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FRENCH REVOLUTION NOTES

The Estates
• First Estate: Clergy
The clergy consisted of about 100 000 people, or 0.5% of the population of France.
They owned 10% of the land in France.
o The Lower Clergy (94 000 people):
 The priests of the country that did parish work. They were responsible
for collecting the tithe.
o The Higher Clergy (6000 people):
 They comprised of nobles that lived at Versailles and basically did
nothing. They earned all the money that was collected from the tithe
and weren’t very religious.
o Every 10 years the clergy would give a gift to the king by using 5% of the
tithe. The roles of the church included: parish work, maintaining the church
and education.

• Second Estate: Nobility


The nobles of France consisted of about 400 000, or 1.5% of the population of France.
They owned 25% of the land in France. They didn’t pay any taxes, but were willing to
do if they were given power. There were many types of nobility, those who were born
into it and those who contributed to the army. The highest nobles lived at Versailles
and could become officers in the army or attain judicial or administrative posts. They
were also exempted from the punishments given upon breaking a law.

• Third Estate: Bourgeoisie, Workers, Peasants [basically everyone else]


The third estate consisted of 98% of the population or about 27 million people. They
owned about 65% of the land.

o Bourgeoisie
 To be a member of the bourgeoisie one might be a very wealthy
financier or a shopkeeper, artisan, lawyer or bureaucrat. Many among
the bourgeoisie aspired to be nobility and some bought positions such
as membership in the parlements that conferred noble status to the
family. Enterprising businessmen desirous of joining the nobility
invested in land and bought offices that carried a title, using their
money to advance their social position rather than to expand their
business.
 They were implicated in finances, commerce and the professional
world (law, medicine etc). Between 1730 and 1770 they prospered
through commerce and mercantilism. They were owners of slaves of
which they sold and were used to maintain their plantations of sugars
and tropical fruits. They were so rich that they used to lend the king
money, however, they had no power. Their anger came from the fact
that they couldn’t accept their predicament and deemed it unjust to
pay all their taxes. Since their idols were the philosophers of the
enlightenment, they started to criticize the monarchy and this then led
to a rebellion.

o Workers
 650 000 people in Paris who were afraid of bread shortages. There
were many riots in 1788 due to that cause. They lost trust in the king
because he would buy all the bread and flour and then sell the bread
when the prices increased. These people were extremely volatile
during the revolution and formed many riots and barricades.

o Peasants
 They were composed of at least 86% of the population. They paid a lot
of taxes but were still supportive of the monarchy and the church. It
was only during isolated instances such as the Great Fear that they
really played a role during the revolution. They were also involved in
the army.
 They worked on the lands of nobles, and were basically treated as
slaves. They were anti-Versailles and pro-king. They were very
attached to their king, seeing him as the intermediate between the
people and God. However, they were not pleased with the expense of
Versailles. They were basically the source of revenue with their many
taxes: la gabelle (salt tax), wine taxes, leather taxes. The tithe (la
dîme) is paid to the church in which they pay 10% of what they make
within a year. Also, they gave a percentage of their harvest to the
seigneurs which falls under the rights outlined in the feudal system.
Last of all they had obligations to the state, such as military services
or the royal corvées (chores) in which they constructed roads, etc.

Class System Analysis:


1. The peasants were the victims of a taxation system which penalized the poor.
2. Although there were higher and lower classes between the clergy and the nobles, this
didn’t exist in the 3rd estate because they weren’t educated enough to know the
difference.
3. The 1st and 2nd estate left the peasants uneducated (didn’t intervene to make things
better) so that they could take advantage of them.
4. Due to the interdependence of the class system, if the 3rd estate didn’t exist, France
would fall apart.
5. Everyone had their own place in society and learned to accept it.
6. The peasants were incapable of changing their situation.
7. The churches were run by the higher clergy who lived luxuriously without working.
8. The less you work, the more you earn. Those who worked weren’t awarded.
9. The church had more influence over the peasants than the king.
10. The nobles were too busy maintaining their place in society.
11. “Good things seem to come to those who work the least.”

