Presentation on theme: "Causes of the French Revolution Political Causes."— Presentation transcript:
Causes of the French Revolution
The Rise of Absolute Monarchies (1400’s-1700’s)
Absolutism The idea is based on that monarchs have divine rights and do not have to answer to any form of government and /or the people. So they didn’t take advice from Parliament, the Estates General, or from the Nobles. They regulated the taxation and national spending, government, and the religion. Would limit personal freedoms of certain groups ex. Jews or Protestants. They would also limit the power of the existing government bodies like the English Parliament, and the French Estates General.
One theme = CONTROL!!! 1.Control the government -Centralize & create bureaucracies -Reduce power of representative bodies 2.Control the nobility -Increase size of court; regulate social gatherings -Reduce nobles’ power in the government 3.Control economics -Great works -Economic policies centralized 4.Control power -Divine right & regulate religion
Absolutist Theory – There must be one - and only one - sovereign in every state (although it can be a body consisting of more than one person). – The sovereign holds all legitimate power and should never be actively resisted. – If the sovereign commands a contravention of God's law, disobey, but accept the punishment (= "passive obedience").
Early-modern governments had to rely mainly on persuasion rather than coercion. In the face of widespread opposition to government policy, regimes could do little. Execution by burning, by decapitation, or by hanging, drawing and quartering were used to provide a public spectacle of the consequences of disobedience
The main way of instilling obedience, however, was propaganda. Through teaching, preaching and writing, the message was sent that sedition was morally wrong, un-Christian, and would result in divine retribution. Even those who escaped punishment in this life would burn in hell fire. Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy (Inferno, Canto 34)Dante Alighieri When Dante's Pilgrim reaches the lowest pit of hell, he finds the world's three greatest sinners protruding from the mouth of Satan. Judas Iscariot - who betrayed Jesus - hangs with his head in Satan's mouth, his legs dangling.
Dante’s Divine Comedy: An almost equally bad fate befalls Brutus & Cassius - the assassins of Julius Caesar. Their bodies are in the devil's mouth - their heads swinging. For Dante, treason was clearly the worst of crimes.
Absolutism and Divine Right Divine right theory was a branch of absolutism Most divine right theorists thought that monarchy was the best form of government and that monarchs should never be resisted by the people. Divine right theorists insisted that the ruler's authority was from God alone (not from the community). They quoted Scripture in their support: Proverbs : By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
Divine Right of Kings Medieval belief that God gives power to the king; therefore, his actions are sanctioned by God The theory of the Divine Right of Kings aimed at instilling obedience by explaining why all social ranks were religiously and morally obliged to obey their government.
Divine Right The belief that certain Kings were chosen by God The Kings were only accountable to God and no one else This idea was reinforced by Bishop Jacques Bossuet.
One vital element in the theory of the Divine Right of Kings was the Bodinian concept of sovereignty. The political theory of Jean Bodin (1529/30-96) was aimed at ending the long period of conflict and confusion caused by Religious Wars in France between Catholics and Huguenots.Jean BodinReligious Wars A lawyer and economist, Bodin wrote Six Books of the Commonweal (Six livres de la république), which was published in French in 1576 (English translation 1606).Six Books of the Commonweal Bodin, like other politiques, argued that only undivided authority could prevent endless dissension
Although the theory of the Divine Right of Kings was perfectly coherent and treated as such by its exponents and opponents, it is often now dismissed as absurd. It is often falsely portrayed as more or less implying that God descended on a cloud to endow monarchs with celestial authority. In fact, in a period when most people accepted that God had created the world and human nature, its analysis of the nature of political obligation was perfectly sensible (and arguably less mystical than dialectical materialism or the existential moment).
In every kingdom, the king's power comes directly from God, to whom the ruler is accountable; power does not come to the king from the people and he is not accountable to them. In every kingdom, the king makes the final decisions on all aspects of government (including the church). – Other people and institutions that exercise political power do so as delegates of the king, and are subordinate to him. However tyrannically kings act, they are never to be actively resisted. (The doctrine of non-resistance). – If the king orders an act directly against God's commands, the subject should disobey but must submissively accept any penalty of disobedience. (The doctrine of "passive obedience" ). – The doctrine was neatly encapsulated in the satirical song, The Vicar of Bray, which insisted that "Kings are by God appointed, /And damned are they that dare resist, / Or touch the Lord's anointed".The Vicar of Bray Monarchy is the best form of government, but other forms are valid.
“Charles explained that there was a doctrine called the Divine Right of Kings, which said that: (a) He was King, and that was right. (b) Kings were divine and that was right. (c) Kings were right, and that was right. (d) Everything was all right." (Sellar & Yeatman, 1066 and all that).
“ What is done for the state is done for God, who is the basis and foundation of it......Where the interests of the state are concerned, God absolves actions which, if privately committed, would be a crime.” — Cardinal Richelieu What does this primary source quote mean? What impact would this have on a country?
