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Louis XIV

absolute ruler of France 1643-1715 *most powerful ruler in Europe, built palace of Versailles, strengthened France and French monarchy, increased size and power of military, put France deep in debt

Louis XVI

weak and ineffective leader, took bad advise from advisors and wife, would rather do anything besides rule
Decides to tax nobles to get more money-3rd estates break free-he ordered troops to Versailles. People get scared and start gathering weapons, finally brought back to Paris. He was beheaded by guillotine.

Marie Antoinette

wife of Louis XVI, Austrian Hapsburg Princess, spent money on clothes, jewels, gambling (nickname Madame Deficit)
Unpopular because French hated Austria and it took her several years to produce male heir,

Maximilien Robespierre

*he ruled as virtual dictator, Committee of Public Safety--fought real and imagined "enemies" of revolution
*Radicals (Jacobins) gained control of govt 1791-1794
*wanted to create "republic of virtue" that erased France's past, changed calendar, renamed months and got rid of Sundays, closed all churches,
*Guillotined up to 40,000 people most 3rd estate during reign of terror
*National Convention turns on him, he is executed 1794

Napoleon Bonaparte

chosen to lead French army, overthrows Directory (1799) assumes powers of dictator, voted himself Emperor, making him more powerful than Pope/church
Reformed government- Napoleonic Code - tax collection, est. national banking system, fought corruption and inefficiency in govt, set-up lycees-govt run public schools, military victories gained control of most Europe, Invaded Russia (1812) biggest mistake, defeated and exiled to Elba. Never king of France

Palace of Versailles

Extravagant royal palace outside of Paris, built by Louis XIV
center of govt. and culture
"invited" nobles to live with him so he could keep an eye on them
took 1/2 of France's taxes to build and maintain

Sun King

nickname of King Louis XIV-all power radiated from him; believed to be directly from God

Old Regime

Political and social system that existed in France prior to the French Revolution with an absolute monarch and 3 estates

1st estate

made up of clergy of Roman Catholic church scorned enlightened ideas
owned 10% of land but less than 1% of population

2nd estate

made up of rich nobles, held highest offices in govt, military, and church
disagreed about enlightened ideas, 2% of population, but owned 20% of land, paid almost no taxes

3rd estate

included bourgeoisie (bankers, merchants, professionals) urban lower class, and peasants farmers
had no power in govt, embraces enlightened ideas, 97% of population, taxed the heaviest


French word for middle class included bankers, merchants, professionals

Estates General

assembly of representatives from all 3 estates, met to approve tax, 1st meeting in 175 years, met on May 5, 1789 at Palace of Versailles

National Assembly

3rd estate broke away from Estates General and claimed they were France's new representative govt and called for end of monarchy
*1st deliberate act of revolution

Tennis Court Oath

pledge taken by National Assembly after they broke into a tennis court to not leave until new constitution was written

Storming of the Bastille

July 14, 1789 (today celebrated as Bastille Day) Mob attacked Paris prison=symbol of royal power and looking for weapons, attacked and killed guards: only found 7 prisoners
*became symbolic "spark" of revolution

Great Fear

Rebellion spread to countryside, rumors of nobles plans to terrorize peasants. Peasants responded with violence, attacked and killed nobles, burned manor houses and destroyed money records

Women's March on Versailles

Parisian women were mad about bread prices so they gathered weapons and marched, they broke into palace and killed some guards, demanded that Louis XVI and his family return to Paris

Declaration of Rights of Man

Abolished privileges of 1st and 2nd estates, Statement of revolutionary ideals (based on US Declaration of Independence)

Constitution of 1791

created limited constitutional monarchy, separation of powers with new legislative assembly to make laws

"Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity"

slogan of reforms from National Assembly

National Convention

Radicals who set up new governing body, abolished monarchy and declared France a republic (gave adult males right to vote)
dissolved Legislative Assembly and set aside Constitution of 1791, tried and executed Louis XVI, called for draft, increased army to 800,000


Radicals who gained control of French govt


device used to behead French people

Reign of Terror

When the Committee of Public Safety used guillotine as means to keep power, killing enemies of revolution


new govt which put power in hands of upper middle class moderate men (1795) after Reign of Terror and Robespierre's death
Chose Napoleon to lead French army

Napoleonic Code

system of laws that gave French a uniform set of laws and eliminated many injustices, but actually limited liberty, and promoted order and authority over individual rights

Continental System

Napoleon's blockade of ports to prevent trade and communication between Great Britain and other European nations, it was not successful

Guerilla warfare

small groups ambushed French army then fled and hid in a "hit and run" type of warfare

Louisiana Purchase

France sold Louisiana Territory to President Thomas Jefferson of the USA for $15 million


Battle of Belgium where Napoleon was defeated by British and Prussian forces

Scorched-earth policy

Russians burned grain fields, and slaughtered livestock leaving nothing for enemy soldiers to eat

Congress of Vienna

Series of meetings held by European leaders, lasted 8 months, must est. collective security and stability for entire continent after defeat of Napoleon
leaders agreed to help one another if future revolutions broke out. Klemens von Metternich redrew map of Europe.

Long Term causes of French Revolution

inequalities in society
spread of enlightenment ideas
economic problems
weak leadership

seating of Legislative Assembly

Radicals:sat on left
Moderates:sat in middle
Conservatives:sat on right
(Political terms today)Left wing-liberal
right wing-conservative

Europe after French Revolution

French empire smaller
Decided democracy was best way to ensure equality and justice for all
peace for 40 years in Europe, conservatives govt in power, enlightened ideas spread, growth of nationalism

Comparison of Declaration of Independence and Declaration of Rights of Man

both are enlightened documents
Revolutionary documents by representative groups
necessary for new govt
Rights: unalienable / sacred/ national / happiness
men are born free and equal
role of govt to protect rights
power comes from people
right to overthrew bad govt
ignore women

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