The Age of Revolutions The French Revolution
Remember? • Louis XV • “The Beloved” • Corrupt morals • Overspending, bankrupting his country • Not reforming his government – allowing the bluebloods to do whatever they wanted.
Louis XV • Died of smallpox in 1774. • Last words: “After me, comes the flood.”
Louis XVI: The last “real” king of France • The wrong king for the wrong time. • Became king when only 14. • Well educated • Indecisive • Wanted to keep the old absolutism • Ancien Regime • Honest, but not up to the tasks needed to be done. • Not willing to rule like an absolute king, but not willing to share the power.
Louis le Denier (the Last) • Had a very sheltered childhood with his grandmother. • Kept away from the “corrupting influences” of his grandfather at Versailles. • Parents neglected the younger son. • Raised until he was eleven years old to be a Catholic priest. • Preferred working on locks and had an interest in astronomy.
Louis the Last • Didn’t participate in the Las Vegas-like atmosphere of Versailles. • But didn’t try to stop or control any of the “activities” at Versailles. • No efforts to reform.
Louis XVI’s Wife: • Marie-Antoinette • The last born of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria (Hapsburg). • After 16 children, her parents were not that active in her life.
Marie Antoinette: Growing Up • Didn’t get that good of an education. • Didn’t have that much supervision. • Wasn’t really encouraged to “grow up.” • Watched over by her mother’s “vice police” and letters from her mother about how a princess should behave. • Gave Marie Antoinette a dislike for older and wiser women.
Marie Antoinette • Grew up knowing she’d be married to the King of France.
Louis and Marie Antoinette: Disaster in the Making • Imagine turning a 14 year old girl loose as a queen in a place like Versailles. • Imagine that girl without a lot of intelligence and sense. • Imagine that girl who had had a very restrictive upbringing now loose in Versailles. • Imagine a husband that doesn’t really know how to handle her.
Louis and Marie Antoinette • NOT a good marriage. • Married in 1770 • No children until 1778.
Marie Antoinette • She was failing in her primary duty of being a queen. • No children! • A Hapsburg who didn’t have children? • NEVER!
Marie Antoinette’s Reaction to her “failure” • More excessive living! • Three day gambling sprees. • More elaborate clothes • More costume parties • More opera performances • More $$$$$$$$$$ that France didn’t have. • Scenes from the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette
Louis was unable and unwilling to stop Marie Antoinette’s spending • He didn’t particularly like her. • He retreated more into doing things away from his wife’s party scene. • Studying languages • Making locks • Looking at the stars • Raising more taxes to pay for his wife’s “pleasures.”
Marie Antoinette’s worst “folly” • Petit Trianon • Her “farmhouse” away from Versailles. • She took this getaway and tried to make it mimic how she thought peasant people lived.
While people in France starved: • A grown up play house. • Marie Antoinette would have her ladies in waiting dressing up like milkmaids. • Brought peasants in to be a “village” for her. • Had it so servants weren’t seen in the house. • Trap doors would open and tables loaded with food would “appear.”
Intervention comes in 1777 • Marie Antoinette’s second brother Maximilian comes to visit. • Offered marriage counseling to both Louis and his sister. • Letters between Maximilian and his oldest brother Joseph II of Austria tell us what the problems were between Marie Antoinette and Louis.
1778: Motherhood • Marie Antoinette and Louis had four children – only one survived childhood and the coming Revolution. • Marie Antoinette became a model of motherhood. • But her reputation was too fixed with people. • While she tamed down some of her wild ways – the merry-go-round of Versailles continued.
Can you imagine what John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson thought about France when they arrived in 1777 to get France to support our Revolution? … or Abigail?
Financial Troubles for Louis XVI • DEFICIT SPENDING = government spending more than it takes in. • By Louis XVI – France was BROKE. • Too many wars • Too much spending on the good life • Bad harvests and not spending any money on the people had no improvements happening.
Any leader’s choices when debt is too much … • Raise Taxes • Reduce Spending • Or both. • But the nobles and Church don’t want to pay taxes! • Marie Antoinette doesn’t want to trim her spending either!
King Louis’ “lifeline” • Jacques Necker • Became finance minister. • Proposed reducing extravagant spending at Versailles. • Reforms of government to help people. • Make the First and Second Estate pay taxes.
1788: Necker is dismissed! • The nobles and Church screamed against royal “tyranny” that wanted them to pay taxes. • Bad harvests, high prices, and high taxes meant the peasants didn’t have enough food. • Food riots start happening
On the Eve of Revolution1789 • France was divided into three social classes (estates) during the Middle Ages. • First Estate • Second Estate • Third Estate
First Estate: The Clergy • The Catholic Church enjoyed enormous wealth and privilege. • Owned 10% of France and collected taxes from the people. • Paid no taxes to the king. • Upper churchmen lived like princes. • Lower churchmen did offer some social services: • Schools, hospitals, orphanages.