Biographies of Important People:


• Honoré Gabriel Riqueti comte de Mirabeau (1749–1791):
Revolutionary politician and orator, born in Bignon, C France. At 17 he entered a
cavalry regiment, but was imprisoned on several occasions for his disorderly
behaviour. While hiding in Amsterdam, having eloped with a young married woman, he
wrote the sensational Essai sur le despotisme (Essay on Despotism). Sentenced to
death, he was imprisoned at Vincennes in 1777 for over three years, where he wrote
his famous Essai sur les lettres de cachet (2 vols, 1782). Elected to the Estates
General by the Third Estate of Marseille (1780), his political acumen made him a force
in the National Assembly, while his audacity and eloquence endeared him to the
people. He advocated a constitutional monarchy on the English model, but failed to
convince Louis XVI. As the popular movement progressed, his views were also rejected
by the revolutionaries. He was nonetheless elected president of the Assembly in 1791,
but died soon afterwards.

• Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (1758–1794):


French revolutionary leader, born in Arras, N France. He became a lawyer, was elected
to the States General (1789), became a prominent member of the Jacobin Club, and
emerged in the National Assembly as a popular radical, known as ‘the Incorruptible’. In
1791 he was public accuser, and in 1792 presented a petition to the Legislative
Assembly for a Revolutionary Tribunal. Elected first deputy for Paris in the National
Convention, he emerged as leader of the Mountain, strenuously opposed to the
Girondins, whom he helped to destroy. In 1793 he became a member of the
Committee of Public Safety, and for three months dominated the country, introducing
the Reign of Terror and the cult of the Supreme Being. But as his ruthless exercise of
power increased, his popularity waned. He was attacked in the Convention, arrested,
and guillotined on the orders of the Revolutionary Tribunal.

• Georges (Jacques) Danton (1759–94):


French revolutionary politician, born in Arcis-sur-Aube, NEC France. He became a
lawyer, and was practising in Paris at the outbreak of the Revolution. In 1790 he
formed the Cordelier's Club, a rallying point for revolutionary extremists, and in 1792
became minister of justice. He voted for the death of the king (1793), and was one of
the original members of the Committee of Public Safety. He tried to abate the pitiless
severity of his own Revolutionary Tribunal, but lost the leadership to Robespierre. He
was arrested, brought before the Tribunal, and charged with conspiracy. Despite a
heroic and eloquent defence, he was guillotined.

• Louis (Antoine Léon Florelle) de Saint-Just (1767–1794):


French revolutionary, born in Decize, C France. He studied at Soissons and Reims, then
studied law, and while in Paris began to write poetry and essays, notably L'Esprit de la
révolution (1791, Spirit of the Revolution). He was elected to the National Convention
(1792), attracted notice by his fierce tirades against the king, and as a devoted
follower of Robespierre was sent on diplomatic and military missions. He joined the
Committee of Public Safety (1793), contributing to the destruction of Danton and
Hébert, became president of the Convention (1794), and sponsored the radical
Ventôse Laws, redistributing property to the poor. He was guillotined with Robespierre
in the Thermidorian Reaction.

• Jacques René Hébert (1757–1794):


French revolutionary extremist who represented the aspirations of the sans-culottes,
born in Alençon, NE France. He became a popular political journalist, assumed the
pseudonym le Père Duchesne after launching a satirical newspaper of that name
(1790), and joined both the Cordelier and Jacobin Clubs. He became a member of the
Revolutionary Council, playing a major part in the September Massacres and the
overthrow of the monarchy. After denouncing the Committee of Public Safety for its
failure to help the poor, he tried to incite a popular uprising, but having incurred the
suspicion of Danton and Robespierre, he and 17 of his followers (Hébertists) were
guillotined.

• Jacques Necker (1732–1804):


Statesman and financier, born in Geneva, SW Switzerland. Initially a banker's clerk, he
moved to Paris (1762), founded a bank, and became a wealthy speculator. In 1776–7
he was director of the French Treasury and director-general of finances. He attempted
some administrative reforms, but tried to finance French involvement in the War of
American Independence by heavy borrowing, while concealing the large state deficit.
He was dismissed in 1781, but recalled in 1788 to deal with the impending financial
crisis. He summoned the States General, but his proposals for social and constitutional
change aroused royal opposition, and he was dismissed. His dismissal helped to
provoke the public disorder that ended in the storming of the Bastille, and he was
hastily recalled in 1789, but resigned the following year.

