French revolution

  • Created by: kira-mai
  • Created on: 12-05-18 06:38

constituent assembly

laid lasting foundations for new governmental and administrative structure. it is also said that the terror didnt really destory these foundations. the tasks it included were:

  • to transform france into a limited monarchy from an absolutist one.
  • to decide on a new constitution
  • to rebuild the economy and decide how the government should be financed.
  • decentralise the administration by giving more power to the local authorities
  • to develop a more efficient, human, and uniform system of law and justice.
  • to agree a new relationship between the church and the state. 

this was abandoning the age-old assumptions about the privilege and status of the monarch, nobility and the church.

  • the Kings absolute power was destroyed - an elected governning body acted as the legislative, the king and royal ministers made up the executive, the judiciary independent - speration of powers montesqieu..
  • the king would have a suspensory veto for 4 years after that it would automatically be law (september 1789 decided).
  • the king retained the right to select and appoint ministers to form a cabinet, but these men couldnt sit in the assembly. 
  • there was a reduction on his spending through the civil list - £25m a year. 
  • the assembly would have the power to make laws, collect taxes, and decide on war,peace
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Local administration

the august decrees had swept away old provincial estates and municipal corporations. a local structure of government was vital to maintain food supplies, law and order and taxation. 

france was divided into 83 departments - 547 districts - 43k communes.

officials were elected according to voting qualifications - wealth and merit.

it involved thousands of new participants in the administrative system

results were patchy - some areas had educated bourgeoisie to fill the post. however it didnt improve the lives of the illiterate farmers and inexperienced townsmen. 

the structure did survive to be developed later on.

these changes reflect the decentralisation that had happened in 1789. control from the centre was loosened, which would stop the king or aristocracy from taking back power.

each department was to have an elected council of 36. this provided uniformity of administration and no central government representation, and werent under central control. decentralisation was a key rev principle to prevent absolutism. they were elceted by active citizens and thus accountable to their communities. 

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Voting qualifications

tier 1: elections to the councils which ran local government: only males over 25 could vote as long as they were active citizens - resided in one place for a year and paid taxation equvielent to 3 days wages. 

tier 2: for election to a higher assembly (districts and departments) - an active citizen could become an elector on a higher assembly, this would choose the national deputies - had to pay equivilent of 10 days wages.

tier 3: for election as a national deputy

to qualify as a national deputy, that person would be paying a siver mark.

this shows that wealth was clearly important in the qualification of voting - showing it was believed that only those with a vested interest into the running of the country were reliable. around a quarter of all men couldnt vote at all - they were passive citizens. on the other hand those who could vote at municipal level stood at over 4 million which was the highest in europe showing they were the most enlightened. 

the distinction in voting and service meant that local fell into the hands of the propertied and educated bourgeoisie. problems occured in the rural communes where there were too few literate people to fill offices. the councils were responsible for law, order, tax, roads.

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Law and judiciary.

  • some enlightened principles were put into practice.
  • in keeping with the declaration of rights, men are born equal in their rights. - basic principle of fair and free justice for all
  • the law was to be fairer, accountable and open to all.
  • a jumble of different laws (that was based on roman law in the south and customary law in the north) and courts were to be replaced by a single legal system - improve efficiency
  • parlements, seigneurial and church courts were abolished.
  • letters de cachet were abolished.
  • new courts were introduced, run by elected and experienced magistrates and judges. in order to eradicate venality they didnt rely on fees from those whom they served.
  • cases had to be brought before the court within 24 hours, accused had to have a lawyer. 
  • appeal courts were introduced, serious criminal cases heard in front of a jury. jurors were drawn by lot.
  • barbaric practices - torture, hanging, branding - were outlawed.
  • fewer crimes were punishable by death, which was to be by guillotine, and everyone had the same punishment, even the nobles, they didn't have the right to be beheaded. 
  • these reforms were a remarkable step forwards and they formd an enlightened basis for frances legal system which had a reputation for cruelty, inefficiency and corruption. they offered the prospect of cheaper more accessible justice, as well as fairer judgements, this also was one of the most enlightened systems in Europe. 
  • the old judicial system based on the regional parlements was officially abolished in september 1790. 
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Finance and the economy

  • national finances were in crisis. attempts to maintain the tax system of the ancien regime led to rioting in heavily taxed areas as well as widespread tax avoidance- up to 60% of expected
  • many people assumed that the revolution would bring the who system of privilege down and the tax system with it. 
  • in november 1789, the constituent assembly decided that church property would be sold for the nation.
  • assignats were issued, by 1790 they were worth millions and became a form of paper currency.
  • nobles who emigrated had their property confiscated and sold.
  • the more assignats were printend, the more it lost its value through inflation. 
  • many borgeoisie bought church lands, but also peasants became smallholders because the land was cheap.
  • those who purchased lands had interest in maintaining the post revolutionary situationas they had no wish to have their lands confiscated and returned to the church. 
  • new taxes on land and property were introduced, the gabelle and other indirect taxes were abolished.
  • there were unfair variations in the taxes paid by different parts of france, but the poor paid less and exemptions had been removed. for many the taxation load was no lighter, however it was differently and more fairly assessed.
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finance and the economy part 2

  • poverty was a widespread problem meaning it coulddnt be dealt with effectively.
  • the economic policies were a mixture of enlightened ideas and suppression:
  • - free trade was introduced, particularly in grain
  • guilds and internal tariffs were abolished
  • a uniform system of weights and measures were introduced. 
  • however trade unions were prevented and strikes were made illegal - freedom of expression was severly restricted and workers couldn't help themselves get better conditions - against enlightened princpiles. 
  • frances finance remained in crisis. the assignats and inflation meant that it staved off rather than solved frances economic problems. 
  • internal tarriffs disappeared, all corporate bodies were abolished.
  • devolution of power to the local authorities and fiscal redistribution provided a boost to bourgeois entrepreneurs.
  • - dwindling tax income, which was made worse from the great fear where peasnats refused to pay their taxes, and growing expenditure had exacerbated frances balance of payments crisis of 1789. the deputies had put off restructuring finance due to new income from the church. the national assembly was reluctant to abolish old taxes, many such as gabelle remained until 1790 and 1791 - tax on drinks etc. however they could only be regarded as short term because this aroused considerable discontent. 
  • the economic restructuring programme was based on a land tax, a property tax and a tax on commercial activity. it was difficult to assess the taxes fairly. the tax burden on land owners consequently varied around the country because the varying productivity caused differences in income. it was based on the work of physiocrats. 
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Who benefited from the assembly?

  • large producers benefited from the high prices they could comman but poor peasants and townfolk lost out
  • whilst tolls dropped, there was no corresponding drop in the price of food in urban centres as merchants sought to maximise their profits. economic changes merely perpetruated past division, with a new class of capitalists rather than nobility
  • bougeoisie also benefited from the le chapelier law which prevented trade unions, the abolition of guilds, the voting qualification based on increasing wealth, the way the bourgeoisie came to dominate local administration, the abolition off noble titles in favour of citizen.
  • the august decrees - peasants - abolition of feudalism, serfdom and privilege. the ancien regime was swept aside. equality as a principle was established. equality of taxation, status, and entry into the professions. the abolition of feudal obligation bound the peasants closely to the national assembly. the fear of emigre return by nobles who might seek to overturn these degrees, rallied the mass of the population to the assembly. 
  • offices could no longer be bought  - venality was abolished and it was now based on merit.
  • the declaration of rights of man brought the ancien regime to an end - powerfully benefited the borgeoisie - invoilable rights to property.
  • individual rights and liberties were more protected in law than ever before. state charities provided fo the poor, and public education and the removal of barriers barring the way to high office offered new opportunities for social mobility.religious toleration and a reduction in the influence of the church also reduced restrictions on individuals - making marriage a civil rather than religious affiliation, while the new court offered fairer justice
  • divisions of gender, wealth and office rapidly replaced those based on birth. men had more rights than women, employers more than employees, while active citizens who paid a higher tax level had more rights than passive ones. although workers carried greater freedom of opportunity, it was decreed they must carry a livret - a record of employment. under the le chapelier law freedom of association was limited and workers were forbidden from conducting strikes or even forming trade unions. 
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How did the King react to it?

