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And Napoleon. France was widely recognized as one of the most powerful leaders in Europe- but there were cracks under the surface People had lived in.

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Presentation on theme: "And Napoleon. France was widely recognized as one of the most powerful leaders in Europe- but there were cracks under the surface People had lived in."— Presentation transcript:

1 And Napoleon

2 France was widely recognized as one of the most powerful leaders in Europe- but there were cracks under the surface People had lived in the same system since middle ages- when feudal system of noble/peasant seemed necessary By 1600s people no longer see its benefits- why should many work for the benefit of few? Enlightenment (centered in France) encouraged people to challenge the “status quo”

3 Since medieval world French society divided into three groups. 1 st Estate- Clergy:.5% of population control about 10% of wealth. 1 st because they were “closest to God” Younger sons of nobles- and lived like it. Hated Enlightenment, hated Change 2 nd Estate- Nobility: 1.5% of population. Controlled 80% of wealth (primarily through land ownership) Had little political power (b/c of absolute monarchy) therefore little purpose- but HUGE egos. Lived opulent lifestyles, paid no taxes (neither did church) Little interest in ordinary people’s welfare

4 98% of population. Have grown wealthier since middle ages- now have about 10%. (mostly with Bourgeoisie) Paid ALL taxes. Bourgeoisie: 8% of population. Middle class. Traders, manufacturers, merchants, doctors, lawyers, scholars etc… Had wealth- but no political power/status. Very influenced by enlightenment (they had provided main thinkers) and American Revolution Peasants: 90% of population- had only a fraction of the wealth and land. Most were farmers, but poorest and most unhappy were urban workers. Most angry- and with least to lose

5 King and Queen of France 1774-1791 Arranged marriage as teenagers- he is the grandson of Louis XV, she is youngest daughter of Maria-Theresa of Austria He was extremely shy, generally seen as a good man, but indecisive and a weak leader She was blamed for many problems, seen by the public as silly, wasteful, extravagant, and an “Austrian Spy” Both victims of circumstances beyond what they could handle



8 Econ had been struggling, and things were getting worse. (Trying to dominate Europe was $$) Debt: Government had been in Deficit since reign of Louis XIV. (approx 3x the value of the econ) Refused to recognize the gravity of the situation. Began to print more $$- but that causes inflation, so $$ is worth less. Raised taxes again and again. Agriculture: 1780s a series of bad harvests left people in the countryside hungry- and the urban poor starving. Hungry people are angry people, esp. with the perception that the nobles wasted more food than they ate (“let them eat cake”) Corruption: Government was not designed to protect the people’s welfare- but to show off the glory of the Royal Family. Reformers and critics were jailed or exiled

9 BREAD AND THE WAGE EARNERS BUDGET* Occupation Effective Daily Wage in Sous** Expenditure on Bread as percentage of income with bread priced at: gs (Aug 1788) 14s (Feb-July 1789) Laborer in Reveillon wallpaper works 15 60 97 Builders Laborer 18 50 80 Journeyman mason 24 37 60 Journeyman, locksmith, carpenter, etc. 30 48 Sculptor, goldsmith 60 15 24 *The price of the 4 pound loaf consumed daily by workingman and his family as the main element in their diet

10 The success of the American Revolution was noticed in France (after all, they had supported it) Soldiers brought home stories (Marquise de Lafayette) and conversations about tyranny and the overthrow of unjust government Declaration of Independence admired for its justification using Enlightenment ideas

11 Legislature to represent the three “estates” and have a voice in gov’t. Hadn’t met for 175 years. Spring 1789- Louis xvi is really out of $$- called a meeting to create tax reform- allow him to tax nobles and clergy. Reformers hoped to use this as an opportunity to get some power in gov’t, create more of a constitutional, rather than absolute monarch Created a notebook of grievances (Cahier) against the gov’t and king. Louis offended- threw reps from 3 rd estate out. Met anyway (on a tennis court) and swore not to give in. (Tennis Court Oath) From that point, they call themselves the National Assembly- and said that they, not the king, represented the people of France


13 Paris was the center of unrest. Mob violence was common (one reason nobles tended to stay at Versailles- city wasn’t safe) Rumor that King was bringing in the army to quell the city. People decided to fight- July 14 th decided to take the Bastille. (royal armory and prison) to free political prisoners and gather weapons (there weren’t really any there) Symbol for beginning of Revolution The Great Fear: 1789 was a record bad harvest- famine widespread in France for the first time. Hungry groups panic- struck out against nobles because they were a tangible symbol of have/have not. Burned and looted homes of nobility. Nobles (and king) refused to negotiate. Formed vigilante groups to crush peasants- which backfired and led to greater violence



16 August 4, 1789. the National Assembly wrote and signed “Declaration of the Rights of Man” ending the privileges of the nobility. All people were equal- the gov’t exists to serve all. (Modeled from the Dec. of Independence) “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” National Assembly continued to pressure the king work with them- but he was unwilling to compromise. They created a Constitution in 1791 which gave the Nat. Assembly the power to Make all laws Collect taxes (to be paid by all citizens) Declare war

17 Under the 1791 Const. king and nobles could keep their titles- but they had no political power. Royal spending would be severely limited- no more deficit Scared Louis- he tried to escape with his family, but was caught and put in jail. Made royal family seen as traitors and against the people’s will- turned more and more against monarchy- which was abolished in 1792. Louis XVI tried as an “Enemy of the People” and executed Jan 1793 (Marie 10 mo later) Their deaths ends the first stage of revolution- a new country will be born

