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French Revolution Begins
• Apparent success in France due to world trade and the
Enlightenment aren’t representative of the unrest in
France. Series of bad harvests, high prices, high taxes, and
political strife left the middle and lower classes unhappy
The Old Order
• Under the “Old Regime”, people were classified into
• The Privileged Estates- two estates had privileges
(exemption from taxes, etc.)
• The Catholic clergy owned 10% of the land
• The Nobles (2%) owned 20% of the land
•  how do you think the “Privileged Estates” felt about the
The Third Estate
• 97% belonged to the third estate (30% of land controlled by
3% of population)
• The Third Estate is broken into three groups: the
bourgeoisie (merchant, bankers, professionals), the second
group were urban workers who could barely afford food,
and the last group were peasants (80% of total pop.)
• Peasants paid about half the income they did generate in
dues to the nobles, tithes to the Church, and taxes to the
king’s agents
The Forces of Change
• In addition to resentment from lower classes, new ideas about
government, economic problems, and bad leadership helped
bring the French Revolution
Enlightenment Ideas
• Third Estate was impressed by the success of the American
Revolution, and started thinking about revolution in France
• They used the works of Rousseau, Montaigne, and Voltaire as
their blueprint
Economic Troubles
• By 1780’s, France’s economy had begun to decline  caused
the Third Estate to panic
• Bad weather caused crop failure, the cost of living was rising,
and the taxation system in France made it impossible to make
profit price of bread doubled!
• 1770’s-1780’s the government fell into deep debt thanks to
Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette, and the American Revolution
A Weak Leader
• Louis XVI was indecisive and let matters “drift”
• Since Marie Antoinette was a descendent of the Austrian
royal family, most French hated her married to their king
• Her spending led to her nickname  Madame Deficit
• In order to generate money to pay the increasing debt,
Louis XVI wanted to raise taxes
• The 2nd Estate forced him to call a meeting of the EstatesGeneral on May 5th, 1789 at Versailles
Dawn of the Revolution
• The 1st and 2nd Estate had always dominated the 3rd– each
estate got one vote
The National Assembly
• Members of the 3rd Estate agreed that they should rename
themselves the “National Assembly”, request
representative government, and declare laws and reforms
in the name of the French people this was the first
deliberate act of the revolution
• Three days later they found themselves locked out of their
meeting room, and broke down a door to an indoor tennis
court promising to stay until they had drawn up a new
constitution  Tennis Court Oath
Storming the Bastille
• In Paris, rumors were spreading about who Louis XVI was
going to use to put down the rebellion– French forces or
foreign troops?
• On July 14th, a mob stormed the Bastille looking for
weapons and gunpowder
• The mob outnumbered the guards at the Bastille and
ransacked it  equivalence of 4th of July in America today
Great Fear Sweeps France
• Rebellion spread outward from France, and rumors spread
that nobles were hiring outlaws to terrorize the peasants 
led to the Great Fear
• The peasants soon became outlaws themselves by arming
themselves with farm tools (pitchforks, shovels, etc.) and
breaking into nobles’ manors to destroy legal papers that
bound them to pay feudal dues
• In October of 1789, thousands of Parisian women rioted
over rising bread prices. They stormed the palace at
Versailles, killing some of the guards, and demanded that
the king and his wife return to Paris  this marked the
change of power and the radical reforms about to come to
Revolution Brings Reform and Terror
The Rights of Man
• By the end of August, 1789, the National Assembly adopted
a statement of revolutionary ideals called “The Declaration
of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”
• This was very similar to the Declaration of Independence
(13 years earlier), but excluded some people (women,
lower classes, etc.)
A State-Controlled Church
• Catholic Church lost its lands and political independence;
the National Assembly argued that Church officials were to
be elected and paid as state officials, and the National
Assembly sold Church lands to help pay off the French debt
accumulated under Louis XVI and Mary Antoinette
• The National Assembly’s reforms alarmed peasants (most
were devout Catholics) who believed the pope should rule
over the church which was independent of the state.
