Chapter 6 French Revolution and Napoleon Section 1 – On the Eve of Revolution



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Chapter 6 French Revolution and Napoleon

Section 1 – On the Eve of Revolution
Riots prevalent in society – rumor of cut wages inspite of profits

Nobles not worried – believe economic reforms would help – wrong, crisis gets worse


July – 1789 – hungry, poor, unemployed Parisians are in revolt
French Society Divided – still in medieval social system

Ancien regime= old order – division of 3 social classes (aka estates)

First estate = clergy

Second estate = nobility

Third Estates = everyone else, majority
Clergy enjoy wealth – church has great influence in Christian Europe – 1789, French priests had every luxury – church owned land = wealth, privilege – owned 10% of land, collected tithes (taxes), did not pay taxes to the govt

Bishops, abbots, high church officials were also nobles – lived very well – parish priests were more humble

Did provide some services – run schools, orphanages, hospitals

During enlightenment, many were critical fo church – idleness of some clergy, church interference in politics and not allowing dissent – many clergy looked down on Enlightenment ideas


Nobles Hold Top Govt Jobs – (2nd estate) – titled nobility – noble knights – in 1600s, nobles lost military power (under Richelieu & Louis XIV) – gained other rights (under royal control) – includes top jobs in military, govt, courts, church

Versaillles – competition for royal appointments while idle courtiers enjoyed entertainment – some live far from power – owned land, but not much income – these “far off nobles” felt pinch of trying to maintain status while prices went up

Many nobles hated absolutism - resent royal buearacracy – used too many middle class people – feared losing privilege, especially freedom from paying taxes
Third Estate is Vastly Diverse – at top = bourgeoisie (middle class) – includes bankers, merchants, manufacturers, lawyers, doctors, journalists, professors

Bulk of third estate is peasants – some prosperous landowners & hired laborers, tenant farmers, day laborers

Poorest = urban laborers – apprentices, journeymen, industrial workers (printing, cloth making) – servants, street merchants, construction – large # of urban poor had no jobs – turn to crime or begging

All members of 3rd estate resented the the other two – social “betters” – some wealthy bourgeoisie could get some titles, but best was still reserved for 2nd and 1st – urban workers made very little money – if prices rose ever so slightly, it could mean hunger

1st & 2nd estates paid almost no taxes – peasants paid taxes on almost everything – technically free, but many owned debts – some dated back to middle ages – some nobles tried to reimpose manor dues (fee for living in manor) –

Enlightenment ideas make people wonder if there’s a better way – mostly in cities – why should 1st & 2nd have privileges when they are not majority – want privileged class to pay their share


Financial Troubles
Years of deficit spending – govt spends more $ than it takes in – creates debt – leads to economic problems

National Debt Soars – Louis XIV left France in debt – many wars – Seven Years War and American Revolution – costs went up in 1700s, lavish court expenses – govt borrowed money to cover expenses

By 1789 – half of govt income was used to pay interest – 1780s, bad harvests – food prices go up – many starving

To solve crisis, govt increases taxes, reduce expenses, or both – nobles and clergy resisted any attempt to tax them
Economic Reform Fails – Louis XV (1715-1774) – all about pleasure, not business, added to debts

Louis XVI (1774-) had good intentions but weak, indecisive – good adviser – Jacques Necker – financial expert – urged reduction in court spending, reform govt, abolish some tariffs on internal trade – proposed taxing 1st and 2nd estates – clergy and high nobles force king to dismiss him


Louis XVI Calls the Estates-General

1788 – things are bad, bread riots, nobles denouncing royal tyranny (afraid of taxes) – Louis calls Estates General for next year


Estates Prepare Grievance Notebooks – cahiers = notebooks – lists of grievances and reforms wanted – some measured – fairer taxes, freedom of the press, regular meetings of EG, etc – others outrageous that show how bad the national mood is quotes pg 214)
Delegates Take the Tennis Court Oath – elected but only property owners were allowed to vote – mostly lawyers, middle class, writers, professionals, etc – familiar with enlightenment philosophes, wanted reform

May 1789 – EG convenes – deadlock over votes – traditional was each estate meeting and voting separately. Each group has one vote -1st and 2nd can outvote 3rd – 3rd Estate wants a vote by person

June 1789 – stalemates – 3rd Estate claims to represent people of France – declares selves to be National Assembly – meeting hall was locked on them, so they meet on a Tennis Court – swore “never to separate and to meet wherever the circumstances might require until we have established a sound and just constitution”

Reform clergy and nobles will join as well, Louis must accept it- gathers troops just in case


Parisians Storm the Bastille – represents the first true challenge – July 14, 1789 – over 800 people, worried about rumors of Royal troops – demanded weapons, gunpowder, etc – commander opens fire –