  • he refused to accept both the august decrees and declaration of rights. there was intense debate over the kings power to delay or veto the decrees. his position as an important player in the constitution was never question - no one suggested a republic. 
  • the march to versailles where the king returned to paris and accepted both showed the strains and tensions. the king had made it difficult to arrive at. constitutional arrangement. the assembly was uncomfortable at the mob action and feared disorder as a threat to property andd the distinct possibility the assembly will become the victim of insurrection. 
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Church reforms and CCC 1790

the financial crisis led to the sale of the church lands. by buying the church lands, the bourgeoisie were invested in the revolution and would directly oppose royalist reaction. their belief in liberty and equality and popular sovereignty stimulated a range of reforms, which were never anti catholic, nor would there be a change in status of the catholic church as the state church. they had clerical support e.g. Sieyes, as shown in the cahiers, to sweep away abuses. the philosophes were critical of the church power, influence and intolerance. they wanted to make the church more spirtual as it was considered that they were abusing privilege and served neither the church nor the state. they believed the temporal power of the church should be removed, thus allowing it to concentrate on its spiritual function:

tithes, pluralism, don gratuit, annates were all abolished and protestants were to receive equal civil rights and toleration. 

the civil constituion of the clergy- church and local administration were brought together. correspond so each department would have a bishop, which took away around 50 positions and clergy were to be elected. the pope would no longer have a say in accepting or rejecting the bishops. this would give people control over their spiritual leaders. 

this made the church subservient to the state. the pope was in no position to oppose as he was in some delecate negotiations about his papal enclave at avignon

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consequences of CCC

it didnt provoke overwhelming opposition. conflict could have been avoided. the clergy wanted a synod of the church to discuss the CCC however the assembly refused - the clergy shouldn't be a special case - inkeeping with equality. they made the clergy swear an oath to the constitution and the nation. however this caused divisions within france over who would and wouldn't swear the oath. the pope who previously didnt comment on the matter, however when he declared his opposition many more withdrew their oath. this went far further than expected. many who had previously supported the revolution were now deemed counter revolutionaries as they failed to swear the oath. these non-juring clergy were associated with royalists and emigres. the peasantry who supported the refractory priests formed the raw material for revolts against the revolution. the CCC had a lasting impact in splitting france, and it gave the counter revolutionaries a large base of support. if the assembly handled it better, conflict could have been avoided.

large numbers of clergy fled abroad, joining the noble emigres. it wasn't just the clerics affected, those liviing in the central areas of france, and on the borders with austria and italian states were most in favour of the CCC however those in the conservative catholic parts of france e.g. the west were alarmed. they feared that the assmebly was truing to change their faith, so whereas many had previously seen the rev in a positive light, they turned against it because dear of eternal damnation proved greater than their commitment to the revolution. this helped to destroy national unity and led to counter rev and civil war. 

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central administration

Constitution - the enlightened philosophes such as Montesquieu had argued that government should be based on rational principles. a written constituion, defining the structures, powers and operation was seen as the best way to do this. the french revolutionaries looked at the british system and the new US constituion.

they decided that the governing body should have one chamber, the king was to be called the king of french which inteded to show that the kings power emanated from the people and not from divine right.

elections would be held every two years through an indirect system of electoral colleges, and the assmebly would have powers to make laws, collect taxes, and decide on issues of war and peace

the isntitutional and economic measures brought about social change. venality and privilege were abolished and individual rights and liberties were more protected. state charities provided for the poor while public education and meritocracy offered new opportunities for social mobility. religious toleration and a reduction in church infleunce reduced restrictions on individuals and the new court system offered justice. there were still divisions. men over women, employer over employee, active over passive citizzens. the social winners were bourgeoisie. 

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was France radically changed

Arguments supporting the view that the reforms radically changed France might include:

  • the introduction of the principle of democracy at all levels by the extension of the franchise (to ‘active citizens’)
  • the reform of the tax system by the abolition of most indirect taxation, the removal of exemptions and the introduction in 1791 of three new direct taxes
  • the sale of Church lands
  • the abolition of internal tariffs which encouraged free trade
  • the legal system which was made free, fair and available to all with a jury system. In addition torture and hanging were abolished
  • abuses in the Church were removed and the Church was made subservient the State
  • careers were now based on merit rather than wealth.
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was france radically changed

  • Arguments challenging the view that the reforms radically changed France might include:

  • the democracy introduced was only indirect. This left a quarter of males and all women, without the vote 
  • social divisions remained with the division between ‘active’ and ‘passive’ citizens. This division was exacerbated by other measures which only benefitted the wealthier bourgeoisie such as the banning of trade unions and strikes
  • slavery was not abolished
  • the death penalty was kept
  • although the move to a constitutional monarchy could have radically changed France, this never worked effectively due to the actions of Louis
  • although open to merit, in many cases positions in local government were still filled with bourgeoisie 
  • the economic situation did not radically change despite the sale of church lands. 
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the development of revolutionary discontent

  • between 1791 and 1792, France lurched towards a more radical and extreme solution. despite the works of the assembly to draw up a constitution and effectively bring to an end the 1789 revolution, france started a second revolution which would bring an ed to the monarchy in september 1792 and the start of the terror.
  • this was started because Louis XVI was increasingly unwilling to go along with the constituent assemblies wishes. he may have been influenced by his brother and MA. Mirabeau might have succeeded in bring around a limited monarchy, as he had the confidence of the king, however his death in 1791 was a major setback. Louis treated the experiements with a constituion a temporary nuisance until the time came when he was better able to negotiate. the King was also troubled by the CCC, and he wished he had never signed it. moderate noble deputies were in a dilema, some thought things had gone far enough but others thought they hadnt.
  • networks of political clubs had spurng up to act as pressure groups on the assembly. they organised political dissent. the Jacobin clubs took their lead from men like  Franklin. initially members were deputies, but the club rapidly expanded. high membership free - moderate and took a more radical position in 1791 - the fuellent club broke away. Fees were reduced and aritasans joined.
  • society of 89 - favoured constitutional monarchy - sieyes founded, high fee, wealthy moderates, Lafayette, Mirabeau. 
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political clubs

  • noble faction - met at salon francais. produced pamphlets that favoured the monarchy.
  • cordeliers club - claimed to protect citizens rights and keep a watch on activities of the assembly. membership was minimal and open to all including women and passive citizens. Danton and Desmoulins were founders and Marat was a member. the club became the home of radical democratic and republican ideas. linked to a number of local clubs in paris including the fraternal society, where artisans met to have the assemblies decrees explained in language they could understand.  this was a highly influencial  force in parisian politics. it became the home of ultra revolutionary factions, particularly Hebert who supported the terror. however, despite Desmoulins attempt to disassociate the extremists from december 1793. in 1794 danton, desmoulins and the old cordeliers went to the guillotine and the club collapsed. 

these clubs were influential because of the wide membership which included members of the assembly, and parisian workers. they provided the platform for propaganda and often delivered their views in forms of petitions to the assembly. this allowed them to influence decisions. produced pamplets which reached out to the ordinary people of Paris. Political journalists published own papers:

Desmoulins - a low cost paper that attacked the monarchy, marat - l'ami du peuple - popular among WC, hebert - humorous publication, popular with WC and also higher classes. 

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Power in France and flight to Varennes

by 1791, authoirty had fragmented. executive power remained with the King but royal authoirty was continuously undermined by the assembly, which itself was divided among left, centre and right. Lafayette and Bailly (Paris Mayor) both had influence in the capital. the Paris commune was also influential, which to some extent was under control of the sections, established as districts, some of which were radical. in the rest of the country, disorder continued and the only form of authoirty in many districts was the use of force.

the flight to varennes played right into the cordeliers hands. it had catastrophic consequences for the king. it was assumed that Louis had planned to join royalist soldiers in Lorraine, or appeal to his brother-in-law, the emporer of austria. Paris and the assembly were anxious about the threat from foreign monarchies and about the king, and the flight confirmed the impression that louis was a traitor and encouraging intervention from across the borders. moderate deputies disliked the idea of a republic but now faced gowing pressure to dethrone the king. radicals demanded that paris should be armed in case of an attack, and the refractory priests and counter revs should be rooted out.

the king and queen were in contact with a growing band of emigres who wanted Louis to assert his authoirty. MA had the assurance of Laopold that he would help the royals. it failed because Louis rejected his advisors route and that they should travel seperately, and the departure was delayed and the weight slowed them down. 

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Flight to Varennes 20/06/1791

the king is now a prisoner of the revolution more than ever and regarded as a traitor. it wa sincreasingly difficult for him to be viewed as a credible constitutional monarch, so it increased the demands for a republic. whatever public affection the king had had previously, had been truly shattered

the assmebly were incredibly embarrased and said that he had been kidnapped in order to avoid rioting in Paris. the question of what to do with Louis widened the gulf between the already divided assembly. the constitution that they had spent 2 years making seemed to have been rendered pointless. the national assembly debated disposing louis, but eventually decided on a temporary susponsion until the new constitution was ready and he had sworn to uphold it. however his behaviour had undermined the constitution. it deepened political and social divisions. 290 deputies abstained from voting to suspend the kigs powers since they believed the measures went to far. nevertheless in political clubs and radical press demands for a republic spread.

