French Revolution

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The French Revolution CLASS:-IX PREPARED BY :- S. K. DUBEY T.G.T. SO.ST. K.V. PAURI

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Paving the way Just as the Scientific Revolution paved the way for the Enlightenment …

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Unrest in France …Enlightenment ideas paved the way for the French Revolution. There was already great unrest in France, caused by high prices and high taxes, but there were also disturbing questions about issues of governmental legitimacy raised by people like Rousseau and Voltaire.

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This statue of Voltaire (1694 – 1778) stands today in the Pantheon in Paris.


Voltaire François-Marie Arouet  ( French:  [fʁɑ̃.swa ma.ʁi aʁ.wɛ] ; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his  nom de plume   Voltaire  ( pronounced:  [vɔl.tɛːʁ] ), was a French  Enlightenment  writer, historian and  philosopher  famous for his wit, his attacks on the established  Catholic Church , and his advocacy of  freedom of religion ,  freedom of expression , and  separation of church and state . Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

Jean-Jacques Rousseau His  Discourse on the Origin of Inequality  and his On the Social Contract  are cornerstones in modern political and social thought. He argued that  private property  was conventional and the beginning of true civil society.




Liberty The notion of individual human rights A new type of government in which the people are sovereign The importance of a representative assembly The importance of a written constitution The notion of self-determination Freedom to accumulate property


Equality Equality of rights and civil liberties Equality before the law No special privileges for the rich Equality of opportunity “Careers Open to Talent” Inherent tension between liberty and equality

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Voltaire used satire to attack his opponents. He never stopped fighting for tolerance reason freedom of religious belief freedom of speech.

The French Revolution:

The French Revolution 1789

Causes of French Revolution:

Causes of French Revolution Ideas of liberty and equality from the American Revolution (note: Constitution was signed 2 yrs before in 1787) Enlightenment ideas of John Locke

Causes of French Revolution:

Causes of French Revolution Vast majority of people were broke and hungry. Vast majority were in the lowest estate

Three Estates :

Three Estates


Bourgeoisie Part of the third estate, they were the “middle class” of France. They were bankers, merchants, factory owners (educated people) Led the revolution

Revolution - beginnings:

Revolution - beginnings Although people were starving and the country was broke, the royal family flaunted their wealth and uncaring.

Bread riots:

Bread riots People were hungry; the country was broke. This picture is from an all-woman bread riot. Marie Antionette said “let them eat cake”

King Louis XVI:

King Louis XVI His grandfather Louis XIV was the ultimate “absolutist” king. This king was weak He had so little control, he called for the French congress to fix some problems

Estates General meets:

Estates General meets The part of the French Congress representing the third estate left and declared themselves THE congress of France.

Events continued:

Events continued French created their own Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen modeled after TJ’s Declaration of Independence

Effects of the French Revolution:

Effects of the French Revolution Both the King and Queen were beheaded French monarchy no more In addition to the Royal family, 17,000 people were executed with the guillotine.

Effects continued. . .:

Effects continued. . . Napoleon Bonaparte was elected leader, then appoints himself emperor of France. Sold Louisiana to TJ

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Jean Jacques Rousseau was passionately committed to individual freedom. He wrote, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” Chains

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Many members of the Third Estate were inspired by these Enlightenment ideas, and they wanted representation in government. They no longer could accept the monarch’s belief in the “divine right.”

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The Meeting When France was facing bankruptcy, Louis XVI wanted to tax the aristocrats. The Second Estate forced him to call a meeting of the Estates-General.

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The Three Estates Under medieval rules, each estate had one vote. The First Estate – one vote The Second Estate – one vote The Third Estate – one vote

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Change… The Third Estate delegates, with their views shaped by the Enlightenment, wanted each delegate to have a vote. They wanted political change! We Want Change!

The Third Estate:

The Third Estate Who were they? Third Estate was dominated by the middle class Blending of aristocratic and bourgeois classes by 1789 Middle class = Big Winners Revolutionary goals of the middle class

The Estates-General:

The Estates-General An old feudal assembly that had not met since 1614 Three Estates: Clergy, Nobility, All Others The significance of the voting procedure The miscalculation and lack of social awareness of the aristocracy

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On June 17, 1789, the Third Estate voted to establish the National Assembly. That was the first deliberate act of revolution. REVOLUTION!

