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HIST 1001-B Jan 17,2013.docx

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HIST 1001
Hal Goldman

Lecture 23, French Revolution Louis XVI (D. 1793) Liberal Democracy Ancient Regime Estates General Bastille (July 14, 1789) National Constituent Assembly (1789-1791) The Great Fear (Summer 1789) Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) Legislative Assembly (1791 – 1792) Jacobins National Convention (1792-1797) Marie Antoinette (D. 1793) Girondists The Mountains Maximilien Robespierre (D. 1794) Georges Jacques Danton (D. 1794) Committee of Public Safety Sans Culottes The Terror (1793-1794) Total War • After Louis XIV’s death, nobility in France began to reinfiltrate the church • In the 1750s France was strapped for cash, but was on the defensive on the attempts by the nobility that had tried to gain the power they lost during the King’s reign • In 1789, France was the most important state in Europe, largest population, 24 million people, would not be surpassed until 1800 when Russia surpassed it • French was international language of diplomacy, no educated man or woman in Europe or North America could be fully educated unless they spoke and read French • Was cultural centre of Europe • Russian changed the language of the Russian court to French, many spoke French better than they spoke Russian • The events that unfolded in France had enormous impact • Revolution was important because of where it happened in France • Everyone was influenced by the French revolution, it was the corner stone of revolution • In 1789, France was divided into 3 estates: • The Clergy; priests, monks, bishops, nuns, etc. About 100,000 members • The nobility; descendants of medieval knights, dukes, barons, who had made their living th off fighting, about 400,000 people (1/60 population of France) • Together, the first and second estate controlled 1/3 of land in France • There were distinctions and tensions within the first two estates -> represented enormous power and wealth in France, they ran the country • Everyone else, commoners were part of the third estate, 23 and a half million people • Not merely traditional, they were legal, taxes, etc depended on which estate that you belonged to • French society with ridged distinctions reflected old fashioned feudalism • Most important service that one could offer would be ability to fight and ability to pray • Bright energetic people could excel • Commoners: If we create all the wealth, how come we have to pay all the taxes while the nobles and church men do not have to? • Critiques of the catholic church, it’s privileged position in French society • Abstract intellectual ideas with the real experiment of democracy in America, watched carefully in France, educated commoners and members of the clergy and nobles, it feuded the idea of revolution • Ability to see 13 new states governing themselves without a king or queen, rather the people govern themselves • These would be reformers wanted a legal system that treated everyone fairly “equal justice under law” • No one could be immune from the law • Wanted to have a say in the governing of the country • Wanted to be free from arbitrary restraints • Did not want the economy hampered by unfair taxes or artificial monopolies imposed by the government • Adam Smith – best system is one where everyone is on equal opportunity • These ideas, equality under law, broad political participation and protection of property under power (1789) Ratified • Many French classmen and liberal nobles wanted this as well • Members in middle classes advocated for change • In 50 years prior, ordinary people were falling behind, population grew, agricultural production had not come up, increases in price of bread (a staple food of the poor) recurring recessions in France squeezing the common people • Liberal middle class commoners • Unrest among poor due to growing hunger • Both of these groups were sources of agitation and unrest • Sometimes their interests aligned and they worked together • Resulted in bloody conflict • King and Queen were beheaded • The French were in deep debt • French monarchy spent its money on things that did not help the population, 50% of budget was to pay off the debt • 1789, Louis was in terrible debt, Nobles paid no taxes, but had great wealth, Louis had to ask them for wealth, in exchange they wanted power • The only way to raise taxes would be to call a meeting of the estates general, who had not met up since 1614 • In 1789, three estates met at Versailles, met separately and voted separately • Each had about 300 members, the third estate noted that they represented the most people, they demanded greater seats as they represented the most number of people • Clergy came from Nobel families, so first estate and second estate was dominated by the nobles • The third estate was always dominated by the first two • The third demanded that the estates all meet together • Louis refused and kept the third estate from meeting at all • In June 1789, they meet up with first and second, organized a national constituent assembly, swore an oath not to break up until they created a constitution • Things began to move quickly, events took on force of their own and lead into revolution, • Louis changed his mind and called on the army to disband the estates general • The urban poor of Paris were growing increasingly agitated, it became difficult to feed
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