The French Revolution 1/14/14
• France PreRevolution Monarchy
o Run by Louis XVI who was not fit to rule
o Had inherited a fiscal crisis from Louis XIV, the sun king
o Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette lived in Versailles
o Marie Antoinette was not very popular. She was considered a foreigner.
• The 3 Estates
o Clergy: 100,000 men. Cardinals, bishops, priest. Had many privileges and
o Nobility: 400,000 men and did not pay taxes
o Third Estate: 98% of the population. Diverse group of peasants, lawyers,
and wealthy merchants. Had to pay rent to the church or to their lords.
Lived in rural areas.
• The Fiscal Crisis17881789
o France was one of the wealthiest nations in the world but the government
couldn’t function because it couldn’t pay its taxes. This was because of the
dysfunctional tax system.
o Louis XIV had created this problem because he had built Versailles and
engaged in wars such as the American Revolution
o Nobles recognized how in debt France was and said they wouldn’t pay any
taxes unless there was a meeting of the Estates General.
• Meeting of the Estates General
o At Versace
o Meet May 1789 and had not met since around 1641
o At the elections they elect who will represent each group
o Argued about how many votes each estate should get. Some said each
estate should have only one vote that meant that the first and second
estate would always be able to outvote the third estate. The third estate
didn’t like this because they made up 98% of the population
o People in Paris become upset over this bickering. There was still a lack of
jobs, bad harvest, and hunger so they were concerned about what would
• Images that depict the crisis atthhat time
o Political Cartoon #1 18 century cartoon of the French peasant carrying a
clergy and nobleman on his back
o 18 century portrait of Louis XVI
o 18 century portrait of Marie Antoinette
o Double headed beast with Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s heads
o The Tennis Court Oath painting by Jacques Louise David. It is one of the
most famous works from the French Revolution and David later became
deputy of the national convention.
• The Tennis Court Oath
o The third estate invited the first and second estate to join them in making a
National Assembly. o Assembly includes many members from the middle class, some from the
old aristocracy, the clergy, and many members of the middle class.
o June 20 1789.
o They go to a big outdoor tennis court at Versailles
o Promise not to leave until they resolve a way to get France out of the crisis
o This is a turning point
o Louis XVI didn’t like this but he accepted it.
o The National Assembly wanted the power of the king limited and they
wanted a say in the government
o They end up abolishing feudalism and all the privileges that the nobility
• Women of Paris
o Weren’t trying to assert themselves in government
o They were concerned about “bread and butter” issues such as the price of
bread and preparing for the upcoming winter
o October 1789 the women marched to Versailles. Probably would have
killed the royal family if it weren’t for Marquis de Lafayette. The women
demanded that the royal family had to come with them to Paris so that
they could keep and eye on the king and they thought that they would
sympathies with them.
o They thought they would react to the pressure of the city. They also
wanted to keep an eye on the king because they were suspicious of both
him and the assembly.
• The Great Fear
o While the National Assembly is meeting
o Peasants were afraid there might be a backlash by the aristocracy. They
thought the nobles might crack down on their liberties.
o Peasants rise up and go to the burn the rental scrolls. Attack the symbols
• After the National Assembly eliminates Feudalism
o The peasants start to own their own land. They no longer have to pay rent.
o Many people in rural France were satisfied with the land they got and
o This was not true in the cities such as Paris. There was still a lot of
economic crisis, unemployment,