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AP European History


Anatomy of Revolution
Objective: To examine the French Revolution in chronological detail in order to assess its evolution, ultimate outcomes, successes and failures. This will also help in the comparing and contrasting of the French Revolution, a seminal event, to other events called revolutions.

This is our essential question. Keep it in mind as you read, learn and we discuss the revolution.
The French Revolution 1789-1815 cannot be considered a revolution because it was largely a failure.
Assess the validity of this statement.

Directions: We will discuss and complete various activities in class while you are simultaneously reading Chapter 21 at home. Note that instead of chapter analysis you will complete the 3 parts of the assignment that are given in detail on page 6 of this packet.
Packet: This packet contains assignments pgs. 1-7 and materials that provide information on the French Revolution for you use as we learn, pgs. 8-12. In addition, you will be provided, via email and posted on teacher website, 4 different PowerPoint presentations that offer additional information and clearly lay out the chronology of the revolution. Use them to help you as you read and complete the assignments. The packet is yours to write in but for the various assignments, you will want to complete them on separate sheets of paper.

Reading & Notes:

  • Tuesday 12/3 – Chapter 21 pgs. 695-699

  • Wednesday 12/4 – Chapter 21 pgs. 699-704

  • Thursday 12/5 – Chapter 21 pgs. 704-708

  • Friday 12/6 – Chapter 21 pgs. 708-712

  • Monday 12/9 – Chapter 21 pgs. 712-714

  • Tuesday 12/10 – Chapter 21 pgs. 714-723 – read Listening to the Past on pgs. 722-23

Anatomy of Revolution assignment (see pg. 6 of packet):

  • Part 1 Conditions – DUE Monday 12/9/13

  • Part 2 Course of the Revolution – DUE Wednesday 12/11/12

  • Part 3 Results – DUE Monday 12/16/13

To begin:

  • What is the difference between ‘reformation’ and ‘revolution’?

  • Read Historians Look at the French Revolution on pg. 2 of packet and answer the following question:

  • What explanation do the various historians give for calling the French Revolution a revolution?

  • Do you find their arguments persuasive? Why or why not?

Historians Look at the French Revolution

A History of Western Society, McKay, Hill & Buckler

The last years of the eighteenth century were a time of great upheaval. A series of revolutions and revolutionary wars challenged the old order of monarchs and aristocrats. The ideas of freedom and equality, ideas that have not stopped shaping the world since that era, flourished and spread. The revolutionary era began in North America in 1775. Then in 1789 France, the most influential country in Europe, became the leading revolutionary nation. It established first a constitutional monarchy, then a radical republic, and finally a new empire under Napoleon. The armies of France also joined forces with patriots and radicals abroad in an effort to establish new governments based on new principles throughout much of Europe. The world of modern domestic and international politics was born.

Europe, A History, Norman Davies

There is a universal quality about the French Revolution which does not pertain to any of Europe’s many other convulsions. Indeed, this was the event which gave the word ‘Revolution’ it full, modern meaning: that is, no mere political upheaval, but the complete overthrow of a system of government together with its social, economic, and cultural foundations. Nowadays the history books are filled with ‘revolutions’. There have been attempts, for example, to turn England’s Civil War into the ‘English Revolution’, and still more attempts to upgrade the Russian Revolution, the Scientific Revolution, the Military Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the American Revolution, even, in recent years, the Sexual Revolution. Not all of them deserve the title.

But in 1789 there was reason to believe that changes were taking place which would affect people far beyond France and far beyond mere politics. Paris was the capital of a dominant power, and the centre of an international culture. The revolutionaries had inherited the Enlightenment’s belief in the universal abstraction of man. They felt that they were acting on behalf of all people everywhere, pitting themselves against universal tyranny. Their most noble monument was not some parochial pronouncement on the rights of the French but a ringing declaration on the Rights of Man....

Modern Europe, John Merriman

The French Revolution mounted the first effective challenge to monarchical absolutism on behalf of popular sovereignty. The creation of a republican government in France and the diffusion of republican ideals in other European countries influenced the evolution of European political life long after the Revolution ended. Issues of the rights of people, the role of the state in society, the values of democratic society, notions of “left” and “right” in political life, the concept of the “nation at arms,” the place of religion in modern society and politics, and the question of economic freedom and the sanctity of property came to dominate the political agenda. They occupied the attention of much of France during the revolutionary decade of 1789-1799. The political violence of that decade would also be a legacy for the future.

