French Revolution

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FRENCH REVOLUTION

Q.1) Explain the following terms:-
a) Guillotine
Ans) The guillotine is a device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person is beheaded. It was named after Dr .Guillotine who invented it.
b) Subsistence crisis
Ans) the population of France rose from about 23 million in 1715 to 2 8million in 1789.This led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains. Production of grains could not keep pace with the demand. So the price of bread which was the staple diet of the majority rose rapidly. Most workers were employed as labourers in workshops whose owners fixed their wages. But wages did not keep pace with the rise in prices so the gap between poor and rich widened .Things became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest. This led to subsistence crisis:- an extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood is endangered.

c) Declaration of the rights of man and citizen
Ans) The Constitution of 1791 began with the declaration of the rights of man and citizen. Rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before the law, were established as 'natural and inalienable' rights, that is, they belonged to each human being by birth and couldn’t be taken away. it was the duty of the state to protect each citizen's natural rights.

d) Directory
Ans) The fall of Jacobin govt. allowed the wealthier middle classes to seize power. A new constitution was introduced which denied the vote to non prosperous sections of the society.it provided for two elected legislative councils. These then appointed a directory an executive made up of five members. This was meant as a safeguard against the concentration of power in a one man executive as under the Jacobins.

Q.2) Explain the ideas put forward by the following philosophers in their books? Ans) (a) Jean Jacques Rousseau- Rousseau proposed a form of government based on a social contract between people and their representatives in his book 'The Social Contract'.

(b) Montesquieu-in the 'Spirit of the laws, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the govt between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. This model of government was put into force in the USA after the thirteen colonies declared their independence from Britain.

(C) John Locke- In his 'Two Treatises of government', Locke sought to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the monarch.

Q-3) What were the taxes that the middle class had to pay during the Old Regime? Ans) The two types of taxes were:-
1. Tithes: - A tax levied by the church, comprising one-tenth of the agricultural produce. 2. Taille: - All the members of third estate had to pay taxes to the state. These included a direct tax, called Taille,and a number of indirect taxes which were levied on articles of everyday consumption like tobacco or salt.

Q.4) Write a short note on 'Reign of Terror'?
Ans) The period from 1793-94 is referred to as the Reign of Terror. Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment.
All those whom he saw being the 'enemies' of the republic-ex nobles and clergy, members of his own party who did not agree with his methods-were arrested, imprisoned and then tried by a revolutionary tribunal.

If the court found them guilty they were guillotined.

The govt. issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on wages and prices. Meat and Bread were rationed.
Peasants were forced to transport their grain to the cities and sell it at the prices fixed by the government. The use of more expensive white flour was forbidden ,all citizens had to eat plain d'egalite.

Instead of Monsieur(sir) and Madame(madam)all French men and women were henceforth citoyen and citoyenne. Churches were shut down and their buildings were converted into barracks or offices.

Q.5) Describe the legacy of French Revolution for the people of the world during 19th and 20th century?
Ans) The...
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