Wed. Nov. 28
The French Revolution
- Changed the nature of the mind and government in Europe
- Brought a more modern world
- 1789 was a break from the values, ideals, institutions
- Napoleonic wars
- All the energy released from the revolution went into fundamental change
- Why did it happen the way that it did? Why did the revolution change into a
constitutional monarchy and become a blood bath?
- The 25 million people of France were divided into 3 estates: the clergy, the
nobility and the people
- The Clergy:
100-150,000 clerics in France,
owned 10% of France’s land… poorly managed by unprofessional bishops
and abbots who paid little attention. Surf bound soil.
Once this land belonged to the Church, it always belonged to the Church.
Hugh diversity in wealth, privilege and character.
The lower clergy tended to be of peasant stock.
The great Clerics, were great aristocrats- relaxed in discipline, lavish
lifestyle. 1 as aristocrats and 2 in the Church. Lived at Versailles. There
were clerics that were looked at in disgust.
The granting of Free Gifts from the Church to the Government was really
protection money. The Church didn’t want their property to be taxed…
nothing short of protecting their privileges.
However to the peasants, were very angry. Realized it wasn’t fair and
understood what the Church was doing
- The Nobility:
Rich in land – 1/3 of the land of France
To insure France would have a hereditary military
After Louis XIV, these duties didn’t mean anything…
The great nobles, who had a lot of power and wealth usually lived them at
Treated the peasantry horribly
The nobility was completely divorced from any kind of political, social or
No affection, because they never saw them
Anything but a uniform class
At the top- Great court noble’s…feudal families of France, they did nothing
but engage in conspicuous consumption. Their close proximity to the
crown let them not have an issue with lack of money. They were the king’s companions… kept him entertained. World patronage came easily.
Married their daughters off. Horrible people- hated
The Nobless de the rob- Service Nobility: purchased an office that carried
a patent of nobility- didn’t have to pay taxes. This group was ambitious.
They began to affect the character and personality and prestige of the
ancient nobles. They engaged in marriage in the court nobility. Attempted
in everyway to eat away at their financial origins. This group tended to be
more enlightened- influenced by new ideas. Important class- translated
success into power. Sell rank and influence through marriage
The Sparrow Hawks: Poor nobility- Weren’t allowed to work. Couldn’t
travel to Versailles because they didn’t have the nice enough clothes. Seen
as oppressors by the landlords and an embarrassment to other nobles.
Yet, they were still noble.
- The Third Estate:
80% Agricultural workers
95% of the population of France
No reason to be a surf anymore
¾ of the French peasants owned their own land. BUT, these peasant
holdings were small indeed. Never enough property to feed entire family,
usually used as cash crops
30% of the Frances land was the land of the peasants