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French Revolution and European Reaction

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1 French Revolution and European Reaction
Enlightenment to Congress of Vienna

2 The Enlightenment as a social and intellectual movement impacted many segments of society. How did this movement affect women in the elite classes and the common women during the revolutions? In England, educated middle-class women purchased and discussed the books and pamphlets of the era. Some were also important contributors to the intellectual life of the writers by raising the issue of rights of women. In Paris, wealthy women made their homes centers of debate, intellectual speculation, and free inquiry. Their salons brought together philosophers, social critics, artists, and members of the aristocracy and commercial elite. Women were powerfully affected by their participation in revolutionary politics, which in part resulted from Enlightenment thinking. During the American Revolution, women had led prewar boycotts and during the war had organized relief and charitable organizations. Nevertheless, they were denied political rights in the new republic. During the French Revolution, working-class and poor women were particularly affected by the prewar economic crises. French women faced the difficulties of feeding their familieses while facing high bread prices, and economic depression hit garment and other small businesses hard. Women were employed in these hard-hit industries. Market women organized a crowd of thousands to march to Versailles. Once there, they forced their way into the National Assembly to demand action. Therefore, the Enlightenment impacted women of both the elite and the poorer classes. Women of the elite participated in the debates and dissemination of Enlightenment thought, whereas poor women took Enlightenment inspiration to organize protests and boycotts. Unfortunately, their interest and participation was not recognized by their governments in the aftermath of the revolutions. Both elite and common women remain disenfranchised by the new constitutional governments in France and the United States until the twentieth century.

3 After defeating the French in North America in 1763, what two major problems did the British face with respect to the American colonies? First, the possibility of armed conflict between colonists and Native Americans threatened to bankrupt the British government, which was already heavily in debt from European and colonial wars. Britain simply could not afford to defend the American colonies as adequately as the colonists demanded, if they continued to settle Amerindian land and provoke wars. In response, Britain passed the Proclamation of 1763, which was supposed to prohibit colonists from crossing the Appalachian Mountains into Indian territory. The act was flouted quite openly by colonists, who viewed it as a repressive measure. The second major problem directly addressed financial matters—specifically how to get the colonists to pay more of the expenses of governing and protecting them. many taxes were imposed on colonists toward this end, including the Sugar and Currency Acts of 1764, the Stamp Act of 1765, and the Townsend duties in 1767. The result of those acts was the strengthening of colonial resolve, the unification of the formerly fragmented colonies in their common protest against perceived British oppression, and ultimately rebellion and revolution.

4 A wide variety of factors contributed to the American victory.
The armed forces of the American colonists were small, poorly equipped, and often poorly led. How were those colonists able to defeat Great Britain, which ranked as one of the foremost military powers in the world at that time? A wide variety of factors contributed to the American victory. British lines of communication and supply stretched across the ocean, whereas the colonists were fighting in their own backyards. New recruits and supplies for the Americans were close at hand. Although the British won most of the battles, the colonists were able to win a few key victories, such as the battle at Saratoga, New York. That victory was important because it brought the French into the conflict on the Americans’ side. Without the French, the Americans probably could not have won the war. The French supplied arms, powder, and cannon, in addition to many soldiers, advisers, and fleets of warships, which turned the tide against the British. Also significant was the debate within the British government and among the British public over the conduct of the war. The British received very little encouragement and much hindrance in their prosecution of the war. British indecision and ineptitude often made it difficult to pursue effective policies.

5 The Enlightenment emerged out of the Scientific Revolution.
How were the revolutions of the eighteenth century inspired by a body of new ideas? Discuss Locke and Rousseau in your response. The Enlightenment emerged out of the Scientific Revolution. Enlightenment thinkers began to use reason and rational inquiry to examine the nature of society and therefore began to question the efficacy of the leadership of the nobility, monarchy, and the church. John Locke as well as Rousseau supported the ideas of natural rights, government as an instrument of the people’s will, and the right to rebellion. These ideas were made popular in the West due a high literacy rate and became well-known particularly to the middle class through essays by these thinkers in addition to newspapers. The popular protest of the eighteenth century was inspired in large part by these new ideas and the growing discontent of the population.

6 Describe the major wars fought among European imperial powers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and identify the major consequences of these wars. The colonial wars began in the seventeenth century, when the Netherlands attacked Spanish and Portuguese colonies worldwide. Great Britain also raided Spanish and Portuguese colonies, gaining a foothold overseas. The British then attacked the Dutch, whose waning influence drew Britain and France into a struggle for power and control. In the eighteenth century, the War of Spanish Succession brought all of the major powers into conflict, as did the War of Austrian Succession a few decades later. Another series of wars between France and Britain culminated in the Seven Years War, which ended in 1763. When that war ended, Britain had gained control of all the French holdings in North America and most of French territory in India. Even though the economies of European countries were expanding because of the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, extensive colonial wars created an enormous fiscal crisis. The problems generated by that fiscal crisis helped spark the revolutionary era.

