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The French Revolution 1789-1799. The Old Regime (Ancien Regime) Old Regime – social & political system which existed in most of Europe during the 18 th.

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Presentation on theme: "The French Revolution 1789-1799. The Old Regime (Ancien Regime) Old Regime – social & political system which existed in most of Europe during the 18 th."— Presentation transcript:

1 The French Revolution

2 The Old Regime (Ancien Regime) Old Regime – social & political system which existed in most of Europe during the 18 th century Countries were ruled by absolutism Divine Right Societies were divided by class

3 Society under the Old Regime French people were divided into three social classes – First Estate High-ranking clergy (Church) – Second Estate Nobility – Third Estate Everyone else – from peasants in the countryside to wealthy bourgeoisie merchants in the cities

4 The Three Estates EstatePopulationPrivilegesExemptionsBurdens First Circa 130,000 High-ranking clergy Collected the tithe Censorship of the press Control of education Kept records of births, deaths, marriages, etc. Catholic faith held honored position of being the state religion (practiced by monarch and nobility) Owned 20% of the land Paid no taxes Subject to Church law rather than civil law Moral obligation (rather than legal obligation) to assist the poor and needy Support the monarchy and Old Regime Second Circa 110,000 Nobles Collected taxes in the form of feudal dues Monopolized military and state appointments Owned 20% of the land Paid no taxes Support the monarchy and Old Regime Third Circa 25,000,000 Everyone else: artisans, bourgeoisie, city workers, merchants, peasants, etc., along with many parish priests None Paid all taxes Tithe (Church tax) Octrot (tax on goods brought into cities) Corv ée (forced road work) Capitation (poll tax) Vingtiéme (income tax) Gabelle (salt tax) Taille (land tax) Feudal dues for use of local manor’s winepress, oven, etc.



7 Economic Conditions under the Old Regime France’s economy - primarily agriculture Peasant farmers bore the burden of taxation Poor harvests – Food shortages led to high prices – Had trouble paying regular taxes – Could not afford to have taxes raised Bourgeoisie often managed to gather wealth – But were upset by the inequality – They paid taxes while nobles did not

8 France Is Bankrupt King Louis XVI & Queen Marie Antoinette were seen as a lavish & wasteful spenders


10 France Is Bankrupt Government funds depleted from wars – Loss of the Seven Years’ War – $ to the Amer. Revolutionaries Deficit spending – a government spending more money than it takes in from tax revenues Privileged classes would not submit to being taxed

11 Les États-Généraux: Estates General Louis XVI called the E-G to assemble in May 1789 – To override the parlements refusal to tax nobles – Had not met since 1614 Cahiers - grievances

12 First Estate = 1 Vote or 130,000 Votes Second Estate = 1 Vote or 110,000 Votes Third Estate = 1 Vote or 25,000,000 Votes Deadlock!

13 Tennis Court Oath 1789 The Third Estate declared itself to be the National Assembly. Louis XVI responded by locking the Third Estate out of the meeting. The Third Estate relocated, vowed to stay together and create a written constitution for France.

14 Tennis Court Oath

15 The Tennis Court Oath “Decrees that all members of this Assembly shall immediately take a solemn oath not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established and consolidated upon firm foundations; and that, the said oath taken, all members and each one of them individually shall ratify this steadfast resolution by signature.” Louis XVI relented … ordered all three estates to meet together as the National Assembly & vote, by population, on a constitution.

16 Storming of the Bastille

17 Le Grande Peur “The Great Fear” – famine caused panic of 1789 Chronic hunger, elevated bread prices, and rumors of a “famine plot” Peasants took up arms in self defense Some attacked manor houses Led to the abolishment of the feudal system

18 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen Established universal rights as the basis for a new constitution Passed by the National Assembly Earlier that month the NA had abolished the Ancien Regime Influenced by T. Jefferson & Enlightenment ideals


20 Women’s March Parisian women fed up with food scarcity and high bread prices Joined by revolutionary protesters Ransacked city armory Marched to and besieged Palace of Versailles King and family moved to Paris Symbolized a shift of power to the people


22 Tuileries Palace (Paris, France)

23 Constitution of 1791 New government known as Legislative Assembly Democratic features – France became a limited monarchy King merely the head of state – All laws were created by the Legislative Assembly – Feudalism was abolished Undemocratic features – Voting was limited to taxpayers – Offices were reserved for property owners

24 Legislative Assembly ( ) June 1791, royal family tried to escape to Austria Nobles fled the revolution lived abroad as émigrés April 1792, declared war on Austria & Prussia, which invaded France Jacobins arrested the King and Queen, who were both executed by guillotine for high treason


26 Reign of Terror Era of radicalism led by the Jacobins Suspected enemies of the Revolution were executed by the thousands Robespierre’s “Committee of Public Safety” Also changed the measurements of time to multiples of ten Robespierre himself was executed by guillotine when people revolted against the Terror.

27 Revolution’s End, Napoleon’s Rise After a series of failed Constitutions and leaders, General Napoleon Bonaparte seized power Coup d’etat = violent takeover Bonaparte abolished the unpopular Girondin “Directory” government Appointed himself France’s First Consul, later Emperor Dictatorial ruler

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