Chapter 19 Revolutions Chapter Preview

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Reading Check How were the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution different?

The Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, and Benjamin Franklin present the Declaration of Independence to John Hancock. Sequence When did the colonies declare independence?


Revolution in France

The American Revolution was one of the first revolutions in which ordinary citizens had overthrown a royal power. The new American government reflected many Enlightenment ideals. In France, many people followed the war closely and celebrated the American victory. They also began thinking about how they could establish their own democracy. A democracy is a political system in which people freely elect government leaders. Like the Americans, the French fought a revolution to overthrow a royal government. The outcome of the French Revolution, however, was very different from the American Revolution.

France Before the Revolution Wars between Britain and France throughout the 1700s had been costly for both countries. France, like Britain, faced large war debts. In the late 1780s, the country was nearly bankrupt.

The Revolution Begins In May 1789, the French king, Louis XVI, met with representatives of the three estates to decide how taxes should be changed so that the government could pay its war debts. Disagreements between the three estates led to conflict. Meanwhile, a food shortage hit France. Hungry crowds threatened landowners. The commoners wanted a more representative government in which each person's vote would count equally. Representatives from the third estate walked out of the June meeting and declared their own government, called the National Assembly. As they met to write a new constitution, the king sent troops to break up their meeting.

On July 14, French citizens filled Paris streets and stormed the Bastille (bas TEEL), a prison where they thought they could find weapons. When they captured the prison, Louis XVI withdrew his troops from Paris. The revolt spread across the country, effectively ending the power to rule France without the consent of the people.

Chart Skills

Three estates made up the French Society: the First Estate was made up of church officials; the nobility, made up the Second Estate; the Third Estate included commoners and middle-class merchants. Members of the Third Estate paid nearly all of the taxes, even though they had the least money and property. Infer Why did the Third Estate consider the distribution of land unfair? Draw Conclusions How does the information in the circle graphs show inequalities among France's three estates?


National Assembly Makes Reforms During the next two years, the National Assembly reformed the French government, based on the model of the new American government. The Assembly passed the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen." This declaration guaranteed basic rights for all French citizens, including "liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression." It also guaranteed that France would have a representative government and expanded voting rights. Other new laws reduced the power of the nobles and clergy.

The king, other nobles, and clergy opposed many of these changes. Many nobles left the country and convinced the rulers of Prussia and Austria to invade France. As these armies drew closer to Paris, the French government arrested the king and his family for allegedly supporting the invading armies.

As hunger grew and military defeats continued, the crowds in Paris became more violent. The new government could not control the mobs. Instead of peaceful votes to make decisions, angry mobs held power in France in the beginning of 1792.

Reading Check Why did many members of the third estate form the National Assembly?

The capture of the Bastille on July 14, 1789, symbolized the start of the French Revolution.


Robespierre's arrest

Links to Art

The Death of Marat Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat (zhahn pawl mah rah) was assassinated by Charlotte Corday (shahr lut kawr day), a young Jacobin opponent who stabbed him as he bathed. Shortly after the assassination, Marat's death was depicted in an oil painting by Jacques- Louis David (zhahk loo ee dah veed), a leading artist who supported the Jacobins. His painting, "The Death of Marat," depicts Marat as a martyr, a person who gives his or her life for a noble cause. This and similar paintings by David of slain Jacobin leaders helped shape national opinion about the Jacobins.

Effects of the French Revolution

The growing disorder in France and the fear of invasion led to a period of violence that lasted until 1794. During this period, called the Reign of Terror (rayn uv TEHR ur), bloody attacks and executions became common as leaders struggled to gain power. They also sought to protect France from other kingdoms that felt threatened by the spread of democratic ideals.

As the National Assembly continued to meet, distinct political groups emerged. The most radical of them, called the Jacobins (JAK uh binz), were led by Maximilien Robespierre (mahk see mee LYAHN ROHBZ pyehr). The Jacobins declared a "policy of terror" against all opponents, including supporters of the king and nearly anyone else who disagreed with their policies.

Between September 1793 and 1794 more than 300,000 people were arrested. Approximately 17,000 of them were condemned to death and executed. Many more died in prisons or while awaiting trial. At the same time, the revolutionary government raised an army of more than one million men. Instead of a new representative government, Robespierre and the Jacobins had taken power and ruled as dictators.