This increased the likliness of a civil war, clamour for the republic louder than ever, increeasing divisions and led to champ de mars.

mirabeaus death 1791 - damaged the monarchists cause. he was an outstanding politician and orator in the constituent assembly. he had been a member of the osciety of thirty and although a noble, had been elected to represent the third estate general. yeat, he remained loyal to the king and firmly believed that through a constitutional monarchy, the kingdom could be effectively reformed and the monarch would remain secure. his letter to the king relected this - he advised that working with the third estate would strengthen the monarchy by eliminating the old selfish desires of the privileged order. as a result of the king paying his debts and giving him a pension in 1790, he wasn't trusted by the deputies. he was defending royal interest within the assembly. 

by april 1791, the eemergence of the clubs and popular societies, and the violence of the menu people - knife and fork issues was playing into mirabeaus hands. many moderate deputies began to fear the revolution had gone too far and events were getting out of control. if he had lived, the flight may not have taken place. louis fell completely under the influence of marie antoinettem and the ocnservative courtiers who didnt trust the assembly and had no commitment to the constitutional monarchy. and without mirabeau he was more inclined to support the privileges of the clergy, emigres rather than developing a more realistic political attitude. in april he also planned to spend easter in the palace of saint cloud, where they would have taken mass given by a refractory priest. they were prevented from leacing the tuilleries, which strenghtened the view they were prisoners. 

louis regretted accepting the ccc, no longer had mirabeaus influence and was subject to the hardline advice of his courtiers. he believed he could flee to the luxembourg border where he would be under th protection of the royalist military commander and could then re-negotiate his position with the constitutional assembly from a position of strength, not intimidated by the crowd in paris. louis left behind a letter to explain this which declared that as a constitutional monarch he was expected to exercise his power and apply his veto where he saw fit. he was therefore leaving paris inthe ultimate interest of establishing political stability.

it failed - didnt take the right route, all travelled together and departure was delayed.

to thi spoint the king homself had been popular in paris - the sans culottes chose to believe that it was his wife and advisers that were badly advising hi. now they saw louis himself as unconcerned for his people. they believed he was fleeing in search of troops to counter the revolution.

loss of confidence in the kings ultimate comitment to the new constitution among the politicians in the assembly. leaders to vote to suspend the king until the new constitution is completed. the vote leads to open splits in the assembly, as some members beieved the move is going too far and this brings the king a body of support as the third estate starts to divide.

there is now the develpoment of royalist and republican parties in the assembly. it showed that the king didnt see the popularity of th revolution. demands for a republic started to spread.  

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How to explain the tone

  • apologetic
  • aggressive
  • bitter
  • callous
  • critical                    
  • defensive                      desperate
  • dissatached
  • dissaproving                    resetnful
  • encouraging
  • enthusiastic                    sarcastic
  • forceful                    
  • humble
  • humerous
  • impassioned
  • ironic
  • judgementeal
  • negatie
  • positive
  • persuasive
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the Champ de Mars

the cordeliers club and other extreme societies decided to organise a meeting at cham de mars on 17 July, where people could sig a petition for the establishment of a republic and deposition of the king. the majority of the jacobins - the feuillants didnt support the move and at the last moment robespierre withdrew his suport - either as a political move, or lack of ocurage. around 50k popele turned up, sparking more fears of disorder. the Assembly and moderate Paris commune chose to send Lafayette and the national guard to ensure order - all active guard property to protect.. this had the reverse effect. as they moved in, stones were thrown so when warning shots produced no result, they fired directly at the crowds, killing around 50 people. this was significant because it was a betrayal of the people by the moderates - a massacre. 6000 signed the petition. 

this completes te split that had already opened among thos of the mofermer third estate. alarmed at the potential for mob acyion, so took the side of the moderates. one group, including lafayette, broke with the jacobins and set up the fuellants. these men were convinced they must prevent the revolution from becoming more extreme. having broken up the champ de mars prtest, they forced the closure of mnay patriotic clubs and newspapwea and drove the extemist leaders underground. Danton went to england and desmoulins and marat went into hiding. this added to the anxiety and tension and this was made worse by an added fear of austrian invasion. 

it was the first bloody clash between the supporters of the revolution. the initiative is handed very firmly to the moderates. it is clear thay tbeyond paris, the population is far more conservative and certainly there is no mass support for the republican cause. expressions of support for the assemblys actions from around the country. the radical and populist cause in paris is set back for almost a year following it. martial law is left in force for another month. some popular leaders are arrested. the dominant feuillants have committed themselves to the monarchy but can louis be trusted to now realise the dangers to his position and finalyl accept his role as constitutional monarch?

the constitution of september 1791 - most had been worked out in 1789 - but now took into account Louis apparent alck of commitment to the ocnstitutional monarchy as indicated by the flight to varennes. the king retained direction of policy but was directly accountable to the assembly. he had the right to apoint ministers had resonsibility for foreign policy yet the depended on the consent of the national assembly. the royal veto wouldnt apply to financial and constitutional matters. 

newspapers such as Marat l Ami du Peuple had been calling for mob action since the king attempted to flight. this, mixed with the economic situation deteriorating, and falling real wafes were compounded by the news of the law Le CHamplier which prohibited trade unions and banning strikes. the commune and assembly therefore feared any mob action. arrests were made and offending newspapers closed down.on 24th June, a march of 30k on the assembly with a petition demanding a republic was forced by by the national guard. 

this completed the split between the third estate. alarmed at the potential power of the mob, some took the side of the moderates. some moderate jacobins broke away to form the Fuillant club, convinced they must protect the revolution from becomming more extreme. many members of the cordeliers were drove underground. Danton went to England and Marat and Desmoulins went into hiding. it increased the sense of tension and anxiety which were made worse by the fear of an austrian invasion.

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The legislative assembly and impact of war.

when the assembly met on 1st October 1791 it was dominated by bourgeoisie. the king prevented the passage of two laws which would have declared emigre nobles as traitors, and their property forfeit if they didnt return to france, and another which declared that the refractory priests would lose their income and be treated as counter revs. this was a response to the unrest in the south of france, and the ncrease in emigres and royalist army officers - by 1791 60% of officers had deserted. 

the king of prussia and the emperor of Austria were concerned with Louis XVIs safety after his failed flight.. they issued the declaration of Pilnitz on 27th August which stated that the situation of the French King was of common interest to all nations, and the power of the French king should be restored and that they were willing to use force to bring the restoration of the monarchy.  this added to the mistrust of those who already had lost faith in the monarchy. it wasn't taken particularly seriously by the french and few papers even bothered to report it. they knew it wasnt likely to amount to much since they said they wouldn't attack france unless they had the support of the English and england weren't prepared to attack. more immediately worrying was the threat of returning emigres who were building private armies in neighbouring countries. it was estimated these included 60% of pre rev army officers which led to the decrees mentioned above. the assembly was concerned that Prussia and austria were supporting the emigres and stirring up counter revolution within france - consequently the deputies began to talk of war against these states to unite the french people, in a patriotic cause, expose the counter revolutionary traitors and defend the honour of revolution against its enemies. 

when Louis used his suspensory veto, it linked the two rebellious groups in the patriots minds. it was a key blunder. it reignorced his alignement with the counter revolution. 

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Origins of war

  • the revolutionary war was crucial in altering the subsequent course of the french revolution. without it, it is likely that the constitution of 1791 would have survived. it effectively led to the downfall of the monarchy, the civil war and the terror. 
  • the great powers had no interest in intervention in france during the first two years of the revolution. leopold II of austria was sympathetic to its liberal reforms and pleased at the weak position it placed france - the traditional enemy - in. austria was still dealing with the rebellion in the austrian netherlands, whilst prussia and russia had interests elsewhere. the dec of pollnitz august 1791 - was therefore just a gesture of support to louis by leopold after the flight to varennes. - it had little significance, GB wouldn't back it, and leopold himself liked the new constitution. others however had their own agenda, and some were eagar for war to break out. 
  • Louis might sieze the opportunity to regain absolute power. whilse he claimed to oppose war and support the constitution, he was engaged in secret correspondence with his brother and other emigres, while Marie- Antoinette wrote to her brother. both sought armed intervention to restore the monarchs powers. Louis half heartedly appointed girondin ministers to please the assembly, but he wasn't enthusiastic about a patriotic war against hte Austrians. She believed the chaotic state of the French army would spell defeat for the revolutionary armies. marie antoinette saw the war as a means of restoring louis power. she believed the chaotic state of the french army would spell defeat for the revolutionary armies. rumours abounded that an 'austrian committee' headed by MA was running foreign policy and that secret agents were being sent to the hq od the emigres. captured correspondence later proved this to be true. 
  • Lafayette and Durmouriez: These saw instability in the political situation and believed that a short successful war against Austria would pull the King and Assembly together.
  • The Brissotins (Girondins): They believed that the war would expose Louis’ lack of support for the new constitution and facilitate his removal. Their faction claimed that the war would be easily won since the oppressed subjects of their enemies would welcome the French soldiers as ‘men of liberty’.
  • Robespierre: He opposed the idea of war, and his views were voiced at the jacobin club - he was aware of the role of the military dictator caesar had played in the downfall of the roman republic. he thus believed that lafayette would use their prestige with the army to restore the power of the monarchy he also believed that  foreigners wouldn’t support the revolution if the French attached first as 'no one loves armed missionaries'. He believed the European powers had no desire to attack France, so weren’t a threat, and enemies of the revolution at court had already been exposed so he believed they weren’t a threat either. He didn’t know whether he could commit himself to the revolution. in the short terms robespierre lost support as the sans culottes wanted a fight. this marked the point at which robespierre and brissot became confirmed enemies. btiter and personal quarrels took place between the two men leading to a growing feeling of mistrust and suspicion that was to finally reach a head in the surrounding of the convention and expulsion of the girondins june 1793. 
  • in march 1792, following attacks on the austrian committee, louis dismissed feuillant ministers. the new government inclludued radical girondins - who were eagar for war and dumouriez as foreing minister, also keen to fight. this was matched by leopolds death
  • it was france that declared war on austria in april 1792 only 7 deputies voted agianst it. later prussia declared war on france, their commander, the duke of brunswick took a lead in the campaign. 
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The war 1792

Brissots predictions of an easy victory were rapidly disporved. although numerically superior, the french troops were divided. The blues who were made up of volunteers and largely formed the national guard, didnt trust the whites, men from the old army. nor did they fully trust their commanders who were appointed by Louis XVI. included Lafayette whose reputation had been tarnished by the events of the champ de mars. the lack of experienced officers also contributed to a series of french reverses. counter revolutionaries became scape goats:

the assembly voted for the refractory priests to be deported on the grounds they were provoking disturbances, the disbanding of the kings guard who appeared to celebrate the military set backs and they passed a decree to set up a federe camp of volunteer soldiers which expanded the force of national guardsmen and changed its character. it became a more radical revolutionary force that fought for the sans culottes and against the enemies of the revolution and enforced its wishes on the assembly with its patriotic use of force.

