French Revolution

French Revolution
France…Progressive or Regressive?
• 1770s France
• System of feudalism
left over from the
Middle Ages
• People were still divided
into three large social
• Estate: French social
class before the
The Three Estates (Part A)
• First Estate (<1%)
• Clergy
• Owned 10 percent of
land, contributed 2
percent of income to
• Second Estate (2%)
• Nobles, Gov’t Officials
• Owned 20 percent of
land, paid no taxes
These two estates
Enlightenment ideas;
radical ideas that
threatened their status,
power, and wealth.
The Three Estates (Part B)
• Third Estate (98%)
• Peasants
• Paid high taxes to government,
tithes to church, dues to
• Wages varied
• Embraced Enlightenment
ideas, pushed for changes
Inspired by Ideas
and Actions
• Third estate
questioned traditional
societal structure
• Pushed ideas like
equality, liberty, and
• Inspired by Rousseau
and Voltaire
• Inspired by success of
American Revolution
Economic Woes
• Economic woes confounded
the problems of the third
• Cost of living was rising
• Bad weather caused crop
failures, resulted in grain
• Price of bread doubled and
people faced starvation
A Weak Leader
• Louis XVI came to
power in 1774
• Known as indecisive
• Knew little about
• Inherited debt
• Incurred debt to help
Americans beat British
• Wife, Marie Antoinette
spent money
The Estates-General (1789)
• Louis put off dealing with
economic crisis until
France was near
• Tried to tax the second
• They called for a meeting
of the Estates-General;
assembly of
representatives from all
three estates
• Under medieval rules, each
estate’s delegates met in a
separate hall, voted on an
• Each estate had one vote,
despite their size
• Top two estates always had
• Pushed for one meeting,
each delegate with a vote
• Turned down
The National
• The Third Estate decided
to break away from
• Formed their own
delegation known as the
National Assembly
• French Congress started
in 1789 made up of
members of the Third
Estate, focused on
helping peasants
Tennis Court Oath
• Three days after starting their
own assembly, third estate
found themselves locked out
of their meeting hall
• Third estate broke down door
to an indoor tennis court,
pledged to stay until they had
a new constitution
Storming of the Bastille
• Louis tried to make
peace with the Third
• Forced nobles and clergy
to join third estate in the
national assembly
• Sensing trouble, Louis
placed Swiss troops in
Paris, no longer trusting
loyalty of French troops
• Rumors flew about
foreign troops coming to
massacre citizens
• People gathered
weapons to defend Paris
against foreigners
• Mob tried to get
gunpowder from Bastille
• Crowd overwhelmed
soldiers, citizens took
control (symbolic)
Great Fear Sets In
• Rebellion quickly spread • Women’s Riot
• 6,000 women rioted
• Wave of senseless panic
over rising bread
known as the Great Fear
• Mob kidnapped king
• Peasants attacked
and queen in
nobles homes
Versailles, took them
back to Paris
• Signaled a change in
power; top two estates
and aristocracy would
soon be overrun
Create a Pyramid
• Similar to our Feudalism
Pyramid, this time create
a pyramid of the French
social structure during
the revolution.
• Include the 1st, 2nd, & 3rd
Estates, a brief summary
of each, and a picture of
French Revolution
Part 2
Third Estate’s Declaration
• Declaration of the Rights
of Man
• A statement of
revolutionary ideals,
including equality and
liberty, adopted by the
National Assembly
• Did not apply to women
Constructing a New Constitution
• From 1789 to 1791, the
debate about a new
constitution raged in the
National Assembly
• The end result was a
limited constitutional
• 1st new constitution did
two major things
• 1 – stripped the king of
much of his power
• 2 – established the
Legislative Assembly;
had the power to create
War with Austria and Prussia
• French radicals hoped to
spread their revolution
to the rest of Europe
• Monarchs and nobles in
other countries feared
that the peasant revolts
in France would spark
similar ones in their
• Austria and Prussia
proposed that France
restore Louis to the
• France responded by
declaring war
• Began poorly for France
• Had issues in Paris also
• One key victory held off
Change Again
• Faced with threat
of angry mobs in
Paris, Constitution
of 1791 is set aside
• France gives up on
limited monarchy
• National
Convention is
elected as new
governing body
The King is Killed
• Jean Paul Marat: editor
of a radical newspaper
• Called for beheadings of
hundreds who opposed
• Led by the writings of
Marat, radicals called for
the execution of King
Louis XVI
• Sentenced to death on
the charge of treason
• Killed by the blade of the
• Guillotine: a beheading
machine used for
executions during
French Revolution
Beheading of Louis XVI
Robespierre Takes Control
• Maximilien Robespierre • Became leader of
rose to power in France
Committee of Public
Safety; decided who
• Tried to wipe out any
remains of monarchy and would be considered
enemies of government
• Family names changed
• Playing cards changed
• Changed calendar
• Closed churches
Reign of Terror
• As dictator, Robespierre
began killing at
astronomical rates
• Said the killing ensured
that France would stick to
its revolutionary ideals
• Reign of Terror: killing of
thousands of politicians
and citizens under
Robespierre’s rule
• Reasons for death
• Selling sour wine
• Chopping down trees
• By the numbers
• 3,000 killed in Paris
• 40,000 in France total
• 85 percent peasants
The Terror Ends
• Fearful of endless killing,
citizens called for
Robespierre to be
• After his death, a new
constitution was drawn
• Placed power in hands
of upper middle class
• Two-house legislature
• Executive body of five
• Despite corruption,
directory restored order
and appointed Napoleon
as general of army
Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte (17691821) came from a family of
lower nobility but was
sympathetic to the ideals of
the French Revolution.
• Napoleon came to power at the end of the
Revolution, when France was still at war.
• Napoleon was a gifted general. Under his
command, French armies defeated many enemies.
• In 1799, Napoleon became a dictator of France
and eventually crowned himself emperor.
Napoleon had defeated all of the other
European powers except England, and
had created a French empire covering
much of Europe.
Napoleon Bonaparte tried to combine
the social reforms of the French Revolution
with his own absolute power.
United Against Napoleon
• Napoleon’s ambition united Europe against him.
• In 1812, Napoleon invaded Russia with an army of
half a million men.
• The Russians burned their own crops and buildings
as they retreated, depriving the invaders of food
and shelter.
By the time Napoleon reached Moscow,
he found the city in ruins, set on fire
by the Russians.
In bitter winter weather, Napoleon’s
army retreated. Less than one in ten
men survived the homeward march.
The Downfall of Napoleon
• After Napoleon’s defeat in Russia, the other
European powers combined to overthrow him.
• After invading France, the foreign powers brought
the old French royal family back to power in 1814.
tried to
the French
in 1815.
he was
defeated at
the Battle
of Waterloo.
Although Napoleon had ruled France for
only fifteen years, he had an enormous
impact on France and the rest of the world.
Napoleon’s Impact
• The Code of Napoleon, a law code, favored social
equality, religious tolerance, and trial by jury.
• Napoleon introduced the ideas of the French
Revolution to the lands he seized.
• French rule encouraged nationalism. Spain lost its
Latin American empire.
sold the
to the
States in
He also
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