The French …setting the stage for democracy Revolution

This meeting was called The King of France. The poorest people in France had little power and paid half of their income to the nobles. Many people starved to death. Bad weather caused many crops to fail. King Louis was a weak king who borrowed large sums of money from his nobles so that he could have riches and palaces. France fell upon hard times. many of France’s people could not afford bread. He often chose to play games and go hunting rather than govern France.France in the 1780s Around 1780. the nobles forced Louis to call an assembly of the nobles. People wanted more liberty and were interested in democracy and equality. and peasants. Louis XVI . priests. With so little wheat from the crops. The ruler of France was King Louis XVI. Because France was in severe debt.

there were a hundred commoners. The First Estate was made up of the priests of the Roman Catholic Church.The Meeting of the Estates General The Estates-General was made up of three groups. going represented most of the people in France. or estates. The Second Estate was the nobles. For every nobleman or priest in France. But the Third Estate together got just one vote. The assembly was called to solve the financial crisis and pass a new tax law. meaning their opinion had no value if the noblemen and clergy disagreed with them. The Third Estate tried to change this by suggesting that the estates get one vote for every delegate . and the third was the representatives of the The Estates-General assembly in 1789 peasants. The Third their vote on the issue was Estateto be. they were not happy. Each estate was a social class. Each estate had one vote and met in a separate hall to decide what Although the peasants had their voice.

A priest named Abbe Sieyes sided with them. They pledged that they would remain in the tennis court until it was finished. To this day.The Tennis Court Oath When King Louis turned down the commoners’ request for a more equal assembly. After announced the end of the French Third Estate pledges the Tennis Court Oath a long night of debate. many members of the Third Estate grew restless. the Tennis Court Oath is known as the beginning of . he urged the Third Estate to name themselves the National Assembly. the priests and nobles shut them out of their meeting room. They broke into an indoor tennis court and wrote the Constitution of 1791 for their new government. Three days Third Estate decided and later. the The Monarchy and the beginning of a representative government. and rule the country on behalf of the French people. In a passionate speech. This was the last straw for the Third Estate.

throwing Paris into anarchy. a mob stormed the Bastille.The Storming of the Bastille When the King heard what his subjects had done. He finally gave into the peasants’ demands. and ordered the nobles and priests to join the National Assembly. Rumors began flying about the city. The mob seized control of the Bastille and its entire armory and gunpowder. to protect him at his palace in Paris. the most loyal troops. But the peasants of Paris heard of the new arrivals too soon. that the soldiers were coming to massacre them! So. A French mob storms the Bastille . on July 14. he became afraid. a prison in Paris where hundreds of prisoners were locked up for petty crimes. never to be seen again. believed The citizens of the city 1789. he ordered his Swiss Guard. Then.

. The women of Paris march on Versailles Three hours later.The March on Versailles But the peasants were not content with the liberation of Paris. to the west of Paris. For entire and four years. they were kept under armed guard in the Tuileries. the people of Paris declared France a republic. the king’s palace in Paris. they broke down the door and killed two guards. radical revolutionaries beheaded King Louis XVI for treason to his country. But in 1792. Angered over the rising prices of bread caused by the wheat shortage. 6. King Louis XVI household.000 women marched to the palace. left their magnificent of France. along with his familypalace and returned to Paris as prisoners. Upon reaching it. In a bloody demonstration of the end of the monarchy. King Louis lived in a palace in Versailles. Then they demanded that the Royal family return with them to Paris.

1793 commission to eliminate his political enemies. The period of Robespierre’s rule has come to be known as the Reign of Terror for the terrible happenings of that time. By 1794. Many rival leaders fought for power. Queen of France.000 people. one by one. Instead. all government collapsed. this office was supposed to find enemies of the new republic and kill them. In theory. They turned National Convention felt that on him. and had him beheaded.The Reign of Terror With the execution of the king. of Public Safety had executed about 3. the Committee Robespierre was too dangerous. Robespierre used the The execution of Marie Antoinette. October 16. Robespierre and his followers created an office called the Committee of Public Safety. Slowly. members of the Within a year. the leaders in the National Convention created a new form of government with powers separated between the legislature and the . After his death. a man named Maximilian Robespierre took power and ruled France as a dictator.

Napoleon was a brilliant military strategist and won most of his battles. seized power in a manner called a coup d’etat or blow of state. Napoleon marched his troops into the chamber of the national Napoleon grabs the crown in his self-coronation legislature. Britain. Austria. in present-day Belgium. Napoleon was exiled to the island of St. He then forced them Once he rose to consul. He sold his to proclaim him power. the people of France received yet another powerful leader. His luck started running out when he fought a disastrous campaign in Russia. . to take control of Europe. However. and Russia formed an alliance to oppose him. By 1813. The European allies finally defeated the French armies near the village of Waterloo. Napoleon North American holdings to the United States so he could have more money of the state of France. who some consider the greatest military leader of all time. Then. he had controlled half of Europe. Just a single day after being granted control of the entire French army. or leader had more ambitious plans. people in conquered countries began to oppose Napoleon as well.The Rise of Napoleon Only six years later. Napoleon Bonaparte. in 1799.

the brother of the old king. and France. Prussia. Austria. the countries in Europe agreed to never expand at the expense of others.The Growth of Democracy After the fall of Napoleon. Although the French Revolution ended with a victory for conservatives and restored the monarchy. Also. the foreign minister of Austria. Wisely. They adopted a plan proposed by Prince Klemens von Metternich. Some actions in the French Revolution contributed to democracy. while others did not. . became the new King of France. The ideals of the French Revolution helped create many other democratic revolutions around the world in the 19th and 20th century. such as The Reign of Terror. Russia. and this prevented war for the next 50 years. They called themselves the Congress of Vienna. met in Vienna. a democracy with a king as the head of state. In effect. he chose to pacify the people by creating a constitutional monarchy. the capital of Austria. the leaders of five countries. Their purpose was to redraw Europe’s political map and decide the fate of France. Britain. Louis XVIII. enlightenment ideas lived on.

html> The March on Versailles <http://www.insecula.ausd.html> Reign of Terror <http://www.Image Sources The Meeting of the Estates General <> The Rise of Napoleon <http://vandyck.html>> The Tennis Court Oath <> The Storming of the Bastille <http://college.