Decline of Belief in Divine Right in England The religious fervor awakened by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation provoked rebellion all over Europe. In England, both Roman Catholic and Puritan theorists justified disobedience, and even forcible resistance, to heretical governments that attacked the true religion. In the 1560s, Mary Queen of Scots was deposed by Calvinist rebels, whose actions were explained and justified by the poet and historian, George Buchanan. Mary fled to England and plotted with English Catholics to overthrow the government of Elizabeth I until she was executed in 1587 for her involvement in the Babington Plot.Babington Plot
Decline of Divine Right in England The Scottish Protestants, George Buchanan and John Knox also wrote in support of resistance to heretical and tyrannical rulers. Buchanan also put these principles into practice by supporting the nobles who overthrew and deposed Mary, Queen of Scots. They placed Mary's infant son, James on the throne. Buchanan's most important works were De Jure Regni Apud Scotos - The rights of the kingdom among the Scots - (published 1579; written in the 1560s), and Rerum Scoticarum Historia, - A History of Scotland - (1582). Both laid great stress on the limitations of monarchical power. The History of Scotland was one of the main sources for Shakespeare's Macbeth.
Decline of Belief in Divine Right in England By the second half of the sixteenth century, England's upper classes were better educated and more politically conscious than at any time in the past.better educated Local gentlemen sought election to the House of Commons, which grew increasingly more sophisticated in its proceedings and began to create an "institutional memory" by improving its records and establishing precedents. Gentlemen in the localities began to hire agents in London to send them letters containing news of the latest events in the Commons, at Court and abroad. These news letters were the precursors of the first newspapers, which began in the 1620s. [At first, the newspaper was called a "coranto" because it gave the current news].
Decline of Divine Right in England The theory of the Divine Right of Kings was directed at convincing this literate and wealthy group that they should serve as royal officials, not try and seize power for themselves. Of course, not everyone was persuaded. But many were - including such intelligent and educated theorists as Sir Robert Filmer and (in his own individual way) Thomas Hobbes.Sir Robert FilmerThomas Hobbes Both Civil War Royalists and Restoration Tories derived many of their basic arguments from the theory of Divine Right.Tories
Decline of Divine Right in England James II was supported by English Tories, who prided themselves on their loyalty to the Crown and the Church of England. But James II adopted pro-Catholic policies so threatening to the Anglican establishment that many believers in the Divine Right of Kings lost their enthusiasm. Most Tories stood by passively in 1688 when William and Mary invaded and deposed their father/uncle. James II's descendants by his second wife, Mary of Modena, never succeeded in regaining the throne despite the support of the Jacobites. Indefeasible hereditary right fell before Parliamentary legislation instituting a Protestant succession.
Decline of Divine Right in England After the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the theory of the Divine Right of Kings lost almost all support in England. It was still forcefully expounded in France by Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet ( ) and survived until rendered irrelevant there by Enlightenment and Revolution.
Decline of Divine Right "…the idea of hereditary legislators is as inconsistent as that of hereditary judges, or hereditary juries; and as absurd as an hereditary mathematician, or an hereditary wise man; and as ridiculous as an hereditary poet laureate." Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1792)
King Louis XVI
Political Causes: Old Regime and Louis XVI’s Leadership Problems with King Louis XVI – Lacked the personality & intelligence to rule as an absolute monarch – Honest, easy-going, religious, and deeply devoted to his family; not focused on ruling country – Private person & painfully shy – Generally avoided people – Liked to work in his workshop on locks or hunt
Political Causes: Old Regime and Louis XVI’s Leadership Appearance and Personality: o Overweight---breakfast consisted of “four cutlets, a chicken, a plateful of ham, half a dozen of eggs in a thick meat sauce and a bottle and a half of champagne” o He shuffled around like an old bear. o He was always tripping over his sword.
Political Causes: Old Regime and Louis XVI’s Leadership Problems with King Louis XVI continued: – Indecisive; could not say no or disagree with anyone – Narrow-minded & incapable of compromise – Easily confused by the conflicting advice of his advisors; so he rarely made quick decisions – Believed in divine right – Completely unaware of the situation in France
Political Causes: Old Regime and Louis XVI’s Leadership Problems with King Louis XVI continued: -He was extremely fat, awkward, & clumsy. -Fond of practical jokes & was the laughing- stock of the royal court. No one respected him. -Bored by government & politics; everyone knew it
Political Causes: Old Regime---Louis XVI’s Leadership Examples of his practical jokes: He would hide in the halls of Versailles and sneak up and trip the servants. At night, when the servants were helping him undress and get into his pajamas, he would make a silly face and run away naked. Louis would walk around Versailles and pants his friends.
In the 18th century dietary habits had the ability to mark membership in a social group. The bourgeoisie used the influence of culinary habits as another way of presenting an aristocratic image. The private banquets of the bourgeoisie and their forays to restaurants served to boost their social status by exemplifying their wealth and "savoir faire." The Royal Family: Many republican pamphlets and publications focused on depicting the corruption and weakness within the Royal family through images of their eating habits. In numerous anti-monarchial pamphlets the King was portrayed as suffering from a "moronic and short-sighted bulemia that made him no match for the honest, abstemious, and responsible Constitutional Assembly." (Spang, 123)Spang, 123
Problems with Louis XVI Lettre de cachet---the king had the power to send anyone to jail without a trial just by writing a lettre de cachet---which means a sealed letter It was a single sheet of paper signed by the king and sealed with wax The person whose names appeared on the paper would go to prison or be sent into exile for as long as the king wanted. Louis signed over 14,000.
