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Chapter 20
 War of American Independence against British and George III, 1745-1783
 the Marquis de Lafayette left France to help Americans 1777; helped Washington at Valley
Forge, became a major general in the revolutionary army, persuaded the French to provide
financial aid to the Americans, named his son George Washington
 Arthur Young was Englishman visiting France in 1780s, realized it was prosperous yet full of
 philosophes- thinkers of the Enlightenment
 French Revolution destroyed the ancien regime (old regime)
Louis XV
 grandson of Louis XIV, Louis XV (1715-1774), was also an absolute monarch
 parlements- the 13 sovereign courts in the French judicial system; its magistrates were
members of the aristocracy; recorded royal decrees before they became laws, could withhold
approval for the king’s policies by refusing to register his decrees (often refused to endorse
decrees of taxation); were a “battleground between the elite.. and the king…”
 intendants- still the king’s men, agents in the provinces
 Treaty of Paris ended the Seven Years’ War, France lost territory to Britain, including
Canada, and its competition with Britain for superiority; war was paid for by loans promising
victory, France now in financial crisis
 Rene Nicolas Charles Augustin de Maupeou – Louis XV’s chancellor 1768-1774 – in 1770
tried to solve crisis by reducing power of the parlements; planned overthrow of the Parlement of
Paris -- the most important parlement – in order to gain compliance of the magistrates; exiled old
court members who got position by paying, made new courts with appointed members; was an
unpopular action, revealed how dependent this “divine monarch” really was
 Louis XV died 1774 suddenly of smallpox, ending his 59-year rein, during which he got the
public against him, and was accused for numerous things, crisis not only his fault, legacy
described in “Apres moi le deluge” or “After me, the flood”
State of France
 sudden death of Louis XV left power to unprepared 20-year old grandson Louis XVI (17741792), who amused himself by hunting and playing with locks
 was left a state in disastrous deficit that took loans and spent a lot on military, was in an
endless loop of borrowing; Louis XVI added to crisis by helping America in the War of
American Independence and almost bringing France to bankruptcy
 Louis XVI sold offices as much as possible; also “leased out its rights to collect the salt tax in
return for large lump-sum advances from the Royal General Farms, a syndicate of about 100
wealthy financier families that reaped healthy profits at the state’s expense
Problems with Tax
 taille- direct tax levied according to region, nobility and bourgeoisie (those who worked by
using their heads, not hands) exempt; gabelle- indirect tax on salt; aide- indirect tax on food and
 Louis XVI restored the magistrates to the parlements that Louis XV removed, they were bad
again a year later
 Louis appointed Anne Robert Jacques Turgot as his first controller-general
o was influenced by Enlightenment ideas,
o wanted to tax landowners for money to improve network of roads and stimulate
economy in order to increase revenue,
o got rid of forced labor of the corvee- peasants on the road;
o was unpopular for threatening privileged classes
 Louis’s new adviser Jacques Necker, a Swiss-born Protestant banker,
o had experience and accounting skills, was to measure for the first time the total
income and expenditures of France;
o produced and distributed budget, brought relief to people and promised no new
taxes, had disastrous miscalculations;
o aimed at fixing inefficiencies rather than making new taxes, targeted contracts of
the farmers-general- collectors of the indirect salt taxes
o aimed at reducing expenses to prepare for more expenses during war
 Charles Alexandre de Calonne replaced Turgot as controller-general 1783
o also wanted to tax those more able to pay, suggested a tax on land proportional to
land size, would greatly affect land-rich nobility
o wanted to lighten or abolish taxes affecting the peasantry
o proposed the sale of Church lands for revenue
o 1787 had crown make an Assembly of Notables to meet, had 150 members from
magistracy, Church, nobility, and municipal bodies, could advertise their reforms;
denounced Calonne, its creator, for attacking the rights of the rich, forced him to
 Archbishop Lomenie de Brienne replaced Calonne as controller general
o simply suggested emergency loans
o crown dissolved the Parlement of Paris, which threatened to block loans and
taxes, insisted constitution to protect their right to govern, spoke of the “rights of
man” and used the word citizen
Three Estates
 the medieval body called the Estates-General met 1788 when Louis XVI was desperate, had
not met since 1614
 eighteenth-century French society was still divided into three classes called orders or estates;
1st- those who prayed, clergy; 2nd- those who fought, nobility; 3rd- those who worked, the
bourgeoisie, peasantry, workers
 Third Estate had more than 23 million people, First and Second Estates had 200,000
combined; each estate had equal representation
