2 I. Background to Revolution A. Legal Orders and Social Reality1. The Three Estates2. Traditional View of the Revolution3. Revisionist Positions4. The Root of RevolutionB. The Crisis of Political Legitimacy1. Challenges to Absolutist Rule2. Problem of Taxation3. DesacralizationI. Background to Revolution (Social changes, political crisis, effects of the American Revolution and a financial crisis)A. Legal Orders and Social Reality1. The Three Estatesa. The First Estate – Clergy (about 100,000 persons who owned 10 percent of the land and paid only a “voluntary gift” to the government).b. The Second Estate – Nobles (about 400,000 persons who owned about 25 percent of the land and enjoyed manorial rights and “honorific privileges).c. The Third Estate – Commoners (about 98 percent of the population, who consisted of a few prosperous merchants, lawyers, and officials but mainly of peasants, rural agricultural workers, urban artisans, and unskilled day laborers).2. Traditional View of the Revolution – Focused on growing tensions between the nobility and the bourgeoisie (upper middle class), which, progressively exasperated by feudal laws, led the entire Third Estate in a great social revolution to destroy feudalism and establish a capitalist order.3. Revisionist Positions – Questioned the existence of social conflicts between a capitalist bourgeoisie and a reactionary feudal nobility. Their arguments: the bourgeoisie and the feudal nobility were not unified blocs by any means; wealthy members of the third estate could rise into the second estate, key sections of the nobility were liberal and opposed to the government, and the nobles often were aggressive capitalists.4. The Root of Revolution – Society’s upper crust was frustrated by a bureaucratic monarchy that continued to claim the right to absolute power. The Old Regime, moreover, had ceased to correspond with social reality by the 1780s.B. The Crisis of Political Legitimacy1. Challenges to Absolutist Rule – After Louis XIV died in 1715, a number of institutions retrieved power they had lost – the parliaments (the high courts of France) regained their ancient right to evaluate royal decrees publicly in writing before they were given the force of law.2. Problem of Taxation – Groups previously exempt from taxation (clergy, nobility, towns, and some wealthy bourgeoisie) resisted new taxes levied by the crown to pay for expensive foreign wars (The War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War).3. Desacralization – Louis XV’s attempt to crush the judicial opposition through a heavy-handed career official, Rene de Maupeou, turned public opinion against him. Because of his taking a mistress from a lower class, he was reinvented in the popular imagination as a degenerate.
3 I. Background to Revolution C. The American Revolution and Its Impact1. Origins in Taxation2. French Support3. Political ImpactD. Financial Crisis1. Soaring Debt2. Tax Increases3. The Estates GeneralI. Background to RevolutionC. The American Revolution and Its Impact1. Origins in Taxation – When the crown raised taxes to pay for the Seven Years’ War, the colonists raised political questions: Who should represent the colonies and who had the right to make laws for Americans?2. French Support – French volunteers like the Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834) fought alongside American forces. The French crown wanted revenge for the defeat in the Seven Years’ War and supported the American forces financially, which brought the French treasury to the brink of bankruptcy.3. Political Impact – American arguments against tyrannical oppression and for liberty, representative government, a new constitution, and a new social contract seized the imagination of many European thinkers.D. Financial Crisis1. Soaring Debt – The debt soared to finance the American war; by the 1780s, 50 percent of the annual budget went to finance the debt, another 25 percent went to the military and 6 percent was used for the king and his court at Versailles. Less than 20 percent went for the productive functions of the state (transportation and general administration).2. Tax Increases – Since France had no central bank, no paper currency, and no means of creating credit, the only way to deal with the debt was to increase taxes.3. The Estates General – This representative body of the Three Estates was called into session after Louis XVI’s minister of finance revived a general tax on all landed property and the judges of the Parliament of Paris declared this royal initiative null and void.