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Locked out of their meeting room, they broke down a door to an indoor tennis court. The Tennis Court Oath

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Here they pledged to stay until they had drawn up a new constitution. A New Constitution

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Meanwhile, in Paris, on July 14, 1789, a mob tried to get gunpowder from the Bastille, a prison. Today there’s a monument at the location of the former prison. The Former Bastille

The Events of the French Revolution:

The Events of the French Revolution Watch for the different revolutions within the Revolution!

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Delacroix expressed the revolutionary ideas in his painting, “Liberty.”

A Case Study: Storming the Bastille:

A Case Study: Storming the Bastille Events of the night of July 13, 1789 Reasons for the attack on the Bastille the next morning The stubbornness of the governor of the fortress Celebrations on the night of July 14 th Sparks tremendous popular revolution all over France


Origins Began as a revolt of the aristocracy Attempt to capitalize on the financial woes of the monarchy Only solution = tax reform and a direct tax on all property Aristocracy refused and forces the issue

“Revolutionaries in the Streets”:

“Revolutionaries in the Streets” Who were they? “Sans-culottes” (without knee britches) Picked up the ideas and slogans of the Revolution from the more educated leadership of lawyers and journalists

The Court Returns to Paris:

The Court Returns to Paris Mounting unemployment and hunger in Paris in the fall of 1789 “October Days” -- “The point is that we want bread!” Women nearly killed the Queen The Royal Family returns to Paris on October 6, 1789

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1789 - 1791 The National Assembly tried to make political reform. The National Assembly

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The Legislative Assembly eventually gave up the idea of forming a limited monarchy; the new governing body called itself the National Convention. The Legislative Assembly

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1791 Political Factions The Legislative Assembly, split into three general groups, had many problems to solve Radicals Moderates Conservatives

Declaration of the Rights of Man—August 27, 1789:

Declaration of the Rights of Man—August 27, 1789

What were the Motivations of these Revolutionaries?:

What were the Motivations of these Revolutionaries? Poverty and Hunger Low wages and fear of unemployment Heightened expectations and the exposure to a political perspective -- “Cahiers” Strong dislike for and distrust of the wealthy The role of conspiracy

Growing Radicalism:

Growing Radicalism Reasons: --Snowball Effect --Unsatisfied Expectations --Outbreak of War Results: --Increasing Violence --Change in Political Leadership

Popular Political Mobilization:

Popular Political Mobilization Revolutionary Talk --More than 500 new newspapers --Oath of Loyalty -- “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!” Revolutionary Symbols Revolutionary Clubs --The Jacobins Revolutionary Leaders

“The Great Fear”:

“The Great Fear” Independent revolutionary agitation in the countryside Rumors of Royalist troops becoming wandering vandals Fear breeds fear and peasants start marching Within 3 weeks of July 14, the countryside of France had been completely changed Abolition of the Nobility

Robespierre Reign of Terror:

Robespierre Reign of Terror The Committee of Public Safety The Concept of “Total War” Maximum price ceilings on certain goods Nationalization of Small Workshops

The Reign of Terror (cont):

The Reign of Terror (cont) Execution of 40,000 “Enemies of the Nation” Stress on radical definition of equality Wanted a legal maximum on personal wealth Wanted a regulation of commercial profits End of Robespierre dictatorship on July 28, 1794


THE CONSEQUENCES More fundamental and profound consequences than the American Revolution France = most powerful and populous state in Europe Massive social revolution Worldwide impact Becomes model for future revolutions

The Directory and Napoleon Bonaparte:

The Directory and Napoleon Bonaparte The Directory (1794-1799) Napoleon’s Rise to Power The Napoleonic Code Establishment of the Bank of France Reconciliation with the Catholic Church --Concordat of 1801 Heavy Censorship Napoleon’s “Art of War”

Legacies of the French Revolution:

Legacies of the French Revolution A revolutionary model A Mass political consciousness Varying interpretations of the Revolution --Conservative View: Edmund Burke --Liberal View: Thomas Jefferson Conflict within the Liberal Tradition “Libertarianism” vs. “Egalitarianism”



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