Bastille becomes a symbol of independence –


6.2 The French Revolution Unfolds

Different phases of revolution – moderate phase of National Assembly (1789-91) creates constitutional monarchy

Radical phase (1792-94) – escalating violence, Reign of Terror

Directory (1795-99) –reaction against extremism

Napoleonic Age (1799-1815) – consolidates changes and create France
Political Crisis leads to Revolt –

1789 – politics and worst famine in history – grain prices soar – 80% of income on bread


Rumors Create the “Great Fear”- stories of attacks on villages, spreads panic – stories that govt troops were seizing crops

Fury unleashed on nobles trying to collect taxes – stole grain from noble warehouses and set fire to manors – peasant anger


Paris Commune Comes to Power – revolutionary center – factions or different groups try to gain power

Moderates under Marquis de Lafayette (Revolutionary War hero) – head of National Guard, mostly middle class militia – response to royal troops – first to take French colors- the tri color - red, white, blue

Radicals – Paris Commune – replaced royal govt of city – mobilize neighborhoods for protests, violence, etc – newspapers and political clubs – each with own points of view – some demand end to monarchy already
National Assembly Acts – August 4 – give up privileged status – Feudalism is abolished – mostly gave up things that were already gone – turned reforms of August 4th into law – key enlightenment goal – all male citizens are equal under the law
Declaration of Rights of Man – late August 1789 – modeled after Dec of Independence – all men were born and remain free and equal in rights – liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression – govts exist to protect natural rights of citizens

All male citizens = equal – equal right ot hold office, with no distinction other than virtues and talents – freedom of religion and taxes according to ability to pay – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

Women disappointed – they’re not covered – Olympe de Gouges demands qual rights in Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen – 1791 – she asks for same rights of women and men – later, women will be resisted for this – many imprisoned and executed

Louis does not want to recognize it – lavish noble parties continue – more anger


Women March on Versailles – Oct 5 – over 6000 women march to Versailles – demanding bread

Anger directed at Marie Antoinette- daughter of Maria Therese of Austria and sister of Joseph II – life of pleasure, extravagance – compassionate to poor, but

Crowd would not go away until King agreed to meet them in Paris – King Louis wore the tricolor – moved to palace at Tuileries – prisoners
National Assembly Presses Onward – follows king to paris – bourgeois members work to make constitution, solve financial crisis – pay off national debt, vote to sieze church lands
Church is Placed Under State Control – very radical move – 1790 Civil Constitution of the Clergy – bishops and priests are elected, salaried officials – ends papal authority over French Catholic church – dissolved convents and monasteries

Many bishops, priests, etc are angry – pope condemns it – many French peasants see it as too far – govt punishes clergy, divides revolution


Constitution of 1791 Establishes New Government – limited monarchy, new legislative assembly has power to make laws, collect taxes, decide issues of war and peace, - members are elected by tax paying male citizens over the age of 25

Replaces old provinces w/ 83 provinces of roughly equal size – abolishes old provincial courts, reforms lawas

Moderate reformers thought that was it – 1791 – new govt, enlightenment goals, equality before the law, ended church interference, power in the hands of men with means and leisure to serve govt
Louis Tries to Escape – Fails – June 1791 – carriage – king and queen disguised

Fails in a town north – used currency w/ king’s face – soldiers escort them back, crowd insults them – many thought him a traitor


Radicals Take Over – all of Europe was watching – Enlightenment supported approved of National Assembly – French experiment meant a new age of justice and equality – European rulers/nobles denounced revolution
Rulers Fear Spread of Revolution – increased border patrols w/ France – stop “French plague” - emigres – nobles, clergy and others who left France – told terrible stories - attacks on property, religion, lives – even enlightened rulers turned on France – too mch

Worry that revolution become more violent – “plots and assassinations” – preventative murder and confiscations – “when ancient opinions and rules of life are taken away… we have no compass to govern us.”


Threats from Abroad – August 1791, Prussia – king and emperor of Austria Joseph II – MA’s brother – issue Declaration of Pilnitz – two monarchs threaten to intervene to protect French monarchs – revolutionaries throught it was real, prep for war
Radicals Fight for Power and Declare War – Oct 1791 – newly elected Legislative Assembly begins – crisis – will only last a year – more economic problems – Assignats drop in value – prices rise rapidly – leads to hoarding and food shortages

Working class men and women – sans culottes – become more radical – long trousers instead of breeches – demand a republic – govt ruled by elected reps instead of monarch

