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The French Revolution Begins

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Presentation on theme: "The French Revolution Begins"— Presentation transcript:

1 The French Revolution Begins
Economic and social inequalities in the Old Regime help cause the French Revolution. Ch. 7.1

2 The Old Order The Old Regime
Old Regime—social and political system in France during the 1770s Estates—three social classes of France’s Old Regime A VERY unequal society (people were not treated equally) The Privileged Estates First Estate — Catholic clergy—1% of the population but own 10 percent land, pay few taxes Second Estate — rich nobles—2 percent population, own 20 percent land The Third Estate 97 percent of people middle class (bourgeoisie) lacked the status of nobles Peasants (urban workers & farm workers) very poorly paid 80% of the French people Have few rights, pay heavy taxes, want change while the rich paid hardly any taxes

3 The Forces of Change Three factors led to Rev. in France.
1) Enlightenment Ideas Enlightenment ideas inspire some in Third Estate (esp. the powerful members) 2) Economic Troubles High taxes kept profits low rising costs (esp. food prices) damage economy by 1780s. Crop failures resulted in severe grain shortages The government owed money 3) Weak leadership of the monarchy King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette known for extravagance Marie Antoinette was unpopular – from Austria, France’s long time rival Louis doubles nation’s debt; banks refuse to lend more money Louis XVI is forced to call a meeting of the Estates-General


5 Dawn of the Revolution A Weak Leader
Louis’s poor decisions and lack of patience add to France’s problems He calls Estates-General (May 1789)—meeting of representatives from all three estates Each Estate got one vote 3rd Estate wanted each delegate to have a vote King and other 2 Estates said NO - why? The National Assembly (June 1789) The Third Estate broke w/ the others and met separately Delegates of the Third Estate sets up National Assembly—new legislature to make reforms (the beginning of representative govn’t in France) got locked out of their meeting because they spoke out Broke into a tennis court - Sieyès persuades them to make major changes in French government Tennis Court Oath — delegates decide to write new constitution for France

6 Storming the Bastille Louis tried to make peace
Encouraged the Nobles and Clergy to join the National Assembly Rumors fly in Paris that Louis wants to suppress National Assembly and attack French citizens Mob attacks and seizes Bastille (a Paris prison), killing guards on July 14, 1789 The mob wanted gun powder to defend Paris & themselves

7 A Great Fear Sweeps France
Rebellion Rumors and panic spread throughout France Great Fear— attacks by peasants taking place across France Peasants destroy legal papers binding them to feudal system (had to pay fees to the nobles) In October 1789, Parisian women revolt over rising price of bread “The March to Versailles” They demand action, forcing Louis to return from Versailles to Paris King and Queen never return to Versailles

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