The Western Heritage, Kagan, Ozment & Turner

In the spring of 1789, the long-festering conflict between the French monarchy and the aristocracy erupted into a new political crisis. This dispute, unlike earlier ones, quickly outgrew the issues of its origins and produced the wider disruption known as the French Revolution. Before the turmoil settled, small-town provincial lawyers and Parisian street orators exercised more influence over the fate of the continent than did aristocrats, royal ministers, or monarchs. Armies commanded by people of low birth and filled by conscripted village youths emerged victorious over forces composed of professional soldiers led by officers of noble birth. The very existence of the Roman Catholic faith in France was challenged. Politically and socially neither France nor Europe would ever be the same after these events.

Western Civilization, Jackson J. Spielvogel

Historians have long assumed that the modern history of Europe began with two major transformations — the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. Accordingly, the French Revolution has been portrayed as the major turning point in European political and social history when the institutions of the “old regime” were destroyed and a new order was created based on individual rights, representative institutions, and a concept of loyalty to the nation rather than the monarch. This perspective does have certain limitations, however.

Not all of the decadent privileges that characterized the old European regime were destroyed in 1789, however. The revolutionary upheaval of the era, especially in France, did create new liberal and national political ideals, summarized in the French revolutionary slogan, “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity,” that transformed France and were then spread to other European countries through the conquests of Napoleon. After Napoleon’s defeat, however, the forces of reaction did their best to restore the old order and resist pressures for reform.

A History of the Modern World, Colton & Palmer

In 1789 France fell into revolution, and the world has never since been the same. The French Revolution was by far the most momentous upheaval of the whole revolutionary age. It replaced the “old regime” with “modern society,” and its extreme phase it became very radical, so much so that all later revolutionary movements have looked back to it as a predecessor to themselves....

Eighteenth Century Warfare: The Aristocracy Plays At War

Objective: To understand warfare in the eighteenth century and how it contributed to the political upheavals of the late century.

Background: Throughout the eighteenth century European powers frequently fought among themselves as well as with the Turks and overseas. The fighting often achieved very little, but states recognized the need to participate in hostilities in order to earn a place at the diplomatic meetings held to terminate the wars; in the course of the century, essential changes occurred in the distribution of power and prestige. War, as the arm of diplomacy, became the game of the military aristocracy.

The development of an organized military hierarchy, as well as the grandeur of uniforms and battlefield maneuvers, reflected the aristocratic urge to manipulate a controlled world. A bellicose subculture dominated by an officer class that viewed war as a game of strategy appeared. Centralized state power had made this possible. More efficient military machines could be collected and supplied, and the worst effects of war could be lessened. Professional armies engaged in combat, supposedly avoiding civilian populations; in spite of their well-orchestrated strategy and reluctance to lose trained soldiers, the aristocracy did not conduct wars in hermetically sealed isolation. They took their toll, especially in the Low Countries, Germany and Austria.

High taxation, pillage, and enforced conscription touched lives beyond the neat confines of distant battlefields. Still, a veneer of gentlemanly sport covered eighteenth-century warfare and distanced it from the horrific experience of modern total war. Although aristocrats used society for their own ends and saw war as a means of personal exultation, their game was criticized by enlightened thinkers who pointed to the need for rulers who would avoid such uselessness. Economists supported this attack and theorized that more wealth would be produced by a world held together by harmony. But the peculiar aristocratic tone of eighteenth-century war, which began many modern military techniques and developments, was not changed by such criticisms; it came to an end only with a new vision of war created by the French Revolution and Napoleon.