4 II. Politics and the People, 1789–1791 A. The Formation of the National Assembly1. Delegates for Change2. Demands for Change3. Deadlock over Voting Procedures4. The King’s ResponseB. The Storming of the Bastille1. Economic Hardship2. The Popular UprisingII. Politics and the People, 1789–1791A. The Formation of the National Assembly1. Delegates for Change – One-third of noble representatives were liberals committed to change. The local assemblies of the clergy elected mostly parish priests and not church leaders, and the third estate experienced great popular participation (all male commoners over 24 could vote and they elected lawyers and governmental officials).2. Demands for Change – All the estates agreed that royal absolutism should give way to a constitutional monarchy in which laws and taxes would require the consent of the Estates General. All individual liberties were to be guaranteed by law and economic regulations were to be loosened.3. Deadlock over Voting Procedures – Should the estates meet and vote separately or jointly? The issue came to a head when the Third Estate refused to transact any business until the king ordered the clergy and nobility to meet with them in a single body. They swore the Oath of the Tennis Court, refusing to disband until they had written a new constitution.4. The King’s Response – Vacillating, he urged reforms but also called an army of 18,000 troops toward the capital and reasserted his divine right to rule.B. The Storming of the Bastille1. Economic Hardship – A poor grain harvest in 1788 caused bread prices to soar, triggering bread riots in Paris and a massive rise in unemployment. In Paris, 150,000 out of the 600,000 inhabitants were out of work by July 1789.2. The Popular Uprising – On July 14, several hundred people marched to the Bastille, a medieval fortress to search for weapons and gunpowder. The governor refused to hand over the fortress and the guards killed 98 persons who were trying to enter. The people used cannon to batter the main gate until the prison surrendered. The King, in turn, withdrew his troops from Paris.
5 II. Politics and the People, 1789–1791 C. Peasant Revolt and the Rights of Man1. Peasant Insurrections2. Reforms3. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the CitizenD. Parisian Women March on Versailles1. The Background2. The MarchII. Politics and the People, 1789–1791C. Peasant Revolt and the Rights of Man1. Peasant Insurrections – Peasants began to ransack manor houses, burn feudal documents recording their obligations, undo recent enclosures, reoccupy old common land, seize forests, and refuse to pay taxes.2. Reforms – The National Assembly responded by granting new rights to the peasantry — it ended all of the old noble privileges (exclusive hunting rights, fees for justice, work obligations) and the tithes to the church.3. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen – Guaranteed equality before the law, representative government, and individual freedom: “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.”D. Parisian Women March on Versailles1. The Background – Economic crisis and lack of poor relief from the church, since it had been stripped of its tithes.2. The March – 7,000 desperate women marched from Paris to Versailles, invaded the royal apartments, killed some royal guards, and searched for the queen, Marie Antoinette, probably intending to kill her.
6 II. Politics and the People, 1789–1791 E. A Constitutional Monarchy and Its Challenges1. Reforms by the National Assembly2. No Suffrage for Women3. Political Reforms4. Religious ReformsF. Revolutionary Aspirations in Saint-Domingue1. Social Tensions2. Code Noir (1685)3. Impact of the French Revolution4. ViolenceII. Politics and the People, 1789–1791E. A Constitutional Monarchy and Its Challenges1. Reforms by the National Assembly – Abolition of the French nobility as a legal order, creation of a constitutional monarchy, vesting of lawmaking power in the National Assembly, liberalization of laws on divorce, inheritance, and financial support for illegitimate children.2. No Suffrage for Women – Women were not given the right to vote.3. Political Reforms – The complicated patchwork of historic provinces was replaced with 83 departments of roughly equal size, monopolies, guilds and workers’ association were banned, barriers to trade were abolished.4. Religious Reforms – Religious freedom was granted to Protestants and Jews, the Catholic Church’s property and monasteries were seized and sold to the peasants, a national church was established with priests chosen by voters. Why? The anti-clericalism stemming from the philosophes and the Enlightenment. The result: the condemnation by the Pope and a sharpening of the conflict between the educated classes and the common peoples.F. Revolutionary Aspirations in Saint-Domingue1. Social Tensions – Within and between Europeans (French colonial officials, wealthy plantation owners, merchants, poor immigrants), 500,000 slaves, free Africans and “free coloreds” (those of mixed African and European descent).2. Code Noir (1685) – Granted free persons of color the same legal status as whites, but colonial administrators from the 1760s began to rescind these rights.3. Impact of the French Revolution – Free people of color found in the rhetoric of the French revolution the principles to shore up their eroded legal and political rights. But the National Assembly refused to extend French constitutional safeguards to the colonies, leaving each colony to draft its own constitution and even reaffirming French monopolies over colonial trade.4. Violence – Broke out when Vincent Oge, a free man of color, returned from Paris, raised an army and demanded political rights for all free citizens. His army was defeated, he was tortured, and the National Assembly granted political rights to all free people of color born to two free parents who possessed sufficient property. Violence broke out between the white elite and free coloreds.