Louis Tries to Escape
• As the National Assembly restructured the relationship
between church and state, Louis realized the danger to his
family and to himself
• In 1791, the royal family tried to escape into the Austrian
Netherlands, but as they reached the border were turned
around in humiliation by guards
Divisions Develop
• For two years the N.A. argued over a new constitution for
Limited Monarchy
• In Sept. 1791 the N.A. finished the new constitution, which
created a limited constitutional monarchy
• The new constitution stripped the king of his authority, and
created a new legislative body- the Legislative Assembly
(could create new laws and could approve/reject
declarations of war)
Factions Split France
• Even with a new government, old problems still existed
(food shortages and governmental debt)
• The question of how to solve these problems led to
divisions in the Legislative Assembly (radical, moderate,
• Factions outside the Legislative Assembly wanted to change
the direction of government also
• The Emigres (nobles and others who had fled France)
hoped to undo the Revolution and restore the Old Regime
• In contrast, the sans-culottes (“those without knee
breeches”) wanted even greater changes to France
War and Execution
• Other European countries watched the reforms happening
in France fearfully; Austria and Prussia urged France to
restore Louis XVI to the throne and France responds by
declaring war in April of 1792
France at War
• War began badly for French
• On August 10th, around 20,000 men and women invaded
the Tuileries, killing royal guards and imprisoning Louis,
Mary Antoinette and children
• The Legislative Assembly declared the king deposed,
dissolved the assembly, and called for the election of a
new legislature. The new governing body, National
Convention, took office on Sept 21st and declared France a
• Women were still not given the right to vote
Jacobins Take Control
• Most of the people involved in the governmental changes
in 1792 belonged to the Jacobin club.
• Jean-Paul Marat edited L’Ami du Peuple, called for the
death of all the supporters of Louis
• Georges Danton, a lawyer, was a Jacobin who fought for the
rights of Paris’s poor people
• The National Convention not only removed Louis XVI from
king, but also sentenced him to execution by guillotine
The Terror Grips France
• Foreign armies weren’t the only opposition that the the
French republic faced: peasants, priests, and rival leaders
Robespierre Assumes Control
• He changed the calendar, dividing the year into 12 months
of 30 days (no Sundays)
• In July 1793, he became leader of the Committee on Public
Safety  essentially ruled for the next year as a dictator
during the “Reign of Terror”
• The sole responsibility of the Committee of Public Safety
was to protect the Revolution from its enemies
• Georges Danton was executed for being less radical than
• The terror reached all social classes and socio-economic
classes, and about 40,000 total lost their lives
End of the Terror
• In July of 1794, some members of the National Convention
turned on Robespierre and demanded his execution
• The Reign of Terror ended on July 28th, 1794 when
Robespierre was sent to the guillotine
• In 1795, moderate leaders in the National Convention
created a third constitution since 1789.
• This third government placed power in the hands of the
middle class and called for a two-house legislature and a
five man executive called The Directory
• The Directory is responsible for giving Napoleon Bonaparte
command over France’s armies
Napoleon Forges an Empire
• Born in 1769 on the Mediterranean, Napoleon attended
military school at age 9.
• When the Revolution broke out, Napoleon was 16 years old
and fought on behalf of the new government
Hero of the Hour
• October 1795 Napoleon defends the newly formed French
republic from royalist rebels.