Major Battles/Generals

Treaties and Results

War of the League of Augsburg


Louis XIV’s territorial ambitions

Prince Eugene of Savoy


-- France, England, Holland, and Spain

-- Restoration of conquest

War of the Spanish Succession


Maintenance of the balance of power

Bienheim, 1704

Ramilies, 1706

Turin, 1706

Oudenarde, 1708

Malplaquet, 1709
Eugene of Savoy

Duke of Malborough


-- England: Newfoundland, Hudson Bay, Nova Scotia, Gibraltar, the Asiento and confirmed Protestant succession

-- Philip V recognized as King of Spain

-- Prussia: Title of King

-- Savoy received Sicily

-- Spain and France were never to be united

War of the Austrian Succession


-- Recognition of Maria Theresa as ruler of Habsburg dominions

-- Frederick the Great’s invasion of Silesia

-- Various claimants to Austria

Battle of Fontenoy, 1745
Frederick the Great

Marshall de Saxe


-- Reciprocal restoration of all conquests

-- Silesia belongs to Prussia

Seven Years War


-- Hostility between Austria and Prussia

-- Diplomatic Revolution

-- Austria alliance with Russia vs. Prussia

Battle of Rossbach, 1757

Battle of Kunersdorf, 1759

Frederick the Great


-- Prussia retained Silesia

-- Return to status quo

French and Indian War (North American phase of Seven Years War)


Boundary disputes in North America

Battle of Quebec
Wolfe and Montcalm


-- French ceded Canada and Cape Breton Island

-- England restored Pondichery and Chandernagor in India

-- Spain ceded Florida to England

1. J Russell Major, The Western World, 1966

In the first place, the productive part of the population had to be left unmolested so that it could pay taxes. Officers were drawn primarily from the nobility, while seamen and privates were usually vagabonds, drunkards, and unemployed persons who were seized in taverns and elsewhere and compelled to serve. Prussia and Russia conscripted some peasants, but on the whole, economically productive people were not directly affected by war. Except for the officers, troops were not expected to show any loyalty to the causes for which they fought. Indeed, they were often recruited abroad to reduce still further the disrupting effects of war on the economy. the British hired German troops to fight in the American Revolution, and Frederick the Great forcibly enlisted prisoners of war in his own army. To camp near a large woods, to conduct a night march, to send out a foraging party, or to grant sailors shore leave was to invite wholesale desertion. Sailors had to be kept aboard ship and soldiers had to march in close order by day and carry their supplies with them. As a result, armies could not travel more than five days’ march from their base of supplies, military objectives had to be limited, and wars tended to degenerate into sieges.

In the second place, armies were so expensive that generals hesitated to risk pitched battles. the current military doctrine was not to destroy the enemy forces but to secure every possible advantage by maneuver. Even Frederick the Great could not escape this type of warfare, and he owed his military victories primarily to his skillful maneuvers and his well-trained officer corps.

Civilian suffering was curtailed by the limited objectives of eighteenth-century warfare, by the careful discipline required from officers to prevent desertion, and by the absence of the fanaticism that had accompanied the religious wars of the previous period. the rules of warfare that were accepted by the various participants were also a factor, and unless one was so unfortunate as to be caught in a besieged city, he could hope to escape most of the horrors of war — except taxes. It was largely to collect more taxes that many kings attempted to curtail the privileges of the aristocracy, provinces, towns, and other special groups.

2. Gerritt P. Judd, A History of Civilization, 1967

...the use of foreign mercenaries was common. Between a quarter and two-thirds of the troops in western Europe’s armies were foreigners, sometimes kidnapped and forced into service. Many Irish, for example, hampered at home by religious and other restrictions, sought their fortunes in the military services abroad as far east as Russia. An estimated 450 thousand Irish served, at one time or another, in the French army 1691-1745. In addition, the use of Swiss mercenaries was widespread. In general the troops were degraded and miserable. Savage punishments were usual in all armies....

Largely to cut the heavy expenses involved it was customary to campaign only in the summer. In Prussia the recruits were on leave for nine months of the year. Much of the campaigning itself was on a small scale with small objectives, such as taking a fortified place. In effect, war became a stylized and somewhat ridiculous game of maneuver and counter-maneuver, as if the generals were playing regimental chess. It even became usual to invite ladies to watch the final assault of a fortress, with the troops attacking to the music of violins. The same formality prevailed on the open battlefields. Opposing troops, dressed in gaily colored uniforms, advanced in precise formation, pausing to fire from time to time upon command, as if they were doing a martial minuet. One of the prime functions of the officers was to prevent desertion of their mistreated men.