Louis used his suspensory veto on all three of these decrees. the government was in dissaray. lafayette was accused of planning a counter revolution, while demouriez the minister of war resigned and left paris to go and fight. radical agitators stirred up unrest and the provincial volunteers began marching northwards, regardless of the kings disapproval.

the early military disasters werent suprising given the weakness of the french army - the majoirty of royal officer - 60% had gone and the many volunteers were poorly trained and equipped. by the end of may, all three field commnders advised that peace be made before the enemy invaded. back in paris, fears abounded that there were royalit plots abroad. defeats being blamed on acts of treason. this developed a fear of traitors and counter revolutionaries, that coud become hysterial in times of real crisis. the fear of allied victory was very real, and all knew the allied armies would take revenge on paris. to deal with this threat was when the assembly passed the laws on deporting the refractory priests, disbandment of the kings guard who appeared to celebrate military set backs on setitng up the camps of federes. their role was to protect paris from invasion and the ogvenrment against a military coup. the federes are fanatics, men prepared to leave their homes and livelihoods to support an ideal - the revolution. their arrival radicalises the revolution. 

louis makes some crucial decisions with dramatic consequences for his own survival. - he dismisses girondin ministers, and vetoes the laws. against this background, on june 18th, lafayette sends a letter to the assembly denouncing the jaocbin state within a state demanding the end to the rule of the clubs. these events seriously undermine louis XVIs position as - he has alientated the girondins, the key political group within the assembly who were still prepared to use their influence to support the constitutional monarchy. the sans culottes, already suspicious of impending counter revolutionary plots have their fear seemingly confirmed by the actions of lafayette - this adds to the strong sense of fear, rumour and suspicion sweeping the streets of paris. the kings veto is seen by the mob as the work of the austrian she wold who is given the new nickname as madam veto. provides a popular figure of hate around which republican sentiment can build, they are seen to be a case of the royal. faily making its stand against the assembly and preparing for a ocunter revolution. 

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What undermined the constitutional monarchy?

  • Kings own actions - no support, unwilling to work, didnt recognise the rev feeling, the flight to varennes, the use of suspesnory veto october 1791 (against the refractory priests and emigres) and May 1792 (introduction of the federes, deportion of the refractory priests and disbandment of the kings guard, and helping counter rev - correspondence was found with him helping the emigres and his brother in law in the war- undermined his credibility
  • class differences and impact of sans culottes - bourgeoisie lead the rev - stop when achieve their aims, however sans culottes wanted to go further - champ de mars, cordeliers club - more radical direction.
  • poor leadership and other individuals - Lafayette, Demouriez, radical agitators - marat - newspaper sitrred up unrest. lafayette had undermined revolution by planning counter revolutionm and demouriez had resigned and left pais to go fight. 
  • outbreak of war - rev proaganda had uined discipline and new volunteerers were poorly trained. they also had to deal with the army retreat and some whole units were deserted. this created scapegoats of counter revs and the defeatsplaced on monarchy. wanted to see france defeated - aded to the pressure of the constitutional monarchy and put it under a lot of strain - dec of pillnitz
  • the worsening economic situation - constitutional monarchy hadnt fixed the poor economy - assignats - inflation - removal of duties on grain didnt lower prices - ban on trade unions and strike - very bourgeoisie. 
  • the reforms - increased division in france - CCC - forced the king into opposition, forced citizens to choose between rev and faith - created counter rev movement which exerted pressure
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The journée 20/06/1792

on the anniversary of the tennis court oath and the flight to varennes, a mob of around 8k SCs marched to the tuileries with petitions demanding that Louis withdraws his vetos and reinstates pro war ministers. however it turned out to be quite a limp affair, louis allowed his doors to be opened, and appeared in person, placed a bonnet rouge on his head and drank a toast to the nation. he made no promises in response to their demands but when Petion the paris mayor asked them to withdraw they did. 

the leaders of the paris sections ordered armed demonstrations in support of the revolution. the leaders came from the cordeliers club. at this point robespierre stands aloof as he had before the champ de mars, unsure as to whether he could afford to commit himself to the revolution. it is clear that his position is increasingly untenable and the incident shows that the assembly is increasingly powerless to help him. 

many of the demonstrators were national guards. it seems to have been a spontaneous episoode that had occured following armed demonstrations in the sections - not directly inspired by the bourgeois political leaders. the power of the sans culottes and the sections is clearly seperate to that of the assembly. there is now a situation of dual power between the assembly whose legitimacy came through their selection by elections, and represented the national interest. and the paris sections led by radical bourgeois leaders whose authoirty based o paris and the power of the sans culottes, whose revolutionary journees could intimidate the assembly. this clearly shows Cobbans town vs country. the sections and sans culottes have fixed their muscles and shown they have the capacity to take contol of the streat of paris. their leaders can thus utilise this ower on the streets to gain control oer the political decision making process in the assembly. the revolution has moved clearly to the left and the republican cause is greatly strengthened. 

this seemed unsettling to the moderates, and lafayette visited the assmebly demanding action against the protesters. however the arrival of the news the army of the north was in retreat it seemed to justify their demands. even a girondim deputy suggested that Louis had abdicated his royal office through his behaviour and should be forced to step down. the assmebly was put under immence pressure throughout the month of july. on 11 July the decree la patrie en danger was issued in response to frennch losses and called on men to support the war effort in a spirit of self sacrifice.

the call of la patrie en danger on 11 july calls on all frenchmen to fight and this greatly strengthens the sections as - it is assumed that if passive citizens can fight then they should be entitled to the vote - this leads to universal male suffrage in the 1793 constitution. the bourgeois members of the assemblies in the sections had ben allowed to meet in private but now the federes and sans cullottes leaders demanded the admission of passive itizens into both these assemblies and the national guard. in the context of deteriorating wartime situation both were soon granted.

throughout july, the federes were arriving into paris, adding to the tensions there. they added to the spirit f reupublicanism prevading the capital . their song the merssaillaise was saying how citizens should be armed. it brought in militant republicans from the provinces unlike the existing national guards in paris who have been sympathetic to the royalist cause. the marseillaise song becomes a rallying cry for the republicans and armies at the front. there are never above 5k of them but they form a powerful pressure group

on 29 July, Robespierre gave a speech to the assembly which echoed opinion in the paris communne, sections and lft wing radicals, that france should become a republic. he had completely lost faith in the constitutional monarchy and argued there should be elections to a national convention in which active and passive citizens vote. a few days later, 1st august, the Brunswick manifesto warned that captured national guardsmen would be put to death without mercy should any harm come to the king. this added to the argument for a republic. 

on july 30th the convention votes to allow passive citizens into the national fuad, which will make a crucial impaxt on the future course of the revolution. at the champ de mars the sans culottes sstrenght was smashed as the bourgeoisiecontrolled the national guard. but in the atmosphere of hysteria and panic, caused by the deteriorating situation og warm the bourgeois deputies were desperate and therefore granted conciession which empowered the sans culottes. in addition, the bourgeois politicians emerged such as marat, danton and robespierre who were prepared to cultivate support among the sans culottes in the sections and use it to challenge and overthrow the authoirty  of the moderates in the convention. 

august 1st - brunswick manifesto - issued by the commander of prussian forces, the duke of brunswick. it warned that any nationalguardsmen captured by the austrians would be put to death without mercy and that paris would suffer should any harm come to the king. this added to the fuel of those against the monarch. it destorys any chance tha the monarchy has of surviving - unless the french armies are defeated in the war. it clearly links the royal family to a foreign attempt to destroyy the revolution, confirmed when correspondence between the royals and austrians was discovered. 

louis misses his last chance for help when he rejects the girondin request to recall its ministers in an attempt to regain public confidence and hold radical sections in check. final example of louis incompetence. 