• Louis XVI (1754–1793):


King of France (1774–93), born in Versailles, NC France, the third son of the dauphin
Louis and Maria Josepha of Saxony, and the grandson of Louis XV, whom he succeeded
in 1774. He was married in 1770 to the Archduchess Marie Antoinette, daughter of the
Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa, to strengthen the Franco–Austrian alliance. He
failed to give consistent support to ministers who tried to reform the outmoded
financial and social structures of the country, such as Turgot (1774–6) and Necker
(1776–81). He allowed France to became involved in the War of American
Independence (1778–83), which exacerbated the national debt. Meanwhile, Marie
Antoinette's propensity for frivolous conduct and scandal helped to discredit the
monarchy. To avert the deepening social and economic crisis, he agreed in 1789 to
summon the States General. However, encouraged by the queen, he resisted demands
from the National Assembly for sweeping reforms, and in October was brought with his
family from Versailles to Paris as hostage to the revolutionary movement. Their
attempted flight to Varennes (Jun 1791) branded the royal pair as traitors. Louis
reluctantly approved the new constitution (Sep 1791), but his moral authority had
collapsed. In August 1792 an insurrection suspended Louis's constitutional position,
and in September the monarchy was abolished. He was tried before the National
Convention for conspiracy with foreign powers, and was guillotined in Paris.

• Marie Joseph (Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier), marquis de Lafayette


(1757–1834):
After 1782, Lafayette was absorbed with questions of reform in France. He was one of
the first to advocate a National Assembly, and worked toward the establishment of a
constitutional monarchy during the years leading up to the French Revolution. These
efforts cost him much of his support from the French nobility. As commander of the
French National Guard, Lafayette was compelled to use force to put down crowd
violence. By 1791, he had lost most of his popularity with the people. In 1792,
Lafayette tried unsuccessfully to curb radicalism against the monarchy. The King and
Queen would not accept his assistance. The troops he tried to turn on the Paris mob
would not follow his orders. Lafayette was denounced as a traitor and fled the country.

• Jean Paul Marat (1743–1793):


French revolutionary politician, born in Boudry, W Switzerland. He studied medicine at
Bordeaux, and lived in Paris, Holland, Newcastle, and London. At the Revolution he
became a member of the Cordelier Club, and established the radical paper L'Ami du
peuple (The Friend of the People). His virulence provoked hatred, and he was several
times forced into hiding. Elected to the National Convention, he became a leader of the
Mountain, and advocated radical reforms. After the king's death he was locked in a
struggle with the Girondins, and was fatally stabbed in his bath by a Girondin
supporter, Charlotte Corday; thereafter he was hailed as a martyr.

• (Marie) Charlotte Corday (d'Armont) (1768–1793):


Noblewoman, born in St Saturnin, W France. She sympathized with the aims of the
Revolution, but was horrified by the acts of the Jacobins. She managed to obtain an
audience with the revolutionary leader, Jean Paul Marat, while he was in his bath, and
stabbed him. She was guillotined four days later.

• (Lucie Simplice) Camille (Benoist) Desmoulins (1760–1794):


French revolutionary and journalist, born in Guise, N France. He studied law in Paris,
but owing to a stutter never practised. He nonetheless was an effective crowd orator,
and played a dramatic part in the storming of the Bastille. He was also an influential
pamphleteer. A member of the Cordeliers' Club from its foundation, he was elected to
the National Convention and voted for the death of the king. He actively attacked the
Girondists, but by the end of 1793 argued for moderation, thus incurring the hostility
of Robespierre. He was arrested and guillotined.