o 1st- was doubted because suspected of using Church wealth
o 2nd- no longer was needed for its protective military function,
o 3rd- bourgeoisie had noble lifestyle but remained with Third Estate
 king was at top of social pyramid, was “father” of all citizens; was a supreme overlord- stood
dominant over aristocracy and court, and absolute monarch- stood as head of state and society
Clergy and Aristocracy
 clergy contained commoners and nobles
 nobility consisted of the older nobility of the sword from medieval times and the more recent
nobility of the robe that acquired their position through purchase of offices
 power of the nobility increased during rein of Louis XV and Louis XVI in two ways:
o 1) monopolized high offices away from non-nobles, therefore controlling
ministries, army, and Church
o 2) benefited from the doubling of land values brought by an increase in value of
o also enjoyed exemption from taxes
Third Estate
 commoners was largest group in France, peasantry was largest group in commoners; peasants
no longer were serfs, still owed the tithe to Church and taxes to government, paid interest on
loans, subject to poor harvests because had no savings
 bourgeoisie included bankers, financers, businessmen, merchants, entrepreneurs, lawyers,
shopkeepers, artisans; administered cities and towns with the nobility; wealthiest managed to
join nobility; served as middlemen between nobility and peasants to collect dues, etc.
Estates-General would meet under Louis XVI in May 1789 at Versailles
First Stage of French Revolution 1789-1792
Before Meeting of Estates General
 was known as the “Great Revolution” at that time, came to an end with Napoleon
 created each of the following at one point in correct order: constitutional monarchy, republic,
 Third Estate was excited at the opportunity, released pamphlets, broadsides, information;
many more people were informed about the situation and had their own opinions
 Third Estate realized its disadvantage in representation, demanded number of its
representatives be increased from 300 (as each estate had) to 600 at least; Necker (removed as
director-general in August 1788) agreed and did so, think about it… it doesn’t help at all really
unless they use Voting By Head rather than Voting By Order; if voted by head, would be 600 to
600, but some from 1st and 2nd would join 3rd such as French hero of the American Revolution
Marquis de Lafayette
 members of all three estates made statements of their problems, collected from variety of
places and complied in the cahiers de doleances and taken to Versailles; were important for two
main reasons 1) made clear the similarity of grievances throughout France 2) made clear the
extent to which a common political culture concerned with reform spread through different
levels of society
 people still trusted and liked the king, said “If only the king knew!” meaning they believed
the king would not tolerate the injustices if he knew what was really happening
Meeting of Estates-General
 the elected deputies started arriving May 1789 to Versailles in a great hall especially made
for the event; Louis XVI was in full kingly regalia, First Estate was on right wearing pinks and
purples, Second Estate on the left dressed richly, Third Estate faced king wearing plain black
suits; 3rd said they wouldn’t follow custom of kneeling at king’s entrance, wanted equal power
 leaders of the Third Estate- Abbe Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, member of the clergy who
frequented Parisian salons, was already known as a reformer by writing pamphlet “What is the
Third Estate?” in Jan. 1789; comte Honore Gabriel Victor de Mirabeau, black sheep among
nobility, spent time in prison when father thought he was a defiant son
Revolution Begins
 Third Estate started having its own meetings, changed its name to the National Assembly on
June 17, 1789; were locked out of the regular meeting room by king’s guards on June 20, 1789;
moved to a nearby tennis court, vowed to stay together to write a constitution, marked end of
absolutist monarchy with the Oath of the Tennis Court, revolution begins
 the public was informed by coming to Versailles to watch, letters home from deputies,
newspapers, and pamphlets; Paris suffered harsh winter and spring with high prices of especially
bread, wanted to take action themselves rather than wait for Estates-General, encouraged by
formation of National Assembly
 Louis XVI disappeared after death of son, reappeared now to meet with all three estates and
talk of a constitutional monarchy, but refused to accept the now-popular National Assembly,
concentrated troops in Versailles and Paris, people feared repression and needed arms, July 14
1789 the bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeoisie of Paris stormed the Bastille- royal armory that
served as a prison for debtors, citizens of Paris were following lead of deputies in Versailles,
formed National Guard
 Marquis de Lafayette, loved by people because of his role in American Revolution, helped
organize National Guard and create the tricolor flag with red and blue- colors of Paris, and
white- color of Bourbon royal family; replaced the fleur-de-lis and is national flag today