Louis, Marriage & Rumors France was waiting for Marie Antoinette to produce an heir to the throne. For seven years, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's marriage was unconsummated -- and it was all anyone could talk about. Well, that and the brewing revolution.Louis XVImarriage The couple wed in May 1770, and the ceremony and ensuing celebration had all the trappings of a lavish royal fête. At Versailles, custom permitted the king's courtiers to accompany the newlyweds to their bedroom, where they reposed on display. It did little to stoke the fires of passion.Versailles Marie Antoinette was frustrated. She was willing and able to sexually receive her husband; as a matter of fact, she lived in a state of anxiety that he would never warm to her and that she'd be sent home to Austria as an utter failure.Austria Her mother, Maria Theresa, reminded her of this danger at every possible juncture in their correspondence.Maria Theresa She wrote to Marie Antoinette to "lavish more caresses" on Louis [source: Covington]. Covington What's more, it was painfully clear to everyone that something was wrong with the couple. It wasn't just the young couple's physical gratification at stake: France was waiting for Marie Antoinette to produce an heir to the throne.
Louis, Marriage, & Rumors News of Louis' impotence spread from the court of Versailles to the streets of Paris, where pamphlets mocking his powerlessness were distributed. The propaganda planted the seed that if Louis couldn't perform in the bedroom, he certainly couldn't perform on the throne. Louis XV watched forlornly as his grandson failed to execute his mission; the reigning king had a rapacious sexual appetite and an insatiable mistress, Madame du Barry.Madame du Barry Louis was doughy, impressionable and more fascinated by locks, languages and hunting than he was by his lovely young wife. Marie Antoinette explained to a friend, "My tastes are not the same as the King's, who is only interested in hunting and his metal- working" [source: Fraser].Fraser
Louis, Marriage, & Rumors But different tastes or not, Maria Theresa wasn't going to take the news lying down. She sent her son Joseph to assess the couple's damage. He called them "two complete blunderers" and surmised that nothing else stood in their way of consummation. Joseph may not have been entirely correct in his analysis. Louis had been diagnosed with a condition called phimosis in which the foreskin of the penis is tighter than normal and doesn't loosen upon arousal. This condition made sex very painful.sex There was an operation available to correct the condition, but Louis was reluctant to go under the knife. Some historians think he finally acquiesced and had the procedure while some say he never did; regardless, the couple finally consummated.
Political Causes: Old Regime and Louis XVI’s Leadership Weak Ruler Poor Decision Maker Had no true idea of how “normal” people lived. At age of 15 was married to 14 year old girl from Austria to improve relations between the 2 countries. Had no idea how poor his government/country was becoming (past wars & USA indpce help = $4Billion debt!) Most people liked him, but not his government.
Marie Antoinette was born to the great Austrian empress Maria Theresa As a young teenager, she was obliged to wed Louis XVI of France to symbolize an alliance made between Austria and France. Ironically, in the beginning of her marriage she was much loved by the French people for her kindness to peasants and her willingness to interact with her subjects. When Louis went hunting, peasants were sometimes trampled or accidentally shot. Antoinette, who was usually following in her separate coach, would always stop to help the injured person and even take him back to the palace to be treated. Political Causes: Marie Antoinette
Problems with Marie Antoinette Marie did not like the restrictive and often ridiculous rules of court at Versailles that had been established by King Louis XIV to manipulate and financially control the nobles. Marie hated the artificial clothes and hairstyles. She tried to change fashion by wearing simple, straight dresses of white muslin and wearing her hair down in what she called a “natural” style.
Problems with Marie Antoinette Marie had her portrait painted several times in the simpler fashions. But the nobles at court hated it and attacked Marie with nasty gossip. The most jealous courtiers wrote anonymous pamphlets making spiteful and sly attacks against Marie. To them, her actions showed no respect for the French rules and customs.
Problems with Marie Antoinette They said she was dressed like a dowdy milk- maid. That her simple clothes hurt the French economy because she was not supporting the garment industry and encouraging others to dress like her in cheap, foreign-made clothes. But when Marie gave in and started to dress like the other French nobles, the Third Estate resented her for wasteful spending and outrageous behavior.
Problems with Marie Antoinette Marie built up her debt in her closet. She had nearly 300 dresses made annually for her various social engagements at the court of Versailles, her private parties at Petit Trianon and for the stage of her jewel-box theater. But it wasn't just dresses that Marie and her couturier fussed over. She had an original hairstyle commissioned -- the gravity-defying pouf -- and even had an exclusive fragrance made for her by Jean-Louis Fargeon (also her glovemaker).gravity Marie Antoinette's elixir evoked the gardens and orchards at Petit Trianon, and it was supposedly so strong a scent that it gave her away during her family's plotted escape from the Tuileries. Her pricy parties and extensive wardrobe earned Marie Antoinette the moniker Madame Déficit. She couldn't shake the title -- not that she tried. Marie Antoinette was far removed from the revolutionary murmurs in Paris. And her ignorance ultimately culminated in her death sentence.