Even as the Jacobins ruled through fear and terror, they instituted a number of democratic reforms through the National Assembly. They authorized free schooling for all children regardless of class and created a tax system based on a person's income. They tried to end slavery in France's colonies and created laws to protect people from high prices. The Jacobins also raised a large "citizen's army" that fought against European powers that opposed the changes in France. During the period of Jacobin rule, French armies pushed back invaders and went on the offensive. These wars are known as the French Revolutionary Wars.

Many of these reforms were not fully carried out. On July 27, 1794, leaders who opposed Robespierre had him arrested and accused him of being a tyrant. His execution the next day ended the Reign of Terror. It also opened the door for new competition between political groups.


After Robespierre's death, a new government called the Directory formed and abolished many of the Jacobin reforms. The Directory limited voting rights only to people who paid a certain amount of taxes. However, the Directory was severely weakened by conflicts with people who favored the old monarchy and those who wanted to return to Jacobin rule. Wars continued between France and European powers, making the disagreements within France stronger.

By the late 1790s, the French Revolutionary Wars had shifted from defending the French Revolution to conquering neighboring countries. French people were deeply divided about how best to rule their country, and many were simply tired of the violence, chaos, and rapid changes that had prevailed in France for a decade. In October 1799, some leaders opposed to the Directory looked to the French military for support. A young general named Napoleon Bonaparte (nuh POH lee un BOH nuh pahrt) had become a national hero after his victories in Italy. He returned to France and seized power, ending the revolution in France.

Reading Check What changes did the Directory propose after Robespierre's death?

Napoleon Bonaparte

Section 2 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the Key Terms at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.

Target Reading Skill

Find the phrase "opened the door" on page 542. Use the context of the sentence to determine what the phrase means. Then substitute a word or phrase for "opened the door" that gives its literal meaning.

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Define What is a colony?

(b) Explain How were British colonies governed?


(a) Identify Identify several complaints the American colonists had about British rule.


(a) Apply Information How did Americans change their form of government after they won the Revolutionary War?


(a) List List the three classes that existed in French society before the French Revolution.

(b) Explain How did members of France's third estate want to change the system of voting?

(c) Compare and Contrast How were the American and French Revolutions similar? How were they different?


(a) Identify What political group ruled during the Reign of Terror?

(b) Draw Conclusions In what ways did rulers during the Reign of Terror reflect or not reflect the ideals of the Enlightenment?

Writing Activity

You are a commoner or peasant during the French Revolution. Write a journal entry that describes why you are angry and what fears you have.


Skills for Life

Problem Solving

Jack: What's wrong, Maurice?

Maurice: Oh, nothing. It's just that my life has been getting really busy lately, and I'm having trouble keeping track of everything. I have homework and rehearsals for the school play, not to mention practice for the team. I never know where I'm supposed to be.

Jack: Sounds like you have a problem organizing your time. Or maybe you just have too many things to do.

Maurice: I know. I'd better figure out some kind of solution before this situation gets out of hand.

Maurice has a problem to solve. Solving problems is an important skill that allows you to analyze a situation and make the best possible decision about it. When you study, analyzing how people in history tried to solve problems can help you better understand the choices they made and the effects of those choices.

Learn the Skill

Use these steps to solve problems.

1. Identify the problem. State the problem in your own words, and explain the effect of the problem.

2. Gather information about the problem. Use a graphic organizer to identify causes of the problem.

3. List possible solutions for the problem. Include several solutions, even though some may seem unrealistic to you at first. When you examine them, you may find that they have unexpected benefits.

4. List advantages and disadvantages of each possible solution. Your list should include at least one advantage and one disadvantage of each possible solution.

5. Choose the best solution. Once you have put the solution into practice for awhile, evaluate how effective it has been.


Practice the Skill

Read the passage below. Then follow the steps below to identify the best solution to the problem.

"During the 1700s, many businesses in the United Kingdom began to hire children. Children worked for lower wages than adults, and were not as likely as adults to cause labor troubles. Factory owners wanted to use the children's small, nimble fingers for tending machines. Children worked for low pay in dirty, poorly lighted factories, mills, and mines. They often performed jobs that really required adult strength. Many children worked to help support their unemployed parents. Orphans were often forced into labor. Similar conditions became common in the United States during the late 1700s.

Child workers were often deprived of the chance to attend school. Uneducated, the only work they were capable of doing was unskilled labor. Thus, they had little chance to better themselves."

1. Read the passage, and identify a problem that needs to be solved.

2. Use a graphic organizer to identify causes of the problem.

3. List possible solutions for the problem you have identified.

4. Evaluate the possible solutions by listing at least one advantage and one disadvantage for each.

5. Select the best possible solution.

Apply the Skill

Read about industrial cities on page 556, and use the problem-solving steps to identify possible solutions for poor living conditions for workers in cities Select the best possible solution and explain your choice.


