History 1401E Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: The Need, Belp, French Revolution

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Published on 15 Dec 2014
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The Need for Reform and Pre-Revolutionary France
1. The need for reform
The Laverdy reform of municipal governments (1764-1765) – never fully
implemented)
The Maupeou reform of the judiciary (inc. abolition of Parlements – 1771 –
cancelled by the new King, Louis XVI in 1774)
The Turgot fiscal and economic reforms (1776 – cancelled soon after, and
Turgot dismissed)
The Necker administrative reforms (late 1770s – reversed in great part in
1781; Necker dismissed)
2. Opposition to royal reforms
The Parlements (13 High Courts with political ambitions)
3. The decisive confronation
Calonne’s reform proposals (including a “universal land tax” – 1786)
Leading to the convocation of the Assembly of Notables – Spring 1787
4. The Pre-Revolution
Louis XVI agrees to cal the Estates General (to be held early 1789)
French revolution took place in France but altered European history
It was fueled by social, economic, and political tensions – the revolution brought change to these
areas of life
Some of these changes were intentional and many were unintentional
The revolution could not be contained, it diffused out into different countries
There was a crisis in the political arena in the Kingdom of France in the 1780s
There was a great need for reform, there were many attempts to reform, and there was a
general failure regarding reforming regimes in France
When you’re trying to push reforms through, you’re raising expectations and creating a climate
where a country wants to reach beyond where it’s gone before
The crown understood the need to reform administration
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They wanted to rule more effectively (create and implement the best answers, facilitate
the flow of information and decisions, and know what was going on throughout the
country – improve communication)
Topics of reform:
This gravitated around the idea of creating intermediary institutions that could bridge the
people and the royals
The idea of justice – civil and social order, justice needed to be swifter, more cost
effective, and dealt out in a fairer manner
Monarchy understood the need to limit the political roles of the judges, and move them
completely out of the business of politics
Needed to stimulate the economy, build better economic structures through regulation,
communication
Fiscal reforms – French crown wanted more money and wanted a system that moved
money (allowed them to collect it) more effectively – money was the basis of its power
and there was a rising national debt
Each of these steps would shake social structures to a certain point and administrative reforms
would run into established precedence – the opposition of existing structures that had been
around for centuries
Whenever reform met great opposition, the king would back down
The Laverdy Reform
An interesting attempt to revive remissible structures – the crown believed that they
could find allies in cities that would help them reform
Tried to revive public debates in cities
The crown ran into the wall of diversity (the status of different cities were so different
that the people didn’t like the crown bringing a reform into their region – “that’s a great
idea, but not here, we like how we are doing things”)
The Maupeou Reform
Wanted to take away political power of judges
For a few years, the crown resisted the opposition
The king died while this was going on and the new king, Louis XVI cancelled the reform
He decided that he didn’t want to deal with such conflict in the first few years of his reign
– wanted to start on the right foot
The Turgot Fiscal and Economic Reforms
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Document Summary

The need for reform and pre-revolutionary france: the need for reform. The laverdy reform of municipal governments (1764-1765) never fully implemented) The maupeou reform of the judiciary (inc. abolition of parlements 1771 cancelled by the new king, louis xvi in 1774) The turgot fiscal and economic reforms (1776 cancelled soon after, and. The necker administrative reforms (late 1770s reversed in great part in. 1781; necker dismissed: opposition to royal reforms. The parlements (13 high courts with political ambitions: the decisive confronation. Calonne"s reform proposals (including a universal land tax 1786) Leading to the convocation of the assembly of notables spring 1787: the pre-revolution. Louis xvi agrees to cal the estates general (to be held early 1789) French revolution took place in france but altered european history. Each of these steps would shake social structures to a certain point and administrative reforms would run into established precedence the opposition of existing structures that had been around for centuries.

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