Problems with Marie Antoinette Marie refused to behave as the French nobles thought a queen should: – To smile a lot and not have any opinions on anything – To do as she was told by her husband, advisors, and courtiers – To have lots of babies---especially boys – To be on public display at all times
Let Them Eat Cake Reference As famous as she is for having proclaimed, "Let them eat cake," when she heard that the peasants were starving from the dearth of bread, Marie Antoinette actually never said it.bread The young queen was known to be quite tender-hearted, in contrast to her less flattering attributes as a spendthrift and wild reveler. There are accounts of her administering aid to a peasant who'd been gored by a wild animal as well as taking in an orphaned boy.wild animal Besides accounts like these that attest to her kind and generous nature, there are straightforward facts that disprove her utterance of this scandalous remark.
Let Them Eat Cake Reference Louis XVI's coronation took place at Rheims during the height of a bread shortage in Paris. This is the context in which she is incorrectly quoted as joking, "If they have no bread, then let them eat cake!" ("Qu'ils mangent de la brioche.") Cake at this time being the common tongue for a type of French bread, using less flour. However, there is no evidence that this phrase was ever uttered by Marie Antoinette. When Marie Antoinette actually heard about the bread shortage she wrote, "It is quite certain that in seeing the people who treat us so well despite their own misfortune, we are more obliged than ever to work hard for their happiness. The king seems to understand this truth; as for myself, I know that in my whole life (even if I live for a hundred years) I shall never forget the day of the coronation."
Let Them Eat Cake Reference The expression comes from Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "Confessions," a treatise penned in the late 18th century. When the book was first published in 1782, Marie Antoinette was 10 years old under her mother's care in Austria [source: Goldberg].Goldberg There's a possibility that Rousseau turned the phrase himself; other historians think it may have been uttered by Maria Theresa. Maria Theresa was a noblewoman of Spanish descent who wed Louis XIV [source: Covington].Maria TheresaLouis XIVCovington What Rousseau or Maria Theresa actually said -- whatever the case may be -- is "qu'ils mangent de la brioche " This doesn’t mean "let them eat cake;" it means "let them eat an egg-based bread" [source: Goldberg].Goldberg The type of bread to which the speaker referred is a more luxe loaf than the typical flour-and-water bread of the Parisian pauper.flourwater
Let Them Eat Cake Reference A French law mandated that bakers sell their brioche at the same price as their inexpensive bread if this supply ran out. Later on, the law would be the downfall of the hungry lower classes when bakers responded by baking very short supplies of bread to save themselves from economic ruin. Marie Antoinette had plenty of enemies in Paris, and it was easy to fabricate stories about the queen's spendthrift habits.Paris Very likely, someone attributed this line to the wrong royal and the tale seemed true enough to stick.
Problems with Marie Antoinette-Lack of Interest in Ruling When Marie Antoinette's sister-in-law, Marie Thérèse, the wife of the Comte d'Artois, gave birth to her first child in August 1775, Marie Antoinette was subjected to cat-calls from market women asking why she had not produced a son, too. She spent the next day weeping in her rooms, much to the distress of her ladies-in-waiting, who felt she was "extremely affecting when in misfortune." Fulfilling Marie Antoinette's determination to avoid boredom, conversation in her circle shied away from the mundane or intellectual. According to Madame Campan, one of the queen's ladies-in- waiting:"The newest songs from the Comédie, the most timely joke or pun or quip, the bon mot of the day, the latest and choicest titbit of scandal or gossip – these comprised the sole topics of conversation in the intimate group about the queen; discussion on a serious plane was banished from her court.“
Problems with Marie Antoinette---Her Marital Affairs Antoinette had many lovers outside her marriage. She was commonly called "the Austrian whore" for the countless men she entertained - from Arthur Dillon, the Duc de Lauzun, and Axel von Fersen, to the Baron de Besenval, the Prince de Ligne, and the Comte de Vaudreuil. "Antoinette even confessed herself that she led the life of 'a despicable prostitute': She spent the night before the coronation in 1775 on the Porte Neuve at Reims, an 'islet of love,' dressed as a Bacchante, copulating for three hours with a selected 'Hercules.‘ She learned new positions from the Comte d’Artois at the Trianon, and she experimented with her ladies of the household" (Schama, 225) In the defaming publications, Antoinette was portrayed as a sexual monster. As this fault became known to the masses, the Queen’s popularity rapidly decreased
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Do Queens Just Wanna Have Fun? Consummation Conundrum: Trouble in the Royal Bedroom! Does the Queen Have a Swede on the Side? King's brother caught with Queen! Headlines ripped from today's tabloids, tattling on lusty celebrities and rambunctious royals? Or is this gossip a few centuries old?
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Rumors have always been useful for those who wanted to sow discord and trouble, and this was never more true than in 18th-century France. The hothouse atmosphere of the royal court, where factions and rivalries operated secretly to shape policy and undermine sometimes tenuous royal power, created a ripe environment for a thriving gossip mill, presented mostly in the form of cheap, widely- distributed pamphlets that were the equivalent of today's tabloids.
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Hired by powerful leaders of court factions, the pamphleteers themselves were often down-and out writers who cared less about politics and more about earning a fast buck. The printers and sellers of pamphlets operated outside the law and had no qualms about spreading the most salacious rumors, often accompanied by lewd, pornographic pictures. The French public, like the printers, pamphleteers, and those who paid them, had a seemingly unlimited amount of ire for Marie Antointette, who became symbolic of all of France's ills.