7 What were some of the reasons for the failure of the French Revolution to initiate lasting representative government & for the rise of the new dictatorship? The French Revolution led to several new constitutions and assemblies of representatives. Rebellious citizens often took over various proceedings to announce their will and exercise control. The economy was in terrible condition, and hunger and hardship forced a continuous cycle of reform and rebellion. The turning point was the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), led by Robespierre and Danton. Those most radical Jacobins seemed most sympathetic to the needs of the working class. Robespierre’s strength among working people allowed him to eliminate his political enemies; 40,000 people were killed and another 300,000 imprisoned. When French armies defeated foreign invaders, the National Convention arrested Robespierre and his followers and executed them. After the Terror, the new government, the Directory, imposed a more conservative agenda. The Catholic Church regained its influence—if not its wealth—and new voting restrictions tempered the power of the masses. Still, economic problems were rampant, and the nation had grown tired of the constant struggles and hardships. Napoleon stepped into the breach. By political compromise and promises of stability and peace, backed by the military strength to enforce them, Napoleon was swept into power. Napoleon also held out the promise of French superiority in Europe and won support from the church by instituting the Concordat of 1801 Napoleon declared himself emperor in 1804

8 What was the nature of the fiscal crisis that triggered the French Revolution?
The expenses of a long series of European wars, beginning with the War of Austrian Succession ( ), initiated the fiscal crisis. King Louis XV was rebuffed in his attempts to repeal tax exemptions of some favored groups. Imperial and expansionist/mercantilistic issues exacerbated the situation The Seven Years War (1756–1763) fought in both the Americas as the French and Indian Wars with the British over control of American territories and in South Asia fought for control of the resources in both South Asia and Southeast Asia Later, King Louis XVI was warned that the government’s finances were stretched thin, but he plunged France into the American Revolution anyway. Renewed attempts to increase the nobility’s taxes met with frustration and political maneuvering by each side. When Louis called a meeting of the Estates General for the first time in 163 years, the opportunity existed for a combined front to resist governmental power and institute a constitutional monarchy. Besides the fiscal crisis within the French government, there was a growing crisis within French society. The nation’s poor were a large, growing, and troublesome sector. The poverty of peasant families forced younger children to seek seasonal work away from home and led many to crime and beggary. The urban streets swarmed with beggars and prostitutes. The wretchedness of the French poor is best indicated by the growing problem of child abandonment. Unable to afford decent housing, obtain steady work, or protect their children, the poor periodically erupted in violent protest. In the countryside violence was often the reaction when nobility and clergy increased dues and fees. In towns and cities an increase in the price of bread often provided the spark. A succession of bad harvests propelled bread prices upward and provoked an economic depression as demand for nonessential goods collapsed. By the time of the revolution, nearly a third of the Parisian workforce was unemployed. The rebellion of the French nobility was most immediately responsible for the revolution because of their greed and unwillingness to submit to higher taxes. The Third Estate was already overburdened with taxes, and when an economic depression struck in the 1780s, conditions were ripe for joining the revolution.

9 What was the Congress of Vienna
What was the Congress of Vienna? How does the conservative backlash after the revolutions of the eighteenth century become the inspiration for widespread reform movements throughout Europe and North America? Despite the conservative retrenchment after the French Revolution, popular support for democratic reform and self determination spread throughout Europe. The Congress of Vienna took place in 1814–1815 as a response to the upheaval faced by the monarchies, nobility, and the church. The objective of the Congress of Vienna was to restore the French monarchy, to repress nationalist and liberal ideas, and to stem the tide of revolution elsewhere. Legitimacy and stability were the focus of the reactionary Alliances often supported by the Catholic Church Despite these efforts by this “Holy Alliance” of European leaders, the powerful ideas of liberalism as well as democracy grew mostly as a reaction to the rising tide of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution conflicts between workers and owners. Movements for suffrage were usually towards white males and were targeting class struggles and not racial or gender struggles at this time. Greek movements were towards independence from the Ottoman Empire as this once great empire known as the “sick man” of Europe, began to loose its abilities to maintain the vast Islamic Empire. These nationalistic movements provided instability and required a reaction from other European nations eventually leading to treaties such as the Congress of Berlin, Treaty of San Stefano, and ultimately to the Berlin Conference, ushering in imperialism of the late 1800s. In the United States voting rights were extended to all white males, and in Great Britain reformers called Chartists worked for voting reform as well as labor reforms. Reformers in Italy, Hungary, and Bohemia also pressed for national self determination.

10 What were the causes of the revolution in Saint Domingue?
The foundation for the Haitian Revolution lay in the inherent racism and brutality of slavery and the plantation system. Blanc, petite blanc, gens de couleur, slaves and other racial divisions Plantocracy or plantation system support of the racial divisions The number of African-born slaves, as opposed to those born in Haiti, was a significant factor as well. The event that triggered the revolution was the revolutionary turmoil in France. Wealthy planters, poor whites, and the gens de couleur sent representatives to Paris to argue their points of view in the new legislative bodies. As the struggle for control between those groups within Haiti intensified, violence broke out. Violence first divided gens de couleur and white, and then a separate slave rebellion broke out in the north. Slaves gained strength when the radical National Convention in France outlawed slavery in 1793. The efforts of the plantocracy to continue slavery ensured that the general melee turned into a struggle of slaves for their freedom. This movement was not supported in subsequent governments of France

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