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Flashcards in The French Revolution Deck (52)

How did Louis XVI's personal life isolate him from the rest of France?

He was very stupid and kind. His wife, Marie Antoinette, was not popular, and rumors of her infidelity plagued the monarchy and widened the gap between the court and the rest of the country.


What economic problem was facing France during the reign of Louis XVI? Why did it occur?

The monarchy was bankrupt. It had been at war throughout most of the 18th century, from the Seven Years War to the support of the American revolution. The debt grew so large that interest and payments were half of the budget. While other countries had debt of a similar size, the French monarchy was unable to tap into the wealth of France.


How did this problem bring Louis XVI into conflict with the nobles?

Because nobles enjoyed a tax-free status, Louis XVI would take this away from them. However, any edict had to be approved by the parlements, which were controlled by the nobles.


What was the Assembly of Notables?

It was an assembly of aristocrats and churchmen to see if they would allow a widespread land tax. The notables at the meaning refused to consider the tax and instead demanded a greater role in governing the nation. They demanded the Estates General to be convened, ironically starting their own downfall.


Why did the notables want to call the Estates General?

They thought that it would be an effective means of ensuring the monarchy would not implement economic reform that would limit their freedoms.


What was the structure of the Estates General?

It was made up of three bodies: The First Estate (the clergy), the Second Estate (the aristocracy), and the Third Estate (common French). Each house had one vote, so the nobility and clergy dominated proceedings.


What question arose after Louis XVI convened the Estates General?

People questioned the assembly's voting structure, declaring that the Third Estate was the true embodiment of the political will, a view that was supported by simple parish priests.


Who was Abbe Sieyes?

He was a priest who argued for the extension of rights and representation to the Third Estate.


What was the cahiers de doleances?

It was a list of grievances presented to the King by the electoral assemblies at the start of the Estates-General meeting.


What were some of the cahiers de doleances?

The demand for an equitable tax system and regular meetings of the Estates-General were the most important. While many of the grievances called for lessening of royal absolutism, they were loyal to the concept of monarchy.


What occurred during the meeting of the Estates-General?

The members of the Third Estate exited the meeting, saying it would only come before the king as a national assembly representing the political will of the French nation, including members from all three Estates.


What were events prior to the Tennis Court Oath?

The simple parish priests voted to join the Third Estate and meet as a national assembly. The Third Estate also feared that the King was preparing to take action against them.


What was the Tennis Court Oath?

It was a promise from members of the Third Estate that promised to continue to meet until a constitution had been created on solid ground.


What immediate effects did the Tennis Court Oath have?

It forced Louis XVI into a series of concessions, including less taxes on the poor. Finally, he conceded that the three estates would be consolidated into a national assembly.


What were the conditions in France that led to unrest?

Panic began to set in due to a lack of food and famine that was blamed on the nobility and hoarders. The people believed that the King was going to move against the National Assembly and reestablish absolutism, which caused people to purchase arms to defend themselves.


How did unrest in Paris manifest itself?

The crowds gathered around the Bastille, a symbol of royal despotism since it held critics of the monarchy. A crowd demanded the surrender of the arms they believed to be inside and eventually stormed the Bastille, parading the head of the commander around the city on a pike.


How did Louis XVI respond to the storming of the Bastille?

He made further concessions, recognizing the Commune of Paris, the new municipal government, and agreed to the formation of a National Guard under Marquis de Lafayette. He also moved away troops that were planned to disperse the National Assembly.


What occurred in the rural areas of France?

A decade of poor harvests and high taxes created a resentful peasantry, which ultimately led to the Great Fear. The Great Fear was that the nobility were organizing thugs to steal from the peasants, and in response peasants attacked the great noble estates.


What did the Great Fear lead to in the National Assembly?

The aristocrats in the National Assembly renounced the rights that made them a separate caste in French society. As of August 4, 1789, all the people of France were subject to the same laws and obligations to society.


What was Lafayette's document that stood in for a written constitution?

The National Assembly put forward the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, written by Lafayette.


What did the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen entail?

It declared that political sovereignty was in the hands of the people, not the monarch. It said that all citizens were equal under the law and in obligations to society. People enjoyed freedom of religion, the press, property, and economic activity.


What early feminist responded to Lafayette's Declaration?

Olympe de Gouges wrote The Rights of Women, in which she argued that women should enjoy fundamental rights like education, property, and divorce. While the Revolution saw the extension of some of these rights, they were generally rolled back during the Directory and Napoleon.


What was the Women's March on Versailles?

It was a group of women, angry over the price of bread, who held the King hostage and escorted him back to Paris. It was pivotal, as the King was now under the control of the people of Paris.


Why did French revolutionaries try and control the Catholic Church in France?

They wanted to address the financial crisis by confiscating and selling the property of the Church. Assignats were government bonds backed by the sale of Church land.


What was the Civil Constitution of the Church?

It was an act that essentially made the Church a department of the state. Bishops were chosen by assemblies of priests, who were elected by parishioners. Clergy became civil servants who were supported by the state.


How did the Catholic Church respond?

Pope Pius VI denounced the Civil Constitution and the Declaration of the Rights of Man, sparking a counter-revolutionary movement of people who thought the revolution was becoming sacrilegious.


How did the government of France change under the National Assembly?