• Emmanuel Joseph, comte de (Count of) Sieyès (1748–1836):


French political theorist and clergyman, born in Fréjus, SE France. His pamphlet,
Qu'est-ce que le tiers-état? (1789, What is the Third Estate?) stimulated bourgeois
awareness and won him great popularity. He became a member of the National
Convention, and later served on the Committee of Public Safety (1795) and in the
Directory. In 1799, he helped to organize the revolution of 18th Brumaire, becoming a
member of the Consulate. When Napoleon assumed supreme power, his authority
waned, and he withdrew to his estates. He was exiled at the Restoration (1815), and
lived in Brussels until 1830, returning after the July Revolution to Paris.
• Marie Antoinette (Josèphe Jeanne) (1755–1793):
Queen of France, born in Vienna, Austria, the daughter of Maria Theresa and Francis
I. She was married to the Dauphin, afterwards Louis XVI (1770), to strengthen the
Franco-Austrian alliance, and exerted a growing influence over him. Capricious and
frivolous, she aroused criticism by her extravagance, disregard for conventions,
devotion to the interests of Austria, and opposition to reform. From the outbreak of
the French Revolution, she resisted the advice of constitutional monarchists
(eg Mirabeau), and helped to alienate the monarchy from the people. However, the
famous solution to the bread famine, ‘let them eat cake’, is unjustly attributed to her.
In 1791 she and Louis tried to escape from the Tuileries to her native Austria, but were
seized at Varennes and imprisoned in Paris. After the king's execution, she was
arraigned before the Tribunal and guillotined.

Financial Crisis
• ¼ of the revenues- army
• ½ of the revenues- national debt
• Financing the American War of Independence of 1776
• The extravagances of Marie Antoinette
• Harvest failure of 1788
• Maintenance of Versailles

Necker
• Fired in 1781
• Hired in 1788 because of the financial crisis
• Reform Possibilities Suggested by Necker:
o Tax the nobles
o Eliminate tariffs
o Expropriate religious lands
o Have provincial assemblies with reps from all estates
• Nobles said they wanted to consult the Estates Generals.
• Fired on July 11, 1789, which enraged the Paris mob and was the triggering effect
• Hired again on July 16, 1789

Abbé Sièyes
1. Qu’est-ce que le Tiers-Etats? Tout.
2. Qu’a-t-il été jusqu’à present dans l’ordre politique? Rien.
3. Que demande-t-il? A y devenir quelque choses.

The Estates General [May 5, 1789]:


• Last time they were called it was in 1614.
• Decided to meet in May 1789
• “With this act, the aristocracy unwittingly signed it’s own death warrant,”
• Each of the estates sits separately and votes by block.
• Necker was popular with bourgeoisie and got the king to agree to double the
representation of the third estate.
• The words of Abbé Sièyes in January 1789 “became the battle cry of the bougeoisie,”
• The reps of the Third Estate were mostly composed of those who had more liberal
ideas rather than conservative ideas like the peasants.
• Cahiers des Doléances [indicate their concerns and requests for change]
o Development of a constitution
o Equality of taxation
o Evidence of the difference in 3rd estate in rural and urban areas
i. Concerns of nobles’ hunting rights and the use of pigeon hutches- rural
ii. Individual rights- urban
National Assembly [June 17, 1789]:
• On May 5, the king asked the estates to meet separately and vote as a block.
• This angered the Third Estate, as they wanted to meet as whole and vote individually.
• They started lobbying nobles and clergy to join them, however only a small group of
clergy joined them.
• On June 17, the Third Estate felt powerful enough to claim themselves as the National
Assembly, the only legitimate legislation in France.

Serment du Jeu de Paume [June 20, 1789]:


• On June 20, the third estate was locked out of the meeting place.
• Left confused and angry the crowd marched onwards to the tennis courts and made an
oath to not dissolve until a constitution was put in place.
• On June 23, the king gave the order to vote by head.
• On June 27, the king told all the estates to group with the National Assembly.
• Angry mobs roamed the countryside with the news of the defiance of the king.
• The king hired 20 000 soldiers to protect him and Versailles.
• They believed that the soldiers were brought in to “destroy the National Assembly and
the revolution,”
• On July 11, Necker was fired.
• The firing of Necker and the presence of the army enraged the crowd.

