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The French Revolution: The Old Order in France

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1 The French Revolution: The Old Order in France
By Chris Anderson Randolph-Henry High School

2 Introduction France will reach its height during the same time as the American Revolution France was very rich and powerful Although a rich nation, most of the people of France were not rich--instead, the people had very few rights the people of France saw how the American colonists were able to gain their independence and yearned for a change in France

3 French Society Divided
France’s class system allowed for lots of inequality among the people there were three estates--classes--in French society: First Estate--Catholic Clergy Second Estate--Nobility Third Estate--97% of all French people Third Estate people had very few rights and were envious of the 1st and 2nd Estates the 3rd Estate was the only class required to pay taxes 3rd Estate people did not share the same rights as the 1st or 2nd

4 First Estate This was constructed of the Roman Catholic clergy
this Estate was comprised of only 1% of the French population 2 groups existed in the 1st Estate-- higher clergy--bishops, abbots lower clergy--parish priests High Clergy these controlled 5-10% of all French land they collected a tithe from each church member Low Clergy poorer clergy socially part of the 3rd estate

5 Second Estate Formed by the French nobility
only about 2% of the French population these members owned about 25% of the land in France held high government positions usually they were rich--their main income coming from feudal dues paid to them by peasant farmers

6 Third Estate The 3rd Estate was the largest social group in France
Although the largest group and the only group that paid taxes, they had no voice in government peasants, artisans, middle class (bourgeoisie) very few political rights members of the bourgeoisie lived in cities and towns bourgeoisie were usually educated Poor artisans and workers also lived in cities made little money in very bad jobs many lived in the Paris slums peasants lived outside the cities in rural areas peasants owned 40% of the land but were still very poor paid heavy taxes they will eventually call for social equality

7 Growing Unrest The people of the 3rd Estate will be unhappy and want change as the cost of living , the peasants’ anger also peasants were also being over-charge for the use of mills and wine presses artisans were experiencing high prices but no change in wages--inflation The bourgeoisie were also unhappy along with some nobles the nobles did not like the king’s absolute power nobles wanted more influence in government

8 Louis XIV had spent a lot of money on many wars during his reign
these wars had left France with a huge debt his grandson, Louis XV, increased the debt during his reign these debts had left France economically weak 1774: Louis XVI becomes king of France he is only 19 years old Louis XVI is the grandson of Louis XV Louis XVI is married to 18-yo Marie Antoinette Louis XVI understood the financial troubles facing France Louis decided he must tax the clergy and nobility in order to reduce France’s debts problem: the clergy and nobility refused to pay the taxes

9 Louis XV (15) Louis XVI (16)

10 Marie Antoinette

11 1786: French banks were refusing to loan $ to the government
1786: crop failures bread shortages in 1788 & 1789 the clergy and nobility refuse to help the government Louis was forced to call the Estates-General into session to raise additional funds

12 Calling the Estates General
When Louis XVI called the Estates-General into session in 1789, it was the 1st time since 1614 the Estates-General was made up of people from each different estate Louis hoped the Estates-General would levy new taxes the nobles had different ideas

13 Meeting of the Estates General

14 each estate had only 1 vote in the Estates-General
The nobles wanted to: weaken the power of the king gain control of the government each estate had only 1 vote in the Estates-General the nobles hoped the votes of the 1st & 2nd estates would outweigh the vote of the 3rd the 3rd estate members refused to follow the plan set by the nobles the 3rd estate--since it made up 97% of France’s population--believed it should more of a right to represent France than the nobles

15 The 3rd estate wanted their members to have individual votes--each delegate having a vote
many nobles supported this 3rd estate’s ideas king Louis XVI did not like the 3rd estate’s idea of having a mass meeting where each individual member gets a vote Louis wanted the different estates to meet separately the bourgeoisie--members of the 3rd estate--ignored the king these bourgeoisie were locked out of the meetings these bourgeoisie will demand a constitution for France and rename themselves the National Assembly

16 This National Assembly gathered more supporters
they met, many times, on indoor tennis courts--thus those who became members had to take what was called the Tennis Court Oath members promised not to break-up until France had a constitution the king did not want the members of the National Assembly (3rd estate) to create a constitution Louis orders the 1st and 2nd estate to join in the National Assembly to help create a national constitution the king also ordered troops to come to Paris

17 A Call to Revolt In the National Assembly, people voiced their unhappiness over the French government most members of the 3rd estate wanted total social equality and the end of titles other delegates wanted to copy the constitutional monarchy present in Britain as the National Assembly was meeting, the idea of rebellion spread throughout France because of fear, the Louis XVI began gathering troops at Versailles French citizens reacted against this troop movement by storming a prison--the Bastille

18 Fall of the Bastille The Bastille was a prison located in Paris
the French people saw the Bastille as a symbol of the power and unfairness of the French government July 14, 1789: a large group of French people surrounded the prison these people were out to steal weapons to help defend the National Assembly from a possible attack The people tried to force their way into the Bastille eventually, the people were able to get into the prison, freeing 7 prisoners soldiers defending the Bastille fired upon the mob of people killing 98 French citizens some of the soldiers, too, were killed by the mob


20 The mob of angry people took over the Bastille
a revolutionary government was set up in the city of Paris news of what happened in Paris spread quickly in France other areas in France erupted into violence--a period called the Great Fear peasants in the country began to arm themselves for protection these peasants eventually began violently combing the country side robbing, pillaging, and destroying property, driving landlords off of the land this was the beginning of the French Revolution

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