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The French Revolution. Old Regime The social and political system of France Three Estates –First Estate- made up of the clergy, owned 10% of the land,

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Presentation on theme: "The French Revolution. Old Regime The social and political system of France Three Estates –First Estate- made up of the clergy, owned 10% of the land,"— Presentation transcript:

1 The French Revolution

2 Old Regime The social and political system of France Three Estates –First Estate- made up of the clergy, owned 10% of the land, exempt from paying taxes –Second Estate- made up of rich nobles, made up 2% of the population, owned 20% of the land, paid almost no taxes

3 Old Regime, cont. -Third Estate- 97% of the people made up this estate Bourgeoisie (middle class)- made up of bankers, factory owners, merchants, professionals, and skilled artisans; paid very high taxes and lacked privileges Urban workers- made up of tradespeople, apprentices, laborers, and domestic servants; poorest of the three groups Peasants- largest group within the Third Estate; made up 80% of France’s 26 million people; paid very high taxes

4 Forces of Change Factors leading to change in France –Growing resentment among the lower classes –New ideas about government –Serious economic problems –Weak & indecisive leadership

5 Enlightenment Ideas Members of the Third Estate were inspired by the American Revolution They began questioning long-standing notions about the structure of society Began to demand equality, liberty, and democracy

6 Economic Troubles Heavy taxation made it impossible for merchants and factory owners to make a profit Cost of living was rising sharply Bad weather caused crop failures, causing a severe shortage of grain= starvation

7 Economic Troubles, cont. France’s government sank deeply into debt –Extravagant spending by Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette –Louis inherited considerable debt from previous kings –Louis borrowed heavily to help the American revolutionaries in their war against Great Britain

8 A Weak Leader King Louis XVI –Indecisive and allowed matters to be unresolved –Paid little attention to his government advisors –Had little patience for the details of governing –The queen only made matters worse

9 Marie Antoinette Often interfered in government Offered Louis poor advice Very unpopular with the French people –Austrian royalty –“Madame Deficit”

10 Estates General Louis’ solution to his debt was to impose a tax on the nobility Estates General- Assembly of representatives from all three estates –Each estate received one vote, so the two privileged estates could always outvote the Third Estate

11 National Assembly Made up of delegates from the Third Estate Wanted to pass laws and reforms in the name of the French people June 17, established the National Assembly, ending the absolute monarchy to begin a representative government This was the first act of revolution in France

12 Tennis Court Oath Three days after establishing the National Assembly, members of the Third Estate were locked out of their meeting place Broke down the door to an indoor tennis court and pledged not to leave until they had drawn up a new constitution= Tennis Court Oath

13 Tennis Court Oath, cont. Some nobles and members of the clergy who favored reform joined the Third Estate delegates Because of these events, Louis stationed troops around Versailles

14 Citizens Panic French citizens believed Louis would use military force to dismiss the National Assembly Others charged that the troops were coming to Paris to massacre French citizens People began to gather weapons in order to defend the city against attack

15 Storming of the Bastille July 14- Mob searching for gunpowder and arms stormed the Bastille, a Paris prison Killed several guards and paraded around the streets with the dead men’s heads on pikes First act of violence in the revolution

16 Storming of the Bastille Bastille Day is celebrated every year on July 14th French national holiday, similar to the Fourth of July in the U.S.

17 Great Fear Rebellion spread and rumors circulated that the nobles were hiring people to terrorize the peasants Great Fear- a wave of senseless panic among the peasants Armed themselves with pitchforks and other farm tools and broke into nobles’ houses –Many times, they just burned the houses to the ground

18 Women March on Versailles Rioted the rising price of bread First, they demanded the National Assembly take action, then turned their anger on the king and queen Broke into the palace, killing some of the guards Demanded that Louis and Marie return to Paris

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21 Change of Power A few hours after the riot, the king and his family fled Versailles, never to return to the palace Their exile signaled the change of power and radical reforms about to overtake France


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