Phases of the French Revolution:


• 1st Phase (1789-1792):
o liberal and democratic revolution
o liberty
• 2nd Phase (1795-1794):
o totalitarian / egalitarian revolution
o attempts to save the revolution
o reign of terror
o order
o “crazy time of the revolution”
• 3rd Phase (1794-1799):
o the Directory
o corruption
o Napoleon appears on the scene

The Fall of the Bastille [July 14, 1789]:


• Stirred up by Camille Desmoullins, the angry mob in Paris decided to storm the
Bastille.
• They first went to the Invalides and obtained 30 000 muskets and then marched on
towards the Bastille [a symbol of the king’s absolute authority] to get ammunition.
• They demanded arms and ammunition from the Governor of the Bastille [de Launey]
but he refused and asked the soldiers to fire on the crowd.
• 98 people died, and the mob freed 7 prisoners and then proceeded to kill de Launey.
• King’s Reaction
o Hired Necker again on the 16th
o Ordered the troops to returns to the provinces.
o Recognized the role of LaFayette on the 17th
i. Commander of the National Garde of Paris
ii. His insignia for the Garde, the cockard
1. White to represent royalty.
2. Blue and Red to represent the Paris militia.
La Grande Peur [July 20, 1789]:
• The peasants were still the victims of bread shortage and there were rumours that the
nobles had hired vagrants to protect the new harvest from the peasants.
• The peasants then attacked the manors of the nobles and any buildings holding feudal
documents
• Inspiration to abolish feudal rights [Aug. 4, 1789]: Abolishment of the tithe,
corvées, serfdom, taxation, class status

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen [August 26, 1789]:
• Blueprints of the constitution
• “It asserted political and social equality of all men, the sovereignty of the people, and
the natural right to liberty, property, security, and resistance to opposition,”
• “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, became the motto for the future.”
• The king refused to sign the declaration until after the March to Versailles on Oct. 5.
• Articles:
o Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be
founded only upon the general good.
o The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and
imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and
resistance to oppression.
o All persons are held innocent until they shall have been declared guilty.
o The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of
the rights of man.
o A common contribution is essential for the maintenance of the public forces
and for the cost of administration. This should be equitably distributed among
all the citizens in proportion to their means.
o Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived
thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand
it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and
equitably indemnified.

Women’s March to Versailles [Oct. 5, 1789]:


• Due to the bread shortages the women of Paris marched onto City Hall where they
were told to go to Versailles, which was 20 km away.
• While they marched on in the rain more women joined them until their numbers
reached 6000.
• Results: The king ordered the grain supply to be sent to Paris. He agreed to sign the
declaration, which stripped him of veto rights. He agreed to leave to Paris and live in
the Tuileries.

Expropriation of Church Land [Nov. 2, 1789]:


• The government was still heavily in debt, and it was the bourgeoisies’ money that was
being borrowed and the money needed to be paid back.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy [July 12, 1790]:


• This constitution forced all of the clergy to take an oath to the state and the new
constitution which replaced the bible. They had to recognize the state as the higher
authority rather than the pope. This resulted in the reorganization of parishes and
there were now elections for priests who were voted on by active citizens. The state
would now pay these priests and they must recognize reason as the Supreme Being
rather than God. This, however, resulted in a schism. The prêtres jureurs were those
that accepted and the prêtres réfractaires were those who refused to accept the
constitution.

Louis XVI’s Flight [Varennes] [June 20, 1791]:


• Marie Antoinette was convinced that her family had to leave Paris [due to conflicts].
• They left by carriage disguised to flee to Montmedy in Lorraine.
• They planned on planning counter-revolution attacks with Austria
• They were recognized by the National Guardsmen and were escorted back to Paris.
• Lower the peasant’s regard of the king.
• Completely lost all faith in the crowd.

Challenges of the National (Constituent) Assembly:


• Divisions started to appear within the revolution, making the king happy.
• Plans of a new government system (options):
o Veto rights to the king
o An assembly with 1 level or 2 levels
o Constitutional monarchy
o Republic
• Other Projects/Challenges:
o Govern the country
o Write a constitution
o Destroy all the institutions related to the ancien régime
• While trying to come up with new ideas and making new decisions within the
Constituent Assembly, many revolutionaries started to form clubs.