Section 3

The Age of Napoleon

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn how Napoleon rose to power in France and began a large empire.

2. Understand some reforms that Napoleon made and why he finally lost power.

Taking Notes

As you read this section, notice how Napoleon affected Europe as a military leader and as a government leader. Copy the chart below and record your findings in it.

Target Reading Skill

Use Context Clues Sometimes the context gives a direct description of a word. The following sentence gives a direct description of the word alliance.

At one time, France and Spain formed an alliance to fight together against the British.

What does the word alliance mean?

Key Terms

Napoleonic Code (nuh poh lee AHN ik kohd) n. a set of laws that protect individual liberty, the right to work, and the right to one's own opinions

blockade (blah KAYD) n. the banning of trade

exile (EK syl) v. to send away

Napoleon's Grand Army destroyed towns such as Kovno as it advanced towards Moscow.

In June 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor and ruler of a large part of western Europe, attacked Russia. He hoped to defeat Russia and weaken Great Britain by cutting off trade. His Grand Army numbered 600,000, and had a history of spectacular success in war.

But the Russians fought well. When Napoleon's army reached Moscow, the city had been burned. Napoleon retreated in October as the winter began. The temperature sank as low as -40¡ F (-71¡ C). Many soldiers starved or froze to death.

The Berezina River (buh REZ ih nuh RIV ur) in Poland was choked with ice when the Grand Army tried to cross on a makeshift bridge. The Russian Army attacked from behind.

Half a million of his soldiers died, deserted, or were taken captive during the disastrous invasion of Russia. Napoleon's defeat led to his downfall. The Age of Napoleon did not last much longer, but its effects shaped the history of Europe throughout the nineteenth century.


Napoleon's Empire

As emperor, Napoleon restored practices similar to those of the past monarchy. He asked the pope to bless his coronation. He also revived the titles and symbols of the nobility. Analyze Images How does the painting of Napoleon's coronation suggest France's past monarchy?

Napoleon Takes Power and Builds an Empire

As French armies made gains against European empires in 1799, the power of the Directory was challenged. A young military officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, had achieved great fame fighting against the Austrian Empire in Italy. His victory had forced the Austrians to turn the lands over to France that today are Belgium and Luxembourg.

In 1799, Napoleon learned that Austria, Great Britain, Turkey and Russia had formed a new partnership to defeat France. Napoleon returned to Paris to save his country. He took advantage of political divisions in the Directory to seize power in November 1799. After ten years of revolution, many French people wanted a strong leader. In 1802, the people of France made Napoleon leader for life. In 1804, he took the title emperor, placing a crown on his own head during a ceremony in December of that year.

Napoleon continued his wars against the other European kingdoms, hoping to build the greatest empire in history. At the same time, he put some of the ideas of the French Revolution into practice in government.

He was successful in battle after battle. By 1812 he controlled most of Europe, including the countries that would later be Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium. Napoleon also made alliances with other countries to extend his control of those countries. Often, he put friends and relatives in power in countries he had conquered to guarantee the friendship and support of those countries. His success at building an empire made him respected and feared across Europe and around the world. Only Great Britain remained a strong country and an enemy outside of his influence.

Reading Check How did Napoleon first become popular with the French people?

Use Context Clues

Find the word alliances. Look for context clues to help you determine the meaning of alliances.


Napoleon ordered the construction of the Arc de Triomphe as a monument to his victories.

The Napoleonic Era

While his armies fought battles across Europe, Napoleon ruled as a dictator, a person who has absolute power. Even as a dictator, Napoleon carried out a number of reforms that had first been proposed during the French Revolution. These reforms made him very popular with the French people. In his conquered territories, he installed a French system of government.

Napoleon's Reforms One important reform was the establishment of a set of laws called the Napoleonic Code. The Napoleonic Code simplified the French legal system and protected individual liberty, the right to work, and the right to one's own opinions. The Napoleonic Code also protected individuals' rights to property, which large landowners favored, and expanded the power of employers over employees.

During the Revolution, leaders put the Catholic Church under government control and quarreled with the Pope. Napoleon established the right of Catholics to worship as they chose and made an agreement with the Pope that helped win Catholic support. He also established schools and built roads and canals. To help the economy, he established a central bank, controlled prices so that people could buy food and other needs, and encouraged new businesses and industries. Peasants were happy that he recognized their legal rights to land they had bought from the Church during the Revolution.

