L Little Indication of Forthcoming Revolution in Mid-18Th Century

The Revolution

Revolution in America

Little indication of forthcoming revolution in mid-18th century

13 colonies regarded themselves as British subjects

Long cultural and personal connections with England

Mutually profitable military and economic relationship

French and Indian War, 1754-1763

Expensive, extensive

Overlapped with Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)

–  Conflict in Europe, India

–  British victory ensured global dominance, North American prosperity

Increased Taxation in 1760s

Bills come due from the Seven Years’ War

Tax burden falls to the colonies

–  Sugar Act (1764)

–  Stamp Act (1765)

–  Quartering Act (1765) (Housing British Troops)

–  Tea Act (1773)

The Declaration of Independence

British products boycotted, officials attacked

l  Protests

–  Boston Tea Party (1773), tea dumped into Boston harbor in protest against Tea Act

–  “no taxation without representation”

Continental Congress formed (1774), coordinates colonists’ resistance to British policies

–  July 4, 1776, adopts Declaration of Independence

–  Influence of Locke: retention of individual rights, sovereignty based on consent of the ruled

Revolutionary War

l  Colonies:

–  Logistic advantage

–  Popular support

–  Support of British rivals

–  George Washington (1732-1799) provides imaginative military leadership

l  Britain:

–  Strong central government

–  Navy, army

–  Loyalist population

The American Revolution

Building an Independent State

l  War-weariness sets in by 1780

l  British forces surrounded at Yorktown, Virginia

–  Surrender in October 1781

l  Military conflict ceases, treaty at Peace of Paris, 1783

–  Recognition of American independence

l  1787 Constitution of the United States drafted

–  Political and legal equality for men of property

The French Monarchy:1775-1793

Let Them Eat Cake!

l  She Never said it!

l  Nicknamed:

–  Madame Deficit

–  The Austrian Whore

Conditions Present Prior to Revolution

l  People from ALL social classes are discontented

l  People feel restricted by society, religion, economy, or government

l  People are hopeful about the future

l  Growing conflict among social classes

Socio-Economic Data: 1789
the Eve of Revolution

Land ownership by Social Category

Clergy Nobility Bourgeoisie Peasantry

Land owned 6-10% 20-25% 30% 40-45%

Each group as 2% 1.5% 8.4% 82-87%

A % of the total


More Pre-Revolutionary Conditions

l  Government doesn’t respond to the needs of people

l  Government is unable to get enough support from any group to save itself

l  Government cannot organize its finances and is either bankrupt or trying to tax heavily and unjustly

l  In 1787 the urban poor spent 50% of their income on food, by 1788 that had risen to 80%!

Louis asks, “where is the tax money?”

The Estates

l  First Estate: the Roman Catholic Church

l  Second Estate: Rich nobles, wealth was based on land ownership

l  Third Estate: Everyone else.

–  Bourgeoisie: Educated merchants and artisans

–  Workers: cooks, servants, drivers, butlers generally the urban poor

–  Peasants: (80%) This class was the least content and the least well fed

Financial Problems in France:1789

l  Urban Commoner’s Budget

–  Food 80%

–  Rent 25%

–  Tithe 10%

–  Taxes 35%

–  Clothing 20%


TOTAL 170%

l  King’s Budget

–  Interest 50%

–  Army 25%

–  Versailles 25%

–  Coronation 10%

–  Loans 25%

–  Administration 25%


TOTAL 160%

The Palace at Versailles

Lettres de Cachet

l  The king could warrant prison or death in a signed letter under his seal.

l  A carte-blanche warrant.

l  80,000 issued under Louis XV

The Three Estates

The Estates General

l  An assembly of all three estates

l  Called for the first time in 175 years

l  Needed approval for tax reform

l  One vote per estate. Who do you believe was always outvoted?

Estates General 1789

The Third Estate Awakens

l  Commoners present themselves as “representatives of the nation”

l  Proclaim themselves the National Assembly of France-first deliberate act of revolution

l  pass laws and reforms in the name of the French people

l  Break into an indoor tennis court in Versailles and pledge to stay until there is a new constitution.

The Tennis Court Oath

Storming of the Bastille

l  Louis tried to placate the 3rd Estate

l  Ordered nobles and clergy to join NA

l  Gathered Swiss mercenaries

l  In Paris rumors spread that foreign troops were coming to kill the French

July 14, 1789

l  Mobs stormed the Bastille to get weapons

l  Crowed overwhelmed the kings soldiers

l  Became a symbolic moment of the revolution and is still celebrated today.

The Great Fear: Peasant Revolt

l  Rumors spread that the nobility was hiring thugs

l  Peasants went on the defense but found nothing

l  Began attacking and burning

l  6,000 women marched to Versailles and demanded the king and queen come to Paris.

Women March on Versailles

The Assembly Tries to Reform France

l  Adopted the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen

–  Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and resistance to oppression

–  Did not apply to women

l  State took control of the Catholic Church

–  Controlled church lands: sold to pay off debts

–  Church officials to be elected

l  Louis Attempts to escape: Seals his fate

Clergy Lands Taken Over

Conflicting Goals and Revolutionary Divisions

l  NA created a constitutional monarchy, king would still have some power

l  Created a Legislative Assembly

–  Split into three groups

–  Radicals (left) Moderates (middle) Conservatives (right)

–  Each had different goals for government

l  Food shortages and gov. debt remained

War and Extreme Measures

l  France began war with Austria and Prussia and further impoverished the people

l  September massacres

l  Legislative Assembly gave up on monarchy

New Radicals

l  Men and women joined political clubs

–  Sans Coulottes

–  Jacobins

•  Wanted to remove the king and establish a republic

•  Wanted to “rid France of internal enemies”

l  Louis XVI tried for treason and convicted

–  Guillotine

–  Used to kill thousands

The Liberty Cap: Bonne Rouge

The Reign of Terror

l  Maximilien Robespierre gathered power and tried to wipe out France’s history as a monarchy

l  Households were swept clean of anything having to do with the monarchy

l  Remade the calendar, however more scientific, it included no Sundays

l  Created the Committee of Public Safety

Reign of Terror

l  Committee of Public Safety decided who was a public enemy

l  Tried in the morning guillotined in the evening

l  Robspierre governed France as a dictator

l  Almost 3,00 were executed in Paris, estimates put the death toll at 40,000

l  85% of the victims were people who had been supporters of the revolution

End of the Terror

l  Members of the National Convention turned on Robespierre

l  French public opinion turned to the right

l  Moderates formed a 5 man committee to rule the country; the Directory

l  The Directory appointed Napoleon Bonaparte to lead French armies.