3. John Childs, Armies and Warfare in Europe: 1648-1789, 1982

“Now it is frequent to have armies of 50,000 men of a side stand at bay within view of one another and spend the whole campaign in dodging, or, as it is genteelly called, observing one another and then march off into winter quarters.”

4. Frederick the Great

“I always choose my officers from the nobility, for nobility nearly always has a sense of honor... if a noble loses his honor he is ostracized by his family; whereas a commoner who has committed some fraud can continue to run his father’s business.”

5. Frederick the Great

“Captains accepted bribes from men who wanted to go on leave or marry and sold discharges at exorbitant rates... and many officers amassed a considerable fortune from their quasi-legal activities.”

6. Ulrich Braeker, Prussian private

“On the march every man thrust into his pack — it goes without saying on enemy territory — whatever he could lay his hands on —... It was every man for himself and if you didn’t somebody else will. No use protesting as long as the officers let it go on.”

7. St. Germain

“It would undoubtedly be desirable if we could create an army of dependable and specially selected men of the best type; but, in order to make an army, we must not destroy the nation; it would be destruction to the nation if it were deprived of its best elements. As things are, the army must inevitably consist of the scum of the people and of all those for whom society has no use. We must therefore rely on military discipline to purify and mold the mass of corruption and turn it into something useful.”

8. Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War, 1983

“One in four Frenchmen deserted from the army in the War of the Spanish Succession, and from 1717 to 1728 there were 8,500 deserters for every 20,000 men in the Saxon infantry. In the Seven Years’ War 80,000 men absconded from the Russian army, 70,000 from the French, and 62,000 from the Austrian.”
9. Maurice de Saxe

“I do not favor pitched battles, especially at the beginning of war, and I am convinced that a skillful general could make war all his life without being forced into one.”

10. Henry Lloyd, a Welsh general in the Russian army

“The great and important parts of war, as well in the formation as in the execution, depend on the knowledge of the country; and wise generals will always choose to make them the foundation of their conduct rather than trust to the uncertain issue of battle.”

11. Frederick the Great

“War cannot be conducted without encountering decisive battles that determine the fate of the kingdom.”

12. Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War, 1983

“In 1708, Marlborough’s train of 1,800 heavy guns and 20 siege mortars required 16,000 horses and 3,000 wagons to move it and covered thirty miles of highway. Thus although Malborough was preeminently a seeker of battles, in ten campaigns he conducted 30 sieges and fought four major actions in the open field.”

13. Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War, 1983

“The consequent growth in central authority had allowed an increase in the size of armies, from the average of 40,000 in the mid-seventeenth century to 100,000 by 1710. But there had been no proportionate population growth, no concomitant increase in the food supply to feed these armies and no consequent improvement in communications to hasten their march.”

14. Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War, 1983

“By the 1770’s, a Prussian infantry regiment of 2.200 men was accompanied by 2,400 noncombatants and 1,200 draft horses.”

15. Emperor Joseph II

“War is a frightful thing, what with the destruction of the fields and villages, the lamentation of the poor peasants, the ruin of so many innocent people and, for myself, the disturbances I experience for days and nights on end.”

16. Michael Howard, War in European History, 1976

“We open our campaigns with armies that are neither adequately recruited nor properly paid. Whether they win or lose, both sides are equally exhausted. The National Debt increases, credit sinks, money runs out. Navies can find no more sailors, armies no more soldiers. Ministers on each side feel it time to negotiate. Peace is made. A few colonies or provinces change hands. Often the cause of the conflict remains unresolved and each party remains sitting among its ruins and busies itself with paying off its debts and sharpening its weapons.”

16. J.S. Corbett, England in the Seven Years War, 1970

“In a memorandum drawn up in 1765, the French Foreign Minister, Choiseul, explained how he sought to extricate France from the war against Britain with as little loss as possible. He secured the signing of the Family Compact with Spain in 1761 and the entry of Spain into the war on the side of France the next year.”

16. Leonard W. Cowie, Documents and Descriptions in European History, 1967

“I then proposed to your Majesty two games to play together: one to keep up the negotiation with England in such a way that if it did not succeed this time it would serve from its simplicity as a base for the general negotiation which must take place if Pitt fell before the influence of Bute. At the same time — I entered into an exchange of views with Spain, so devised that if we were to make peace that Crown would find it to its interest to support us in the negotiation, and guarantee the stability of the treaty. If, on the contrary, we failed in this, my plan was that Spain should be drawn into the war, and that France would be able to profit by the events which this new complication might produce, and repair her losses. Finally, if the event proved unfortunate, I had in view that the losses of Spain would lighten those which France might suffer.”