Hostile factions compete for power – Jacobins (radicals) - middle class lawyers and intellectuals, agree with sans culottes – spread of ideas through pamphlets and newspapers to spread republic ideas – opposed were moderate reformers or those who thought enough had been done –
National Assembly Declares War on Tyranny – radicals gain power by April 1792 – take over Legislative Assembly – LA declares war on Austria, then on Prussia, Britain, etc – war vs monarchies – other powers expect to win a huge victory over France – will last on and off from 1792-1815
Chapter 6.3 – Radical Days of the Revolution
War on the border w/ Prussia is bad – Prussian well trained army does well against French not prepared.
The Monarchy is Abolished
Tensions lead to violence – failure of the troops made people accuse the king – thinking he was giving away secrets – Aug 10, 1792 – crowd storms palace at Tuileries and slaughter king’s guards – royals escape to Legislative Assembly

Following month, mob attacks prisons holding nobles and priests – 1200 prisoners slaughtered (including ordinary criminals) – “September Massacre” – bloodthirsty mobs or patriots defending France – mostly ordinary citizens inspired by fury


Radicals Take Control – radicals control assembly – call for new representative body = National Convention – suffrage (right to vote) to all male citizens

Convention votes to abolish monarchy and establish French Republic – made new constitution

Jacobins – attempt to erase anything suggestive of old order – seized lands of nobles and abolished titles

Put Louis XVI on trial as traitor – convicted by a single vote – death sentence – executed January, 1793 – October, Marie Antoinette as well – press celebrated it


Terror and Danger Grip France – France surrounded by Britain, Netherlands, Spain and Prussia – in Vendee region of france, royalists and priests led peasants on rebellion against new government – in Paris, sans culottes demand relief from food shortages and inflation – Convention is divided between Jacobins and Girondins
Convention Creates a New Committee – deal with threats to France – Committee of Public Safety – 12 members – absolute power – prepared for war, taxed everyone, required all citizens to contribute to war effort – also in charge of trails and executions

New recruits march in army – defend France – new armies are starting to win invade Netherlands and Italy – crushed peasants revolts – European monarchs are worried – “freedom fever” into conquered lands


Robespierre “the incorruptible” – Maximilien Robespierre – lawyer and politician rose to leadership of Committee of Public – Jacobin –

Embrassed Rouseau’s idea of general will of the people = legitimate law – promoted religious tolerance, wanted to abolish slavery – popular among sans culottes – believed France could be a “republic of virtue” only through terror – prompt, severe and inflexible justice – no liberty w/o criminals losing their heads


Guillotine Defines the Reign of Terror – Sept. 1793-July 1794 – courts conducted quick trials, spectators hailed death sentences – speech Feb 5, 1794 (pg. 225) – anyone who resisted revolution was suspect

300,000 arrested, 17,000 executed – many mistaken identity or falsely accused – many packed into prisons w/ horrible diseases

Guillotine – invention of Dr. Joseph Guillotin – more humane method than an ax – becomes a symbol of horror

Convention turns on Committee – July 27,1794 – Robespierre arrested, executed the next day – executions slowed down after that


Revolution Enters its Third Stage – moderates move away from radicals – new constitution

Constitution of 1795 – set up 5 man Directory and 2 house legislature elected by male citizens of property – dominated by middle class and professionals

Lasts until 1799

Directory was weak – many were unhappy – made peace with Prussia and Spain – war continues w/ Austria and Great Britain – corruption

Riots suppressed quickly, revival of royalist sentiments – emigres returning to France, as well as Catholics who did not like what happened to church

1797 – election – supporters of constitutional monarchy won majority of legislative seats – chaos

Turn to Napoleon Bonaparte – popular military hero – won many victories against Austrians in Italy – plan was to use him to solidify govt – Napoleon will outwit them all and rule France


Revolution Brings Change – by 1799, France was changed – 10 years of revolution – got rid of old social classes, removed monarchs, brought Chruch under govt control

New symbols – red liberty caps and tricolor flag confirmed liberty and equality of all male citizens – “Citizen” was title, no other titles - symbols of old order were gone, no more powdered wigs


Nationalism Spreads – revolution and war – people have strong sense of identity - people serve France – not nobles or kings – birth of the song La Marseillaise – French national anthem is born
Revolutionaries Push for Social Reform – social reform and religious tolerance – set up state schools to replace religious ones – systems to help poor, old, disabled – abolished slavery (revolt in Haiti)
Chapter 6, Section 4 – Age of Napoleon –
1789 -1815 = Napoleon dominates Europe
Napoleone Rises to Power – born in Corsica (med island) – age 9 sent to France for military career – 20 years old at time of revolution – ambitious –

Favored Jacobins and republican rule – conflicting ideas – figured to take the side that is more aggressive


Victories Cloud Losses – Dec. 1793 – drove British out of fort of Toulon – fought against Austrians in N. Italy – forced Hapsburg emperior to make peace –

Invade Egypt in 1798 – disrupt British trade routes – not a good idea, but hid losses – network of spies and censoring press

