France in Revolution and Napoleon

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1774 Louis XV Dies
leaving country in debt because of war
his death saw the French monarchy at its most unsuccessful point in
political, financial and moral terms
1774 Parlements restored
One of Louis XVI's first decisions was the restoration of the parlements
A mouthpiece for the privileged noblesse
Limited powers
Remonstrances (protests about a royal edict which parlement was
trying to change or stop) could only be presented after an edict had
been registered, and within one month
A lit de justice was usually sufficient to dismiss any obstructions that
they placed in the path of financial edicts
1774 Jacques Turgot, controller general of France
Turgot believed subsidies, regulations and tariffs were crippling productivity
Proposed an ambitious reform program
remove internal custom barriers
lift price controls on grain
abolish guilds and forced labour service
give political power to newly created provincial assemblies
Turgot's six edicts, 1776, met with howls of protest
wellmeaning attempts to move the burden of taxation from poorer
sections of society to the more wealthy, including
unnecessary offices to be abolished
free trade in grain to include Paris
monopilistic guilds were to be abolished (opening up restrictive
industries to those who had previously been excluded)
the corvée (unpaid labour imposed by the state on a certain
class of people) to be replaced with a General Land Tax paid
by all
Aristocratic and popular opposition
remonstrances followed
it took a lit de justice to quieten the parlement and force the
registration of the Six Edicts
Turgot antiAmerican war support also unpopular, French wanted revenge on
Britain for humiliation in 7 years war
Turgot saw war as bad for finance
Dismissed May 1776
Had been undone by lack of support in the face of his enemies at
Court, and week king
1775 American revolution
France supports America and declares war on England subsequently

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Necker appointed controller general
Financed war expenditure almost entirely through loans
almost doubled national debt
Attempted some reforms
abolition of post
cut down on extravagance
reorganisation of public accounts
plans for provincial assemblies that came to nothing because of
opposing indendants
Produced the compte rendu au roi 1781
a completely false and misleading description of France's financial
said France was in credit £10 million
wanted to show France in a strong financial situation
1783 Treaty of Paris
Ends war in America
Beginning of Enlightenment…read more

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attacked despotism
"Man is born free, but everywhere in chains"
preached human equality
appalled by repressive French absolutism and poverty in Paris amid wealth of
rejected original sin
saw children as innocents born into a corrupt and rotten world
thought all citizens should meet in assemblies to discuss laws and either choose
or sack government
promoted democracy
Rousseau's views reinterpreted
during the the Terror, Robespierre defended use of the guillotine because
of `General Will' (interests of all)
1783 Calonne appointed controller general…read more

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état would not be exempt
abolition of temporary taxes such as the capitation and vingtième
vingtième was an income tax
capitation was major direct tax
assemblies to be elected by landowners to work out the level of
taxation to be paid, as long as intendants agreed
abolition of the corvée
abolition of internal customs, allowing free trade in grain
reduction of the taille
direct land tax
Called an Assembly of Notables (full of privileged groups) to give approval to
the ControlleurGénéral
he incorrectly assumed
met…read more

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The EstatesGeneral must meet
Only the EstatesGeneral could agree new taxes
Imprisonment without trial was illegal
1788 Revolt of the Nobles
Nobles incited rioting in Bordeaux, Dijon and Pau
In Toulouse, royal officials were intimidated
The intendant attacked in Brittany where plans were made for defence against
royal troops
At Rennes the intendant was besieged in his house
Tax collection breaking down and intendants doing nothing tabout it
confidence in government had completely disappeared
August, short term loans dried up
Brienne could delay no longer…read more

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What is the Third Estate?"
Sieyés' pamphlet answered, "the nation"
compelled the Third Estate to action
although the minority had control, the country truly belonged to the
The Comte de Mirabeau
French politician
elected to the Estates General
eloquence won him the leadership of the National Assembly
wanted to establish a parliamentary monarchy based on the English
The Society of Thirty
probably about 60 people
only 5 commoners
most liberal nobles
also magistrates, financiers, lawyers, journalists and some
attacked absolutist government and…read more

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July 14th Storming of the Bastille
Louis blamed Necker for failure of the Estates General and dismissed him
Necker was very popular
dismissal caused upset
provincial riots and barricades set up in Paris to stop more
royal troops from entering the city
July 13th revolutionaries raided Paris town hall looking for arms
realised the Bastille had a large armoury
Stormed the Bastille
led by sansculottes
small property owners, shopkeepers and workers
not all poor, some quite well off
The Bastille was a prison
used to…read more

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August 4th August Decrees
To quell destruction, assembly issued the Decrees
nullified feudal obligations that peasants had to their landlords
countryside calmed down
National Assembly wanted people to have more equal rights
Men are born and remain free and equal in right
Active citizen
61% men were Active, the only people who could vote
Passive citizen
Passives were women and lower class women
Abolished...…read more

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October 5th March of the Women
Due to the food crisis
Stormed the city hall in Paris, acquired a mob and marched to Versailles
followed by the National Guard
King sanctioned the August Decrees and the Declaration of the Rights of Man
Royal family imprisoned in the Tuileries Palace in Paris
1790 February Gov't confiscate Church property
Catholic Church one of the largest landowners in France
Confiscated all Church lands and used it to back a new French currency
the assignat
in the beginning the…read more

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June 20th21st Flight to Varennes
Louis XVI and his family attempted to escape to the Austrian border where
they were supposed to meet the Austrian army
caught just before reaching the border
brought back to Tuileries
Escape attempt lowered the people's regard for the king
made clear that he was a reluctant associate
would turn his back on the constitution
Although Louis retained some power after being returned to Paris, it was clear
that his days were numbered
1791 July 17th Champs de Mars Massacre…read more


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