18 So the king and the old gov’t are dead. Problem was- they didn’t have a real plan for how to replace them. No plan = chaos. For France the time AFTER the revolution was far more turbulent than the revolution itself. National Assembly is in charge (working on writing a new constitution)- but they have a weak grip on the situation. People screaming for change- but what sort? Countries around France smelled blood and declared war. (after all- France had been beating up on them for 100 years) England, Holland, Spain and Russia all declared war France is on the edge of going under, somebody needed to take charge- quick- gov’t c alled on all citizens to serve and save France from foreign invasion- nearly 500,000 joined and turned the tide


20 Ultra radical splinter political organization. Wanted to sweep away entire old order- leave nothing the same (instrumental in getting king executed) Called for universal manhood suffrage (really radical step) Committee of Public Safety – led by Maximillian Robespierre. Harsh, unbending, “Inflexible Justice”. Believed people could not change themselves- the only way to preserve the new liberty was to kill all those who (he felt) opposed it Became de facto leader of France- and set out to clean it of enemies


22 July 1793- July 1794 Robespierre began to purge the old order (aristocrats) and “enemies of republic” (anyone who disagreed with him) Could be accused without evidence, and executed without trial Used Guillotine: “humane” execution 40,000 killed in mass, public executions (100s in a day) until blood ran in the streets madness/hysteria. 2/3 of people killed NOT noble. Robespierre eventually accused, arrested and executed without trial. Ended power of the Jacobins


24 The Terror had shaken the people- who were now looking for a more moderate government. National assembly wrote a new constitution in 1795. Set up a 5 man “Directory” as executive power- with a two house legislature elected by property owners Good intentions- but too weak. Still had not resolved some of the basic issues that had started revolution in first place Taxes unbalanced Old dominating powers replaced by new Suffrage wasn’t working- people had no idea how to vote Government corruption (elections rigged etc…) People were looking for something to believe in: Where was the glory of France?

25 Still had not resolved some of the basic issues that had started revolution in first place Taxes unbalanced Old dominating powers replaced by new Suffrage wasn’t working- people had no idea how to vote Government corruption (elections rigged etc…) People were looking for something to believe in: Where was the glory of France?

26 One of the most ambitious men in Human History Brought France back together, restored her glory, set the course for her future gov’t. (used to a strong leader) Born on Corsica- joined army at 9. Was 20 in 1789- made a general to defend from foreign attacks. Series of victories made him famous- credited with helping save France- then began invading other countries too (Italy, Egypt) Bold, inventive military style- gave them someone to believe in- someone who brought glory back. Invited to become part of the Directory- which he overthrew in 1799 to create a 3 man Consulate with himself as “1 st Consul”


28 1802 got rid of other 2 consuls. Made 1 st consul for life- virtually king. But virtual wasn’t enough and neither was “king”. He needed to be bigger and better than anything France had ever known. 1804 held Plebiscite- had the people vote him Emperor. Restored aristocracy- gave his family noble titles- moved into the palaces- as big and over the top as anything Louis xiv had done Napoleonic Code: A new constitution based on some of the ideas of enlightenment. Meritocracy in government, based on skill, not birth. Made people’s lives better by building roads, schools, hospitals, reworking economy. Still the basis of French gov’t to this day


30 France wasn’t enough for Napoleon- he wanted to be the most powerful man in the world. 1804-1814 constant warfare (against Holland, Belgium, Italy, Prussia, Spain) to expand French territory and influence. Overwhelmingly successful. Austerlitz- most famous victory. Master of Europe ½ of Europe- but he wanted it all….



33 Napoleon had several “fatal flaws”. He thought conquered territory should be pleased to be ruled by him- ignored nationalism. He thought he had unlimited men and $$ for his armies- body count rose with every war- even victory has a cost Wanted to conquer England- but didn’t have the navy to challenge them. Created the “Continental System” not allowing any of “His” territories to trade, hoping to destroy Eng’s econ. (forgot they had colonies) actually weakened French econ Army could defeat various enemies- but found conquered territory hard to hold. Nationalism rising- soon Napoleon’s armies were spending more time putting down revolutions than fighting real wars


35 For Napoleon- the big (Literally) prize. No European power had ever attacked successfully- and owning it would give him the largest empire- ever. Invaded in 1812 with 600,000 men (Grand Army) Russia used Scorched Earth- drew them in, then cut supply lines as winter fell. Forced to retreat 1000 miles on foot through a Russian winter- only 10,000 survived. Shattered Napoleon’s military reputation and confidence

36 In 1815 England, Austria, Prussia and Russia formed an alliance to defeat Napoleon. Battle of Nations- first actual battle he ever lost. Napoleon arrested and sent to Elba. France not sure how they felt about this… After six months- he escaped and marched on Paris, 1000s joined him on the way. Reigned for 100 days- then defeated again at Waterloo (6/18/1815) Sent to St. Helena, where he died in 1821


38 England, Prussia, Austria, and Russia won- have to decide what to “do” with France. Disturbed by French Revolution as a whole- wanted to turn the clock back to where it was in 1789. Main Concepts: Legitimacy- all of the royal families displaced by Napoleon would regain their thrones. (France gets Bourbon King) Balance of Power- Don’t “punish” France- that will only make them want revenge. Instead, keep this problem from happening again by making sure they are not “strong” and “weak” countries- if everyone is equal, no one will get aggressive


40 Old France was gone- never to return. Changed map of Europe- new countries- cleared the way for the rise of Germany France would remain the center of culture in Europe- but not of power. But drained French $$$ and manpower in a way from which they could not fully recover Old social order had been lost to the guillotine- new one (Napoleon’s) driven away- would take time for a new one to appear naturally But the ideas of “liberty, equality, and fraternity” had lived- other nations watched and waited for their turn

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