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Hist 106 Lecture 1.docx

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HIST 106
Paul Garfinkel

Lecture 1: French Revolution to 1791 (reading: chapter 18, pp. 529-548) Lecture questions: [1] What did “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” mean, and why were these ideas so radical? [2] Why did France descend into crisis by 1789? [3] Why did the Revolution appear to be over in 1791? • The French Revolution ushered in what is known as the MODERN ERA • EARLY MODERN is Black death to FR • MODERN = 1789-Present • Brought down old regime (society of orders) • Sparked foreign intervention and created a broader war • Caused by the enlightenment, which focused on freedom, equality, and nationalism • Promised human rights, constitutional government, citizenship • Gave politics their “modern” characteristics • Secularized the nation and ideas of nationalism • Created a secular administrative state [1] What did “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” mean, and why were these ideas so radical? Liberty • Human rights, − Existence gives humans the right to their own thoughts, to write and worship according to their conscience − Declaration of the Rights of Man • Justice − Arbitrary justice must be done. Justice based on class must be done. • Sovereignty − Popular sovereignty: people embodied the nation, not the monarch therefore the rule of law decided by the people who need a public body. Equality • Law • Opportunity • Talent In theory: they wanted all citizens to have equal rights and liberty. Nobility should not have privileges. In reality: this extended to intellectuals and men. It did not extend to women or slaves. It did not believe that they should be equal economically, but that everyone should have to right to pursue opportunity. Even so, this was a radical notion • Not popular democracy. This was not a push for commoners to have power (mob rule), or own land. Influenced by English and American Revolution Fraternity • Nationalism − Nation is a community (very secular) • Citizenship • Popular will • These ideas circulated within a small group of progressive nobles, professional elites, all in Paris • Did not gain popular support until 1789 • There was a large gap in misunderstanding between professional elites and commoners. [2] Why did France descend into crisis by 1789? • Economy • Drought • Debt Economic • Economy had grown in the past years with more domestic and foreign trade • Things are looking good and expectations are high • 1785 there are severe droughts and bad harvests − Recessions lead to unemployment • The monarch is mismanaging finances and going into debt − Spending money on American revolution − 50% of budget being spent on interest of debt, 25% on military, 6% to maintain the royal family, leaves less than 20% to be spent on the state. − No central bank, credit system or efficient taxation Social • Clergy • Nobility • Commoners • Louis XVI loses confidence in the eyes of all social orders − Peasants want less tax
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