The Constitution of [Sept. 14] 1791


• Release of the constitution which declared France a constitutional monarchy, or limited
monarchy
• Effects of the constitution on the king:
o Abdicate if he left the country for more than two months
o No control over the army
o Veto power was limited to four years
o The Assembly could not be dissolved by the king
o The king’s suspensive veto didn’t include any judicial or constitutional matters

The Legislative Assembly [Oct. 1, 1791]:


• The Constituent Assembly dissolved for the election of a Legislative Assembly on Sept
30.
• 745 new deputies were elected, they were either lawyers or property owners.
• The powers were divided into the legislative, the executive and the judicial branches.
• Used “Suffrage Censitaire”
o Those who could vote were those who paid a tax equivalent to 3 days of
wages, these people were called active citizens (4.5 million people).
o These citizens vote for the delegates (50 000 people).
o The delegates then vote for the members of the Legislative Assembly.
• Passive Citizens
• 3 million people which comprises of peasants and workers
(excluding the National Guard). These people are not educated
enough to make decisions.
• Formation of the Assembly
o Moderates: sat in the centre
o Jacobins [“the Mountain”]: left of the speaker, high in the assembly hall
o Girondins: near the Jacobins
o Conservative: right of the speaker

Clubs
• Girondins [Brissotins]:
o In power from Sept. 1792 - June1793
o Wanted a strict application of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy
o Believed in federalism
o Were in favour of war against Austria which didn’t work out too well

• Jacobins [la Montagne / Montagnards]:


o In power during the second phase, June 1793 – July 1794
o Led by Robespierre and was composed of the privileged bourgeois
o More radical than the Girondins and were very left-winged
o Wanted a republic
o Wanted rights to vote for all men
o Wanted an efficient government run by an elite, who is ready to temporarily
sacrifice the freedom of the individuals for equality, order and a future based
on a republic
o Didn’t like women’s rights movements (like Rousseau)
o Wanted a constitution
o Believed in a chart of human rights
o Either with them, or not. If you chose not to join them, or were an enemy, you
would be killed.

The Commune
• They were the revolutionary government of Paris who were led by Hébert. They were
more concerned of the short term issues such as bread shortages. Hot heads, workers.

The War against Austria and Prussia [April 28, 1792]:


• Led by the Girondins [Brissot].
• They were frightened of a counter-revolution and if they lose, the monarchy would be
re-instated.
• They wanted revolutionary moves all over Europe.
• Beginning of the French Revolutionary wars.

• The Girondins persuaded Louis XVI that France could win a war against Austria. Hence,
on April 21, 1792, the French government declared war on Austria. As Prussia was
allied with Austria, France found itself fighting a war against two countries. The first
foray into the war was in the Austrian Netherlands where the French were not only
defeated but routed. The French army had been emasculated by the loss of its officer
corps. The only factor that prevented a swift defeat overall was that Russia was busy
in eastern Poland. Russia, Austria and Prussia and had begun the partition of Poland in
1772 and neither Austria nor Prussia was willing to allow Russia a free hand in this
second attempt at partition. As a result, the war with France was a secondary matter
and Paris escaped occupation.

Storming of the Tuileries [Aug. 10, 1792]:


• The outright attack of the Tuileries by the Commune and some of the Jacobins.
• They held the king and his family prisoners of the later Convention.

