The French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte Please answer the questions on the worksheet as we go. Answers need not be in complete sentences.
French Society in the 18th Century • First Estate: The Clergy • 130,000 people • Owned 10% of land • Exempt from taxes • Divided between those of Noble birth and those of Common birth.
French Society in the 18th Century • Second Estate: The Nobility • 350,000 people • Owned 30% of land • Exempt from taxes • Held important government offices • Wanted to gain more power over the king
French Society in the 18th Century • Third Estate: The Common People • 27 million people • Great divisions of wealth and education • 75% = peasants (owned 40% of land) • Still had obligations to local lords (like mill taxes) • 15% = artisans, shopkeepers, workers in cities • Upset by increasing cost of living • 10% = middle class (“bourgeoisie”) (owned 20% of land) • Merchants, bankers, lawyers, doctors, government office holders, etc. • Felt excluded from power of nobles (even though they were wealthy)
Problems pour Le France • Louis XVI’s France faced some severe problems… • They had just lost land to England in the Seven Years’ War • 1787 and 1788 saw terrible harvests • This led to a food shortage • Marie Antoinette supposedly said: “Let them eat cake” • shows how out of touch the ruling class was. • …and a decline in production of other goods • …and unemployment • …all leading to over one-third of the people living in poverty… • …and near bankruptcy for the government!
The Estates General • The Estates-General was an old form of decision-making where each of the three estates sent representatives to vote on major policies. • Louis XVI called for the first meeting of the E-G since 1614! • But, the third estate complained that they were under-represented. • So, Louis XVI allowed them to elect twice the normal number of representatives. • But, each estate was still only allowed one vote…
The National Assembly • Met on May 5, 1789. • First Issue: Two Options for Voting Structure • Each “order” gets 1 vote • so 1st and 2nd estate would dominate over the 3rd • Each delegate gets 1 vote • Would allow commoners with help of a few liberals in 1st and 2nd estate to have control. • When the first estate opposed the second plan, the third estate declared themselves to be the “National Assembly” and began to write a new constitution.
Storming of the Bastille • Louis XVI prepared to use troops against the National Assembly. • So, Parisian commoners decided to arm themselves by raiding the armory (and prison) known as the Bastille. • Bastille Day, July 14th, is the French version of July 4th. • Lead to peasant uprisings all over France.
Destroying the Ancien Regime • The National Assembly began to change the laws: • Abolished rights of landlords & tax exemptions for nobles and clergy. • Catholic leaders were now elected by the people and paid by the state. • So the Catholic Church opposed the Revolution…
Declaration of the Rights of Man • The National Assembly adopted “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” (1789) • “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” • Rights include “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” • “Law is the expression of the general will; all citizens have the right to concur personally or through their representatives in its formation; it must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes.” • Freedom of religion, speech, etc.
The Reign of Terror • The National Assembly abolished the monarchy and executed Louis XVI. • All the other monarchies in Europe united to crush the French Revolution. • So, the National Assembly’s “Committee on Public Safety” took over. Led by Maximilien Robespierre, they formed a huge (650,000 soldiers) nationalist “people’s army” to fight for their freedom. • They also killed nearly 16,000 French people who disagreed with some of the “revolutionary” policies. • Eventually, Robespierre was guillotined as well for taking the “Reign of Terror” too far.
Napoleon Bonaparte • In 1799, a 30-year old French Brigadier General, Napoleon Bonaparte led a coup and established a new government—the “Consulate.” • He appointed himself “First Consul,” and later Consul for life. • In 1804 he had himself crowned “Emperor.” • Policies: • Unified laws. Kept most revolutionary ideas. • Government jobs based on talent, not birth. • Made peace with Catholic Church (but didn’t return their lands).
Napoleon’s Empire • Napoleon and his army eventually conquered or forced alliances with most of Europe. • In many countries he set his relatives up as rulers. • He spread revolutionary ideals to the lands he conquered: • Equality before the law, religious tolerance, meritocracy, etc.
Napoleon’s End • He couldn’t defeat Britain—they’re navy beat him at Trafalgar (1805) • Tried to ban trade with Britain (“the Continental System”) • Russia pulled out of the Continental System • Napoleon invaded in 1812 • Russians kept retreating, burning their own villages and even Moscow. • Only 40,000 of Napoleon’s 600,000 troops made it home. • 1814: Paris captured, Monarchy restored, Napoleon sent to prison. • 1815: Napoleon escapes! • Raises army again, but defeated by British and Prussians at Waterloo.