Although he had the support of the majority of people, Napoleon did not allow public questioning of his decisions. The wars that he continually fought cost the French huge fortunes, destroyed some of the great cities of Europe, and killed many thousands of French and other Europeans. In the end, Napoleon's effort to expand his empire brought about his defeat.

Napoleon's Fall from Power Napoleon was unable to defeat Great Britain. The British navy had defeated the French fleet in several battles, and Napoleon knew that he would not be able to invade England by sea. From 1806 to 1812, he attempted to weaken Britain economically through a series of declarations called the Continental System. He imposed a of Britain, with them.


To enforce the shipping blockade of England and bring Russia under his control, Napoleon marched toward Moscow in 1812. The defeat in Russia was so great that four European countries formed a coalition (koh uh LISH un) called the Quadruple Alliance (kwah DROO pul uh LY uns) to fight against France. After a string of defeats, the military in France refused to fight. The European allies exiled Napoleon from France in 1814, sending him away to the island of Elba. A new French king, Louis XVIII, was put on the throne.

In 1815, Napoleon escaped from the island and returned to Paris. Louis XVIII fled the country. Napoleon again challenged the Quadruple Alliance. In 1815, at the Battle of Waterloo in Belgium, Napoleon was soundly defeated. Again, Napoleon was exiled. This time, exile lasted until his death in 1821.

Napoleon's rule had a great impact on France. Many of his reforms form the basis for today's French government and society. Many of the laws and systems in France today are based on Napoleonic code. Although the territories Napoleon conquered were administered fairly according to French laws, the people in many of those countries wanted to rule themselves. They wanted to establish nations of their own.

Reading Check Why did Napoleon create the Continental System?

Napoleon's plan to cut off the escape route of English forces at Waterloo failed, resulting in the French army's defeat.

Section 3 Assessment

Key Terms

Review the Key Terms at the beginning of this section. Use each term in a sentence that explains its meaning.

Target Reading Skill

Find the word liberty on page 548. Use the context to figure out its meaning. What do you think it means? What clues helped you arrive at this meaning?

Comprehension and Critical Thinking


(a) Recall How was France threatened when Napoleon took control in 1799?

(b) Draw Conclusions Why was Napoleon respected and feared across Europe and around the world by 1812?


(a) Identify Which country was France's strongest enemy? When was Napoleon emperor?

(b) Cause and Effect How did Napoleon's efforts to expand his empire eventually lead to his defeat?

Writing Activity

You are a citizen of one of the European countries that Napoleon conquered and ruled. Write a journal entry that describes some of your feelings about the changes he imposed.


Section 4

The Early Industrial Age

Prepare to Read


In this section you will

1. Learn how farming methods improved and why Europe's population grew quickly.

2. Understand some of the reasons that Great Britain led the Industrial Revolution.

3. Find out how the United States expanded and improved industrial techniques.

4. Consider how the Industrial Revolution changed people's lives.

Taking Notes

As you read this section, notice details about the Industrial Revolution. Copy the chart below and record your findings in it.

Target Reading Skill

Recognize Nonliteral Meanings Sometimes figurative language is used to convey meaning. As you read, look for words that have figurative meanings and substitute these with words that gives more literal meanings. In the sentence below, what does soared mean?

Food was hard to find, so food prices soared.

Key Terms

textiles (TEKS tylz) n. the woven or knitted cloths used to make clothing, blankets, and other goods

factories (FAK tuh reez) n. the large buildings in which many people worked at the same time

Industrial Revolution (in DUS tree ul rev uh LOO shun) n. the development of new machines and the creation of factories

interchangeable parts (in tur CHAYNJ uh bil partz) n. a process for manufacturing all of the same parts of a product to be identical in size, shape, and quality

Luddites destroy a spinning jenny, a machine used to spin cotton or wool.

In April 1812, more than a hundred men armed with hammers and axes gathered at night outside a woolen mill in Yorkshire, England. Their plan was to break in and destroy the new wool- producing machines. These men were called Luddites (LUD yts) a name taken from a myth about an unhappy young worker, Ned Ludd.

Many workers resented the new machines. They felt that the use of labor-saving machines contributed to high unemployment and low wages. At the same time, food was scarce and prices were high.

Groups such as the Luddites attacked factories and owners in England in 1811 and 1812. The British government responded to the food riots and attacks on factories by imprisoning and sometimes executing the leaders of the protests. In the following years, the number of factories multiplied across England. The Luddites could not hold back the changes happening in their country.


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