The French revolution:
The Three Estates
Declaration of the man and citizen
B)French Society on the Eve of the Revolution
1) The Estates
2) The Discontent
C)Intellectual and Economic Origins
1) The role of the public sphere
2)The plight of the peasants and Urban poor
D)The Revolutions(teacher argument)
1) First Wave: Constitutional Monarchy
2)Second Wave French Republic
3) Third Wave: Reign of Terror and Rise of Napoleon
The basics of the three waves:
1) King gives up absolutist power
2) Killed and Republic
3) Terror of Napoleon
Up until 20 Century- French revolution as culmination and formation of new class,
berguazi(middle class) – at this point they wanted to rise up and take leadership.
Leader of concept: Carl Marx
Recently(around 200 anniversary) – Much more complex view of 1789 -
Eve of French revolution:
consisted of 3 estates: A way to assign certain rights. Distinction was blurry. 2 was often part of
2- Nobility/ Aristocracy
3- Everyone else.
(peasants not represented)
As colonies form, euntropuneurship = wealthier 3 estate. Wealthier than 2nd.
Kind decided to offer titles to those; To make money. (had to buy title) nd
Within 2 estate- growing discontent between those of the sword (old money, old
nobility/earned) and Nobility of the cloak/robe(bought position).
Those of the first and second estate had power due to land ownership.
Less differentiation between the three estates in the end than carl marx had thought. Not so
much have and have nots, as the 3 estate had money.
Republic of Letters(Enlightenment) – allowed like minded people to form alliances.
People likes –Voltair, Locke and monteque(check and balances)
sick of rule by king. Taken by the rights of the physiocrats(economic philosophers)
Cost of living was rising quickly due to monopoly. People wanted to break apart Monopolies.
-Prices skyrocketed. 1788/1789 – wheat shortage. = expensive bread.
1788- 50% of income spent on bread.(main caloric intake)
1789-80% of income spent on bread
= Not enough money for anything else= every other store goes bankrupt.
Economy in Freefall
Unemployment at about 50%
Peasants- Paid futile ties(portion of goods as rent)(rest used or sell). (to aristocrat or church)
Building resentment among the peasants- beyond rent, also road taxes, no hunting rights(cant
catch dinner), had to buy 7 pounds of salt a year(no matter what) , which was overpriced).
Massive Debt being run up by the government- mostly due to wars. Aided American
revolutionaries. Mid 1780’s france was using 50% of revenue to pay debts.
Some reform attempts, but were opposed.
Nobility worried to lose exemption from taxes.
Only person to raise taxes – Estates General.
Estates General: type of national parliament, delegates from 3 estates convene.(last time it met
Absolutism- kind wanted to rule without it.
Estates General can only meet if king calls upon it.
King calls Assembly of notables. However nobles wanted rights I return for the money.
Parliament (court) – king tries to push new edicts for taxes to court, and wouldn’t pass it.
Royal Fiat - King- Decides to disband parliament and pass taxes – no one takes it seriously.
Finally – King calls Estates General (May 1789) = End of absolutism.
- Controversy about how to vote.
-Voting by Order = everyone has equal say.
- King Orders Bergeoisie to have twice as many delegates and to vote by head. So they have ½
the voting percentage.
-King gets cold feet and decides to vote by order. -Bergeoisie decides to meet i