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Journee 10/8/1792 and France from July 29

robespierre now abandons his support for the 1791 constitution and begins cooperating with the central committee of the federes. on july 29th robespierre outlines his proposals to the jacobin club his demand are clearly looking for the support of the sns culottes - a national convention elected by universal male suffrage to replace the legislative assembly. a purge of the department authorities throughout france. they are widely believed to be pro royalist. petitons were pouring in for the removal of the king from the federes, clubs and the provinces. robespierre demands a republic. on august 3rd, petion the mayor of paris demand that the legislative assembly abolish the monarchy on behald of the sections. the assembly refuse and also defeat a motion to put lafayette on trial, showing there is a political struggle between the assemblies and the sections. on august 9th, the sans culottes take over the hotel de ville and set up a revolutionary comune in palce of the old municipalty. hebert, a radical politician who had particupated in the cordeliers agitation of the last year, and who had strong links with the sections and federes assumes a key role. on august 10th, several thousand natioanl guard, now dominated by passive ctizens and 2000 federes march on the tuileries. swiss guards initially defend the palce as the royal family take refuge with the assembly but fail to tell the guards who dont stand down. as a result 300 parisians are killed/wounded. some of the defending national guards defected to the crowd, nearly all of the swiss guards who massacred. this is the bloodiest journee of the revolution. the assembly is invases and forced to: recognise the new revolutionary commune, hand over the king who is now imprisoned in the temple. louis is suspended at it is left to the future convention to decide his fate, agree to the election by universal adult male suffrage, of a national convention to draw up a more democratic constitution. this even t intensifies the situation of dual power. the commune was now in control of paris,, though in the rest of france it was the authoirty of the assembly alone that was recognised. it is clear that they were looking at a apris revolution and entering a period of town versus country. a main theme developing from tis point as identified by Cobban. the assembly is aware that the peasants arent happy with the arrest of the king and in an attempt to keep their support, concessions are given to them - ending of any compensation due to the seigneurs following the august decrees, emigre lands are to be sold in small lots so the peasants can buy them. the revolution has moved completely to the left. however, the commune may be in control in paris, but the assembly is still recognised as the ultimate authoirty in the provinces. the sans-culottes are firmly dictating events now. danton is now minister of justice for them. political leaders who can motivate the parisian masses have a powerful weapon under their control. fear of the scs causes 2/3 of the assmebly to go into hiding - those favourable to the constitutional monarchy, whihc explains why it radicalsies. in its final six weeks of existence the assembly acts as the commune wished. it passes several radical measures, includng the deportation of refractory priests.with the russian defeat at valmy in september, fer of foreign repirsals against actions directed at the royal family disappear. france can hold their own. the convention meets on septemper 20 and on 21st the moanrchy s abolished. 

second sc march. this time around 20 k SCs accompanied by 2k federes and national guards from the more revolutionary paris sections. carefully planned - well armed. the king seeked sanctuary at the ammenbly, whilst some national guardsmen and gendarmes and swiss guards defended the palace. many of the national guards defected to the crowds. there was a two hour battle in which the palace was set in fire and nerely a thousand sans culottes and federed were killed or wounded. the gendarmes and swiss guards were nearly all massacred.

immediate events were largely dictated by the radicals. the paris commune removed the king and royal family to the temple prison. however, the assembly carefully avoided proclamation to depose the king or establish a republic, and merely declared him temporarily suspended'. it also issued a decree to end the distinction between active and passive citizens. a new convention elected by all men over 25 was promised.the paris commune between 1791 - august 1792 was mainyl made up of girondins (bourgeoisie republicans). after the sans culottes journee of 10 august, the old commune was replaced by a new insurrectionary commune with a jacobin majoirty.

Danton, the sans culottes favourite was made minister of justice and set up a committee of ministerst o take executive power until the new elections could be held. all laws that the king had exercised his veto on would come into force. to reduce the agitation of peasants, all compensation to former seigneurs which had been demanded after august decrees was cancelled.

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September Massacres

on 25 august news reached PAris that longwy had fallen to the enemy.  this was rapidly followed on 1st septemeber with news that verdun was under siege, this created panick. it was suggested to the assembly by an observer that the duke of brunswick would reach paris in 2 weeks. at the same time there was a rising in vendee in which 200 were killed in conflict. Danton stepped forwards to reduce the panic. 30 august - he authorised house searches for weapons hidden. all houses were searched and 3k taken to prison. 2 september - he launched a levee enforcing conscription. 

the proximity of enemy armies, rumours of aristocratic plots, and the fear of traitors in paris who might massacre patriots families with men at work created an explosive atmosphere. the soudnings of the tocsins led to 5 days of frenzied killing in an **** of blood-letting 

the first attack was led by federes on refractory priests. the following days it included political prisoners and common criminals. largely by sans culottes - mostly spontnaeous although they were enocuraged by members of the commune and the national guard. 

led to confirming fears abroad of dangers of a popular revolution, split the assembly between the girondins and jacobins. girondins blamed jacobins for inciting violent behaviour. the power of the assembly and authorities was shown to be weak. the popularity of danton and robespierre increased

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the girondins were keen to use war to unite france in defence of the nation and to expose priests and monarchist counter-revolutionaries. Brissot spoke of putting the king on trial and stories circulated that Frances foreign policy was being run by the Austrian committee lef by marie antoinette and counter revolutionaries. headstrong radicals spoke of sealing the revolution with blookd and sacrifice. when the king appointed a new government, including the girondins, the mood changed. the foreign minister demouriez loathed austria and saw a chance to further his ambitions . War was declared on austria on 20 april 1792. the french were ill advised to embark on war. not only had they lost many officers but also the entire military organisation was confused. training and discipline had been eroded. inevitably, the french army siffered many defeats, leaving the country open to invasion. to make matters worse, prussia joined austria in may and declared war on france. in this atmosphere, scapegoats were quickly sought. as fear and panic set in, politicians looked for more extreme solutions. 

what impact did the creation of a republic have on france?

in paris tensions increased. journeys on 20 june and 10 August. brunswick maifesto. paris was in uproar. the jacobins petitioned for the end of the monarchy and so did the federes. the revolutionary commune was in control. a committe of ministers under danton  was able to pass some important measures - national convention 

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The new republic and the King

on 22nd September the deputies of the new national convention declared France a republic.The disagreements of this new national convention outweighed their shared beliefs.

they both supported the republic, the war and were determened to be victorious, and also the government, economy and society.

the jacobins had a strong support base in Paris and believed increased central controlover the government would be beneficial. they were well favoured with the sams culottes and ready to respond to their demands e.g. imposing controls over the price of food and level of wages. they believed a radical, militant approach was called upon to bring about change. wanted to see the King put on trialand executed.

the girondins had a wide support base in the provinces and believed that de centralisiation was the way forwards. they were suspicious of the sans culottes and feared their activism. believed economic controls would curb liberty and favoured a free market economy. believed in a more moderate approach to bring about change and were hesitant about action against the king and while prepared to accept his guilt, were less inclined to support the death penalty.

most of the plain representing departments outside of france took the girondin view, howecer their loyalties were pickle and divisions sometimes unpredictable. 

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the new republic

debates were animated and decision making was slow as the two sides contantly hurled abuse and mounted personal attacks. the girondins saw Robespierre, Danton and Marat as potential dictators, buoyed up by their following in the Jacobin club and Paris sections. Marat was loathed by Brissot for his association with the September massacres and the insurrectionary Paris COmmune. the jacobins accused Girondins of lacking faith in the revolution and trying to form a party to block legitimate change. a constitutional committee was set up comprising sieyes, danton, Paine and 7 others in order to draw up proposals for a new constitution to replace that of 1791 in which the king had executive power. the constant arguments between the jacobins and girondins made it difficult to achieve any agreement on this. 

in the matter of war, girondins and jacobins didnt view matters the same. in november 1792, the austrians were defeated by Demouriez, a girondin general. this success seemed to vindicate the Girondin commitment to war and belief in spreading the ideas of the revolution across europe through war. hence they won support for some provocative decrees, including the edict of fraternity. nevertheless, jacobin believed victory at home was more important. although the war appeared to be going well military, its repercussions were being felt in france with growing inglation, which increased the restlessness of the sans culottes, the outbreak of sporadic peasant rioting known as the Chouan rebellion. the jacobins exploited such problems to argue for their policy of greater central control.

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The debate of the fate of the King

Robespierre and the Jacobins spoke out for the execution of the king, but the girondins feared that it would increase the unrest and even provoke civil war. the deputies were occupied through november and december 1792 deciding what to do with him. 

20 Nov - Rolan announced the discovery of the iron box in the tuilleries, which contained papers to show Louis correspondence with the Austrian royal family. this provided proof of his counter revolutionary activities. 

3 december- the decision to try Louis was made, the convention would act as both judge and jury. this wasn't really legal because there was no provision for the legislative to act as the court. 

the jacobins wanted louis to die for the 'country to live'. 

11 December - the indictment was put to Louis, it included his conduct from the first meeting of the estates-general.

at the end of december the girondins proposed an appeal to the people to determine the verdict and punishment, which was discared by the jacobins and the plain who thought it undermined their status as elected delegates. Marat managed to win support for appel nominal - each deputy voted publically in the middle of the hall - this led to most opting for execution.

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the execution of the king

1. In late 1792 the National Convention placed the deposed king, Louis XVI, on trial for crimes against the French people. In a controversial legal move, the Convention’s deputies decided to conduct this trial themselves.

2. Under the Constitution of 1791, the king was considered inviolable and therefore could not be prosecuted or punished. Louis’ lawyers used this as their main defence, arguing that the king’s decisions were valid under the constitution.

3. While his lawyers argued skilfully, Louis’ own testimony was unconvincing. The Convention’s deputies eventually voted 693 to none in favour of the king’s guilt.

