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The Loss of Blood Begins

On July 14, 1789, after a daylong hunting

expedition, King Louis XVI returned to his palace in

Versailles. Hours earlier, armed Parisians had

attacked the Bastille. They had cut the chains of the

prison drawbridge, crushing a member of the crowd,

and poured into the courtyard. Chaos ensued as

shots rang out, blood was spattered, and heads

were paraded down the streets on spikes. When

Louis heard the news, he exclaimed, "Then it's a revolt?" "No, sire," replied the duke bearing the news, "it's a revolution!" The French Revolution had begun. Listen to the Witness History audio to hear more about the fall of the Bastille.

I The Conquerors of the Bastille before the ,tel de Ville, painted by Paul Delaroche.

Chapter Preview

Chapter Focus Question What were the causes and effects of the French Revolution, nd how did the revolution lead to the apoleonic era?

Section 1

)n the Eve of Revolution

Section 2

The French Revolution Unfolds

Section 3

Radical Days of the Revolution

Section 4

The Age of Napoleon

Note Taking Study Guide Online

For: Note Taking and Concept Connector worksheets Web Code: nbd-1801


were usually nobles who lived very well. Parish priests, however, often came from humble origins and might be as poor as their peasant congregations.

The First Estate did provide some social services. Nuns, monks, and pr,, ; ran schools, hospitals, and orphanages. But during the Enlighten­ment, philosophes targeted the Church for reform. They criticized the idleness of some clergy, the Church's interference in politics, and its intolerance of dissent. In response, many clergy condemned the Enlight­enment for undermining religion and moral order.

Nobles Hold Top Government Jobs The Second Estate was the titled nobility of French society. In the Middle Ages, noble knights had defended the land. In the 1600s, Richelieu and Louis XIV had crushed the nobles' military power but had given them other rights—under strict royal control. Those rights included top jobs in government, the army, the courts, and the Church.

At Versailles, ambitious nobles competed for royal appointments while idle courtiers enjoyed endless entertainments. Many nobles, however, lived far from the center of power. Though they owned land, they received little financial income. As a result, they felt the pinch of trying to maintain their status in a period of rising prices.

Many nobles hated absolutism and resented the royal bureaucracy that employed middle-class men in positions that once had been reserved for them. They feared losing their traditional privileges, especially their freedom from paying taxes.

Third Estate Is Vastly Diverse The Third Estate was the most diverse social class. At the top sat the bourgeoisie (boor zhwah ZEE), or mic - class. The bourgeoisie included prosperous bankers, merchants, anci4rianufacturers, as well as lawyers, doctors, journalists, and profes­sors. The bulk of the Third Estate, however, consisted of rural peasants.

'.IfltTl LTh ..

The Old Regime This cartoon repre­sents the social order in France before the French Revolution. While a member of the Third Estate is beginning to express anger and rise up, a nobleman representing the Second Estate and a priest, representing the First Estate, recc in surprise and fear.

1. How does the cartoonist portray the Third Estate? Explain why.

2. What were the differences among ti social classes in pre-revolutiona France?


also incensed when nobles, hurt by rising prices, tried to reimpose old manor dues.

In towns and cities, Enlightenment ideas led peo­ple question the inequalities of the old regime. Why, people demanded, should the first two estates have such great privileges at the expense of the majority? Throughout France, the Third Estate called for the privileged classes to pay their share.

Checkpoint What was the social structure of the old regime in France?

Financial Troubles

Economic woes in France added to the social unrest and heightened tensions. One of the causes of the economic troubles was a mushrooming financial crisis that was due in part to years of deficit spending. This occurs when a government spends more money than it takes in.

National Debt Soars Louis XIV had left France deeply in debt. The Seven Years' War and the American Revolution strained the treasury even further. Costs generally had risen in the 1700s, and the lavish court soaked up millions. To bridge the gap between income and expenses, the government borrowed more and more money. By 1789, half of the govern­ment's income from taxes went to paying the interest on this enormous deb' Iso, in the late 1780s, bad harvests sent food prices soaring and broirrit hunger to poorer peasants and city dwellers.

To solve the financial crisis, the government would have to increase taxes, reduce expenses, or both. However, the nobles and clergy fiercely resisted any attempt to end their exemption from taxes.

Economic Reform Fails The heirs of Louis XIV were not the right men to solve the economic crisis that afflicted France. Louis XV, who ruled from 1715 to 1774, pursued pleasure before serious business and ran up more debts. Louis XVI was well-meaning but weak and indeci­sive. He did, however, wisely choose Jacques Necker, a financial expert, as an advisor. Necker urged the king to reduce extravagant court spend­ing, reform government, and abolish burdensome tariffs on internal trade. When Necker proposed taxing the First and Second Estates, how­ever, the nobles and high clergy forced the king to dismiss him.

