Only $2.99/month

French Revolution, Napoleon and Congress of Vienna

Terms in this set (57)

Inequality between estates. Nobles and clergy (first and second estates) didn't have to pay taxes and would outvote the 3rd Estate, so they held all the power.
The Third Estate (bourgeousie, peasants, artisans) were pretty unhappy with this arrangement.
Economics. Louis XIV was an extravagent spender, and subsequent kings did little to fix the financial problems, until the government was nearly bankrupt. The lower classes felt this the worst.
Enlightenment Ideology. Enlightenment writers like Rousseau and Voltaire influenced the french people. Enlightenement writings discussed the role of government, the rights of the people, the social contract, and when people have a right to rebel. They were also inspired by the American Revolution (which they helped us with, and expected us to return the favor, although we didn't meet their expectations).
Hungry Parisians storm the Bastille prison. (Bastille day).
The French society was divided into three estates , the first two consisted of clergy and nobility respectively, the third estate consisted of merchants, businessmen, lawyers and peasants.Third estate didn't had equal rights and the other estates enjoyed other privileges.
third estate had to pay all the taxes imposed by the king as the other estates were exempted from it.The prices of bread rose which was the main staple diet of the people and there was subsistence crisis.
Rumors spread that the king will order his troops to attack Paris ( as people were revolting) and then 4000- 5000 people gathered and formed people's militia.
Political and Social Inequalities
France still practised feudalism in the 18th century. The nobles and clergy enjoyed special privileges. They did not have to pay taxes. The common people did not have power and freedom in politics. They worked hard and had to pay heavy taxes. The nobles and clergy made up the First and Second Estates in the Estates General. The common people (i.e. the middle class (bourgeoisie), peasants and artisans) made up the Third Estate. The nobles and clergy could outvote the common people easily though the Estates General was always not called by the king, who ruled as an absolute monarch. The common people became discontented with the privileged classes.
Bankruptcy of the Government
Louis XIV had spent too much. His successors did not cut down expenses. Louis XVI also failed to improve the financial situation. He dismissed ministers who tried to introduce financial reforms. By 1789, the government was bankrupt.
Influence of the Enlightenment and the American Revolution
The ideas and writings of Enlightenment thinkers like Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau became widespread. The French people were inspired to go against their king.
The suucess of the Americans to overthrow British rule encouraged the French to fight for their freedom.
Outbreak of revolution 1789
When Louis XVI finally called the Estates General to solve financial difficulties, the Third Estate did not agree with the unfair system of the Estates General. They formed the National Assembly to make a constitution. People were afraid that the king would suppress the National Assembly. They were also discontented that the king dismissed Necker, the popular Finance Minister. The hungry Parisians, who suffered from bad harvest, burst out their anger by attacking the Bastille prison (for political prisoners). The Fall of Bastille started the French Revolution. It spread out to other parts of France.
bad- Louis sent a fleet to help the American Revolutionaries, followed by an expeditionary force. A lot of money was spent on supporting the American Revolutionary War, but it brought no material advantages to France, and French finances were in ruins by the end of the war.
The members of the Third Estate wanted more say in the government of the country, and demanded that the parliament be reformed on more eglaitarin lines. When Louis tried to annul the decisions made by the parliament, it made him very unpopular and precipitated the French revolution.
At first the leaders of the revolution set up a constitutional monarchy, and louis was still king of France, though he no longer had absolute power. However, he was unable to adapt to the changes brought about by the revolution, and eventually tried to escape from France with his family. Unfortunately, he bungled his escape plan, the family left Paris in an ostentatiously grand coach and were easily spotted.
Louis started a war with Austria and Prussia, who had formed a powerful alliance and were seen as a threat. The war was surprisignly popular with the Jacobin (extremis revolutionary leaders) but the war did not go well.
Louis seems to have been a man who was caught up in political events that were too complex for him to deal with. He was out of his depth. he was essentialy a simple man, whose greatest pleasures in life were hunting and manual work, especially locksmithing. he could not deal with the world of turmoil in which he found himself.