4. The Convention then debated the fate of the king, with the Jacobins demanding his execution and the Girondins supporting an ‘appeal to the people’. The deputies voted 387 to 334 for the king’s execution.

5. Following a meeting with his family, the former Louis XVI was guillotined before a crowd exceeding 100,000 people. His execution caused shock waves and condemnation around the world, most notably in Britain, which within a fortnight was at war with France.

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The war and beginnings of the terror

in 1793, executions became so commonplace that it was accepted as the norm. the trror is assoicated with the guillotine. the hunt for people inside france followed in the wake of war that had gone badly. the convention wished to offer other europeans the chance to. gain their liberty. it also aimed to expand france to its natural frontiers including the rhine. this would anger Britain - its trade would be threatened by french expansion into belgium and the area surrounding the river sheldt.

in februrary and March, France declared war on Britain, Holland and then Spain. in March, following Demouriez's defection to the Austrians (there were rumours he was going to March on Paris), France was pushed onto the defensive. The Austrian Netherlands was lost and invasion loomed. In the summer, Paris was threatened by the austrian and spanish forces. but quarrels between the allies meant that their campaigns were uncoordinated. France was saved from external threats partly because of Allied disuntiy and because it mobilised the resources of the whole state behind the revolutionary wars in August 1793. Half a million soldiers wee to be equipped and trained. 

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Internal pressure

  • - the possibility of economic collapse
  • - risings and federal revolts - vendee rising
  • struggles for power inside the convention, leading to the fall of the girondins
  • the problem of how to ensure that the government maintained control of the country.

how did the convention enforce control (and centralise power)? measures were taken between March - May 1793 - committee of public safety, a revolutionary tribunal, representatives-on-mission, surveillance committes, committee of general security, armees revolutionnaires.

the convention faced serious economic problems. the war had to be paid for, prices were rising, and the assignats were losing their value. Food shortages were occuring partly because the army were seizing supplies and partly because farmers weren't willing to sell their produce if all they received were assignats. all of this angered the sans- culottes. several measures were taken to help the situation: maximum price for grain, and rationing cards made sure meat and bread were fairly distributed. hoarders would receive the death penalty. the maximum prices and fixed wages was unpopular with the peasants and led to clashes with the armee revolutionnaires. prices were increased further in 1794 which helped the peasants and the law of the maximum did prevent food riots. as a result the assignats also increased in value. the CPS had to deal with a series of risings. while the vendee one had some economic causes, such as rising land taxes and rents, it was also political.

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why did the Girondins fall from power in June 1793

power within the convention was moving towards the JAcobins, as more of the plain supported them. the Girondins were being blaed for all of frances problems (Marat blamed them in his newspaper L Ami de peuple. this wasnt helped by Demouriez's defection. the SCs whose backing was essential in PAris, were firmly behind the JAcobins. most of the events of the terror were a response to their demands. it was them who provoked the collapse of Girondin power. Robsepierre knew this, and he called the people of Paris to rise up against the Girondins, who he accused of treachery and corruption. The SC were against them after they imprisoned MArat for his outspoken condemnation of the Girondins. 

they had become the enemy of the revolution. on 2nd June, 80k national guards surrounded the convention and pointed their cannon at the building. they were finished, their leaders were arrested and the remainder expelled. jacobin dominance was assured as long as they were backed by the sans-culottes they placed their mark on a new constitution passed in June which gave all adult males the vote, and granted the right of insurrection as a legitmate tool to carru put their wishes. however it was never implimented due to the war. 

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The federalist revolt

the provinces hated interference from Paris, conscription and the CCC. the expulsion of the Girondins sparked risings all over france. the new CPS had to fight this to prevent decentralisation again. trouble broke out in normandy, Bordeaux and Lyon. In Marsailles, JAcobins were executed and the city had to be tken back by force. In Toulon, the city was opened to British and Spanish troops and control was restored by Napoleon. Lyon was held out to siege for two months. 

in the autumn, te revolutionary armies retook each area of revolt. this was accompanied by the terror. The journee of the 4/5 september 1793 wassparked off by grain shortages, starvation and unemployment in paris. As the crowd gathered outside the hotel de ville, the convention was sufficiently intimidated to take action. it was announced that 'terror is theorder of the day'.the armee revolutionnaires would requisition grain supplies from Paris and assist in the suppression of federalist revolts. Between september and december 1793, 56 other armees were sent to the provinces. Robespierre was not in favour of them as peasants would be angry at grain seizures and there was a loss of central control over agencies of the terror, which went on a violent rampage through france. officially the CPS and CGS would bring the accused before the revolutionary tribunal.. But in areas of federalist revolts were where the worse acts of savagery were committed. The law of suspects gave powers to new revolutionary committees. MAss arrests took place. the verdict was not guilty or death. the south and west suffered most, with most vs from the vendee. 

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the terror

farms were destroyed and famine froced many to flee. in Nantes the representative en mission was responsible for the drowning of 1800 people. in all 17k were probably executed, another 30k died in prison or without trial.

Historians accuse Robespierre for starting to follow socialist principles, but eventually turning popular sovereignty into the dictatorship of the CPS. Robespierre had a highly developed ethical and moral code that translated itself into such a strict political programme. His dream was based on the republic of virtue in which frenchmen would be free, equal and devoted to la patrie. he was a tolerant defender of the poeple - he disliked the rich and the differences of wealth as well as the labelling of poeple as passive citizens. Democracy and liberty were worth saving -  and if it was necessary to root out the enemies of the revolution, than that was what had to be done. terror  would be the instrument to suppress counter rev plots within france and from outside. terror would guarantee virtue. Robespierre called it the despotism of liberty. if he followed the beliefs of rousseau and the general will, it was to impose revolutionary principles on the poepl. there was no time for the common good to evolve and be recognised by the community. the incorruptable as robespierre was known, had to defend liberty and justice by whatever means were available. he disliked the masses, although he cleverly used the support of the sans culottes in establishing his position. it is likely the people he fully represented were the bourgeoisie, he certainly was popular in paris but his power was used through a commttee. his influence was exercised alongside others in the CPS. he may have seen the terror as a temporary measure and that he had no liking for the most extreme excesses of the revolution.

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the terror

farms were destroyed and famine froced many to flee. in Nantes the representative en mission was responsible for the drowning of 1800 people. in all 17k were probably executed, another 30k died in prison or without trial.

Historians accuse Robespierre for starting to follow socialist principles, but eventually turning popular sovereignty into the dictatorship of the CPS. Robespierre had a highly developed ethical and moral code that translated itself into such a strict political programme. His dream was based on the republic of virtue in which frenchmen would be free, equal and devoted to la patrie. he was a tolerant defender of the poeple - he disliked the rich and the differences of wealth as well as the labelling of poeple as passive citizens. Democracy and liberty were worth saving -  and if it was necessary to root out the enemies of the revolution, than that was what had to be done. terror  would be the instrument to suppress counter rev plots within france and from outside. terror would guarantee virtue. Robespierre called it the despotism of liberty. if he followed the beliefs of rousseau and the general will, it was to impose revolutionary principles on the poepl. there was no time for the common good to evolve and be recognised by the community. the incorruptable as robespierre was known, had to defend liberty and justice by whatever means were available. he disliked the masses, although he cleverly used the support of the sans culottes in establishing his position. it is likely the people he fully represented were the bourgeoisie, he certainly was popular in paris but his power was used through a commttee. his influence was exercised alongside others in the CPS. he may have seen the terror as a temporary measure and that he had no liking for the most extreme excesses of the revolution.

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why did the CPS become a dictatorship

while there were counter revs to be crushed, the CPS had let the terror run on. so much authority had been decentralised to the representatives, rev committes and armees that central govt was functioning in a chaotic situation. the SCs were the force behind the terror, and the convention had gone alongside their demands. the dec of rights of June 1793 recognised their belief in the right to work, be educated and have insurrection.

the SCs also pushed the dechristianisation compaign. this was a determined effort to close all the churches, destroy religious artefacts and force priests to marry. the convention and many revolutionaries still associated the constitutional church anf catholicism with plots against the revolution. a new calendar undermined its christian basis. in late 1793, the internal revolts were being crushed and french armies were on the offensive. in late 1793, the CPS behan to put the revolution into reverse. by the law of 14 Frimaire - armee revolutionnaires in the provnces were disbanded, the CPS was given huge powers over ministers, generals, and representatives. the CGS was given powers over the police and the revolutionary tribunal. Both committees had complete power while the sans culottes were on the wane. dangerous opponents had to be delt with. girondin leaders went to the guillotine in october. Heber, who called for insurrection against those who oppress us and attacked Robespierre for setting up a dictatorship also was guillotined in MArch 1794.  Danton also went because he was opposed to the concentration of power in the CPS. he wanted to end the war and terror, and as he had support in the convention he had to be removed. he was accused of plotting against the revolution and sent to the guillotine. fear induced silence. in summer 1794, over 1k a month were killed. the appearance infront of the tribunal was enough to bring the death sentence/ 

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continuing the terror

the law of prairial June 1794 opened the floodgates. anyone accused of trying to mislead opinion could be tried without recourse to a defence or the bringing forwards of a witness. this was the great terror. even at the height of the cps dictatorship, the seeds of robespierres downfall were being sown. the SCs could see their position being reduced - the popular societies had gone and so had the rev armies. they were hit by bread shortages and rising prices, as well as the fact the law of the maximum now also placed a maximum on wages., causing them to fall. there were jelousies between the two committees CPS and CGS. the cgs was supposed to have full police powers. but its working relationship was breaking down because robespierre had set up his own network of police. when 22 prairial was introduced, the CGS knew nothing about it. fears that robespierres dictatorship threatened everybodies safety  was rife, the plain particularly vulnerable. 

people were apathetic and fearful. local government had been paralysed by lawlessness, dear and administrative overload. it was impossible to okeep up with the turns of policy in Paris. Robespierre decreed that a new religion, the cult of the supreme being would be set up to heal frances spiritual divisions. the opposite happened. catholic priests attacked it as false, and robespierre was accused of assuming Gods full support for the revolution. 