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Printed secretly, the pamphlets were too plentiful to be squelched by the French government. The graphically illustrated scandal sheets accused the Queen of crimes ranging from hopeless stupidity all the way to adultery, sexual deviance, and even treason. Despite the claims of modern scholars to objectivity, these pamphlets continue to shape historical views of the French Queen, her society, and the aristocracy — just as they did for her contemporaries.”
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda As discontent permeated France, Marie Antoinette’s iconography changed from a positive image to a negative one. Marie Antoinette became the icon for the ills of the ancien régime, and her iconography became propaganda for the Revolution. In a print from the pornographic satire, Essai Historique sur la Vie de Marie-Antoinette, Marie Antoinette is represented as a lascivious and adulterous queen.print This sketch exemplifies the propaganda widely circulated in the 1780’s and 1790’s. This propaganda was intended to gain support for the Revolutionary cause by destroying Marie Antoinette’s reputation. While courtly liaisons and royal affairs were historically accepted in France, they had never been exposed on such a wide scale. Mass quantities of pornography circulated France, gaining support for the revolution and breeding hatred for the Queen.
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda During the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette was the subject of much public pornography and propaganda. This pornography included a multitude of sketches and drawings depicting the Queen engaging in lascivious or lewd acts. While at the beginning of her reign, Marie was represented as a divine monarch, her public representation soon plummeted. The widely circulated pornography acted as propaganda against the queen and the ancien régime. Her public iconography, most prolific during her life, became a source of propaganda against her and the "corrupt" ancien régime.
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Vindictive rumours began that Marie Antoinette was sleeping with her brother-in-law. Illegal presses in Paris soon began printing pamphlets showing the queen and Artois as adulterous lovers.ParisArtois The first pamphlet was called ''Les Amours de Charlot et Antoinette''. ''L'Autrichienne en Goguette'' showed Artois and the Queen having Anal Sex in a palace salon.Anal Sex ''Le Godmiché Royal'' (the Royal dildo) showed Marie Antoinette Masturbating, and later pamphlets would suggest that she had indulged in Bestiality and LesbianismMasturbatingBestialityLesbianism None of these charges were true, but they began to chip away at the queen's popularity with the people.
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Pamphlets flooded the streets of Paris filled with harsh slander: "Our lascivious Queen, With Artois the Debauched, Together with no trouble, Commit the sweet sin, But what of it, How could one find harm in that? This fine pair, Have certainly convinced us, That the great King of France, Is a perfect cuckold, But what of it, How could one find harm in that?" (Schama, 221). Simulations of an autobiography of the Queen also proliferated the streets of Paris in 1781, 1783, and 1793 which included the degrading words: “Catherine de Medici, Cleopatra, Agrippina, Messalina, my deeds have surpassed yours, and if the memory of your infamies still provokes a shudder, if its frightful detail makes the hair stand on end and tears pour from the eyes, what sentiments will issue from knowledge of the cruel and lascivious life of Marie-Antoinette... barbaric Queen, adulterous wife, woman without morals, soiled with crime and debauchery, these are the titles that are my decorations “(Schama, 224). This statement along with many other remarks made the Queen appear as a spendthrift whore who would stop at nothing to satisfy her appetites. Paris was full of grim accounts of Antoinette and her loathsome amusements.
Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Old stories of orgies in the gardens of Versailles were revived along with an alleged plot to make an alcoholic of her husband so that she and her lovers could deceive him more easily. References to "Madame Deficit," "the Austrian bitch," and "the Austrian whore" were everywhere. Cartoonists even ridiculed the overweight Louis XVI and his frivolous wife, portraying them gorging themselves at a sumptuous banquet while all around them their pinch-faced subjects held their empty stomachs and gazed hungrily at the food. Spiteful images of the Queen, emphasizing her long nose, sharp dark eyebrows, fat chin, and chubby cheeks, were posted all around the capital. She was described as faithless to her husband, cruel to her people, consumed by lust, and devoured by greed. One pamphlet called her "the Iscariot of France," and another said, "This Persophone wears the redoubtable head-dress of the Fourteenth Apostle, of the same character of Judas" (Schama, 229).
Stories of her infidelity circulated along with an alleged plot to make an alcoholic of her husband. Cartoonists even ridiculed the overweight Louis XVI and his frivolous wife, portraying them gorging themselves at a sumptuous banquet while all around them subjects held their empty stomachs and gazed hungrily at the food. She was described as faithless to her husband, cruel to her people, consumed by lust, and devoured by greed. In the propaganda, she is shown dipping her claws into a plate to steal and waste the treasures of France. Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda
Impact of Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda Marie Antoinette was a scapegoat during the years leading up to the French Revolution. Her reputation for infidelity and wastefulness was used by her enemies to infuriate the masses against the monarchy. She had been made a symbol of hatred to all of France. It is true that Antoinette did not deserve the degree of abuse she received from her subjects for she was not completely guilty of all wrongdoing - during her reign she continued to allow commoners to roam the royal lands, she supported various charities and helped many impoverished children obtain an education. Despite this, Antoinette could not erase her mistakes because the damage had already been done. She ultimately created her own demise.