1799 – became political – overthrows Directory, set up Consulate – new constitution but calls himself First Consul

1800 – forces Spain to return Louisiana Territory to French control

1802 – Consul for Life
Napoleone Crowns Himself Emperor – 1804 – assumes title of Emperor of the French – invites Pope to coronation in paris – takes crown from Pope’s hand and crowns himself – no power over him

Plebiscite – popular vote by ballot – each step French support him – people had say, but Napoleon was pulling strings – absolute power – democratic despotism


Napoleon Reforms France – strengthen central govt – “order security and efficiency” –

Restorn economic prosperity – controlled prices, encouraged new industry, built roads and canals

Public schools under govt control = well trained military officers

Concordat of 1801 – keep Catholic Church under state control but recognizes freedom –

Encouraged emigrees to return – take oath of loyalty – allowed peasants to keep lands they bought from church/nobles during revolution

Middle class approval

Open jobs to all based on merit

Napoleonic Code = new set of laws – Enlightenment – equality of all citizens under the law, religious freedom, abolition of feudal system – women lose rights, not citizens –male = head of household – values order
Napoleon Builds an Empire – battle – by 1812, Grand Empire will reach largest point

Military tactics – rapid movements, effective use of large army – new plan for each battle – no playbook – believed Napoleon was worth 40000 troops


Map of Europe is Redrawn – annexed (conquered) – Netherlands, Belgium, parts of Italy and Germany – abolish HRE and created 38 state Confederation of the Rhine (part of Germany) – cut Prussia in half – Grand Duchy of Warsaw

Diplomacy of force – placed friends and relatives on thrones – brother Joseph b/c King of Spain – forced treaties on all

French people loved Napoleon
Napoleon Strikes at Britain – GB is outside Napoleon’s grasp – sea power – 1805, Battle of Trafalgar – Admiral Nelson (GB) destroys French fleet

Continental System – closes European ports, blockade, seize neutral ships – will trigger war of 1812 w/ US

British exports decline, navy keeps trade routes open to US and India – hurts Europe more

French armis spread reform, revolutionary govts, end church privilege, abolish nobility, open careers, end serfdom – influences Latin America
Napoleon’s Empire Faces Challenges – 1812, invades Russia

Nationalism – works against Napoleon – spurred French to success, but promoted nationalism in those conquered – saw French as foreign oppressors – resent continental system and French culture

Revolts – national loyalty –

Spain & Austria Battle the French – most Spaniards loyal to former king and church – resistance to French – French are brutal – executions – guerrilla warfare – inflames Spanish nationalism – determined to drive French out

Austria will fight back too – loses



Russian Winter Stops the Grand Army - Tsar Alexander I was once ally many Russians unhappy w/ continental system – also unhappy w/ grand duchy of Warsaw on Russian border – Tsar withdraws support – Napoleon raises large army

1812 – 600000 men, 50000 horses – Russians retreat, trade space for time – scorched earth policy – leave nothing – French are hungry and cold when winter arrives – Napoleon enters Moscow in September – turns back in October

Brutal attacks and brutal cold all the way home – only 20000 men return

Napoleon tries to raise new army –


Napoleon Falls from Powernew alliance of Britain, Austria, Russia, Prussia – 1813 -defeat Napoleonic force at Battle of Leipzig
Napoleon Abdicates – Briefly – step down from power – exile to Elba, island in Med – recognize Louis XVIII, brother of Louis the XVI – agrees to accept new government and land deals – but emigrees return for revenge – unstable – people want Napoleon back

Napoleon escapes – army joins him – Louis XVIII flees, Nap enters Paris in 1815 (March)


Crushed at the Battle of Waterloo – allies reassemble armies to attack Napoleon again – June 1815 – Waterloo in Belgium – Duke of Wellington and General Blucher – one day battle – Napoleon exiled to St. Helena – no return
Napoleon’s Legacy – dies 1821 – impact on France and Europe – France is state w/ constitution and Napoleonic code for law – elections, rights to property, education

Spread ideas of revolution around world – nationalism – Germany will unite, Louisiana Territory to US


Leaders Meet at Congress of Vienna – diplomats – restore stability and order

10 months – Sept 1814 to June 1815 – host Emp. Frances I of Austria –


Strives for Peace – lasting peace through balance of power – protect monarchies – France was accepted as equal partner –

Redraw map of Europe again – ring France w/ strong nations –



Legitimacy – restored monarchs to France (Louis XVIII), Spain, Portugal, Italian city states
Fails to See Traps Ahead – Quadruple Alliance of Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia – pledge to act together to maintain balance of power and suppress revolutionary uprisings - concert of Europe – meetings periodically to discuss problems

Spread of Nationalism is unstoppable and will shake Europe – but no war for 100 years (of that size)

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