Class Notes (806,431)
Canada (492,249)
History (1,418)
HIST 215 (135)

5 French Revolution.doc

7 Pages
Unlock Document

McGill University
HIST 215
Sarah Waurechen

Tuesday January 22 The French Revolution Was the French Revolution true to its own ideals? Note: when writing about revolution, think about its historicism, its contemporary context, and clearly define it I. CrisisintheAncienRegime A. Political Crisis 1. There were layers of privilege when it came to taxing a) The wealthier/privileged a person was the less tax they had to pay b) This was a big grievance but also something wealthy people wanted to protect 2. Some peasants still owed feudal dues (cash or service to their landlords) a) Still subject to local authoritarian courts 3. Louis XV had quarreled a lot with his parlements over taxation a) In 1771 Louis XV tried to reform taxation law again (1) The parlements refused to give his change the force of law (2) So Louis XV dissolved them (3) Public relations quarrel came in b) People began seeing the interests of the monarch against those of the people 4. In 1774 Louis XVI came to power a) Reinstated the parlements (1) Oversaw many reforms (a) Ended noble and clerical tax exemptions i) They were furious ii) The parlements refused to register (2) Free trade in grain was allowed (not controlled by tariffs) i) Those lower on the scale were angry ii) The price of grain go up (1) Leads to food shortages (3) Removed mandatory service days to build roads to the crown b) The structural problems of the nobility also added to the problem (1) Nobles of the Sword (a) Ancient hereditary families (b) Blood gives privilege (2) Nobles of the Robe (a) Recently purchased titles and government offices (b) Mutually beneficial for them and the crown (c) By 1789 there were already 50 000 offices i) You cannot make more (3) Continuing need for reform B. Financial Crisis 1. France had been at war with Britain and other European powers on and off a) Almost 3/4 of the budget went to military expenses and existing war debt (1) These debts were diverse and all had high interest rates (2) France lacked the central banking system Britain had! (a) It was tied to personal monarchical credit b) Financed by loans arranged by the minister of finance Jaques Necker (1) So there’s a big problem (a) But every time the crown tried to reform taxation they met resistance C. The American Revolution 1. In 1776 when the american colonies declared themselves independent a) They also said they were republican - Did not want absolutism b) “All men are created equal” - “life, liberty, pursuit of happiness” c) Embodied enlightenment values of rationality and natural rights d) Look to american experiment as a model II. TheFrenchRevolution A. The Estates-General 1. People are not attacking the idea of kingship but rather abuses it is perpetrating 2. So in 1789 they demanded an estates-general a) National assembly of france (like the english parliament) (1) Had not met since 1614 3. Louis XIV said he would call the estates general by the following May a) But instead of giving each member a vote b) The parlements said voting would follow historic precedent (1) Each house would get one vote (a) Clergy (b) Nobility (c) Everyone else c) The vote will always vote in a conservative fashion (1) So in this way the parlements was associated with corruption d) So people began searching elsewhere for their interests 4. In May 1789 the estates general met a) The king did not meet with the third estate, only the other two b) So the third estate declared itself the National Assembly (1) True representatives of national sovereignty and the people (a) Parallel if not superior to the monarchy (2) The king retaliated by locking them out of the meeting space c) So in June they met on a tennis court (1) Tennis Court Oath (2) Slowly clergy and nobleman joined them d) In June Louis conceded and ordered everyone to join the National Assembly (1) You get a unicameral house (a) One chamber - everyone in the same space i) Everyone gets one vote ii) Pretty radical B. The Storming of the Bastille (14 July 1789) 1. Thousands of people, mostly commoners, people rioted a) Spurred on by food crisis and rumors that this new national assembly would be dissolved b) They take the Bastille where they believe ammunition for this coup was being stored it is also a building of arbitrary rule (1) Prisoners, sentenced without trial, were often sent here 2. This shook Louis’ confidence a) Recognized the new defense force created: the National Guard b) July 17th he was received by this new municipal council is paris (1) Accepted their tri-color flag (2) Red & blue for paris (3) White for the bourbons 3. Also sparked peasant rebellions known as the great fear a) Fear of a plot to starve the populace b) So they established new local guards c) The National Assembly tried to restore order (no more feudal remnants) 4. Re-definition of relationship between subject and monarch a) Introducing constitutional monarchy C. The end of absolutism and experiments with constitutional monarchy 1. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (August 1789) a) Louis XVI forced to change his title from king of france to king of the french (1) Sovereignty is now going from the bottom up (a) It comes from the people b) Draws on the American declaration of independence c) Article 1: men are born free and remain equal in rights (1) Sovereignty not from god but from the nation (2) As a result, laws were now to reflect the general will expressed by national representatives (a) General will: abstract will of the state d) Preserved property rights (1) Wealth not birth is the privilege 2. Church Reforms a) November 1979 sell church lands on auction (1) Nationalization of french catholic church (2) The National Assembly used this time to introduce paper money (a) But they fell through because people were not confident b) February religious orders were abolished c) Civil constitution of the clergy was issued (1) Cut off all remaining authority of the pope (2) Requiring state authorization of bishops, pay, and enforced an oath upon all clerics where they had to pledge allegiance to the state (revolutionary regime) (3) Many people though remained devout catholics (a) Eventual conservative backlash to this d) The king was forced to accept a
More Less

Related notes for HIST 215

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.