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The French Revolution: Part I

Course Code
Kenneth Bartlett

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The French Revolution: Lecture 1 or 2
Key words:
A. R. Turgot
C. de Calonne
Noblesse de l’epee
Noblesse de la robe
Lecture notes:
-The outbreak of the revolution
-The Enlightenment driving the critique of the ancient regime, not consonant with the laws
of nature
-Lead to the physical violence and the over throw of regimes
-The dream of reason brings about the monsters
-What gave the rise to the great European revolution?
o1789 breaks from the traditions of the past (1300-1789)
oAfter the revolution, new ideas, driven by the Enlightenment, driven by the
writings of the philosophers, the ideas traveled Europe-wide
-What France looked like on the eve of the revolution?
oAs in the middle ages, people were divided legally into three estates
The clergy was the least numerous, rationalism and anti-clericalism made

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the Church an extremely unattractive choice of career (100-150 thousand
clerics out of 25 million)
The few church men controlled 10% of the land, the land was free from
taxation and was poorly cultivated, serfdom was still practiced on those
Variations of wealth and status among the clergy
The greater office: aristocratic families – dumping ground for extra
children and local control
The aristocratic bishops lived in the court, treated as nobles, and regular
cleric life did not appeal to them
Faithful Catholics were angry with the aristocratic bishops
Free gifts – the Church would give money to the king just to recognize
that the king was a cool guy, protection money, made sure that the Church
would not be subject to regular taxation
Peasants needed more land and money and the practices within the Church
made the furious
The nobility – 400 thousand, ¼ of all the land in the kingdom, if the king
is included then 1/3 of the land is owned by the nobility
Military function – no longer had any meaning, after the expansion of the
Louis XIV turned the nobility into please sand office seekers who lived at
the court
They had little collective control
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