French Revolution III The End of the Constitutional Monarchy
The Revolution and the Church To address some of the financial issues the National Assembly nationalized Church property (10 percent of the land in France). The assembly auctioned off the land to make money for the government and also issued a new currency – the assignats – which were backed by the value of this new land. Those who purchased this land (mostly bourgeoisie and well to do peasants) now had a vested interest in the success of revolution.
The Civil Constitution of the Clergy Issued on July 12, 1790 This reduced the number of bishops Bishops and priest to be chose by their electoral assemblies in their departments and districts A uniform salary scale Loyalty oath to the constitution Many church leaders and their followers began to rebel against the Constitution
Royals on the Run June 21, 1991 The royal family fled Paris in an attempt to cross the border into Austria, where they might be able to gather enough forces to quell the revolution. “The only recompense for so many sacrifices is to witness the destruction of the kingdom, to see powers ignored, personal property violated, people’s safety everywhere in danger.... People of France, and especially you Parisians, inhabitants of a city that the ancestors of His Majesty delighted in calling ‘the good city of Paris,’ be wary of the suggestions and lies of your false friends; come back to your king; he will always be your father, your best friend.” – King Louis XVI
Royals on the Run Louis and his family were arrested that evening in Varennes and returned to Paris. On their return, people along the road refused to remove their hats, a sign of disrespect. Eventually, petitions were circulated that demanded the king abdicate (step down). It was in this environment that on September 14, 1791, King Louis approved the Constitution.
This did not stop the questioning of the kings loyalty. Fearing for his safety and their own the kings brothers, the Count d’Artois and the Count de Provence, emigrated along with 6,000 noble army officers throughout 1791 to gather enough forces to star a counter- revolution.
War with Europe On April 20, 1792, the National Assembly declared war on Austria and Prussia. The commander of the Prussian army, the Duke of Brunswick, warned the people of Paris that the king and queen could have devastating consequences and threatened “the city of Paris to a military execution, and total destruction, and the rebels guilty of assassinations, to the executions that they have merited.” These threats added to the belief of many revolutionaries that the King himself was a traitor.
The Sans-Culottes In response to the fears of internal and external enemies, people in Paris formed their own ultrapatriotic organization. The sans-culottes were a group of militant patriots who earned their name for their style of dress, which symbolized their disdain for the aristocracy. There were also the san-jupons, the women of the people, who also rejected the dress of aristocracy.
The Storming of Tuileries Palace On August 10, 20,000 sans-culottes stormed Tuileries Palace and killed 600 of the king’s guards. Louis was forced to flee to the National Assembly; he was saved only long enough to eventually be put on trial. This marked the end of the constitutional monarchy. In the face of the uprising the remaining members of the National Assembly called for new National Convention to decide the king’s fate and to draft a new constitution, and to rule Paris during the emergency.
Attacks on Prisons September 2, 1792 Non-juring clergy were ordered to leave France within seven day because it was thought that priests who were not under oath were “one of the major causes of dangers to the fatherland.” Word reached Paris that the great fortress at Verdun, just 250 kilometers from the capital and the last major obstacle to invading armies, had fallen to the Prussians. The news generated an immediate, dramatic surge in popular fear and resolve. Convinced that ‘counter-revolutionaries’ in prisons were waiting to break out and welcome the invaders once the volunteers had left for the front, hastily convened popular courts sentenced to death about 1,200 of the 2,700 prisoners brought before them.
Among them were 240 priests who had not taken the oath of allegiance to the revolutionary government. Those who “tried” the prisoners were plainly convinced of the necessity and even justice of their actions. One of them wrote home on the 2 nd that “necessity has made this execution inevitable… It is sad to have to go to such lengths, but it is better to kill the devil than to let the devil to kill you.”
The End of the Monarchy The chaos taking place in France was blamed on the monarchy. The royal family’s attempted escape and the invasion of France by allies of the royal family led to a case for treason. Two political parties emerged around this and other issues – the radical Jacobins and the more moderate Girondins. Eventually, the Jacobin faction had its way, and Louis XVI was executed on January 21, 1793.