Revolution of the Peasantry
 armed peasants responded to food shortages by attacking manor houses throughout France,
destroyed game, devastated forests where king and nobles hunted
 as peasants heard of the what’s going on they believed there was an aristocratic plot against
any reforms, people had all kind of misconceptions and heard many exaggerations that their
hunger supported
 July 20, 1789 peasants from all over France got together after hearing false rumors of
conspiracy, connected their troubles with politics, marched to residences of nobilities, broke in,
destroyed all legal documents by which nobles claimed payments, dues, services
 National Assembly was shocked at peasant attacks, needed peace in order to maintain power,
National Assembly held meeting through the night of 4-5 August in which it “agreed to abolish
the principle of privilege”, “the peasants had won, or thought they had”, “rural people… had lost
their” rights, had stabilized situation
Women on the March
 women on October 5 1789 complained about bread shortages, were in charge of buying food
for families, stood in lines to get bread, were told there was no bread sometimes, sometimes had
no money to buy bread
 October 5, 1789, 6000 women marched from Paris to Versailles with National Guard escort
led by Lafayette; women were armed with pikes (simple weapon for poorest fighter); reached
royal palace at night, waited all night at gates, invaded in morning October 6, chased Marie
Antoinette from bedroom, several guards were killed and had their heads put on pikes
 Louis XVI agreed to go with the women to Paris, briefly increased his popularity, was now
captive of the revolution, was forced to agree to a constitutional monarchy
Forming Constitutional Monarchy
 disciplined National Assembly divided France into new administrative units called
departments to establish better control over municipal governments
 July 14, 1790 militias from each of 83 departments got together to celebrate new holiday of
storming of anniversary of the Bastille
 February 1790 National Assembly dissolved all monasteries and convents not providing aid
to poor or serving as education institutions; Pope Pius VI therefore denounced the revolution;
July 1790, National Assembly approved the Civil Constitution of the Clergy- priests became
paid agents of the state, were required to give an oath of loyalty to state, Catholics were forced to
embrace or reject the revolution, those who refused to take the oath were called “nonjuring”
priests, and many went into hiding, wedge was driven between Church and revolution and
allowed a counterrevolution- émigrés who fled France and king’s younger brother, the comte
d’Artois in Turin tried to incite civil war in France
 Constitution of 1791 was finally completed after two years, made a constitutional monarchy
and turned Louis XVI from the “divinely anointed ruler of France” to “Louis, by the grace of
God and the constitutional law of the state, King of the French”, still only gave wealthy landowning men the right to vote or hold office; Louis declared the end of the revolution but was
completely mistaken by doing so
 new constitution was destined to fail because a constitutional monarchy required a king
worthy of honor and respect; Louis XVI fulfilled this position until one night in June 1791 when
he, Marie Antoinette, and their children disguised as commoners left the Tuileries Palace and
fled to Paris to join apposing foreign forces at Metz; he got as far as Varennes, was captured by
soldiers of the National Guard, brought back to shocked Paris, was put to death a year and a half
 revolutionary government had to deal with financial crisis and foreign war; National
Assembly was willing to absorb Old Regime debts in order to show seriousness and legitimacy
of the new government; could not sell titles or offices like Old Regime, but did confiscate church
property; issues bonds in the form of assignats ( notes issued as paper currency
in France (1789-1796) by the revolutionary government and secured by confiscated lands.) in
order to raise money, performed as bank notes, were backed by confiscated Church lands and
sold by the state; state continued to print assignats as needed, didn’t have enough land to back
them, led to inflation; was in a situation worse than the Old Regime
 April 1792 France declared war on Austria
Second Stage of French Revolution 1792-1799
 French equivalent of the American Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of the
Rights of Man and Citizen came out August 1789, included Enlightenment ideas of those such
as Locke and Montesquieu; titles of nobility were abolished, civil liberties given to Protestants
and Jews who were persecuted by Old Regime
Revolutions in Other Places
 deputies outlawed slavery in the colonies in 1794
 Slave unrest in Saint Domingue led to rebellion in 1791, coincided with revolution,
revolutionaries in Paris supported black independence although it was against colonial interests,
Toussaint L’Ouverture led black rebels found and declare independent Haiti, which still exists
 women had no rights referred to them in revolutionary documents, although they had an