The National Assembly forced the king to accept a constitution, creating a unicameral legislature, although the monarch retained significant powers. Out of fear of the popular vote, the legislature would be chosen by only 50,000 people.


What were other significant changes done under the National Assembly?

They replaced the system of provinces with 83 departments of equal size. Jews and Protestants were granted full political rights, and slavery was abolished in France, which resulted in the Haitian Revolution led by Toussaint L'Ouverture.


What began the end of the monarchy?

As the counter-revolutionary movement grew, nobles who had fled France tried to restore the Ancien Regime and their privileges. They urged the royal family to flee France, but Louis and his family were caught and escorted back to Paris.


What were the major parties within the National Assembly?

The most popular faction were called the Jacobins, who were against the monarchy. The Girondins faction primarily filled leadership roles in the Assembly. The Girondins favored war with Austria and Prussia.


What were the results of the declaration of war with Austria and Prussia?

It destabilized France and sealed the fate of the royal family while further radicalizing the Revolution.


Who were the sans-culottes?

They were revolutionary radicals in France composed of common people that sought to attain equal rights and were concerned about the state of the economy and society under the Ancien regime.


What did the sans-cullotes demand?

The fears of the sans-cullote caused them to demand wider political participation and the establishment of the Commune in the city.


What events led to the creation of the French Republic?

Sans-cullote mobs killed the King's Swiss guards and massacred 1200 people accused of being counter-revolutionaries. The Paris Commune forced the national Assembly to call for elections with universal male suffrage, now called the Convention. A French army stopped the combined Austrian and Prussian armies. On Sept 21 1792 France officially became a republic, and Louis was executed in early 1793.


How was the Revolution seen throughout the Continent?

Many saw the Revolution as the refreshing spread of Enlightenment values. Prussia and Austria thought it meant the end of French power before realizing the danger of the ideas it professed. Britain saw the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the end of feudalism as friendly.


Who was Edmund Burke and how did he react to the Revolution?

He was a British politician who championed conservatism and wrote Reflections on the French Revolution, where he expressed his opposition to the Revolution not because of reform but instead of the extreme alteration of traditional institutions, with the ultimate end in violence.


What was the effect of the French conquest of parts of Germany (Frankfurt) and the Netherlands?

They brought with them the ideas of the Revolution and spread them, despite acting like an occupying force.


What was the position of the Girondins?

The Girondins wanted to maintain the democratic spirit of the revolution and allow a degree of local autonomy in the different districts of France. They were fearful of the influence of the sans-cullote and wanted to make voting based on landowning, as well as the implementation of laissez-faire.


What was the position of the Jacobins?

The Jacobins believed that the only way to maintain the spirit of the revolution was through a centralized Parisian government. The Jacobins argued for regulation of the economy to fight inflation and gained the increasing support of the sans-cullote.


How did the Reign of Terror begin?

A counter-revoutionary revolt began in France called the Vendee due to the policies against the Church. French armies were also met with defeat in the Netherlands due to a betrayal.


What was formed in response to these events? Who was a member of the institution?

The Committee of General Security and the Committee of Public Safety were formed, with the latter becoming a dictatorial power over France.


Who were the leading members of the Committee of Public Safety and with what faction were they associated with?

The leading members were Danton, Carnot, and Robespierre, and they were associated with the Jacobins.


Why did the Jacobins become more influential at the expense of the Girondists?

The Girondists were tainted because of promoting the traitor in the Netherlands and their perceived lack of sympathy toward the Parisian Masses.


How did the Jacobins consolidate control?

They used a mob of the sans-cullote to expel the Girondin members from the Convention. Marat, a hero of the sans-cullote, was also killed by a radical Girondin.


What was Carnot's levee en masse?

The entire population was drafted for military service. Men were expected to go into battle, women and children were expected to aid in production, and the elderly were supposed to be patriots. The armies created from this system were surprisingly successful.


What was the Jacobin Republic of Virtue?

It was a society and government that required the obliteration of the old monarchial regime. A new calendar was created, and Christianity and churches were attacked with religious symbols being removed from buildings. Robespierre created the Cult of the Supreme Being to respond to the perceived corruption of Christianity.


Were the Jacobin changes well-liked?

Most of their policies were unpopular and led to a political backlash against the Committee of Public Safety.


What occurred when the Reign of Terror reached its peak?

The Committee banned political clubs and popular societies of women and executed many leading Girondin politicians accused of being traitors. 20,000 people were killed at the height of the terror, 15% nobles and clergy, the rest peasants accused of being counter-revolutionary.


How did the Reign of Terror turn against those who created it?

The Hebertists, under the leadership of Robespierre, wanted more anti-Christian policies and government control. Danton and his followers were executed.


What was the Thermidorian Reaction?

It was the arrest of Robespierre and his followers by the Thermidoreans, or opposers of Robespierre. Robespierre and his supporters were quickly executed soon after.


What was the Directory?

The Thermidorians abolished the Paris Commune and the Committee of Public Safety, instead producing a government called the Directory led by an executive council of five men. A two house legislature was created.


How did the Directory prove emblematic of a reaction against the Revolution?

The Directory witnessed the triumph of the gentry and aristocrats over the sans-cullotes, the elimination of price ceilings on bread, and the attack on Jacobin club meetings.