Europe in the Age of Napoleon 1/22/2014
• Revolution was brought by a financial crisis that was very problematic for Louis
o France was one of the wealthiest nations in all of Europe but the wealth
was locked up in land so the French Monarchy couldn’t get access to its
o The Clergy (first estate) and Nobility (second estate) paid little to no taxes
on their large areas of French land they owned
o French treasury had been drained by wars from Louis XIV and Louis XV
The Seven Years Wars a.k.a. French and Indian war (French lose).
French support of the American Revolution against Brittan
o Any kings after Louis XIV couldn’t come to terms with the first two
estates and get them to pay taxes
• The Bourgeoisie (winners)
o Once the Estates General came to meet at Versailles, the first two estates
were side lined by the third estate
o Bourgeoisie would dominate the National Assembly
o Bourgeoisie would benefit the most from the French Revolution
• Fixing the French Economy
o As the revolution unfolded the National Constituent assembly would
liberalize the French economy.
o Put in place economic policies that ended price controls
o Deregulated the critical grade market
o It suppressed guilds, which were early type of union for artisans.
o The National Constituent assembly would also confiscated the lands of the
church and the lands of the nobility especially those who were opposed to
the revolution. These massive lands were sold off to pay the national debt
and became a critical source of revenue for France XXX
o Laissezfaire policies that were put in place emphasized the importance of
the free market.
• Peasants (winners)
o When the revolution was finished feudalism was gone. Peasants were
release from their feudal duties
o Many became owners of their farms
o Free trade would be established in the countryside.
o Barriers and tariffs would be dismantled that had blocked the development
of the country. This allowed a degree of disparity to develop in the
o The country post revolution would be relatively peaceful.
• End of the Revolution
o Ended by the execution of Robespierre
o Other countries were horrified by the Revolution and the Great Terror
• Women (losers)
o Had marched to Versailles to push the revolution forward o Important voice within the common people and SansCulottes
o No longer wanted to be second class citizens
o Olympe de Gorges
Daughter of a butcher from a working class background
Author of the “Declaration of the Rights of Women”
Highlighted the hypocrisy of the revolution
Believed women should be accepted as full citizens
• Ability to vote
• Serve offices
• Inherit property
Was a critic of Robespierre
Denounced the tariff and the excesses that drove the violence
Sent to the guillotine
o Women vs. the Jacobins
Some women became involved with the Jacobins.
Many would begin to organize, enter markets, and challenge
merchants who they believe were exploiting the crisis that
confronted the people and challenge merchants who they thought
were charging high prices.
Jacobins began to see women as a challenge to their power
Jacobins wanted women to accept a “separate sphere”
The government forbid them from attending meetings and serving
in the revolutionary army.
By the end of the revolution the idea of citizenship for women had
• The SansCulottes (the common people and urban workers) of Paris (losers)
o The end of the revolution abolished the radical policies that they had
succeeded in instituting.
o Found themselves marginalized
o Believed the laissezfaire policies markets punished them
o The price controls that had been put in place were removed
o Food prices sky rocketed
• After the execution of Robespierre France experienced a period of cooling off
known as “thermidor”.
o The national convention became much more moderate in its policies.
o Were led by The Council of 500 deputies
o A more moderate economic policy was followed
o Government established more moderate constitution
o Many exiles began to return home
o Many were royalists and hoped the cooling off period meant constitutional
monarchy would be reestablished.
• 1795 Insurrection
o Royalists wanted a monarchy with stability o When royalists tried to launch a rebellion in the city
o Napoleon Bonaparte used an army to crush the rebellion
Under the directory France experienced stagnation (the economy didn’t improve)
Royalists longed for the return of a monarchy even if it was a constitutional one
Economic problems and instability continued
National elections were held in 1797.
France was right for a coup de ta. Successfully led by Napoleon Bonaparte in
o Age 30
o In 1802 he made himself Consul for life
o He returned France to be a monarchy
o Proclaimed himself Emperor
“The Coronation of Napoleon” portrait
o By JacquesLouis David who was the official court painter
o At the Cathedral at Notre Dame.
o He crowned himself and then crowned his wife
o Wanted to make the point that no one (not even the Pope) was above him
Napoleon Bonaparte (continued)
o Big on war
o Became more dictatorial as his reign progressed
o The oppressive monarchy was replaced by an even more autocratic state
o Understood that everyone in France wanted stability
o The Concordat of 1801
It was an agreement that allowed the Catholic Church to reopen