active role in the revolution and divorce was legalized in 1792
 Marquis de Condorcet was elected 1791 to the Legislative Assembly and wondered why the
revolution overlooked women rights, cuz they be half the population
How the Second Revolution Differs from the First
 first- 1789-1792 (3 years) was based on liberty to compete, own, succeed; second- 17921799 (7 years) was a cry for equality and a revolution of the working people in cities
 urban workers did not benefit from revolution but were more informed about politics;
artisans in cities named themselves san-culottes, meaning those trousered citizens who did not
wear knee breeches, to distinguish themselves from the privileged
 August 10, 1792, people of Paris stormed the Tuileries Palace and destroyed the king’s
valuables, demanding equality for all; love and respect for the king had disappeared after he tried
to escape; people demanded universal manhood suffrage and a popular democracy; the bourgeois
political leaders knew they had to act; san-culottes (urban workers) hated the privileged (les
Let’s Talk Politics
 terms Left and Right come from where people sat in the Legislative Assembly in relation to
the podium
 the National Assembly was replaced by the Legislative Assembly 1791 which was replaced
by the Convention 1792
 monarchy was abolished September 21, 1792 by the Convention and created a Republic the
following day
 Louis XVI was tried for treason and executed by guillotine January 1793
 political factions were described with geography; on the LEFT was the Mountain made up
of the Jacobins (named for its meeting place in an abandoned monastery), supported democratic
solutions and supported the least fortunate; the MODERATES were the Plain mostly made up of
Girondins/Girondists (named for a mistaken believe that they originated in the departement of
the Gironde) wanted to maintain public order against popular unrest
Jacobins Ascend and Robespierre
 Girondins and Jacobins both supported the revolution and were from the middle ranks of the
 Girondins really lost political control August 1792 – June 1793; became prisoners of the
revolution when 80,000 armed Parisians surrounded the National convention June 1793
 Jacobin leader Maximilien Robespierre worked to weld together the san-culottes and
Jacobins and to have the Jacobins replace the Girondins as leaders; he wrote mediocre poems,
attended local provincial academy, practiced law, was elected to the Estates-General, quickly
rose to lead Jacobins, had controversial opinions unlike other members of the Mountain such as
his rival George-Jacques Danton, was neither an original thinker or compelling orator, was a
skillful political tactician
 Robespierre became leader of the Committee of Public Safety in July 1793; the 12-man
committee replaced the National Convention when it was faced with internal anarchy and
external war; was known as the Great Committee at the time and orchestrated the Reign of
Terror from 1793 to 1794 which was a period of repression that forced justice, many were
executing by the Guillotine; slogan was “Terror is the Order of the Day”, identified traitors,
especially the some of the bourgeoisie
 Robespierre was influenced by Rousseau’s works such as The Social Contract
 guillotine was most commonly used, but Reign of Terror also tied prisoners and fired on
them with cannons, tied people to barges and sunk them, and primitive massacres; executed
approximately 250,000 people
 organized the Cult of the Supreme Being, a religion without priests or churches and
influenced by Rousseau’s ideas about nature, which replaced Christianity; cathedral of Notre
Dame was turned into the Temple of Reason
A Few Words on Women
 Jacobins supported the popular movement of workers, not women, and in 1793 they actually
turned against women’s participation in politics and denounced it
 Jacobins after 1793 outlawed the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, guillotined
Olympe de Gouges who wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Women and Citizen, believed
the woman’s role was to make children and take care of the home
End of Robespierre and Jacobins
 Robespierre was branded a traitor as well for abandoning the popular movement, was
guillotined, end of Reign of Terror 1794, called the Thermidorian Reaction
 Jacobins went underground, united with the san-culottes again and surfaced 1795 to demand
“bread and the Constitution of 1793 (which never happened)”, wanted universal manhood
suffrage, revolution failed
End of the Revolution
 four years after fall of Robespierre was government by committee, called the Directory
(1795-1799), had no great leader or hero, engaged in war, extended power, annexed territory
including Belgium; Directory restored French prosperity through stabilization of currency, fiscal
reform, and support of industry
Early Years
 Napoleon was nicknamed “the Little Corporal” at school, but was ridiculed for his
background and accent
 Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) shared philosophe beliefs, was born in Corsica which was
part of the Republic of Genoa until a few months before he was born, received training in
military schools, was arrogant and ambitious in his youth