Directions: Study the chart and read the selections on the nature of eighteenth century warfare. Prepare an answer to the following questions. You must make a claim, then find at least three supporting points from the chart or readings [document source].

  1. How were eighteenth-century wars different from previous and later wars?

  2. To what extent were eighteenth century wars a game?

  3. Who benefited from eighteenth-century wars?

Cause and Effect

  1. Identify and explain 2 ways the eighteenth-century wars contributed to the political revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century in the British colonies and in France?

Anatomy of Revolution
Directions: Use the information on the back of the sheet to complete the assignment. You will need to use your textbook and STAR notes and any additional resources you want to help you do the assignment. Please write it on a separate sheet of paper. You may use bullet points but make sure to write in complete sentences when asked. Note the different due dates for each piece.

Procedure: The Anatomy of a Revolution is broken down into 3 parts follow the instructions for each part as written.
Part 1 Conditions – DUE Monday 12/9/13

  • For each of the 10 conditions you need to identify at least 1 specific events/people/time in France that matches the description

    • You need to specifically list the event(s) and clearly explain how they match the description. Use key terms as often as possible. Write this in complete sentences.

    • You may look before the 18th century as well as the entire 18th century leading up to 1789

    • Do not limit your responses to certain people/events/classes such as just the philosophes and the Enlightenment. Look at as broad a range of P.E.R.S.I.A.W.T. as you can and as is appropriate.

Part 2 Course of the Revolution – DUE Wednesday 12/11/13

  • For each of the 10 steps of a revolution you need to identify at least 1 specific events/people/time in France that matches the description

    • You need to specifically list the event(s) and clearly explain how they match the description. Use key terms as often as possible. Write this in complete sentences.

    • This is the short term so you should be looking at the events just before 1789 and then up through Napoleon.

    • Do not limit your responses to only huge events. Make sure to look for smaller details that may be appropriate. This adds nuance to your analysis.

Part 3 Results – DUE Monday 12/16/13

  • This whole part should be done in complete sentences.

  • Answer each of the 4 questions completely. So make sure you read them carefully.

  • Take some notes on the prompt below in preparation for class discussion:

The French Revolution 1789-1815 cannot be considered a revolution because it was largely a failure.
Assess the validity of this statement.
Anatomy of Revolution

(based on a theory by British historian Crane Brinton first published in 1938)

Conditions Which seem to be Present as Causes of major Revolutions. (pre 1789)

  1. People from all social classes are discontented.

  2. People feel restless and held down by unacceptable restrictions in society, religion, the economy or the government.

  3. People are hopeful about the future, but they are being forced to accept less than they had hoped for.

  4. People are beginning to think of themselves as belonging to a social class, and there is a growing bitterness between social classes.

  5. The social classes closest to one another are the most hostile.

  6. The scholars and thinkers give up on the way their society operates.

  7. The government does not respond to the needs of its society.

  8. The leaders of the government and the ruling class begin to doubt themselves. Some join with the opposition groups.

  9. The government is unable to get enough support from any group to save itself.

  10. The government cannot organize its finances correctly and is either going bankrupt or trying to tax heavily and unjustly.

The Course that Revolutions seem to Take: (1789-1815)

  1. Impossible demands made of government which, if granted, would mean its end.

  2. Unsuccessful government attempts to suppress revolutionaries.

  3. Revolutionaries gain power and seem united.

  4. Once in power, revolutionaries begin to quarrel among themselves, and unity begins to dissolve.

  5. The moderates gain the leadership but fail to satisfy those who insist on further changes.

  6. Power is gained by progressively more radical groups until finally a lunatic fringe gains almost complete control.

  7. A strong man emerges and assumes great power.

  8. The extremists try to create a "heaven on earth" by introducing their whole program and by punishing all their opponents.

  9. A period of terror occurs.

  10. Moderate groups regain power. The revolution is over.

Results: Examine the results of the revolution with these questions in mind:

  1. Assess the extent to which the ideals of the revolution change as its leadership changed? Were the original goals of the revolution achieved? At what point? Were these achievements conserved?

