Origins and outbreak of the French Revolution (1789)

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Mind Map by diego barros, updated more than 1 year ago
diego barros
Created by diego barros over 6 years ago


Mind Map on Origins and outbreak of the French Revolution (1789), created by diego barros on 04/29/2015.

Resource summary

Origins and outbreak of the French Revolution (1789)
  1. Origins of the French Revolution
    1. The Ancien Regime
      1. France was a hierarchical society where all administrative, legislative and executive power lied with the King. This Absolute Monarchy culminated in French King Louis XIV stating "I am the state"
      2. The Estates
        1. 1st Estate
          1. Constituted of all members of the clergy, close to 170,000 members
            1. The Church owned about 15% of all arable land in France
              1. Tithes (10% of wages) were enforced among the peasantry
                1. Held great sway in the countryside, but had little influence within the cities (Paris)
                2. 2nd Estate
                  1. Constituted of the nobility, and had some 300,000 members
                    1. The nobility owned about 20% of arable land in France
                      1. They were exempt from most taxes and lived off rents from their holdings
                        1. Divided between the 'sword' (medieval tradition) and the 'robe' (civil workers involved in govt)
                        2. 3rd Estate
                          1. This was everyone else, about 26.5 million people
                            1. 85% peasants, 15% bourgeoisie (haute [wealthy merchants] petite [shopkeepers & craftsmen])
                              1. Peasants owned 35% of arable land, the bourgeoisie held 30%
                                1. Taxation accounted for 45% of income. Had to contend with inflation (65% rise in food, -22% wages, 25% standard of living)
                              2. The Enlightenment
                                1. Starting in the 1740s, the Enlightenment 'philosophes' questioned the established order, questioning the power and roles of the Church and monarchy. The movement gained a lot of strength in France, with Mirabeau, Rousseau, and Voltaire being at forefront of the Enlightenment
                              3. Financial and Political Problems
                                1. Louis XVI was bound to protect the 'laws and customs' which prevented effective reform
                                  1. As the govt grew more complex, it also became more decentralised, with ministers and local officials gaining more power
                                    1. Critics argued that he wasn't fulfilling his role defender of the law, and that he was allowing ministers to rule France
                                      1. The 'Parlements' showed great hostility to reforms in govt and taxation due to fear of "ministerial despotism"
                                        1. After EM Calonne's failure to reform the economy the Parlements, esp Paris, emerged as the leaders of the opposition
                                          1. Economic Condition and the failures of the EMs
                                            1. France was totally bankrupt, a long series of conflicts (Spain, Poland, Austrian Succession, 7 Years War, USA Independence) lasting from 1701-83 led to massive borrowing, the continued wars ensured that France could not pay its withstanding debts
                                              1. 1786 Eden Treaty (GB): Mutual lowering of tariffs. However, due to economic crisis exports decreased, and English goods flooded the market, damaging the fledgling French industry
                                                1. EM Turgot (Physiocrat) desired more economic freedom and reduced internal trade barriers, however the heavy opposition to this ensured his failure and dismissal
                                                  1. EM Necker: Improved finances and allowed for greater spending, however, bad harvests worsened the situation greatly and he resigned. His continued commentaries on the economic situation, leading to a loss in public confidence to Louis
                                                    1. EM Calonne: France's debts were too large, in order to raise more money he set forth a tax reform plan, calling on an Assembly of Notables to debate the reform. These attack him however, and he publicly criticises them, earning a dismissal. The failure of the AoN led to the Estates General convening
                                                      1. EM Archbishop Brienne: Had the same plan as Calonne but encountered no more success than his predecessor, calling on the Parlements to intervene
                                                      2. Power struggle: Parlements vs. Louis
                                                        1. Parlements accepted administrative reform but remained hostile to tax reforms, claiming the opposition lacked the authority to enact such reforms
                                                          1. The Parlements called for an Estates General, however, Louis was against this, and moved against the Parlements. Demonstrations take place in Paris, with middle class-men and workers protesting
                                                            1. Parlements continued the call for the EG, but Louis rebuffed their attempts, instead he exiled his critics (Duc d'Orleans) and issued the May Edicts, depriving the Parlements of power. However the parlements declared the May edicts illegal
                                                            2. Revolt of the Nobles (against 'ministerial despotism')
                                                              1. Riots such as the Day of Tiles in Grenoble (crowds protect Parlement magistrates from soldiers sent to disrupt their attempts to form a parlement) results in leadership falling upon the 1st and 2nd estates (Clergy only provided 25% of the don gratuit requested by Louis)
                                                                1. The increased bankruptcy and worsened financial and economic situation urges the crowds to demand the return of Necker, who does nothing until the EG is called
                                                              2. Estates General
                                                                1. Discussions preceding the EG
                                                                  1. Parlements favoured voting by estate rather than by head in order to ensure control remained in the hands of the 1st and 2nd estates
                                                                    1. However this sparked great anger in the 3rd estate, who demanded voting be by head. This led to their alienation and the belief that they were allied to the King
                                                                      1. The 3rd estate grew radicalised and favoured total change in the social structure. Abbé Sieyès declared: "What is the 3rd Estate? Everything", and urged the 3rd estate to rise up, destroy the other estates, and establish a constitution
                                                                      2. Louis XVI's failures to contain the situation
                                                                        1. He agreed to increase the number of participants for the 3rd estate but failed to provide any decision on the voting system