7 III. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799 A. Foreign Reactions to the Revolution1. Jubilation2. Mistrusta. Edmund Burke (1729–1797)b. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797)3. The Threat of Foreign InterventionB. The Outbreak of War1. Jacobin Club2. Foreign Invasion3. RevolutionIII. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799A. Foreign Reactions to the Revolution1. Jubilation – Many liberals and radicals saw a triumph of liberty over despotism.2. Mistrusta. Edmund Burke (1729–1797) – Reflections on the Revolution in France — defended inherited privileges and those of the English monarchy. The French reforms would lead only to chaos and tyranny.b. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759–1797) – wrote a blistering response to Burke, demanding equal rights for women, coeducation, economic independence, and the chance to enter politics and business.3. The Threat of Foreign Intervention – European monarchs and royals began to be threatened by the Revolution, particularly after the arrest of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette after they tried to slip out of France. Declaration of Pillnitz: issued by monarchs of Austria and Prussia and professed their willingness to intervene and restore Louis XVI’s rule, if necessary.B. The Outbreak of War1. Jacobin Club – Club where many younger and more radical delegates met. Its members threatened other European nations with war and urged France “to rise to the full height of its mission.”2. Foreign Invasion – Prussia and Austria invaded and initially defeated the French defenders.3. Revolution – The Assembly declared the country in danger, volunteers flocked to the capital, a revolutionary crowd attacked the royal palace at the Tuileries, imprisoned the king, and called for a new National Convention to be elected by universal male suffrage.
8 III. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799 C. The Second Revolution1. Radicalization2. Girondists and the Mountain3. French Invasions4. Counter-Revolutionary Efforts5. The Triumph of the MountainIII. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799C. The Second Revolution1. Radicalization – Angry crowds slaughtered half of the men and women in the prisons of Paris in the so-called September massacres. France was proclaimed a Republic in September 1792.2. Girondists and the Mountain – Two rival groups within the Jacobins. The Girondists (named for a department in SW France) – accepted the guilt of the king but did not wish to have him put to death. The Mountain – led by Robespierre (1758–1794) and wanted the king put to death3. French Invasions – The French forces stopped the Prussians, invaded Savoy, captured Nice, invaded the German Rhineland, and the Austrian Netherlands. They abolished feudalism, attacked the nobility, but also lived off the land.4. Counter-Revolutionary Efforts – By peasants in the Vendee, devout Catholics, royalists, foreign agents5. The Triumph of the Mountain – The Mountain joined with the sans-culottes (the laboring poor and petty traders who did not wear breeches), who invaded the Convention and arrested 29 Girondist deputies for treason. The Convention formed the Committee of Public Safety in April 1793, which was given dictatorial powers to secure the revolution against counter-revolutionary forces.
9 Ask students to discuss how French and English artists understood the French Revolution? 1. How does the French painting portray the revolution?(Answers: the woman looks happy, the artist celebrates the simplicity of her life, she may be poor, but not destitute, she celebrates the revolution by knitting a hat for a sans-culottes. Shows the support of common people for the revolution, shows the revolution gives people a good life.)2. How does the English artist on the right portray the revolution?(Answers: the woman looks insane, bloodthirsty, only wears revolutionary colors, has a bloody dagger in her bonnet. Shows revolution makes people crazed and bloodthirsty.)3. Why would each country see the revolution this way?(Answers: French want to show revolution as benefiting and celebrating the common people, that it makes life better for all. English concerned about spread of revolution, want to make it seem dangerous to the English people.)