  1. How might the events of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic period (1789–1815) lead people to challenge Enlightenment views of society, politics, and human nature?

  1. Which social classes gained most from the revolution? Which lost? What impact did women, in particular, have on the revolution and how did the revolution impact them?

4. How was the old political, social, and economic order of society [Ancién Régime] changed as a result of the revolution?

The French Revolution: Time Line

May 5, 1789

Estates-General convene at Versailles

June 17, 1789

Third Estate declares itself the National Assembly

June 20, 1789

Oath of the Tennis Court

July 14, 1789

Storming of the Bastille

July-August 1789

The Great Fear in the countryside

August 4, 1789

National Assembly abolishes feudal privileges

August 27, 1789

National Assembly issues Declaration of the Rights of Man

October 5, 1789

Parisian women march on Versailles, force royal family to return to Paris

November 1789

National Assembly confiscates church lands

July 1790

Civil Constitution of the Clergy establishes a national churc.h Louis XVI reluctantly agrees to accept a constitutional monarchy

June 1791

Arrest of the royal family while attempting to flee France

August 1791

Declaration of Pillnitz by Austria and Prussia

April 1792

France declares war on Austria

August 1792

Parisian mob attacks palace and takes Louis XVI prisoner

September 1792

September Massacres National Convention declares France a republic and abolishes monarchy

January 1793

Execution of Louis XVI

February 1793

France declares war on Britain, Holland, and Spain Revolts in provincial cities

March 1793

Bitter struggle in the National Convention between Girondists and the Mountain

April-June 1793

Robespierre and the Mountain organize the Committee of Public Safety and arrest Girondist leaders

September 1793

Price controls to aid the sans-culottes and mobilize war effort


Reign of Terror in Paris and the provinces

Spring 1794

French armies victorious on all fronts

July 1794

Execution of Robespierre Thermidorean Reaction begins


The Directory


End of economic controls and suppression of the sans-culottes


Napoleon defeats Austrian armies in Italy and returns triumphant to Paris


Austria, Great Britain, and Russia form the Second Coalition against France


Napoleon overthrows the Directory and seizes power

French Revolution

Main Themes:

1. The French Revolution passed through distinct stages, each of which can be found in every major revolution (** See Anatomy of Revolution**).

2. Old regimes overthrown by revolution are not only corrupt and bankrupt, but incapable of defending themselves.

3. Revolutions occur in societies in which poverty is a factor, but not always extreme poverty.

4. A revolution will continue until the needs of all segments of society are met.

5. The French Revolution was a collision between a decadent aristocracy and a rising middle class.

I. Causes of the Revolution:

A. Failure of Enlightenment despots in France to satisfy all social classes.

B. Dissatisfaction with the Ancién Régime.

C. High taxation of the poor to support the luxurious lifestyle at Versailles and of the upper clergy.

D. Social class unrest --> vast social inequality (Three Estates); no real social mobility.

E. The government isolates itself from the problems of the poor – particularly addressing high bread prices.

F. War debts --> eventual financial collapse.

G. Ideas of the Enlightenment.

II. Phases of the Revolution:

A. Absolutism --> Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

B. Limited Constitutional Monarchy --> Legislative Assembly (middle class is in charge).

-- Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Republican Phase
-- Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

-- Constitution of 1791.

C. First French Republic --> National Convention

-- king and queen executed.

-- France engaged in foreign wars against the First Coalition.
D. Radical phase --> "Reign of Terror" under Robespierre

-- Committee of Public Safety.

-- Jacobins.

-- Sans-culotte (revolt of the lower classes in the cities).

E. Thermidorean Reaction --> Directory

-- weak, with little support outside of the military.

-- government in the hands of the property owners who did nothing to relieve the problems of the lower classes (conservative reaction to the radicalism of the Terror).

F. The Consulate --> "enlightened" despotism of Napoleon Bonaparte

III. Results of the French Revolution: (long term)

A. Democratic ideals established --> Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité!

B. Intensified French nationalism.

C. The French Revolution influenced peoples throughout the world.

D. A society and a political structure based on rank and birth had given way to one based on civil equality.

E. Representation was established as a principle of practical politics.

F. Eliminated feudal obligations of peasants, destroyed guilds, and other obstacles to the growth of French industry and agriculture.

