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Lecture: The French Revolution January 22, 2013

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McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Lecture: The French Revolution January 22, 2013 QUESTION: Was the French Revolution true to its own ideals? Crisis in the Ancien Regime • political crisis ◦ the wealthier one was, the less tax they had to pay ◦ peasants still owed feudal dues ◦ Louis XV tries to reform taxation law ▪ Parlement refuses ▪ Louis dissolves them ▪ people started to see the interests of the monarch coming into conflict with the interests of the people, which would bear more weight ◦ nobles of sword ▪ old nobility ◦ nobles of robe ▪ recently purchased titles and offices • financial crisis ◦ France had been at war for so long, so state budget was overstretched ◦ stuck in debt, with high interest rates • the American Revolution France in Revolution • the Estates-General ◦ parliament ◦ had not met since 1614 ◦ people are calling for it because they want a voice in the political system ◦ Louis promises to call it, thinking they will let him raise new taxes ◦ instead of giving each member a vote, voting follows historic precedent ▪ each Estate gets a vote (Clergy, Nobility, the Rest) ◦ popular literature started touting the third estate ◦ Third Estate declares itself the National Assembly • the storming of the Bastille (14 July 1789) ◦ riot ◦ spurred on by high food prices • the end of absolutism and experiments with constitutional monarchy ◦ the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (August 1789) ▪ men are born free with equal rights ◦ Church reforms ◦ 1791 constitution ◦ Louis XIV changed from King of France to King of the French • women and the revolution • revolutionary labels: jacobins and the Sans-Culottes • selling off church lands at auction • paper money issued, backed by these land sales • loyalty not to the pope, but to the state • jacobins are republicans who get their name from the house in which they met
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