10 Ask students to discuss how French and English artists understood the French Revolution? 1. How does the French painting portray the revolution?(Answers: the woman looks happy, the artist celebrates the simplicity of her life, she may be poor, but not destitute, she celebrates the revolution by knitting a hat for a sans-culottes. Shows the support of common people for the revolution, shows the revolution gives people a good life.)2. How does the English artist on the right portray the revolution?(Answers: the woman looks insane, bloodthirsty, only wears revolutionary colors, has a bloody dagger in her bonnet. Shows revolution makes people crazed and bloodthirsty.)3. Why would each country see the revolution this way?(Answers: French want to show revolution as benefiting and celebrating the common people, that it makes life better for all. English concerned about spread of revolution, want to make it seem dangerous to the English people.)
11 III. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799 D. Total War and the Terror1. Planned Economy2. Reign of Terror (1793–1794)3. NationalismIII. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799D. Total War and the Terror – The central government achieved stunning successes, reconquering the Austrian Netherlands and the Rhineland and reestablishing control over the provinces.1. Planned Economy – Collaborating with the sans-culottes, Robespierre fixed prices (particularly for bread), introduced rationing, allowed bakers to make only the “bread of equality” (a brown bread made of a mixture of all available flours), nationalized many small workshops, and told craftsmen what to produce. This was an embryonic emergency socialism.2. Reign of Terror (1793–1794) – Robespierre’s Committee of Public Safety tried “enemies of the people,” executed up to 40,000 men and women, arrested nearly 300,000 additional suspects, banned clubs and political associations of women (they regarded women’s participation in politics as disorderly and a distraction from their proper place in the home), tried to turn French citizens into republican patriots by politicizing everyday life, adopted rational systems of weights, measures and time, and introduced a policy of dechristianization (they sold churches, humiliated clerics and destroyed religious images and statues).3. Nationalism – It drew on the explosive power of patriotism. All citizens were required to participate in the national effort. All unmarried young men were drafted, and by January 1794, the French had about 800,000 soldiers on active duty, a force of unprecedented size that outnumbered its enemies by nearly 4 to 1. French generals used mass assaults at bayonet point to overwhelm the enemy, leading to victories on all fronts by spring 1794.
12 III. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799 E. Revolution in Saint-Domingue1. Action from Below2. Foreign Intervention3. Abolition of SlaveryIII. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799E. Revolution in Saint-Domingue1. Action from Below – Groups of slaves held nighttime meetings, including religious ceremonies with ritual offerings that belonged to “voodoo.” By August 27, 1791, revolts had begun, leading to attacks on sugar plantations. To defeat the slave rebellion, the National Assembly passed a decree enfranchising all free blacks and free people of color.2. Foreign Intervention – The Spanish began to support rebel slaves and bring them into the Spanish army. Toussaint L’Ouverture, a freed slave who had joined the revolt, was named an officer. The British blockaded the colony and captured French territory on the island.3. Abolition of Slavery – The commissioners sent by the National Convention abolished slavery throughout the colony. The National Convention abolished it in all French territories. This measures, along with the switching of sides by Toussaint L’Ouverture, allowed the French to retain the colony. But the Thermidorian reaction in France threatened to undo these gains.
14 III. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799 F. The Thermidorian Reaction and the Directory1. Increased Terror2. Thermidorian Reaction3. The DirectoryIII. World War and Republican France, 1791–1799F. The Thermidorian Reaction and the Directory1. Increased Terror – Robespierre sent many long-standing collaborators to the guillotine. This led, ultimately, to the execution of Robespierre himself.2. Thermidorian Reaction – Respectable middle-class lawyers and professionals who had led the liberal revolution of 1789 reasserted their authority, abolishing economic controls, letting prices rise, restricting the local political organizations in which the sans-culottes had their strength, and easing the antireligious revolutionary stance.3. The Directory – A five-man executive chosen by the assembly. It continued French military expansion abroad (the army lived off the land), but continued war and food rationing. Subsequent elections returned many conservative and monarchist deputies to power: the Directory used the army to nullify the elections, and two days later, Napoleon Bonaparte ended the Directory in a coup d’etat.