• In 1796, the Directory appoints him to lead French military
forces against Sardinia and Austria
Coup d’Etat
• By 1799, the Directory had lost political control and having
returned from Egypt, the people urged Napoleon to seize
political power
• Dissolving the Directory, Napoleon created a group of three
consuls. He claimed the authority of the first consul,
assuming the powers of a dictator in his coup d’Etat
• When he took over, France was still at war. Britain, Austria,
and Russia all joined forces trying to drive Napoleon out of
• By 1802, the three countries had signed peace agreements
with France and Napoleon was able to focus his energies on
restoring order in France
Napoleon Rules France
• He originally pretends to be the constitutionally chosen
• In 1800 a plebiscite was held to approve the new
constitution all power was given to Napoleon as the first
Restoring Order at Home
• Set up an efficient method of tax collection and established
a national banking system
• He dismissed corrupt government officials, and established
lycees, or government ran schools
• Napoleon signed a concordat between the Catholic Church
and the French government government recognized the
influence of the Church, but rejected Church control in
national affairs
• Created the Napoleonic Code to eliminate many injustices
Napoleon Crowned as Emperor
• December 2nd, 1804 Napoleon crowns himself emperor 
symbolic gesture saying that he was more powerful than
the Church b/c the Church traditionally crowned emperors
Napoleon Creates an Empire
Loss of American Territories
• The planters in Saint Domingue demand the same
privileges as the French back in the motherland
• Eventually enslaved Africans demand their freedoms
• Toussaint L’Ouverture leads a group of enslaved Africans on
a revolt. Napoleon tries to put down the rebellion, but the
protestors are fierce fighters, and the French forces
become devastated by disease.
• Napoleon instead decides to sell Louisiana Territory to the
United States for $15 Million. This helped pay off the
French debt as well as provided an arch nemesis for Britain
Conquering Europe
• After realizing the difficulty in the Americas, Napoleon turned
his interests to Europe
• Fearful of Napoleon’s ambitions, the British persuade Russia,
Austria, and Sweden to join them against France
• Napoleon was successful in a series of battles that helped him
sweep throughout Europe
Battle of Trafalgar
• Trafalgar was the only battle in which Napoleon was defeated.
• The British naval commander Horatio Nelson was as brilliant on
water as Napoleon was on land
• Horatio was able to split the French navy into two sections, and
conquer each half separately French naval destruction had
two effects: ensured supremacy of British navy for next century,
and forced Napoleon to give up his plan of invading Britain
The French Empire
• By 1812, the only areas on Europe free from Napoleon
were Britain, Portugal, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire
• In addition to the newly acquired French lands, Napoleon
controlled numerous “independent” nations whose rulers
were “puppets” to Napoleon
• The French Empire was huge, but unstable.
• Napoleon was able to maintain the empire at its height
from 1807-1812
Napoleon’s Empire Collapses
Napoleon’s Mistakes
• His love for power brought him to great heights, but it also
led him to his doom
The Continental System
• Under Napoleon’s “Continental System”, he blockaded
British ports to punish Britain and to make Europe selfsufficient
• In actuality, people (even relatives of Napoleon) smuggled
goods in to Europe from Britain which helped their
economy stay alive
• Britain responded with an alternative blockade, and were
able to uphold it with their superior navy (forced entering
ships to be searched and taxed)  War of 1812
The Peninsula War
• 1808 Napoleon sends an invasion force through Spain to
urge Portugal to accept the Continental System
• The Spanish rebel against the occupation of the invasion
• Napoleon removed the Spanish king and put his brother
Joseph on the throne
• Spanish people were angry at this and feared Napoleon
would weaken the Catholic Church in Spain as he had done
in France
• For 6 years, Spanish “guerillas” attacked French armies in
Spain and the British even sent troops to support Spain
• Other countries were starting to develop a sense of
nationalism and at the same time a sense of hatred toward
the expansion minded Napoleon
Invasion of Russia
• While Napoleon was friends with the Russian ruler
Alexander I, he refused to stop selling grain to Britain
• Napoleon and Alexander both were competing for Polish
• June 1812 Napoleon and his Grand Army (420,000 troops)
invaded Russia
• Outnumbered, Alexander pulled his troops back in retreat
and began practicing the “scorched-earth” military tactic
• On Sept. 7, 1812 the two armies met. The French were
successful and moved on to find a burned Moscow, which
forced them to turn back toward France
• As the snow and the temperature dropped, Napoleon’s
forces not only had to battle Russian raiders but also the
elements only 10,000 of the Grand Army returned home
Napoleon’s Downfall
• Napoleon’s enemies (Britain, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and
even Austria)
Napoleon Suffers Defeat
• Napoleon quickly raised another army, but they were illprepared in training
• In October of 1813, his army faced the allied armies in
Leipzig Germany his army was crushed and within two
months King Frederick William III and Alexander I were
leading Russia and Prussia through the streets of Paris
• In April 1814, Napoleon surrendered and stepped down
from the throne
• His enemies exiled him to Elba, an island off the coast of
Italy where they thought he would no longer pose a threat.
