● Misery and revolution (but poverty causes passivity)
● Relative deprivation
● Marxist theories of revolution
○ Bourgeois revolution (emergence of the commercial class, communist revolutions
such as the Russian revolution)
○ Should know these different theories for midterm!
● Problems with grievance based theories:
○ Rebellion doesn’t just happen if you’re unhappy. It might be the interest of the
collective, but not beneficial to you individually.
○ Collective action problem
○ The state will resist revolt
How rebellion overcomes unified state?
● Successful revolutions only happen when there’s a weak state. Weak agrarian states
face modernization crises
● States that increasingly fell behind military (in comparison with other powers), and in
many cases lost wars
● Monarch seeks more resources for modernization/war → seek more taxes → split in
○ Aristocracy tends to be shortsighted, so they don’t want to give taxes, and this
creates an opening
● Where peasant solidarity and autonomy existed
● Where an urban revolutionary elite could attach itself to these peasant insurrections, you
Problem with Skocpol
○ Change that is not open to contingency
○ Someone must effectively articulate or sell a revolution to the masses
○ How can we understand Iran without Islam?
○ How can we understand a communist revolution without communism?
○ Conditions are everywhere, you need one leader to spark the revolution
■ e.g. Lenin: Lead a backward country into the communist revolution
■ e.g. Castro: Foco theory, where if you have small groups of
revolutionaries and they spread the word from the mountainside
● Che Guevara: Assassinated for trying to spread the word
somewhere else. Leadership isn’t always the most important thing.
■ Successful revolution inside border are enough to spark a revolution
somewhere else. They can change their lives, why can’t we?
■ e.g. Arab Spring
○ If you are a peasant, then that is all you are. You were born into a group and that
is how you are judged. You can never leave these estates.
■ Nobility (lawyers, military, mercenaries, serfs, rulers of the country)
■ Church (land ownership $$$, chosen by Rome)
■ Third Estates (everyone else, guilds, seigneurial system)
○ Absolute Monarchy
■ No formal restrictions on state power, and no laws. Only god can judge
○ De facto decentralization
■ Venal offices. Not a function of merit, it was sold by the state to people
who were noble or rich. The positions were bought.
● Impossible to fire these position holders
● Influx of money on the short term, but not in long term
■ Army dominated by aristocracy
● If you were able to purchase a position, you are basically
exempted from tax
● When they disagree with certain things, the king wouldn’t press it
to keep them happy
● Phase I:
○ 7 Years War and Support USA’s War of Independence
■ France actually beat Britain, but at enormous cost (they borrowed
■ 60% of tax revenue is debt servicing--so the king wants to raise taxes.
The aristocracy disagree.
● Assembly of Nobles (hand picked by king’s government)
● 1787 Parlement of Paris
○ Refuse to register stamp and land tax to pay off debt
○ They were then exiled by the king
○ Parlements rally behind Paris, and the king calls for
■ Selecting the Estates General:
● The first time the peasants saying what they
don’t like about the existing systems ■ According to the old rules, you are voting by order
■ King refuses a vote by head = Third Estate says we
are 98% of the country, we want 98% of the
influence! (Tennis Court Oath)
● National Assembly created
● King had to agree, as even some clergy and
nobles go over to the National Assembly
○ Breakdown of State
■ Army mostly notables not committed to king
■ Louis the XVI no longer controls military: Storming of Bastille (by hand!)
■ Creation of citizen’s militias and revolutionary committees throughout
● They create their own army from scratch
■ Storming of Versailles by women and the king is brought to Paris
○ Breakdown of Feudal Order
■ Impact of Estate General
● Incredible dissatisfaction with the people, 1788 bad harvest =
peasants refused to pay their tithes or dues
● They burn the Chateau and burn the title deeds
● The feudal system literally goes up in flames
○ End of Feudal Order
■ Reforms by National Assembly
● Declaration of Rights of Man, National Church
● Church’s land is seized
■ Constitutional Monarchy
● The “warm and fuzzy” phase
● New Legislative system in place. King is still there but power is