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Lecture 1

HIST 2200Y Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Maximilien Robespierre, Louis Xvi Of France, Aristocracy

Course Code
HIST 2200Y
Antonio Cazorla- Sánchez

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HIST-2200Y September 18, 2013
The French Revolution, 1789-1799
The Bastille
July 14, 1789 – stormed by the people of Paris
France and the Old Regime
France at the time was a monarch and was ruled by the King Louis 16th
Louis trained to be an absolute King
People were convince the power of the King came from God
Society was divided into orders (social group) or estates not much movement in
your social order
Aristocracy (lords) didn’t pay taxes, has rights to land
Louis was married very young (18) to Marie Antoinette
Louis liked to fix clocks, good father and loyal husband
Clergy – happy with Louis, Church got 10% for everything (workers, forms),
Church was wealthy in terms of land, Church ran hospitals (no public health or
public schools at the time), Church had a double function (spiritually and health
People went to hospitals not to get better, but to die; they doubled up in beds, had
to sleep naked with each other, horrible hygiene among the poor and generally
Dental hygiene was extremely poor, if lucky some people would get wooden teeth
During this time life was hard and short
Common People (Third Estate) – 95% of the people, these are the people who pay
the taxes
King has absolute power absolutism (started 200 years before the French
The Estates General – a reunion called by the King of the aristocracy, clergy and
the third estate; they were called together to discuss taxes
This is a society where there is always someone below you and God made
everyone this way
Towards the Revolution
Estates General: May 1789
Different approach to working, they worked far less than we do nowadays
A society based on verbal speech
An emergence of public opinion
France has a hug debt, hence they want to raise taxes so the King called the
Estates General into a meeting to discuss at the Palace of Versailles; they had not
met since 1614
Wanted everyone including the nobility to pay higher taxes
Higher tax on grain because it was a major commodity at the time
Traditionally the Third Estate lost when the Estates General was called because
the Aristocracy and the Clergy had the same opinion
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