• Paris seethed with discontent throughout the summer of 1792. Hungry, distrustful of
government, and discouraged by failures in the war, Parisians grew increasingly
restless. On Aug. 10, 1792, they turned against the king. The mob stormed the
Tuileries where the royal family was being held. Killing some of the Swiss Guard, they
seized the king and the royal family. They set up a revolutionary municipal
government in Paris. They demanded a new constitution and a convention to replace
the Legislative Assembly. They wanted all male citizens to cast a vote for the electors
who would choose the new government. These elections would no longer have to meet
property qualifications and hence the doors would be opened to the lower levels of the
bourgeoisie.
September Massacres [1792]:
• In the fall of 1792, hysteria, uncertainty and fear gripped the city. Rumours circulated
that 3000 prisoners held in Paris prisons were planning to stage an uprising. News that
Verdun was threatened by the Prussian army was the spark that began what was
called the “September Massacres.” An angry mob stormed the prisons and over the
next five days about 1100 prisoners were killed. The mob justified their actions by
maintaining that they were preserving the republic. This action was only a prelude to
the Reign of Terror that was unleashed the following year.

The Convention [Sept. 21, 1792]:


• Decided against having a constitutional monarchy.
• Convention would be formed for the administration of the country.
• The first task of the Convention was to abolish the monarchy and form a republic.

The Republic of France [Sept. 22, 1792]

The Execution of the King [Jan. 21, 1793]:


• The Convention put the king on trial in December 1792 for treason.
• He was unanimously pronounced guilty.
• He was sent to the guillotine by a majority of one [361/721].
• Beginning of the reign of the Jacobins.

Revolutionary Government [1793]:


• Led by Robespierre, it tried to establish peach and order in society through controlling
the mob comprised of the extremists and the Commune. This was a replacement of an
autocracy with another autocracy. It was also an attempt at saving the revolution.
• Committee of Public Safety:
 This group was composed of 12 conventionals of which were elected
and confirmed every month. Their responsibility consisted of internal
and external politics.
• Committee of General Securities:
 Composed of spies and secret police who were responsible for security
and arrested those who breeched it. The enemies of the revolution
were the moderates, the Commune and the counter-revolutionaries.
• The Tribune:
 Judged those arrested, without appeal, and found them guilty. This
gave an illusion of order within the revolution.

Constitution of 1793:
• Revolutionary laws were put in place and suppressed the articles promised in the
Declaration. These laws were put in place to “save the revolution” and to stop the
return of the ancien régime at all costs.
• Levée en Masse:
 Very similar to conscription in that everyone had to help out with the
war effort. Bachelors, aged 18-25, had to serve in the army; married
men made weapons; women made tents and became nurses; the
elderly taught the young children to hate tyrants through
indoctrination; and the children picked up rags around the city to make
clothes.
• Loi sur les Suspects:
 This law was put in place to keep order within society by stopping
those who were suspected to be a counter-revolutionary or a federalist
(sharing of power between the king and the Convention). In Paris,
250 000 people were killed and in the country, 40 000.
• Law of the Maximum:
 This law was put in place to keep order within the economy and to
stabilize the fixation of prices and goods.
Execution of Marie-Antoinette [Oct. 16, 1793]

Execution of Robespierre [July 27, 1793]:


• His opponents wanted to return to normal administration because they feared that
Robespierre would turn against them. Robespierre was then deserted by his
supporters, accused of being a tyrant, arrested and then executed by the guillotine,
the very system he created. This also signaled the end of the Reign of Terror and the
abolition of the committees he instated.

Constitution of 1795 [Aug. 22, 1795]:


• This constitution retuned power to the propertied class. The lowest levels of society
were denied the vote and no mention was made of social rights such as education or
the right to work which had been considered so important during the time of the
Convention. Rather than stressing freedom and equality, as had the Declaration of
Rights of 1789, freedom and equality were identified but responsibilities were
emphasized. Citizens were expected to obey the law and respect private property.

The Directory [Oct. 26, 1795]:


• The Directory was dominated by the Plain of whom were influenced by bourgeois
values such as profits and money. There was also room for social mobility. It was
considered to be “instable, vulnerable and corrupted,” basically fragile.

Coup d’Etat- Fructidor [Sept. 1797]:


• This coup was the Directory (and Napoleon) against the Royalists. The Directory won
and deported the Royalists.

Coup d’Etat- Floréal [May 1798]:


• Directory against the Jacobins in which the Directory cancelled elections and appointed
their friends into power.

Coup d’Etat- Brumaire [Nov. 1799]:


• Napoleon against the Directory in which Napoleon won and was named the First
Consul of France