Impact of Anti-Marie Antoinette Propaganda In 1789, when Antoinette was brought out to stand in front of hundreds of her subjects who were standing in the palace courtyards waiting to take her to Paris, they yelled, "There she is, the damned whore!" or "We want her head, never mind the body!" Through much propaganda, the French people had learned to despise the Queen they had once loved as a dauphine, and they now wished to persecute her until her death.
What political motivation did people have for portraying the Queen this way? How could this portrayal of the Queen impact her? The King and his power to govern? The politics of France? Why do you think Louis XVI relaxed his control of the press when the revolution began? In what ways could this help him politically? Hurt him politically?
Problems with Marie Antoinette’s Spending Marie spent lavishly on her court favorites A livre was worth about $4.00 Examples: – Princess La Lamballe was Superintendent of the Queen’s Household and organized all the parties and entertainment. – She was paid 150,000 livres a year – Gabrielle Yolande De Polignac was the Governess to the Royal Children and organized the schooling for the kids, but did not teach them – Marie gave her 400,000 livres to cover the cost of debt thayt Gabrielle and her husband had accumulated to keep up with living at Versailles – Marie then gave them 800,000 livres for their daughter’s dowry – And gave Gabrielle’s husband a job title that paid 12,000 livres a year for doing nothing – Marie would give presents to her court favorites, to their spouses, lovers, parents, aunts and uncles, and friends – Because of her generosity, the King’s brother began calling Marie “Madame Deficit”
Problems with Marie Antoinette: Her Spending and Life-Style The queen's circle of friends was very exclusive. This caused resentment in Versailles, where the courtiers thought the queen was deliberately excluding them. Soon, she became the target of the vicious gossip of Versailles. She, however, remained oblivious. Under the influence of d'Artois, Marie Antoinette began visiting the Paris Opéra balls in disguise. It was not long before gossips began whispering that the queen was orchestrating such events to meet with various secret lovers. She also began spending more and more money, since she had no real idea of its value. She had three major weaknesses: clothes, gambling and diamonds. For her twenty-first birthday, she participated in a three-day long gambling party, in which huge amounts of money changed hands.
Political Causes: Marie Antoinette and Spending Problems with Queen Marie Antoinette: -She was pretty, frivolous, light-headed,& wildly extravagant. -Would lose 100,000 dollars in a game of cards in one night. -Spent early part of her reign hosting outrageous balls, plays, flirting, & gambling at cards and horse races.
Political Causes: Marie Antoinette and Spending Problems with Queen Marie Antoinette cont: -Spent a great deal of $ on diamond bracelets, earrings, buying dress uniforms for musicians, etc… -Led to the “Affair of the Diamond Necklace” Scandal; she was accused of using her connections to obtain a diamond necklace without being paid for. Turns out it was all staged by the Cardinal Rohan & his mistress.
Diamond Necklace Scandal Jewelers Böhmer and Bassenge nearly went broke creating a necklace that they presumed King Louis XV would buy for his mistress Madame du Barry.King Louis XV Weighing in at 2,800 carats, the jewelers thought they'd fetch 1.6 million livres for the stunner -- that's roughly equivalent to 100 million U.S. dollars in today's market. Unfortunately for Böhmer and Bassenge (and Madame du Barry), the king died before he could purchase it.carats They hoped that the new king, Louis XVI, might agree to buy the necklace for Marie Antoinette. Whatever frivolous reputation she may have acquired later in her reign, Marie Antoinette made a patriotic, sentient decision to discourage Louis from purchasing the necklace. She reasoned that he'd be better off putting the money toward France's navy [source: Muschamp].navyMuschamp The necklace languished in the jewelers' possession until a desperate, enterprising woman named Jeanne de Lamotte Valois devised a plot to pull herself out of debt by acquiring the necklace and selling it for parts.debt
Diamond Necklace Scandal The necklace languished in the jewelers' possession until a desperate, enterprising woman named Jeanne de Lamotte Valois devised a plot to pull herself out of debt by acquiring the necklace and selling it for parts.debt The Comtesse de Lamotte appealed to Cardinal de Rohan, who was rather unpopular at court. From 1772 to '74, he'd served as the French ambassador to Vienna, where he became a quick enemy of Marie Antoinette's mother -- and of Marie Antoinette herself.Vienna The comtesse told the cardinal that Marie Antoinette desperately wanted the diamond necklace but that she didn't want to ask Louis for it. Lamotte slyly suggested that if Cardinal de Rohan could find a way to procure it for Marie Antoinette, his good reputation would be restored at court.
Diamond Necklace Scandal Lamotte had her lover, Rétaux de Villette, write letters in Marie Antoinette's hand and send them to the cardinal, asking him to buy the necklace [source: Covington].Covington The comtesse even paid a prostitute who looked like the queen to have a secret tête-à-tête with the cardinal in the Versailles gardens one night.Versailles At last, the cardinal wrangled the diamonds from Böhmer and Bassenge on credit. The jewelers presented the necklace to the queen's footman for delivery -- only the footman was Rétaux in disguise. He seized the necklace and headed to London. When his first payment was due, Cardinal de Rohan couldn't cough up the amount. The jewelers demanded money from Marie Antoinette, who had no knowledge of the necklace. By then, the necklace had been sold.
