French Revolution Notes

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WHEN WAS THE FRENCH REVOLUTION?
1789
May
Estates General
* Louis 16th faced with bankruptcy called for a meeting of the Estates General in 1788 * The actual meeting was set for May
* They had the traditional right to authorize taxation
* Consisted of representatives from each of the three estates * Louis hope to find new methods to RAISE MONEY and to solve the FINANCIAL CRISIS * Representatives were chosen, collect complaints

complaints:
* Financial reform
* Reforms in the whole social system
* Aims of the estates:
Nobles:
* Nobles refused to give up their tax exemption
* Nobles forced the king to agree to their proposal- CALLING OF THE ESTATES GENERAL * Hoped to WEAKEN kings power and STRENGTHEN their own
* Hope rested on the belief : representatives of the first and second estate would come together to be able to dominate the assembly BUT IT WAS CHALLENEGED BY THE MIDDLE CLASS
Third Estate:
* Gain equal status
* Demand widespread reforms
* Most of their representatives were lawyers, professional men * Demonstrate their discontent with the ancient regime
* Disputes over methods of voting
* not met since 1614
* TRADITIONALLY- three estates had equal numbers of representatives and each state had one vote. - NOW they realize- they would be unable to carry out reforms. the first and second estate would join together and use their two votes to defeat the one vote * Reformers made two proposals

1. The third estate should have the same number of representatives as the other two states combined -KING AGREED IN 1788 2. Each individual representative should have one vote in the Esates- general June

Tennis court Oath
* Commoners [third estate] met three days after the National assembly * King refused to allow them to meet in their usual meeting hall * Met at a nearby tennis court
* Led by Mirabeau
* Representatives took an oath
* They would not separate until France had a constitution [set of rules in which the country is governed] * King declared the ‘National Assembly’ as illegal but they resisted * More people from the first and second estate joined the national assembly * Began the task of creating a constitution for France

known as the “CONSTITUENT assembly”
* They tried to put into practice the ideas set out in the Declaration of rights

July
Storming of the Bastille
* Creation of the national assembly was a great excitement in Paris * With shortage of bread in the city- the excitement led to unrest among the third estate * Rumours: king was assembling troops at Versailles to suppress the national assembly * Revolutionary leaders encouraged people to arm themselves * Crowds of people rushed around looking for weapons

* 14th July: One crowd attacked and captured the Bastille [old fortress used as a prison] fortress only had 7 prisoners
* Bastille was a symbol of royal despotism
* Capture showed the KING WAS NO LONGER IN CONTROL
Revolt of the peasants
* Peasants were angry about the failure of Establish-General to abolish feudal dues * RUMOURS: nobles were sending soldiers to attack the peasants * The peasants went around the homes of the nobility to attack their homes * Destroyed property and burned records of feudal obligations * Feudal increased nobles began to fear for their lives and escaped * Constituent Assembly reacted to those violence by abolishing ALL remaining feudal practices and privileges * No more: serfs, feudal courts, feudal dues and obligations * ALL NOBLES WERE TO PAY TAXES

* Payments to the church were abolished

August
The declaration of the Rights of Man
* 27th of August
* The assembly issued the declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen * Stated general principles on which the new government would be based...
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