Robespierre disappeared for around three weeks in July, and when he returned two speeches attacking other members of the CPS led to his and Saint justs arrest. the pais commune could not raise enough soldiers or a journee to support them. the convention passed a decree which outlawed him - robespierre could be executed without a trial so on 10 thermidor, him, saint just and 20 others were executed. 

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the Thermidorian reaction

the structures associated with the great terror were removed. the govenment of thermidorians (moderate deputies) reduced the number of executions. the jacobin club and paris commune were closed down and the CPS lost its say in domestic affairs. the revolutionary tribunal survived less than a year. Paris relaxed and theatres, press and fashionable dress began to appear again. 

the CPS and CGS were filled by moderate Dantonists and members of the Plain. this indicated the future direction of the government (moderate bourgeoisie in control). the revolutionary tribunal was reorganised and exile increased. on 24th August, the law on Revolutionary government provided for the complete reorganisation of government and administration away from the highly centralised structure of the terror. the rev committees were reduced to one per department, with 12 in Paris. this broke the power of the sans-culottes in the sections. central government was put in the hands of 16 committees responsible for the convention. provisions were made for regular changes of membership. 25% of members changed each month which reduced the powers of CPS and CGS. new representants-en-mission were dispached to the provinces to oversee these changes and ensure jacobins were removed from positions of authoirty. the paris commune powers were reduced and completely abolished in 1795. church and the state were seperated which ended the constitutional church. the jacobin club was closed down and all its affiliated societies were disbanded. the law of the maximum was repealed.

1795: toleration for all religions, the rev tribunal abolished, and the law of suspects officially repealed. by the end of 1794, the moderates, representing the propertied bourgeoisie, were incontrol of both central and local government, Many jacobins were removed from power. all the leading thermidorians shared a desire to restore stability without restoring extreme jacobinism or the monarchy. 

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Prominent thermidorians


Fouche - served in every government from 1792 - 1815. national convention deputy and became a representant en mission taking responsibility for the mass shootings in Lyons in 1793. he helped to secure robespierres fall in July 1794, served as a jacobinunder the directory and became minister of police in 1799. 

Barras - a nobleman who welcomed the revolution and joined the jacobin club. sat in the legislative assembly and national convention and helped in the recapture of Toulon. he remained in the plain during the terror, but served as a representant en mission. helped to organise the overthrow of robespierre. he had an affair with Josephine Napoleons future wife and helped to create the directory. but he fell from power in the coup of brumaire 1799 and spent time in exile thereafter.


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the 1795 Paris risings

the thermidorians favoured economic freedom for business and commerce. they ended price controls, deregulated trade and restored paper currency. 

in an effort to go back to the free market, the law of maximum was swept aside. without any control on wages and pices, assignats fell in value to less than 10% of original value, and inflation took hold. bad harvests made bread prices rocket and famine appeared again by spring 1795 there was also a freezing winter in 1794-95. this forced factories to close - unemployment. this led to the protest of germinal, where the sans culottes saw a weakness in government due to lack of resources. when 10k people surrounded the convention about price shortages, it was easily dealt with by the national guard as they withdrew without resistence. this led to the speeding up of former montegnards and ordered the disarming of all who played a part in the terror. the leaders of the demonstration who were former members of the cps were deported. 

bread riots of 20/21 may (1/2 prairial) was a different matter, even larger number of sans culotte women and some armed men invaded the convention.  part of the nationla guard joined. the president of the convention received the protestors demands and peace was maintained. two days later, the army was called out to suppress the rebels. arrests took place and large areas of paris, particularly where the sans culottes lived were disarmed. with no army and no one to organise them, the SCs were finished. 42 national guard leaders and some montegnards were executed.

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the White terror

those responsible for the white terror wanted revenge ont hose who had participated in the revolution. thie targets were sans-culottes, government officials, constitutional priests, and those who had rounded up people for the revolutionary tribunal. it was the backlash against the jacobins who had caused the terror. In paris it was limited to mc youth attacking scs and jacobins and forced the closure of pro-jacobin newspapers. they also sought to de-martyrise the former popular hero marat and helped to defend the convention in the risings by the SCs. 

those who had been the victims of the terror, such as in the vendee murdered the jacobins. there were several instances of extreme behaviour and a violent massacre occured in Lyons may 1795, where jacobin prisoners were slaughtered. however it wasnt as bloody as the great terror. 

a number of representants-en-mission were executed, however some jacobins were given lesser sentences and deported. the threat to stability also came from the returning emigres, royalists and those who wanted to see the catholic church restored. the emigres desire to regain their property was a threat to the bourgeoisie bien nationaux holders but they also wanted to restore the monarchy. the comte de provence, the kings brother, encouraged the return to the monarchy as he was heir in 1795 in his verona declaration, when he promised to restore french glory and take revenge on all regicides. the thermidorians tried to crush the hopes of those seekinging to reinstate the catholic church by retaining bans on religious dress, symbols and bell rining, despite its broad policy of toleration. religios gatherings were also subject to surveillance. these restrictions were ignored by the clergy, so the convention returned the oath of loyalty.

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risings 1795

germinal and prairial - SCs, bread price control and the constitution of 1793,  not organised lacked ams, martial law, arrested agitators, sped up the deportations of former montegnards an ordered the disarming of those who played a lead role in the terror.

germinal - 40k regular soldiers, two sides negotiated, lulled into further promises, and the SCs withdrew

vendemiaire - 5th october 1795 - royalist rising. moarchists believed that a plebiscite held in september had been rigged. their anger was further excited. by reports that the cmte d'Artois had landed off the coast of vendee. this produced a pro royalist demonstration led by the muscadins, factory and property owners. who dispaired a republican government that had failed to protect their interests. as news of an approaching royalist army reached paris, the convention assembled three battalions by calling on unemployed jacobin army officers who had been dismissed after 9 thermidor. faced with around 25k armed parisians marching on the convention, the thermidorian Barras was approahed by Napoleon who took command of the republics troops. on 13 vendemiaire, armed royalists surrounded the convention, outnumbering the republicans by 6 to 1. he fired canon into their ranks and the royalsits were repulsed

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the directory

a new constitution was drawn up by the thermidorians in august 1795 and ratified by a plebiscite. it reflected a desire for stability and moderation. 5 directors were to run all government affairs, each serving a term of 5 years, one replaced each year. they had limited powers - had to carry out laws but were forbidden to make or veto them and had no control over public finances. 

the council of 500 comprised of deputies that could introduce and write new laws, but didnt vote in them. the council of ancients examined, approved or rejected the laws. the couldnt change them or propose new ones. 

two thirds of the deputies on both councils had to be chosen from the convention in order to stop the election of a royalist majoirty. it achieved a system of checks and balances to prevent the concentration of power in one group. however, if the directory and council were in adisagreement then paralysis of the governmetn was a possibility. if the councils didnt cooperate then it would be difficult to ever get things done. since the direcotry soughtto limit thepower of the indiivudal, no prominant leader stood out, this left the directory without clear direction, and the direcotrs who had a variety of differin political opinions found it difficult to work together. this led to a schism between the more moderate conservative members such as carnot and the republicans souch as BArras on the other. elections also tended to be won by royalists which disturbed the directors

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was the directory a complete failure?

the system of seperation of powers led to dissatisfaction. the stability, which the directory was supposed to restore, couldn't be guaranteed. the directories problems were daunting - war, debt, inflation, lack of order, but the moemories left of the terror were the worse. throughout the revolution, events had been directed by the military situation. the directory relied on the armies success. not only did the army support the direcotry, but sme talented generals disposed of frances enemies one by one. by early 1798, the army ensured that only britain was left as frances sole enemy. the directory needed to support itself and its army with foreign conquests. switzerland and genava were invaded. in italy, the papal states fell and france was able to surround itself with friendly republics such as the roman. by 1798, even the left bank of the rhine had been handed to france. even though napoleons war with egypt had gone badly, warfare under the directory had been largely on of advances

in 1799, the second coalition brought  renewed warfare.

