Causes and Effects of French Revolution Events

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Barrons; AP Euro Chapter 5

Cause of The Estates-General meeting for the first time

The French nation had seen famine and economic collapse. The Estates-General had not met in 175 years but was called to meet in order to raise taxes after the Parliament of Paris refused to do so.

Effect of The Estates-General meeting for the first time

The meeting unified the nobility with the Third Estate and they took the Tennis Court Oath, promising not to leave until they had created a constitution for France.

Cause of Declaration of Rights of Man

The monarchy had consolidated power through the intendant system, and the failure of crops and the economy. These woes along with the ideas of the Enlightenment and the American Revolution led to the demand for a French constitution at the storming of the Bastille which helped to create it.

Effect of Declaration of Rights of Man

The French Revolution began in earnest with the Great Fear and the path was cleared for the creation of the National Assembly.

Cause of The Great Fear

The pent-up aggression of the Third Estate is unleashed as a reaction to the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

Effect of The Great Fear

A chasm developed between the nobility and the peasantry and factions formed in France about what the new government should look like and how it should act.

Cause of the Formation of the National Assembly

The disintegration of order in France and the Declaration led to the creation of this, or the Constituent Assembly, in order to make a constitution and rule the country.

Effect of the Formation of the National Assembly

They created a constitution that allowed for the election of a Legislative Assembly with the king at the helm. The king then tried to escape with his family.

Cause of Attempted escape of Louis XVI and family

The revolutionary mood in France made them fear more for their lives than for their titles and possessions.

Effect of Attempted escape of Louis XVI and family

This further cemented national sentiment against the royal family and was a factor in their later execution.

Cause of The Legislative Assembly declaring war on Austria

The Declaration of Pilnitz saw Austria try to intervene in French affairs by pursuing military action to protect the monarchy.

Effect of The Legislative Assembly declaring war on Austria

The sans-coulottes and the radicals came together with support building all over France against foreign invasion.

Cause of Radicals and sans-coulottes gaining power

The pendulum of change had been held to the right for so long that it swung far in the other direction. Pent-up aggression from the Third Estate led to the most demagogical leaders gaining power, Marat, Danton, and Robespierre.

Effect of Radicals and sans-coulottes gaining power

Revolutionary zeal swept the common people of France. Society was turned upside down and the Reign of Terror would eventually result.

Cause of the formation of The National Convention

The new constitution, which created the First Republic, called for a National Assembly to be called.

Effect of formation of The National Convention

This body was very politically biased with the radical Jacobin Party in power. The modern-day terms for right and left for conservative and liberal come from the seating arrangement in this body.

Cause of The Jacobin Club gaining prominence

The radical mood of Paris and the overwhelming support of the poor and peasants led the radical Jacobin Party to gain power. Robespierre, Marat, Danton, and the French military needs also contributed.

Effect of The Jacobin Club gaining prominence

The revolution goes through a second stage that is more radical and sometimes known as the Reign of Terror.

Cause of Execution of King Louis XVI

The radical turn of the revolution, the king's alliance with Austria, and his life of excess and poor national management.

Effect of Execution of King Louis XVI

The other nations of Europe condemned France, and teh revolution becomes more radical as it becomes clear that no one who opposes the revolution is safe in France.

Cause of Committee of Public Safety overseeing Reign of Terror

The radical mood of Paris, the rise of radicals, and the execution of the king combine to lead the Third Estate to kill over 20,000, most of whom were in the Third Estate. Anyone associated with nobility was in danger, and many innocents were executed at the guillotine.

Effect of Committee of Public Safety overseeing Reign of Terror

Many abroad opposed the revolution, and the terror soon convinced many of the French that the revolution had gone too far.

Cause of End of the Reign of Terror and the rise of the Directory

The leadership of the committee turned on each other and by 1794, Marat, Robespierre, and Danton were dead, the last two killed as enemies of the revolution. The radical phase ran its course and the people wanted stability.

Effect of End of the Reign of Terror and the rise of the Directory

France was ruled by moderates, and many of the sans-coulottes felt abandoned by the revolution.

Cause of Napoleon rising to power

There was definitely a power vacuum and the nation was looking for a strong leader to emerge, which he did in style. He was a brilliant general and a lesser noble who was not part of the establishment, but who understood power very well.

Effect of Napoleon rising to power

He soon took over France and most of Europe. He instituted reforms of the law and instituted freedom of religion across the continent. He also unified Italy and Germany under French rule for the first time (in centuries for Italy). His legacy was reorganization of European power that took place at the Congress of Vienna after his defeat.

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