The French Revolution : The French Revolution What is a revolution: : What is a revolution: A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.
The forcible overthrow of a government or social order
Any fundamental change or reversal of condition France in 1774 : France in 1774 Louis XVI became the king of France at the age of 20. He belonged to the Bourbon family of kings. Slide 4: King Louis was more concerned with his own personal interests than in the interests of the State and Court.
Often bored with the state and court affairs, he left his work up to his advisers and ministers.
He was influenced and often embarrassed by his loving wife
He was incapable of strong decisive action Conditions in France in 1774 : Conditions in France in 1774 France was an absolute monarchy
The king was young and did not know much about state affairs
The treasury was empty
Taxes were paid by the third estate only but the first and second estates enjoyed all privileges
There was an emerging rich and strong middle class in the third estate called bourgeoisie Conditions in France in 1774 (contd) : Conditions in France in 1774 (contd) Influence of new ideas esp on the bourgeoisie
Influence of American constitution
France faced hunger due to poor harvests. This mainly affected the poor who could not afford food grains because of increased prices. Why was the treasury empty? : Why was the treasury empty? Wars fought by previous monarchs especially the seven years war.
American war of Independence (1775-1783) French society:First estate: the clergy : French society:First estate: the clergy The Clergy was established as a privileged Estate.
The clergy was divided into the lower and upper clergy.
Members of the lower clergy were usually humble, poorly-paid and overworked village priests.
the clergy did the registration of births,
they collected the tithe (usually 10%);
they censored books;
served as moral police;
operated schools and hospitals;
and distributed relief to the poor.
They also owned 10-15% of all the land in France
and paid no taxes. The second estate: Nobles : The second estate: Nobles The Nobility represented another privileged Estate.
The nobility held the highest positions in the Church, the army and the government.
They were virtually exempt from paying taxes of any kind.
They collected rent from the peasant population who lived on their lands.
They also collected an extraordinary amount of customary dues from the peasantry.
There were labor dues (thecorvee), as well as dues on salt, cloth, bread, wine and the use mills, granaries, presses and ovens.
Collectively, the nobility owned about 30% of the land. Slide 10: There were two types of nobles
Nobles of the sword
Nobles of the robe The third estate : : The third estate : Third estate of the French society was made up of the middle classes bourgeoisie, and lower class peasantry.
The bourgeoisies consisted of merchants, manufacturers, bankers, doctors, lawyers.
The peasantry peasantry continued to live in extreme poverty due to the high taxation from the upper class.
They were the victims of heavy taxation since they had to pay for the cost of war, for the king, for the church, and taxes due to their lord of the manor.
Since they were getting financial pressure, the peasantry wanted to limit the king’s power, also wanted liberal ideas where they could argue what is right for themselves. Slide 13: A contemporary cartoon showing a peasant crushed by the levies which the monarchy and the privileged orders imposed. New ideas : New ideas The bourgeoisie did not believe that any group in society should be privileged by birth, but position should be based on merit.
France was influenced by the ideas of John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu and others. John Locke : John Locke John Locke:believed that the government should be selected by and follow the will of the people
Locke argued that the state resulted from a voluntary agreement between individuals who established a sovereign power to protect them from the insecure conditions that accompanied the state of nature that existed without prior to a government and laws.
Locke insists that there must be limits to political authority.
Locke contended that the aim of a supreme power is to preserve the state and improve the quality of life for individuals in that society, and the authority of the government must be limited by the will of the people Jean Jacques Rousseau : Jean Jacques Rousseau "Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains. One man thinks himself the master of others, but remains more of a slave than they.“
Sovereignty should be in the hands of the people.
Government should be based in a social contract between the people and their representatives i.e the rulers and the ruled. Montesquieu : Montesquieu The said political power should be divided into three branches, namely
Judiciary The American Revolution : The American Revolution Inspired the ideas of freedom in man
Inspired people to rise against tyranny Causes of the French Revolution : Causes of the French Revolution Subsistence crisis : Subsistence crisis Bad harvest Scarcity of grains Rising food prices The poorest can no longer buy bread Food riots Weaker bodies Diseases and epidemics Increased number of deaths