The Second Estate • The Nobility • Paid no taxes • Some competed for royal appointments while others were idle aristocrats. • Were still collecting rents from the lands many hadn’t seen for three generations.
The Third Estate • Everyone else in France. • Didn’t matter if you were a successful merchant, shopkeeper, sailor, farmer, peasant, doctor, beggar. • You paid the taxes for everyone else. • BOURGEOISIE: the upper class of the Third Estate. • Bankers, lawyers, doctors, etc.
The Three Estates used to advise kings • Kind of a “parliament” – where they would all talk. • Louis XIII had abolished the Estates General and they had not met for 175 years. • But now King Louis XVI needed to know how to get more money.
The Estates General: 1789 • King Louis XVI was truly shocked and mystified by all the rage that people had when they came to the Assembly. • He just wanted more money.
The First Estate Wants • Keep their tax-free status. • Some reform-minded clerics wanted the government to give them money to help their projects for the poor.
The Second Estate Wants: • Nobles who had been influenced by the Enlightenment and the American Revolution wanted to end absolute monarchy and put the monarch under their control. • The Marquis de Lafayette, a Frenchman who served with our American Revolution, who now wanted reforms in France
The Third Estates Wants: • Came with Cahiers (kah YAYZ) – notebooks with all their grievances. • Fairer taxes • Freedom of the press • Regular meetings of the Estates General
Third Estate Wants: • Take taxes off leather so shoemakers could afford leather. • Servants wanting the right to leave service of an unfair employer. • If the servants stayed – they wanted some sort of social security for their old age. • Get rid of the “vampires” and “Bloodsuckers”? • Who? • TAX COLLECTORS!
Delegates arrive • Armed with lessons from the PHILOSOPHES of the Enlightenment – they wanted more than the end of the financial crisis. • They wanted reform!
Louis XVI: Wrong Move • Decided that only propertied men could vote.
How to Vote? • Usually the Estates met separately and voted and then the three came together to share their votes. • 2-1 splits usually. Those would probably favor the king’s wants. • But the Third Estate said that since they were the largest population – their votes should count for 95% of France.
June 1789: The Tennis Court Oath • Louis locked the doors of the meeting hall and posted guards. • The reform-minded nobles, clergy and Third Estate went to the nearest big place – a tennis court – to meet.
The Tennis Court Oath • They all agreed to never separate and meet whenever circumstances might require until they had established a sound and just constitution.
1789: The Rights of Man • Modeled on the Declaration of Independence and the English Bill of Rights. • Called for freedom and equality of all males before the law.
Louis XVI’s reaction? • Reluctantly accepted it. • Still didn’t get how mad people were. • Didn’t know what to do – and let others take the lead. • BIG MISTAKE!
Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams in 1776: • My Dear Friend, • “Either you ride the horse of this revolution, or it will ride you.”
The Storming of the Bastille • July 14, 1789 • Rumors that the king was going to take over Paris and turn the guns on the people. • 800 Parisians went to the Bastille – a prison and where they thought weapons were kept. • Meant to take the weapons, so they couldn’t be used against them.
The Storming of the Bastille • The Captain of the fortress refused to let the crowd in and ordered his men to fire on them. • They broke through the defenses and killed the captain and five guards. • No weapons were found and only a few prisoners. • And they deserved to be in prison!
Bastille Day • French Liberation Day, celebrated every July 14. • The Bastille was everything the French hated about royal abuse. • This is where the French Revolution starts.
The French Revolution Unfolds:THE GREAT FEAR • Rumors that French troops were attacking villages and towns. • Rumors of French troops taking food from the poor during the terrible famine in 1789. • Rumors that the nobles meant to reimpose old taxes on the poor peasants. • None were true!
Inflamed by famine and fear the peasants react! • Burned chateaus • Burned records so there were no tax records to go on. • Murders of unjust nobles started. • Murders of unjust clergy began as well.
The Rise of the Commune • Paris was also in turmoil. • A Guard of troops loyal to the National Assembly are put together by the Marquis de Lafayette. • First to wear the “tricolor” • Became the symbol of France.
Estates General is now called the National Assembly • Vote out the nobility on August 4, 1789 • The Church is placed under State Control • Abolished papal control. • Priests served the state, not the church. • Constitution in 1791 establishes a new government.
Where are Louis and Marie Antoinette in all this? • October 5, 1789: Angry and hungry women in Paris marched 13 miles in the pouring rain to Versailles demanding to see the king. • They wanted bread.