As the crisis deepened, the pressure for reform mounted. The wealthy and powerful classes demanded, however, that the king summon the Estates-General, the legislative body consisting of representatives of the three estates, before making any changes. A French king had not called the Estates-General for 175 years, fearing that nobles would use it to recover the feudal powers they had lost under absolute rule. To reform-minded nobles, the Estates-General seemed to offer a chance of carrying out changes like those that had come with the Glorious Revolution in England. They hoped that they could bring the absolute monarch und~,e control of the nobles and guarantee their own privileges.

Checkpoint What economic troubles did France face in 1789, and how did they lead to further unrest?

Poorer peasants and city dwellers in France were faced with great hunger as bad harvests sent food prices soaring. People began to riot to demand bread. In the countryside, peasants began to attack the manor houses of the nobles. Arthur Young, an English visitor to France, witnessed these riots and disturbances. Why did the poor attack the nobles' homes?


44 Everything conspires to render the present period in France critical: the [lack] of bread is terrible: accounts arrive every moment from the provinces of riots and disturbances, and calling in the military, to preserve the peace of the markets." —Arthur Young, Travels in France During the Years 1787-1789

and to meet wherever the circumstances might require until we have established a sound and just constitution."

When reform-minded clergy and nobles joined the Assembly, Lo XVI grudgingly accepted it. But royal troops gathered around Paris and rumors spread that the king planned to dissolve the Assembly.

Checkpoint What actions did delegates of the Third Estate take when the Estates-General met in 1789?

Parisians Storm the Bastille

On July 14, 1789, the city of Paris seized the spotlight from the National Assembly meeting in Versailles. The streets buzzed with rumors that royal troops were going to occupy the capital. More than 800 Parisians assembled outside the Bastille, a grim medieval fortress used as a prison for political and other prisoners. The crowd demanded weap­ons and gunpowder believed to be stored there.

The commander of the Bastille refused to open the gates and opened fire on the crowd. In the battle that fol­lowed, many people were killed. Finally, the enraged mob broke through the defenses. They killed the commander and five guards and released the handful of prisoners who were being held there, but found no weapons.

The Bastille was a symbol to the people of France rep­resenting years of abuse by the monarchy. The storming of and subsequent fall of the Bastille was a wake-up call to Loi XVI. Unlike any other riot or short-lived protest, this ent posed a challenge to the sheer existence of the regime. Since 1880, the French have celebrated Bastille Day annually as their national independence day.

Checkpoint What was the significance of the storming of the Bastille?

Parisians storm the Bastille on July 14, 1789.

Progress Monitoring Online

For: Self-quiz with vocabulary practice Web Code: nba-1811

Terms, People, and Places

1. What do many of the key terms, people, and places listed at the beginning of the section have in common? Explain.

Npte Taking

2. Reading Skill: Recognize Multiple Causes Use your completed chart to answer the Focus Question: What led to the storming of the Bastille, and ' 'fore, to the start of the French RWolution?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking

3. Compare Point of View How did the views of society differ between the nobles and peasants in 1789 France?

4. Identify Point of View Suppose that

you are Jacques Necker. Write a para 

graph that explains how your economic

reform program will benefit France.

5. Express Problems Clearly What issues arose when Louis XVI called the Estates-General in 1789?

• Writing About History

Quick Write: Make a Cause-and-Effect Organizer Choose a specific event from this section and write it in the center of a

piece of paper. List causes above it and

effects below it. This will give you the details to include in your cause-and-effect essay. You may need to do additional research to gather more details.

Chapter 6 Section 1 215

Paris Commune Comes to Power Paris, too, was in turmoil. As the capital and chief city of France, it was the revolutionary center. A variety of factions, or dissenting groups of people, competed to gain power. Mc. ates looked to the Marquis de Lafayette, the aristocratic "hero of two worlds" who fought alongside George Washington in the American Revolution. Lafayette headed the National Guard, a largely middle-class militia organized in response to the arrival of royal troops in Paris. The Guard was the first group to don the tricolor—a red, white, and blue badge that was eventually adopted as the national flag of France.

A more radical group, the Paris Commune, replaced the royalist gov­ernment of the city. It could mobilize whole neighborhoods for protests or violent action to further the revolution. Newspapers and political clubs—many even more radical than the Commune—blossomed everywhere. Some demanded an end to the monarchy and spread scandalous stories about the royal family and members of the court.

Checkpoint What caused French peasants to revolt against nobles?

The National Assembly Acts

Peasant uprisings and the storming of the Bastille stam­peded the National Assembly into action. On August 4, in a combative all-night meeting, nobles in the National Assembly voted to end their own privileges. They agreed to give up their old manorial dues, exclusive hunting rights, special legal status, and exemption from taxes.