15 IV. The Napoleonic Era, 1799–1815 A. Napoleon’s Rule of France 1. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821)2. Seizure of Power3. Domestic PolicyB. Napoleon’s Expansion in Europe1. Foreign Policy Successesa. Treaty of Luneville (1801)b. Treaty of Amiens (1802)2. Efforts at Expansion3. Further ExpansionIV. The Napoleonic Era, 1799–1815A. Napoleon’s Rule of France1. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) – Born in Corsica to an impoverished noble family, became a lieutenant in the French artillery and dedicated revolutionary. He was placed in command of the French forces in Italy, suffered military disasters in Egypt, but returned to France before the fiasco was generally known.2. Seizure of Power – Napoleon was named first consul of the republic. A new constitution consolidating his position was overwhelmingly approved in a plebiscite.3. Domestic Policy – Worked out unwritten agreements with powerful groups in exchange for loyal service. The Napoleonic Code reasserted the equality of all male citizens before the law and absolute security of wealth and private property. He defended the peasants’ gains in land and status acquired during the Revolution, created a centralized state by building a reliable bureaucracy, granted amnesty to 100,000 émigrés in exchange for a loyalty oath, and healed the breach with the church by signing the Concordat with the Vatican in But he also allowed women to lose the political gains made in the 1790s and violated rights of free speech, free elections, and a free press.B. Napoleon’s Expansion in Europe1. Foreign Policy Successesa. Treaty of Luneville (1801) – Austria lost almost all of its Italian possession and German territory on the west bank of the Rhine was incorporated into France.b. Treaty of Amiens (1802) – Britain allowed France to remain in control of Holland, the Austrian Netherlands, the west bank of the Rhine, and most of the Italian peninsula.2. Efforts at Expansion – Napoleon redrew the map of Germany and plotted to attack Britain but his fleet was defeated at the battle of Trafalgar. But he defeated the Austrians and Russians at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805.3. Further Expansion – He abolished the Holy Roman Empire in 1806 and established the German Confederation of the Rhine (a union of 15 states minus Austria, Prussia, and Saxony). He defeated the Prussians in 1806 at the battles of Jena and Auerstadt, which led to concessions from the Russians.
16 IV. The Napoleonic Era, 1799–1815 C. The War of Haitian Independence 1. Civil War2. Napoleon’s Intervention3. The Birth of HaitiD. The Grand Empire and Its End1. The Grand Empire2. Impact3. Invasion of Russia4. Abdication and Final DefeatIV. The Napoleonic Era, 1799–1815C. The War of Haitian Independence1. Civil War – Between the supporters of Andre Rigard (a member of the free colored elite) and L’Ouverture (a freed slave of African descent who accused the other side of adopting the racism of white settlers). L’Ouverture triumphed in the fighting.2. Napoleon’s Intervention – After the colonial assembly under L’Ouverture’s direction drafted its own constitution, reaffirming the abolition of slavery and granting L’Ouverture governorship for life, Napoleon, fearing sedition, ordered an expedition to crush the rebellion.3. The Birth of Haiti – Jean Jacques Dessalines, L’Ouverture’s lieutenant, crushed the French forces after L’Ouverture was arrested and deported to France. Dessalines declared Haitian independence after the first successful slave revolt in history.D. The Grand Empire and Its End1. The Grand Empire – It included an ever-expanding France (Belgium, Holland, parts of northern Italy and much German territory), dependent satellite kingdoms (on whose thrones Napoleon placed the members of his large family), and independent but allied states (Austria, Prussia, Russia). All were expected to support the Continental System, an attempt to halt all trade between Britain and continental Europe.2. Impact – While the peasants benefited from the abolition of feudal dues and serfdom, others chafed at the heavy taxes and regarded Napoleon as a tyrant, not a liberator. This led to a revival of patriotism and revolts (in Spain). The Continental System hurt the French far more than the British, as French artisans and the French middle classes suffered from the loss of trade.3. Invasion of Russia –Prompted by Alexander I’s repudiation of the blockade against Britain. Led to a colossal defeat, particularly while retreating from Moscow4. Abdication and Final Defeat – Napoleon, after abdicating unconditionally, was exiled in Elba but escaped, hoping to replace the aging Louis XVII. He was defeated again and exiled to the island of St. Helena, where he wrote self-serving memoirs.