Rise to Power
 could only have reached rank of captain or major under the Old Regime because he had no
noble birth; revolution changed 1) opened careers previously restricted by birth to talent 2) made
new posts available when aristocratic generals helped the enemy and were executed 3) people
could fight in revolution and gain a reputation
 Napoleon was forced to flee Corsica when he sided with the Jacobins, given task of crushing
riots against Directory in Paris 1795, launched political career with Italian campaign 1796-1797
 1798 Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign aimed at collapsing the Turkish empire, crippling
British trade routes, and handicapping Russian interests; were highly publicized, made Napoleon
a hero but were really a disaster
 Napoleon ended Revolution 1799 by joining a conspiracy that took down the Directory that
he previously preserved, became First Consul of a triumvirate of consuls
 Napoleon promised a balanced budget and seemed to deliver it
 Napoleon realized how important religion is to keeping domestic peace, reestablished
relations with the pope through the 1801 Concordat- recognized Catholicism as the religion of
France and restored the Roman Catholic hierarchy
 1802 Napoleon extended his power by calling for a plebiscite (not plebiscuit) in which he
asked to voted as First Consul for life, he got it
 was always either at war or preparing for war
 1802 signed treaties with Austria and Great Britain, didn’t last long
 1803 began 11 year period of continuous war; 1805 conquered Austria, 1806 conquered
Prussia, defeated Russian armies of Alexander I at Friedland in 1807, invaded Spain 1808 to
drive out British forces preparing to invade France and became a satellite kingdom of France
 Spanish painter Francisco Goya produced series of etchings called The Disasters of War that
depicted the atrocities of the Napoleonic invasion
 Napoleon tried to invade the Britain islands, failed, decided on economic warfare, did the
Continental system blockade in 1806 which Britain was cut off from trade with Europe,
protected French trade; British responded with Orders in Council that succeeded in cutting
France from trade across the Atlantic, led to War of 1812
 other- Napoleon put his friends and relatives on thrones of Italy, Naples, Westphalia,
Holland, Spain; he brought civil equality and religious toleration everywhere he conquered; only
Austria, Prussia, and Russia remained independent; he drained defeated nations of their resources
Domestic Reforms
 1804 Napoleon though “ehhhh screw first consul for life, I wanna be emperor” and so he got
what he wanted; Notre Dame de Paris, with his wife Josephine, he was to be crowned by Pope
Pius VII; he broke a tradition set by Charlemagne of having the pope put the crown on his head,
instead he grabbed the crown on put it on himself
 Napoleon saw the importance of science for both industry and war; made a uniform system
of weights and measures in 1799, the metric system; was a patron of science; contributed to
French economy with much needed reform of the tax system; created central banking system;
blockade forced France to grow its own stuff like sugar beets and indigo; extended roads
 greatest achievement was the Napoleonic Code- codification of laws, facilitated trade and
the development of commerce by regularizing contractual relations and protecting property
rights and equality before the law
 women had less rights than men under Napoleon still; Madame Germaine de Stael, daughter
of Necker sat next to Napoleon at a dinner party and asked him who he considered to be the
greatest woman, dead of alive, he answered without pausing “The one who has had the most
Decline and Fall
 first sign of weakness showed in the Peninsular War against Spain 1808-1814 in which
Spanish guerilla tactics hurt France
 Napoleon defeated Russia 1807 and made a peace treaty in which Alexander I guaranteed
Russian allegiance to French policies; 1810 Alexander I refused to obey the Continental System
and appeared to prepare for war against France; Napoleon was sure he’d win, attacked with army
of 500,000 men (Grand Army) summer of 1812, punctured deep into Russia; reached Moscow
within a few months, found it in flames, Russians had destroyed own city to deprive French of
resources; French retreated, were not prepared for incredibly cold winter, only 100,000 men
returned to France
 Prussia, Great Britain, Sweden, Russia, Austria forced France to retreat in October 1813 in
the Battle of Nations at Leipzig; Napoleon continued fighting until allies entered Paris, then
suggested they put his young son Francois on the throne as Napoleon II, they refused
 Napoleon was exiled to Mediterranean Island of Elba
 allies refused Francois and put brother of Louis XVI on the throne as Louis XVIII (skipping
Louis XVII who died in the Revolution)
 Napoleon returned from Elba and reclaimed leadership of France, confronted allies at
Waterloo, had 125,000 supporters, return only lasted 100 days
 Napoleon was exiled to island of Saint Helena in South Atlantic, wrote memoirs for next six
years under eyes of British jailers, died a painful death from cancer May 5, 1821