Chapter 18: The French Revolution
1789 – political turmoil erupts in France and led to a revolution to restore new political order
In the late 1780s, the French government had reached a state of financial crisis. After the Seven Years’
War, the French government was in debt, and the government could not tax the nation enough to raise the
- Peasants had the biggest tax burden
Rene Maupeou – appointed by Louis XV to be the new chancellor, he was determined to increase taxes
on the nobility, and abolished all the parlements
- Louis XV’s successor, Louis XVI, dismissed Maupeou in 1774 and restored all the parlements
After the American revolution, France had even larger debt from aidingAmerica.
In 1786, the new financial minister Calonne planned to increase internal trade, lower some taxes, and
create a property tax, so those with more land would be taxed more. His plan was rejected by a committee
- During all this, the local aristocratic parliaments were demanding to get back their independence
that Louis XIV had crushed.
The Estates General – an instituation made to maintain the dominance of the nobility and the church. The
First Estate is the clergy, the Second is the nobility, and the Third was all other adult men in the kingdom,
meaning representatives from the wealthy and middle class.
- The aristocracy modified the voting in the Estates General so the church and the clergy would
always be able to outnumber the third estate’s vote by 2 – 1.
The Cahiers de Doleances – a list of grievances that the representatives brought to the Estates General.
They mainly called for equality among the King’s subjects
Since there were conflicts over the voting in the Estates General, the Third Estate invited the clergy and
nobles to join a new legislative body, which they declared the NationalAssembly
The Tennis Court Oath – when Louis XVI locked the National Assembly out of their normal meeting
place, they made an oath to sit at a local tennis court until they had written a new French constitution
After the citizens of Paris found out the Louis XVI was gathering an army in hopes of taking down the
National ConstituentAssembly, they began to organize a militia and collect arms for protection.
July 14 1789 – Parisians marched to the Bastille, where the weapons were kept, to get weapons for the
militia. The guards fired at them and 98 people were killed.
National Guard – the militia of Paris lead by Marquis de Lafayette, a hero of the American revolution.
- Afew days later Louis XVI visited Paris and recognized the National Guard and theAssembly,
admitting he did not have enough troops to win the revolution. The Great Fear – swept across the countryside, which consisted of the burning of legal documents and
refusal to pay dues. The peasants’goals were to reclaim their rights and property.
- After the night of August 4 , all French citizens were subject to equality and positions in the
government were open to people with talent rather than just wealth or status.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen – proclaimed free and equal rights for all men in liberty,
property, security, and resistance to oppression. Freedom of religion and taxation according to the
capacity to pay were both approved.
October 5 1789 – thousands of armed French women march to Versailles and demand more bread
because it was still scarce and expensive. When Louis appeared, they demanded he go back to P