The Four Phases of the French Revolution

Phase One

In order to remedy the problem of debt, Louis XVI agrees to call the Estates-General, the national assembly, which had not convened since 1614. The summoning initiates the first act of the revolution, as each estate draws up its cahier de doléances, or list of grievances. The subsequent acts are:

Act I:

1. The nobility insist that Louis XVI call the Estates-General if he wishes to levy a taille, or land tax, on those who have been legally exempt from paying taxes.

2. Members of the nobility are intending to reassert their political power, which was lost under Louis XIV, and are resurging under the recall of the parlements by Louis XVI.

3. Thus, the aristocracy has engineered the first act of the revolution. The Estates-General will convene as it did in 1614 with three separate estates, each having one vote.

Act II:

1. The Third Estate has twice as many representatives as those of the First Estate (clergy) and the Second Estate (nobility) combined. They chafe at the arrangement of separate estates with a single vote as an insult to the economic power they hold.

2. On June 20, 1789, representatives of the Third Estate and some liberal nobles having declared themselves the National Assembly, move to a large indoor tennis court where they take the Tennis Court oath, swearing never to disband until they have written a new constitution for France.

3. The bourgeoisie have thus engineered the second act, for the king capitulates and orders all representatives to sit in one assembly with one vote per person.

4. In this assembly the bourgeoisie are on an equal social footing with the nobility.

Act III:

1. Unrest is high in Paris. Poor grain harvests and high bread prices increase agitation.

2. Meanwhile, Louis SVI has dismissed some liberal ministers and has begun summoning a mercenary army to Versailles.

3. The Parisian workers, known as sans-culottes, think it necessary to arm themselves for impending trouble.

4. On July 14, 1789, they storm the Bastille, a fortress where arms and gun-powder are kept. Panic ensues. The governor of the prison and 98 people are killed.

5. Louis XVI recalls his ministers and disperses the troops.

6. The Parisian mob has engineered the third act.

7. They have saved the National Assembly from being dismissed by the king.

Act IV:

1. In the summer of 1789, rumors spread that the aristocrats are hiring outlaws to harm the peasants. The rumors, known as the Great Fear, are unfounded.

2. Nevertheless, the peasants burn manor houses and manorial records in a state of uncontrolled violence.

3. Liberal-thinking aristocrats and members of the bourgeoisie meet secretly at Versailles on the night of August 4 to declare feudalism abolished in France.

4. The peasants have engineered the fourth and final act of the first phase of the French Revolution.

5. No longer will the peasants have to pay fees (banalités) to their lord for hunting, justice, or salt. Nor will they be obliged to work on the roads (corvées). As religious Catholics they become forces for conservatism and stability.

The crowning act of the first phase of the revolution is the issuance of the Declaration of the rights of Man and Citizen by the National Assembly on August 27, 1789

Phase Two

1. In the second phase of the French Revolution, women march to Versailles in protest over rising bread prices.

2. A constitutional monarchy is established, but Louis XVI is opposed and tries to flee. He is captured and eventually guillotined when the Committee of Public Safety is established under Robespierre (1758-94) during the third and radical phase of the revolution.

3. The Legislative Assembly, dominated by the Jacobins, has declared war on Louis’s allies Austria and Prussia, hoping to save the revolution from conservatives who wish to restore the ancién régime.

4. The assembly is replaced by a National Convention. It decrees a lévée en masse to make the resources of the nation available to fight the war.

5. And in the face of economic chaos, it establishes the law of the maximum, which fixes prices on bread and other essential items to curb inflation.

Phase Three

1. In the third phase, Robespierre’s death at the hands of those who fear his extremism ushers in the period known as the Directory (1795-99).

2. The Directory is a short-lived government dominated by corrupt leaders who ignore the economic problems facing the country and continue to wage war.

Phase Four: Napoleon in Power

1. In the final phase, in a November 1799 coup d’état, a young general, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) heads the troops that overthrow the Directory and establishes a new form of republic, the Consulate.

2. Napoleon centralizes authority by setting up the machinery of government headed by a Council of State with himself as chief administrator.