Diamond Necklace Scandal A furious Louis had the cardinal arrested; later, he was acquitted of all charges and exiled. The scheming mastermind Lamotte was imprisoned but broke free and took up residence in England. There, she spread propaganda about the queen -- though she needn't have bothered. Marie Antoinette's reputation (already hanging tenuously in the balance) was ruined. The scandal confirmed that she was, indeed, "Madame Déficit.“ The diamond necklace affair would be one of the final straws before the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette's death sentence.
The Necklace Scandal 1,600,000 livres [$100 million today]
Political Causes: Marie Antoinette and Her Spending -Even though the Queen was cleared of guilt, the press still had a field day ridiculing her -After this, she was known as that “Austrian Woman” or “Madame Deficit”. -Would loan her noble friends money to pay off their gambling debts.
Problems with Marie Antoinette and Spending To the people, another infuriating shortcoming was Antoinette’s frivolous spending habits. They saw her as the bottomless pit where all their hard work and taxes disappeared, and they subsequently called her "Madame Deficit." The Queen was constantly buying numerous chateaux, clothing, and jewels. She never ceased to spoil her favorite circle of friends. Antoinette also had an almost uncontrollable love for gambling, which did not stop until she realized that she was spending money that she did not have. While the commoners stood in bread lines praying for food, they cursed the Queen who was living so comfortably in her grand palace. Widespread discontent resulted: in 1787 a painting of the Queen was not exhibited in the Salon in fear of violent antagonistic demonstrations. After this, Antoinette rarely went to the theater, and in the few occasions when she did, she was greeted with such loud hisses that she made sure to stay away in the future. Court members now showed their disgust with her openly, instead of hiding their true feelings. Antoinette was only left to ask, "What do they want of me?... What harm have I done to them
Marie Antoinette and Trianon Village After she turned thirty in 1785, Marie Antoinette also began to dress with more restraint. She abandoned the more elaborate wigs which had been festooned with jewels and feathers and she refused to buy any more jewels for her personal collection. She was, however, fiercely criticised for building a small mock-village for herself in the grounds of Versailles in The building of these kinds of artificial villages was very popular among French aristocratic ladies, who were keen to experience a rural idyll in the comfort of their own estates. This tradition had begun with Louis XIV's greatest mistress, the beautiful Athénaïs de Montespan in the 1680s. Marie Antoinette's defenders did not think she deserved so much criticism for building the Hameau (as it was known.) Baroness d'Oberkirch complained, "Other people spent more on their gardens!" Even so, the queen was already unpopular and she could not possibly understand how much the Hameau would further damage her reputation. Many people began to see her as a clueless spendthrift who liked to play at being a shepherdess, whilst some of the real peasants lived in very hard conditions. One of the cottages built in Marie Antoinette's private village in The cost was not as great as the queen's enemies pretended.
Trianon Retreat At Versailles Marie Antoinette commissioned a complete overhaul for the Trianon gardens. In order to bring them fully up-to-date, she had them redesigned in the "English" style that had been championed by the writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau. A mock farming village called The Petit Hameau (The Little Hamlet) completed this "rustic" area of the Versailles grounds. Marie Antoinette enjoyed her status as mistress of the Petit Trianon. Members of the court, including the King, bowed to her sovereignty there. In this small corner of the vast estate, it was the Queen who invited the King to dine or attend the amateur theatricals that she staged with her friends in Trianon's theater. But perhaps the most important sign of her power here was the relative privacy she was able to command. However, this very privacy and the power it implied could easily been seen as inappropriate and misplaced. Some critics started calling the Petit Trianon "Little Vienna" or "Little Schönbrunn," a reference to Maria Theresa's palace where Marie Antoinette grew up. Not only did this unwelcome nickname suggest a foreign enclave at the very heart of French power, but it was also a reminder that in her mother, the Queen had as a role model not a powerless and subservient royal consort, but the most powerful woman in Europe and one of France's greatest rivals.
Palais du Petit Trianon Changed grounds to look like an English garden for the cost of 150,000 livres. Had her own theatre which hosted only one play! Toy Village of 8 cottages and a farm built to look old and picturesque right down to painted cracks on the new walls and designer broken cobblestones Marie insisted on the whitest of lambs, the cleanest of cows and the prettiest of milkmaids who carried the milk in the finest porcelain milk jugs, while next door, the real farmers were literally starving to death.
Political Causes: Old Regime and Marie Antoinette - Later on, she calmed down with the parties after she became a mother. -But she began to interfere with politics. -She advised Louis to get rid of ministers who wanted to curb her spending or were against her Pro-Austrian policies that hurt France.
Political Causes: Old Regime and Marie Antoinette -She opposed Necker’s plans to solve France’s economic problems. -She opposed calling the Estates-General to meet & advise Louis. -The people never saw her as their Queen.