They were WRONG
The Hundred Days
• Louis XVI’s brother (Louis XVIII) took over after him and was
incredibly unpopular among the peasant class
• Napoleon returned home in March of 1815 to a warm
ovation from the French people
• In response, the European nations rallied their armies, and
the British commander (Duke of Wellington) prepared for
batter near Waterloo in Belgium
• On June 18, 1815 Napleon attacked and remained on the
offensive until Prussian forces arrived later in the afternoon
• This defeat ended Napoleon’s last bid for power, which is
called the “Hundred Days”
• This time Napoleon was exiled to St. Helena in the South
Atlantic where he died after being in exile for 6 years
The Congress of Vienna
• In post-Napoleon Europe, the continent was looking to establish
long-lasting peace and stability
• Different European countries met in Vienna for 8 months 
Congress of Vienna,
Matternich’s Plan for Europe
• Most of the decisions of the meetings were held between
representatives of the five superpowers(R, P, A, GB, and F)
• Matternich blames the problems in France on experimenting
with democracy, and instead insists on his three goals:
1. To prevent future French aggression by surrounding France
with strong countries
2. He wanted to restore the balance of power so that one
country could not pose a threat to the others
3. He wanted to restore the royal families to their thrones before
Napoleon imposed his own likings
Containment of France
• The Congress of Vienna took the following steps to make
the countries around France stronger:
1. Austrian Netherlands and Dutch Republic united to form
Kingdom of the Netherlands
2. Group of 39 German states joined together to form the
German Confederation
3. Switzerland recognized as an independent nation
4. Kingdom of Sardinia was strengthened by the addition of
• ***these steps all enabled France’s surrounding countries
to gain power and prevent them from overpowering
weaker nations
Balance of Power
• Although the leaders of other European countries wanted to
weaken France, they didn’t want to leave it powerless
• France remained a major power but with less domination over
other countries
• The great powers agreed on the principle of legitimacy notion
that original rulers should be placed back on the thrones
(France, Spain, Italy)
Significance of the Congress of Vienna:
• For the first time, the nations of an entire continent had
cooperated to control political affairs
• The settlements agreed upon didn’t sow seeds of revenge
• The first time that an entire continent had swore to come to
one another’s aid in case of threats to peace
Political Changes Beyond Vienna
• Britain and France had newly enacted constitutional
Conservative Europe
• Weary that the ideals of the French Revolution were still
lingering around and could promote rebellion, Alexander I
(Russia), Francis I (Austria), and Frederick William III
(Prussia) signed the “Holy Alliance” pledge to combat
forces of the Revolution with Christian principles
• A series of alliances (“Concert of Europe”) broke out in
Europe promising to have each other’s backs in times of
• Back in France, conservatives enjoyed the monarchy of
Louis XVIII. Moderates wanted Louis XVIII to share some of
his authority with the legislature. Peasants clung to ideals
of liberty, equality, and freedom
Revolution in Latin America
• When Napoleon removed the Spanish king from the
throne, liberal Creoles seized control of the American
• After the Congress of Vienna restored the king to the
throne, royalist peninsulares tried to regain control of the
• When Creoles tried to maintain and expand their power
after the Congress of Vienna, the Spanish king took steps to
tighten his control
• This angered Mexicans, who revolted and threw off Spanish
• At the same time, Brazil claimed independence from
Long Term Legacy
• The Congress of Vienna not only diminished the size and
power of France, but it also increased the power of Britain
and Prussia
• When the Congress put nations under foreign control,
nationalism exploded throughout Europe. Eventually this
sentiment led to revolutions throughout Europe
• Spanish colonies took this to their advantage and many
claimed independence from Europe
• Ideas about the basis of power and government in general
had permanently changed