Speeral Privilege Ends "Feudalism is abolished," announced the proud and weary delegates at 2 A.M. As the president of the Assembly later observed, "We may view this moment as the dawn of a new revolution, when all the burdens weighing on the people were abolished, and France was truly reborn."

Were nobles sacrificing much with their votes on the night of August 4? Both contemporary observers and modern historians note that the nobles gave up nothing that they had not already lost. Nevertheless, in the months ahead, the National Assembly turned the reforms of August 4 into law, meeting a key Enlightenment goal—the equality of all male citizens before the law.

Declaration of the Rights of Man In late August, as

a first step toward writing a constitution, the Assembly issued the Decla­ration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. The document was modeled in part on the American Declaration of Independence, written 13 years earlier. All men, the French declaration announced, were "born and remain free and equal in rights." They enjoyed natural rights to "liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression." Like the writings of Locke and the philosophes, the constitution insisted that governments exist to protect the natural rights of citizens.

Tl ieclaration further proclaimed that all male citizens were equal before--the law. Every Frenchman had an equal right to hold public office "with no distinction other than that of their virtues and talents." In addi­tion, the declaration asserted freedom of religion and called for taxes to

Vocabulary Builder

proclaimed—(proh KLAYMD) vt. announced officially

French Reaction to the American Revolution

The Marquis de Lafayette

(honored on ribbon at right)

and Thomas Paine were

leading figures in both the

American and French

revolutions. Lafayette, a

French nobleman and

military commander, helped

the Americans defeat the

British at Yorktown. He

admired the American

Declaration of Independence

and American democratic

ideals. With these in mind, Lafayette wrote the first draft of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

Thomas Paine was a famous American patriot and writer whose ideas in Common Sense had a great influence on the American Revolution. During the French Revolution, Paine moved to France. There, he defended the ideals of the revolution and was elected to serve in the revolutionary government.

Identify Central Issues How did the American Revolution influence the French Revolution?

z1V rti7L AD

Analyzing Visuals

Paris in Revolution This map shows major landmarks of the French Revolution. Read below about the events that occurred at each landmark. Why was Paris

the revolutionary center in France?

June 5, 1789 Delegates of the Third Estate take the Tennis Court Oath in Versailles.

O July 12, 1789 Desmoulins incites
a crowd at the Palais Royal, a

famous meeting place. July 14, 1789 Crowd meets at City Hall, the traditional protest place,

before storming the Bastille.

O July 14, 1789 Parisians storm the Bastille.

O Oct. 1789 Political clubs (Cordeliers
and Jacobins) established in Paris.

Oct. 5, 1789 Women march from Paris to Versailles.

O Sept. 3, 1791 National Assembly produces the Constitution of 1791.

I Aug. 10, 1792 Mob invades the Tuileries palace after meeting at City Hall.

we won't have to go so far when we want to see our king," they sang. Crowds along the way cheered the king, who now wore the tricolor. In Paris, the royal family moved into the Tuileries (TWEE luh reez) palace. For the next three years, Louis was a virtual prisoner.

Checkpoint How did the National Assembly react to peasant •41,,isings?

The National Assembly Presses Onward

The National Assembly soon followed the king to Paris. Its largely bour­geois members worked to draft a constitution and to solve the continuing financial crisis. To pay off the huge government debt—much of it owed to the bourgeoisie—the Assembly voted to take over and sell Church lands.

The Church Is Placed Under State Control In an even more radical move, the National Assembly put the French Catholic Church under state control. Under the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, issued in 1790, bishops and priests became elected, salaried officials. The Civil Constitu­tion ended papal authority over the French Church and dissolved con­vents and monasteries.

Reaction was swift and angry. Many bishops and priests refused to accept the Civil Constitution. The pope condemned it. Large numbers of French peasants, who were conservative concerning religion, also rejected the changes. When the government punished clergy who refused to support the Civil Constitution, a huge gulf opened between revolution­aries in Paris and the peasantry in the provinces.

The Constitution of 1791 Establishes a New Government The National Assembly completed its main task by producing a constitution. The istitution of 1791 set up a limited monarchy in place of the abso­luteIrionarchy that had ruled France for centuries. A new Legislative Assembly had the power to make laws, collect taxes, and decide on issues

emperor of Austria—who was Marie Antoinette's brother—issued the Declaration of Pilnitz. In this document, the two monarchs threat­ened to intervene to protect the French monarchy. The declaration ma ave been mostly a bluff, but revolutionaries in France took the threat seriously and prepared for war. The revolution was about to enter a new, more radical phase of change and conflict.

Radicals Fight for Power and Declare War In October 1791, the newly elected Legislative Assembly took office. Faced with crises at home and abroad, it survived for less than a year. Economic problems fed renewed turmoil. Assignats (As ig nats), the revolutionary currency, dropped in value, causing prices to rise rapidly. Uncertainty about prices led to hoarding and caused additional food shortages.