Problems with Old Regime and MarieAntoinette Austrian by birth, married to King Louis 14 Became very unpopular very quickly Spoke French with strong accent, always considered a “foreigner” Enjoyed high class jewelry, parties, clothes, etc. Accused of purchasing /stealing $1,600,000 diamond necklace Nicknames were “Madame “Deficit” “Austrian Dog” Many French citizens blamed her for country’s problems
Political Causes Crisis in the Government Administration: -inefficient, corrupt, highly privileged -chief ministers never met as a group to coordinate reform plans -the Estates-General had not met since no uniform system of government -Parlement of Paris blocked reforms that would take away privileges from the nobles
Political Causes Problems with Government Administration: -Two different legal systems; no uniform code of law -Three court systems: royal, manorial (noble), and ecclesiastical (church)
Economic Causes: King Louis XIV’s Legacy of Debt Money spent building Versailles Gave tax exempt status to nobles to control them Four costly wars Not investing in a colonial empire Persecution of the Huguenots with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes-lost 200,000 middle class merchants and professionals who drove the economy and paid taxes
Economic Causes: King Louis XV The Seven Years’ War Louis XV War fought in Europe, India, North America—French-Indian War France ends up losing some of its colonial possessions Increases French national debt Louis XV French and English troops fight at the battle of Fort St. Philip on the island of Minorca
The Growing Economic Crises 1. In General: 1700’s economy prospered population growth – 18 million to 25 million food surpluses helped textile/mining industries mercantilism: export more than you import
2. Hardships: 1770’s/80’s poor harvests Middle Age regulations taxing on merchant trade monopolies by guilds made it difficult for entrepreneurs government debt high and increasing o to pay for wars o support the Versailles Court o American Revolution doubled debt o Louis XVI was not an able ruler
3. Reform Attempts: Louis appointed Robert Turgot as finance minister controlled government financial spending reduced court expenses removed internal customs taxes on food limited power of some guilds Turgot attempted to tax nobles (a major reform) o little success o King needed the parlements to approve this tax but they were controlled by nobles o Nobles of the Robe rejected the idea o King dismissed Turgot in 1776
4. The Writing on the Wall: government secured new bank loans helped only for a little while 1786: bankers refused to lend more money 1787 and 1788: had poor harvests bread shortages upset people Louis went to Parlements for a new tax, his wishes were rejected Louis called for the Estates General to meet The Estates General represented all three estates Louis hoped to win support for reforms that would restore economic stability
Economic Crisis Trade between countries Unemployment Crop failures = shortage of bread = Peasants spending 50%-80% income on food Food riots becoming common Coldest winter in 100 years not helping things National debt now up to $5,000,000,000 (billion!)
Economic Causes No written budget Rising prices & government expenditures Heavy cost of 4 wars between 1733 – 1783 Govt national debt was 126 million livres (1 livre = $5) Paying 8 to 10 % interest rates on loans By 1788, the interest owed on the govt debt = 51% of the govt expenditures
Economic Causes: Third Estate Issues Outrageous taxes on income, property, salt, persons, cider, wine, & tobacco paid by the Third Estate Corvee: had to work on repairing or building roads without pay Tithes: 10% of crops to Church Pay to nobles for right to use the grain mills, bake ovens, & hunting rights
Economic Causes: Third Estate Issues Lords could hunt & tramble newly-planted fields. Poor harvests in 1787, 1788, & 1789 Shortage of food & rising prices; price of bread rose Mobs raided public granaries; bread riots broke out 30,000 unemployed & homeless 1789-wages increased 22%, while cost of living increased 62% Deficit of over 5 Billion Dollars
Economic Causes: Third Estate- Peasants Population explosion that farmers could not keep up with. 36% of the total population was under the age of 20. Harvest failed in 1787, 1788, and Almost overnight, thousands of homeless people were roaming the countryside starving.
Economic Causes: Third Estate- Peasants Peasants had to: – Work for free for the lord for several days every year – Pay a tax to their lord every year – Give part of their crops to their lord every year – Grind their wheat in their lord’s mill and pay for using it – Bake their bread in an oven owned by their lord and pay for using it – Crush their grapes in their lord’s press and pay for using it – Pay a tax on anything they took to sell at a market held on the lord’s land
Economic Causes: Third Estate- Peasants Summer of 1788 there were freak hailstorms that badly damaged crops before they were harvested Winter of worse winter—rivers and lakes were frozen for months and when they thawed, the roads were flooded What little food that had been saved from hail and ice could not get into the towns due to the floods The price of bread skyrocketed. Poor people in the cities began to starve---Sans- Culottes
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 Builders Laborer Journeyman mason Journeyman, locksmith, carpenter, etc Sculptor, goldsmith *The price of the 4 pound loaf consumed daily by workingman and his family as the main element in their diet **Effective wage represents the daily wage adjusted for 121 days of nonwork per calendar year for religious observation, etc.
Average Price of a Hectoliter (100 liters) of wheat in France francs francs francs francs Price of 100 kilograms of Wheat in Paris, francs francs francs francs francs francs
Yearly incomes compared. Archbishop of Paris 50,000 livres Marquis de Mainvillette 20,000 livres Prince de Conti 14,000 livres A Paris parish priest 10,000 livres A typical village priest 750 livres A master carpenter 200 livres (The livre was replaced by the franc in In the 1780s, there were about 4 livres to £1). Economic Causes: Low Yearly Incomes for Third Estate versus First and Second Estates