Essay on French Revolution Notes 3

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French Revolution Study Guide

Old Order – Frances hereditary class system - class born into, remain in.
Estate – all French people belonged to one of three. Determined legal rights and status
First Estate – Clergy
Catholic clergy (religious leaders)
No taxes
Lived in great style
Second Estate – Nobles
Old royalty, land owners
@2% of pop. Own 25% of land, don’t pay taxes
Special social and political privileges (high positions in govt, church, army)
Lived in great style
Income from peasants that lived and worked their land
Third Estate – Others
Bourgeoisie – merchants, bankers, artisans, no power, high taxes
Working class – low wages
Peasants(farmers) 80% of population
Pd. ½ of all taxes (tithe to church, feudal dues to nobles, land tax to king)
97% of all French
Why no taxes for rich/powerful? – kept them on King’s side
How did third estate feel? – 97% of population against the King

Factors of the Revolution
Financial problems
Taxes – peasants pay most of taxes, nobility and clergy exempt
Gov. gave $6 million to American Colonists to fight against England in Revolutionary War
50% of national budget paid for loans to fight England
25% paid for military expenditures
6% paid for parties, clothing, expensive lifestyle of the king and queen Crop failure – leads to starvation
Growing inflation due to debt
John Lock’s ideas of natural rights to life, liberty, property
Lock’s ideas of the right to overthrow government if not protecting your rights
Weak Leader
Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette
Very Young (19/18yrs)
Make bad decisions
Social Classes –
1st and 2nd have special privileges
3rd estate is 97% of population
Bourgeoisie (middle class) of 3rd Estate pay most of the taxes, lead the revolution

Estates General
Meeting of 3 estates to make laws
Called by Louis XVI to get 1 & 2 Estates to pay taxes/raise $
1st time met in 175 yrs (1614) each estate gets one vote (third estates calls for individual vote)
1 & 2 band together to block 3rd Estate
3rd Estate leaves and forms the National Assembly

3 Types of citizen action - taken by French Citizens during the revolution to change their government
1. Social Protests – citizens demonstrate against a government action or policy they want to change
2. Political Action – citizens write or change a law to change a government policy or action
3. Revolution – citizens attempt a radical change in their government usually through an overthrow of the existing government

National Assembly – Political Action meet on Tennis Court
Tennis Court oath - vow to not leave until write a constitution for France = Tennis Court Oath
King orders 1st and 2nd estate to join National Assembly
Why? Fear of what 3rd Estate might accomplish
3rd Estate now has majority vote
King gathers troops for his protection – makes people think he’s going to break up the National Assembly

Storming of the Bastille – July 14, 1789 (like our 4th)- Revolution
Bastille – jail for political prisoners & where weapons held
Bastille symbolizes injustices of Monarchy
3rd Estates - storm jail and let prisoners out
Symbolic beginning of the French Revolution, and Frances Independence Day

Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizens (Part of French Constitution Today) – Political Action
Purpose to establish equality in France and abolish the class system
Incorporated Enlightenment ideas
Montesquieu’s ideas of separation of powers
Rousseau’s belief in the will of the majority
Locke’s beliefs in natural rights
Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence
Louis XVI rejects declaration

March on Versailles – Social Protest
6000 angry women march on Versailles
Protesting against food shortages and price of bread
Want king to move to Paris and accept the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and National Assembly
Louis XVI arrested and forced to leave Versailles for Paris

Constitution of 1791 – Political Action
Made France a Constitutional Monarchy
Unicameral legislature (one house legislature) called