In Paris and other cities, working-class men and women, called sans-culottes (sanz koo LAHTS), pushed the revolution into more radical action. They were called sans-culottes, which means "without breeches," because they wore long trousers instead of the fancy knee breeches that upper-class men wore. By 1791, many sans-culottes demanded a republic, or government ruled by elected representatives instead of a monarch.

Within the Legislative Assembly, several hostile factions competed for power. The sans-culottes found support among radicals in the Legislative Assembly, especially the Jacobins. A revolutionary political club, the Jacobins were mostly middle-class lawyers or intellectuals. They used pamphleteers and sympathetic newspaper editors to advance the repub­lican cause. Opposing the radicals were moderate reformers and political officials who wanted no more reforms at all.

Th( 'ational Assembly Declares War on Tyranny The radicals

soaMeld the upper hand in the Legislative Assembly. In April 1792, the war of words between French revolutionaries and European monarchs moved onto the battlefield. Eager to spread the revolution and destroy tyranny abroad, the Legislative Assembly declared war first on Austria and then on Prussia, Britain, and other states. The great powers expected to win an easy victory against France, a land divided by revolu­tion. In fact, however, the fighting that began in 1792 lasted on and off until 1815.

Checkpoint How did the rest of Europe react to the French Revolution?

Terms, People, and Places

1. For each term, person, or place listed at the beginning of the section, write a sentence explaining its significance.

Nate Taking

2. Reading Skill: Identify Supporting Details Use your completed outline to

er the Focus Question: What politi­carand social reforms did the National Assembly institute in the first stage of the French Revolution?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking

3. Make Comparisons How was the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen similar to the American Declaration of Independence?

4. Summarize What did the Constitution of 1791 do, and how did it reflect Enlightenment ideas?

5. Draw Inferences Describe what hap­pened to France's constitutional monar­chy because of the French Revolution.

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For: Self-quiz with vocabulary practice Web Code: nba-1821

Writing About History

Quick Write: Create a Flowchart As you prepare to write a cause-and-effect essay, you need to decide how to organize it. To do this, create a flowchart that shows the effects of the French Revolution on other countries. Do you want to write about the events in chronological order? By the importance of each event?


The Engine of Terror

A new execution device called the guillotine was introduced during this phase of the revolution. With its large, diagonal blade that came crashing down from a great height, it cut off heads swiftly and accurately. Thousands of people were sent to the guillotine and executed without trial. In his novel A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens describes daily life during the Reign of Terror:

"Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrils [carts that carried condemned persons to the guillotine] carry the day's wine to La Guillotine.99

Focus Question What events occurred during the radical phase of the French Revolution?

Marie Antoinette transported by cart to the guillotine

Radical Days of the Revolution


• Understand how and why radicals abolished the monarchy.

• Explain why the Committee of Public Safety was created and why the Reign of Terror resulted.

• Summarize how the excesses of the Convention led to the formation of the Directory.

• Analyze how the French people were affected by the changes brought about by the revolution.

Terms, People, and Places

suffrage Napoleon

Robespierre nationalism

Reign of Terror Marseilles guillotine

Npte Taking

Reading Skill: Recognize Sequence Make a timeline like the one shown here. Add dates and important events as you read this section.

Aug. 1792

IV^', invades

Sept. Jan. July

1792 1793 1794In 1793, the revolution entered a radical phase. For a year, France experienced one of the bloodiest regimes in its long history as determined leaders sought to extend and preserve the revolution.

The Monarchy Is Abolished

As the revolution continued, dismal news about the war abroad heightened tensions. Well-trained Prussian forces were cutting down raw French recruits. In addition, royalist officers were deserting the French army, joining emigres and others hoping to restore the king's power.

Tensions Lead to Violence Battle disasters quickly inflamed revolutionaries who thought the king was in league with the ene­mies. On August 10, 1792, a crowd of Parisians stormed the royal palace of the Tuileries and slaughtered the king's guards. The royal family fled to the Legislative Assembly, escaping before the mob arrived.

A month later, citizens attacked prisons that held nobles and priests accused of political offenses. About 1,200 prisoners were killed; among them were many ordinary criminals. Historians dis­agree about the people who carried out the "September massa­cres." Some call them bloodthirsty mobs. Others describe them as patriots defending France from its enemies. In fact, most were ordinary citizens fired to fury by real and imagined grievances.

Radicals Take Control and Execute the King Backed by Paris crowds, radicals then took control of the Assembly. Radicals

Chapter 6 Section 3 223

Terror and Danger Grip France

By early 1793, danger threatened France on all sides. The country was at war 'th much of Europe, including Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, and Prua. In the Vendee (vahn DAY) region of France, royalists and priests led peasants in rebellion against the government. In Paris, the sans-culottes demanded relief from food shortages and inflation. The Conven­tion itself was bitterly divided between Jacobins and a rival group, the Girondins.

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