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Lecture

Sept 16


Department
History
Course Code
HIS241H1
Professor
Dana Philpott

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September 16
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The French Revolution
Background [3 critical factors that lead to a full blown revolution; without all three it is more of a
riot]
opolitical
French used to be one of the greatest powers in Europe if not the most powerful
state
dominated all aspects of life
engaged for a century and a half in warfare and continually losing undermines its
power losing war one after another, a domestic challenge grew to the
absolutist monarchy confounded by Fr undergoing serious financial crisis brought
on by being engaged in war for so long
treasury itself was chaotic – no bookkeeping which meant that the monarchy
didnt have a clue how much money came in and went out
if were successful no one would criticize however once they kept losing people
grew opposed
France decided to support Amer revolution and while they did win the war, it cost
Fr so dearly it brought Fr to the brink of bankruptcy
1788 summer: state declared bankruptcy as it couldnt pay interest on loans, had
to suspend all state activities
financial crisis leads to social crisis
osocial
French social structure was broken into three estates (clergy nobility 
commoners)
Louis XVI had to call the Estates General which hadnt been called in 165 years
because of the crisis
EG wanted to meet along traditional linesseparated into three parts/estates
previously, all three would vote separately
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3rd estate wanted a social change where all three had veto power and
legislation would be implemented only when there was a consensus
1st and 2nd estate opposed this loss of power
3rd estate decided to take matters into its own hands
decided to form a National Assembly and declare themselves the
representatives of the French state and people
Louis couldnt handle the crisisMarie Antoinette convinced him to make some
of the worst decisions
oeconomic
The Estates General (May 5, 1 7 8 9)
o1st Estate
o2nd Estate
o3rd Estate
The Natio n al Ass embly, Ten nis Co urt Oath (Jun e 2 0, 1 78 9)
oagre e d to transform p olitic al life in Franc e [majority of them were lawyers]
oeventually the kin g h ad to agre e could nt c all in the army
Bastille (July 1 4 , 1 7 8 9 )
obre a d crisis p o orest of Parisian p o p ulatio n, d aily fo o d was v ery much bre a d
oof 2 0 0 priso n ers, all were ordinary criminals
ostormed the Bastille, a p riso n
oo n c e this h ap p ened the revolution was full blown
oKing im m ediately g ave in
granted co n stit ution al mo n archy
oMA was h ell b ent to regain h er p ower
odisap p ointed that fellow p owers did nt h elp wrote let t ers to h er brother in Austria
o17 91 co n vinc e d h u sban d to fle e Franc e u n d erco v er as Russian nobles at nig h t
oap prehen d ed close to the German b order an d bro u g h t b a c k to Paris in shame
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