                                                                          1. Royal announcement to the EG promised "not only that they give their advice on everything we shall ask them to discuss, but also that they may tell us the wishes and grievances of our people so that every kind of abuse will be reformed"
                                                                            1. This led to the Cahiers de Doléances, notebooks for every constituency (234) reflecting the concerns of the 3rd estate. Dominated by the bourgeois but, "even the humblest peasant would have been encouraged to question his position and become excited by the prospect of imminent change" (Waller)
                                                                              1. Louis has the chance to exert his authority and suggest major reforms but doesn't; the 3rd estate, led by Sièyes and Mirabeau create the National Assembly (Revolt of the Bourgeoisie) the Clergy vote to join them (Revolt of the Nobility)
                                                                                1. Louis attempt to reassert control by calling for a Royal Session for all 3 estates. In preparation to this he closed the halls of the estates, posting guards around them.
                                                                                  1. The deputies of the 3rd estate upon finding their halls locked and guarded retire and declare the Tennis Court Oath: "never to abandon the assembly and to go on meeting until the constitution of the realm is set up"
                                                                                    1. He declared the resolutions of the 3rd estate as void, insisting that the estates should meet separately and that the deputies should leave. The 3rd estate refuses to leave and are joined by 151 clergy men and 47 nobles, including Duc d'Orleans (revolution of bourgeoisie and nobility)
                                                                                      1. Accepted: no taxation without reform, freedom of the press, abolition of gabelle and corvée (taxes), internal customs barriers, and lettres de cachet
                                                                                        1. Popular demostrations in Paris force the King to back down on his decision to separate the NA. But, he stationed more troops around Paris, by the 4th of July, close to 30,000 soldiers were stationed around the capital. Rumours spread that the King was going to dissolve the assembly by force
                                                                                        2. The French Revolution
                                                                                          1. The revolt of the nobility and of the bourgeoisie in the EG heralded the start of the French Revolution; the Tennis Court Oath, and the decision to disobey Louis' orders was the major act of defiance against the Monarchy
                                                                                            1. Symbolically, however, the Fall of the Bastille on the 14th of July, was the Revolution's symbolic beginning, as it was when the majority of the population openly and violently revolted against the Ancien Regime
                                                                                              1. The Fall of the Bastille was also important as it led to great change within France's political structure, as Louis accepted the Paris Commune, the creation of the National Guard, and the creation of the Constituent Assembly
                                                                                              2. The Estates General
                                                                                                1. First conveyed on May 4th 1789. Included 561 clergymen and nobles and 578 3rd estate.
                                                                                                  1. 200/291 clerics + 90/270 nobles wanted change.
                                                                                                    1. Cahiers emphasised need for regular EG meetings, No taxation w/o consent, freedom of press, abolition of lettres de cachet
                                                                                                      1. 3rd estate: financial equality, individual rights, no feudalism (feudal dues and rights), changes in agriculture and trade
                                                                                                    2. French Economy 1789 (before EG)
                                                                                                      1. A disastrous harvest in 1788 combined with a sharp rise in population led to immense pressure on food supplies, starvation, inflation
                                                                                                        1. Great Fear: starving peasants revolted, attacking grain conveys, rioting over food prices and attacking landlords to destroy feudal records (inflamed by rumors that King hired vagabonds to kill peasants and seize grain)
                                                                                                          1. Spring 1789: 88% of Parisian workers wages spent on food, meant no money to spend on manufactured goods, resulting in a production decrease (textiles -50%).
                                                                                                            1. This led to the Réveillon riots (first calls for revolution), and increased the power and awareness to the 3rd estate before the EG, resulting in fearful attitudes from 1st, 2nd and King
                                                                                                            2. Historiography
                                                                                                              1. Historians such as Alexis de Tocqueville and Adolphe Thiers, support the view that the early French Revolution was led by 'above', and claim that the Revolution was a product of the dialectic between the Ancien Regime and the Enlightened ideals of the liberal nobles, bourgeois, and clergymen
                                                                                                                1. Marxist historians believe in a historical materialism as the source of the Revolution, blaming economic conditions above others. Georges Lefebvre, for example, believes that the King's political authority was undermined by debt, and the actions of the nobility against reform, influenced the bourgeoisie into overthrowing the old aristocracy
                                                                                                                  1. Revisionist historians, believe that the peasantry exerted greater influence than the bourgeoisie in the overthrow of the Ancien Regime, claiming that France was not fully capitalist, and therefore th bourgeoisie weren't hostile to the Ancien Regime, simply desiring to join the higher estates. Colin Lucas states that what led the bourgeoisie to revolting was that the political crisis closed the social structures even further
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