The French RevolutionI.The Coming of the RevolutionII.The Destruction of the Old RegimeIII.The First Stages of the French RevolutionIV.The National Assembly and the Rights of ManV.The National Assembly and the ChurchVI. A New Stage: Popular RevolutionVII.The French RepublicVIII.The Reign of TerrorIX.The Legacy of the Second French RevolutionX.From the Terror to BonaparteXI.Napoleon and Imperial France
The French Revolution: An Overview•First stage: peaceful, constitutional (1789–92)•Second stage: radical stage (The Terror, 1792–94)•The Directory: 1794–99•Napoleon: 1799–1815
The Coming of the Revolution•Long-term causes of the revolution–An issue of class conflict?–A new elite blurring the boundaries between aristocracy and middle class•The three estates: membership based on status–First Estate: clergy–Second Estate: nobility–Third Estate: everyone else
The Coming of the Revolution: Causes•Causes–Social boundaries between noble and non-noble ill defined•Nobility of the sword (ancient)—nobility of the robe (purchased office)•From bourgeois wealth to noble wealth–50,000 new nobles created between 1700 and 1789•Most noble wealth was proprietary—tied to land–Influx of new wealth from banking, shipping, slave trade, and mining–Identified with the nobility, not the common people–Prosperous members of the Third Estate aired their frustrations in public debate
The Coming of the Revolution: Causes–The articulation of discontent and the Enlightenment•Locke, Voltaire, and Montesquieu appeal to discontented nobles and middle class–Noble leaders as defenders of national political community threatened by the king and his ministers•Economic reform and the physiocrats (economic reformers)–Simplify tax system–Free the economy from mercantilist restrictions–Government should lift controls on price of grain•French economy was ailing–General price rise created hardship for the peasantry and urban workers–Poor harvests of the 1780s–1788: 50 percent of income of the poor went to purchase bread; by 1789, it was 80 percent–Reduced demand for manufactured goods, increasing unemployment–1787–89 urban unemployment as high as 50 percent–The peasantry•Owed obligations to landlord (rents), church (tithe on farm produce), and state•Direct and indirect taxation a heavy burden•Maintain public roads (the corvée)
Prerevolutionary PropagandaPolitical cartoons in late-eighteenth-century France commonly portrayed the Third Estate as bearing the burden of taxation while performing the bulk of the nation’s productive work.Can one detect the power of certain Enlightenment thought behind these forms of popular critiques?
The Coming of the Revolution: Causes•Inefficient tax system•Taxation tied to social status and varied from region to region (some areas were subject to a much higher rate than others)•Paying off Louis XVI’s debts, including ones incurred by participation in the American Revolution•Louis wished to improve the lot of the poor, abolish torture,