3. Napoleon rules as first consul, and then as emperor in 1804.

4. He appoints prefects who administer local government along with the mayors, his appointees as well, and consolidates his power even further with tight censorship of press and news. [How shall his rule be evaluated?]
Napoleon’s Domestic Policies

1. To his credit, Napoleon undid to some extent the great tactical blunder of the Revolution — the establishment of a national church, with priests chosen by voters and the clergy required to take a loyalty oath to the new civil constitution. French Catholics had turned against the Revolution. The pope himself had condemned it.

2. Napoleon and Pope Pius VII signed the Concordat (1801), which made Catholicism the “preferred religion” of France. Napoleon nominated the bishops, who were consecrated by the pope. [Napoleon recognized the social power of religion as a unifying force for his country.]

3. Napoleon also understood the importance of allegiance to the state and created a Legion of Honor to reward middle-class abilities. “It is with trinkets that mankind is governed,” he allegedly said.

4. In education, Napoleon was able to direct the curriculum to ensure loyal citizens by setting up lycées, elite secondary schools, and instituting primary schools, all of which were controlled by the University of France, another of his creations.

5. For his loyal citizens, Napoleon maintained the principles of legal equality in the Code Napoléon, the codes of law that he drew up. The principles were brief and clear in the areas of civil, criminal, commercial, and family law, among others.

Napoleon’s Foreign Policy

1. In the realm of foreign policy, Napoleon conducted a series of campaigns against shifting coalitions of foreign powers.

2. In 1807, he was able to secure an alliance with Russia by the Treaty of Tilsit (1807).

3. His downfall came with his determination to defeat England at any cost. His Continental System (a blockade against foreign trade with England) failed.

3. He failed too, in conquering Spain in the Peninsular War (1808-13) and in his invasion of Russia after it withdrew from the Continental System.

4. Napoleon’s army was subsequently defeated by a coalition of European powers several times with the final defeat coming at Waterloo, and as a result the Napoleonic Empire crumbled.

France versus Europe, 1792-1815
War of the First Coalition (1792-97)

  1. Coalition against France: Britain, Austria, Sardinia, Prussia (withdrew 1795), Spain (withdrew, 1795), Holland (withdrew, 1795), several German states (withdrew, 1795).

  2. Napoleon gains popularity by defeating the Austrians and dictating the Treaty of Campo Formio.

War of the Second Coalition (1798-1801)

  1. Coalition against France: Britain, Austria, Naples, Portugal, Ottoman Empire, Russia (withdrew, 1799).

  2. A series of major French defeats, except for one victory, until Napoleon personally took the field.

War of the Third Coalition (1805-07)

  1. Coalition against France and Spain: Britain (at war since 1803), Austria, Russia, Sweden, Prussia (entered in 1806).

  2. Treaty of Tilsit (July, 1807) between France and Russia, and between France and Prussia. Generous treatment of Russia resulting in Franco-Russian collaboration and Russian support for Napoleon’s Continental System. Very harsh treatment of Prussia.

Peninsular War (1808-14)

  1. Napoleon forced the abdication of the Spanish bourbon family but Spanish resort to guerrilla war.

  2. Inability to suppress rebels is costly and marked the first real defeat of Napoleon.

War with Austria (1809)

  1. Austria, in a “war of liberation” of the German people, invade Germany.

  2. Napoleon wins decisive victory at Wagram (July). He marries Marie Louis (daughter of Austrian Emperor) in a marriage of state, making Austria an ally of France.

Invasion of Russia (1812)

  1. Underlying cause, distrust and rivalry between Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I.

  2. Napoleon forced to retreat due to harsh winter. Military disaster.

War of the Fourth Coalition (1813-14)

  1. Coalition against France: Britain, Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden.

  2. Napoleon defeated at Battle of Leipzig (Battle of the Nations), October 1813. Allies enter Paris in April, 1814.

  3. Napoleon abdicates on April 11, 1814 and exiled to island of Elba.

The Hundred Days (March 20 — June 22, 1815)

  1. Napoleon escapes Elba. Marches up through eastern France and Switzerland amassing an army in an attempt to reclaim his throne.

  2. Defeated at Waterloo, June 18, 1815, and exiled to St. Helena in the South Atlantic.

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