AP European History
Chapter 18—The French Revolution Outline
Section One: The Crisis of the French Monarchy
Section Overview could no longer command sufficient taxes to finance itself.
King Louis XVI often came into conflict with the aristocracy and clergy who received exemptions from certain taxes as he wanted to start taxing them to increase the royal treasury.
Louis XVI was forced to call the Estates General, which had not met since 1614, in order to search for solutions to the economic crisis.
The Monarchy Seeks New Taxes
Financial woes of the eighteenth century
Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)left France deeply in debt on the eve of revolution, the interest and payments on the royal debt amounted to just over one-half the entire budget
French support for the American Revolution against Britain further deepened the financial difficulties for France.
Paradoxically, France was a rich nation with an impoverished government.
Stand-off between the monarchy and aristocracy
Louis XIV firmly established absolutism in France but following the Seven Years’ War, the aristocracy in France challenged the monarchy’s power.
Financial advisors to the crown insisted that the king tap the wealth of the nobility but these efforts were blocked by the Parlement of Paris and provincial parlements.
Louis XV and Louis XVI lacked the character and political skills to resolve the dispute with the aristocracy.
Rene Maupeou (1714-1792)
Louis XV appointed him chancellor in 1770
His goal was to break the power of the parlements and tax the nobility.
Maupeou disbanded the parlements and exiled the members to remote parts of the country.
Louis XV unexpectedly died from smallpox in 1774 and his successor, Louis XVI, reestablished the parlements and fired Maupeou in order to gain popular support from the people of France.
Unpopularity of the Monarchy the merchant and professional classes saw the economic policies of the monarchy as anathema to economic growth once restored, the parlements repeatedly quoted enlightenment ideas and accused the monarchy of tyranny the sexually scandalous life of Louis XV was known throughout France the wife of Louis XVI, Marie Antionette, gained a reputation for sexual misconduct and personal extravagance
Perception of the French monarchy compared to other monarchs at the time
Frederick II of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria genuinely saw themselves, and were seen by their subjects, as patriotic servants of the state.
George III of Britain was known for his model character and as seeking the economic improvement of his nation.
Jacques Necker (1732-1804)
Swiss banker who was appointed as the new director-general of finances in France in 1781
Necker released a report on the financial situation in France
He found that a large portion of royal revenues went to pensions for aristocrats and other royal court favorites. this revelation angered the aristocracy and Necker was soon forced out of office.
Calonne’s Reform Plan and the Assembly of Notables
Charles Alexandre de Callone (1734-1802)
Served as minister of finance
Calonne’s plan encourage internal trade by removing internal barriers lower some taxes like the gabelle on salt and to transform the corvee, peasants’labor services on public works, into money payments reduce government regulation of grain wanted to establish new local assemblies made up of landowners to approve new taxes; in these assemblies, voting would depend on how much land one owned rather than social status
Calonne meets with the Assembly of Notables (1787)
This was a committee nominated by the royal ministry from the upper ranks of the aristocracy and the church.
The notables distrusted Calonne and called for the reappointment of Necker
The notables refused to implement taxes on the nobles and clergy and explained that only the Estates General could give the monarchy approval to institute new taxes.
Deadlock and the Calling of the…