate: Nobility (no taxes)1.5% of pop., they own 25% 3rd Estates: Commoners (pay all taxes) 98% of pop., own 65% of the landPeasants, skilled craftspeople, andBourgeoisie (middle class) merchants, bankers, professionalsCommon bond: distrust the monarchy

  • I. The revolution BeginsPeasant, King Louis XVI & Marie AntoinetteCauses of French RevolutionFinancial CrisisPoverty rate soars thru countrysideDrought, Bad harvestsFood shortages, rising pricesUnemployment1/3 of pop. starving on eve of revolutionEnormous Govt spending of Louis XVICostly warsHeavy spending to help U.S. defeat BritishGlamorous lifestyle of Marie Antoinette

  • I. The revolution BeginsKing Louis XVICauses of French RevolutionThe Age of EnlightenmentChallenged the Divine Right of KingsAppealed to problems of middle classSaid economy would flourish w/ free commerce (laissez-faire)The Rule of King Louis XVIPreferred personal life to court lifeStrongly influenced by MarieIncapable of strong, decisive actionAmerican RevolutionShowed successful revolution possibleFrench army introduced to new ideas

  • I. The revolution BeginsThe Storming of the Bastille; July 14, 1789The Fall of the Old RegimeDebt forces Louis XVI to call ParliamentEach of the 3 Estates get 1 voteThird Estate (largest) demanded moreCalled themselves National AssemblyLocked out Tennis Court OathMeet until they wrote a ConstitutionLouis planned to use force on National Assembly, butStorming of the BastilleArmory & Prison in ParisAngry mob attacked & destroyed it, Great Fear controls Paris, countrysideLouis cant trust army, nearly powerless

  • I. The revolution BeginsDeclaration of the Rights of Man and the CitizenThe Fall of the Old Regime (cont.)Declaration of the Rights of Man and the CitizenEquality for all MEN (women excluded)Access to public office based on talentEnd to tax exemptionsFree speech and pressLouis XVI concedes his powerOriginally refused Declaration, butBecomes a prisoner in his own kingdomForced to move royal family to Paris

  • II. The Revolution Gets RadicalParis CommuneParis Commune3 yrs later(1792) conditions had not improvedRadical political groups form mob, attack palace and legislative assemblyHold Louis XVI captiveCall for a national convention for new govtbased universal suffrage (all adult males)Members call themselves sans-culottesWithout breeches (fancy pants)Wanted revengeon who?Thousands arrested, massacredLed by Georges Danton

  • II. The Revolution Gets RadicalFlyer supporting the execution of Louis XVIParis Commune (cont.)At the National ConventionAbolished the monarchySplit over fate of Louis XVIGirondins (rural): let him liveThe Mountain (urban, radical):off w/ his headLouis, Marie condemned to death by guillotineOther nations appalled, join to attack FranceFear of invasion, internal unrest leads to Committee on Public SafetyTakes control of govt. beginning Reign of Terror

  • II. The Revolution Gets RadicalThe guillotine was used to kill over 16,000 French citizens.The Reign of TerrorLed by Maximilien RobespierreGoal: Unify, Protect, Cleanse France40,000 enemies of revolution executed15% Nobles & Clergy, 85% CommonersPolicy of DechristianizationChurches pillaged and closedSaint removed from street namesCathedral of Notre Dame: Temple of ReasonNew calendar (why?)Efforts ignored by largely Catholic publicRadicalism ends with death of Robespierre

  • II. The Revolution Gets RadicalThe Eighteenth of Brumaire, by Francois BouchotThe Directory1795: New constitution, more stabilityBi-cameral (?) legislatureLower house (500 members) wrote lawsUpper house (250) approved or rejected lawsThe Directory5 men to serve as executivesShared power w/ legislatureTime of corruptionCould not fix economyRelied heavily on military1799: coup detat by Gen. Napoleon Bonaparte

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