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financial policies under directory

desperate measures were taken tor estore the treasuries finances. at least it can be said that complete financial collapse was avoided. loot from abroad was helpful but the collapse in the value of the assignat was disastrous. the thermidorians had attempted to switch from a system of economic control to a more liberal environment but this resulted in inflation. the assignats had become almost completely worthless. the directory inherited a badly unbalanced budget, made worse by the costs of war, and problems of tax collection. problems of food supply persisted, hindered by grain speculators but also by another poor harvest in 1795. the trading situation was comprised by war and british naval efforts to restrict the french colonial trade and blockade french ports. 

efforts were made to stabilise the country, continuing to switch from parer to metal currency. they introduced mandats but these were rapidly counter feitedand their value was depriciated and there was rapid inflation. thereafter metal coinage was the only legal tender, but this caused deflation which hindered trade. nevertheless they provided the basis of the bank of france set up by napoleon in 1800. new taxes were introduced and commissoners were put in charge of tax collection. bourgeoisie investors and property owners were now losing out, but they received a balance of payments surplus in 1797 - 1798. the weights and measures were standardised which had a positive long term effect and good harvests in 1796 and 98 brought the price of grain down. the directory relied on the bourgeoisie for political support.

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a number of plots indermined the stability that it was trying to maintain. they  threatened the directories bid for moderate and democratic government. the rising of vendemiaire had occured just days before the new constitution came into being, and showed the extent to which royalism had grown since the terror. the directory could only establish itself due to the prompt action of the army, which showed how vulnerable it was. Hoche maintained well-disciplined mobile army units in the areas of the chouan rebellion and used them to establish firm control over the west by summer 1796, when a peace treaty was signed. 

the directory also found itself under threat from continuing jacobinism. it initially tolerated the jacobin gracchus who campaigned fro the rights of the poor and the 1793 as it acted as a counter balance to the royalist demands. however in dire economic circumstances he called for the revival of the terror and planned a conspiracy of equals in May. this was a rising by a small group of well disciplined revolutionaries against the wealthy on behalf of the people. he went to the guillotine in 1797. 

the directory continued to face periodic agitation from right and left and they found themselves in a position of trying to maintain the balance of power between the two extremes. this in turn meant the directors became engaged in a series of corrupt practices which undermined all they claimed to stand for

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coups by the directory

Fructidor: more serious were two occasions when the directory found themsleves using the army to deal with what they though were threats from the right and the left. in 1797, apathy with the war and the directory resulted in the elections of large numbers of monarchists to the councils. by 1798 the royalists might have had a majoirty. hence two republican directors used troops under the command of Napoleon to round up directors and deputies suspected of being sympathetic to the royalist cause. joint military forces were used to seize strongpoints in Paris and 177 deputies were arrested. two new directors were co-opted to replace moderate carnot. the council positions were left vacant. this undermined the 1795 constitution and added to the lack of confidence in the elctoral process. this was followed by some vindictive legislation. some members of the second estate were declared foreigners. they had to apply for naturalisation papers to regain their rights as citizens. returned emigres were given two weeks to leave france and those who failed to do so, and their relatives were prosecutes by new military tribunals. 

coup of floreal - the directory passed a new electoral law in 1798 to minimise royal gains, however jacobins soared ahead. results were altered by a scrutinising process and the law of floreal purged 127 deputies from the council of 500 before they could even take their seats. this reinforced the difficulties of operating the constitution of 1795. the troubles of floreal show how little the directory now commanded the respect or interest. the fact that the government found it difficult to ensure the re-election of its candidates indicated the publc mood

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the coup of prairial

both the councils questioned the conduct of war, especially the recall of a jacobin director, and complained that the election of director treilhard had been illegal. on 29 prairial they replaced him with a former jacobin minister. sieyes who had recently been chosen by ballot decided to take advantage of the situation. supported by barras, he decided to enforce the councils demands that 2 of the directors should stand down. when they resisted on 18 June, sieyes called upon a general who had taken comman od the army in Paris, to organise troop movements in the capital. the same evening the resignations appeared and sieyes was successful. for the first time the councils had forced a purge of the directors not the other way around. rather than healing divisions, the directory seems to have increased them. it had constantly overturnedthe electoral results and had grown increasingly dependent on the army to maintain itself.  in july 1799, fearful of the growing jacobin sentement in the councils, sieyes introduced the law of hostages which allowed local authorities to take action against potential radicals. this was only irregularly applied - its enforcement depended on attitudes in the localities. there was little to hold the government to gether, and after the prairial coup, it was a matter of moths before the coup of brumaire that destoryed the directory completely. 

in 1799, the war was going badly against the second coalition, conscription and the levee en masse in 1799 was widely evaded and caused huge resentment, force loans to pay for the war added to its unpopulairty of a govt that had already lost sympathies of the bourgeoisie. order and local government was disintegrating, the directory had lost its backing and was guilty od suspending the constitution itself.

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The directory - economy

The economy:

  • ·         Economic problems faced by Directory same as those of previous regimes- inflation, valueless currency and high food prices.
  • 1795- Thermidorians had abolished Maximum to move back to free market. Led to rampant inflation which destroyed purchasing power of assignat.  Added was a very hard winter. These led to great increases in price of bread and this prompted 2 protests In Paris. 12-13 Germinal (1-2 April) and 1-4 Prairial (20-23 May).
  •   By start of Directory, value of assignat plummeted to 1% of its face value. In attempt to solve inflation, Directory tried introducing new paper currency. Lasted just over a year and was complete failure.
  • Paper currency withdrawn. From February 1787 metal coins only legal currency. As not enough coins in circulation this hampered commerce and deflation resulted. Directory thus never satisfactorily solved economic problem or passed lasting reforms, making it unpopular at all social levels.
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the directory - finance

   Directory more successful with government finances. September 1797, 2/3 of national debt written off through issue of bonds to government creditors. These bonds could be used to buy national property (property taken from crown, Church and others). These bonds fell in value however and became worthless.

·         Government had gone bankrupt (‘bankruptcy of two thirds’). So although the debt greatly reduced, in turn reduced interest payments, the original creditors were alienated. The Directory could not rely upon their future support.

·         For government income, directory in part relied upon profits of war, plunder taken from parts of Germany and Italy occupied by French armies. E.g. 15th May 1796- Bonaparte made city of Milan pay huge ransom. Had the benefit of allowing the Directory to function but drawback of making it more reliant on the army and on an aggressive war policy.

·         More a solution provided by Vincent Ramel (finance minister) – 1798 - reformed tax system:

Introduced 4 new direct taxes and reintroduced octrois (indirect tax from ancien regime- tax on goods brought into towns which was very unpopular). He made tax collection more efficient. Benefit- by 1798- the government finances balanced.

o   Drawbacks- it lost support for the Directory from those adversely affected by the bankruptcy and new taxes and policy of making war for plunder increased reliance on army. they had alienated creditors, who bought the mandats, and the bourgeoisie over the property tax, they relied on the bourgeoisie for political support.

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The directory - political violence

Political Violence:

·         Thermidorians keen to distance themselves from Jacobins although many were Jacobins themselves. Led them to shift blame for Terror onto Robespierre and his associates.

·         After Thermidor, in the streets of Paris the jeunesse doree (muscadins) (gilded youth, organised groups of men) went around attacking sans-culottes, former militants and Jacobins.

·         In South of France, Lyons and Rhone Valley where Terror had been so brutal there were equally savage reprisals by those who had been affected (‘White Terror’).

·         When the Directory came to power it struggled to control violence which remained widespread in countryside. Directory divided France into military districts, set up military commissions to judge cases and employed army general to maintain law and order.

·         Even this undemocratic approach didn’t fully work. Directory failed to completely solve problem of lawlessness and disorder.

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Political Divisions: (dont focus on this slide

·         France divided- on the left the sans-culottes were finished and the Directory couldn’t use them to stay in power as the Jacobin dictatorship had.

·         From the extreme left came the first real threat to the Directory. The Babeuf plot in1796. Gracchus Babeuf planned to organise small group of revolutionaries who would persuade police and army to help them seize power. Intended to set up dictatorship to make France radically different society. His plot filed.

·         Despite White Terror and closure of Jacobin club, neo-Jacobins (new Jacobins) remained powerful. Coup of Floreal May 1798, Directory purged 127 deputies, many suspected of being neo-Jacobins. This headed off possible neo-Jacobin challenge to their policies but, in breaking the constitution, the Directors undermined its public standing.

·         1799 – Law of Hostages passed. Resistance to new or existing laws could lead to an area being delared disturbed. Relatives of noble or émigrés could be arrested, fined and imprisoned for any damage done by those causing the disturbance.

·         Royalists were split: some wanted return to ancien regime, some just wanted constitutional monarchy.

·         When Louis XVII died June 1795, his uncle the Comte de Provence (later Louis XVIII) claimed throne and issued the Verona Declaration promising:

o   To restore the ancient constitution

o   To restore all properties ‘stolen’ from Church and émigrés

o   To execute all regicides.

·         Deputies of National Convention passed ‘Law of two thirds’- ensured new Councils dominated by men committed to continuation of Revolution. Prompted Vendemiaire uprising in Paris. Crowd of 25,000 tried to surround National Convention but was dispersed.

·         1799- Royalists did well in elections. Able to put their supporters into important positions. Prompted remaining 3 directors to see help of army.

·         Coup of Fructidor- soldiers took control of Paris, surrounded Councils’ meeting places and arrested 53 deputies and 2 Directors. Remaining deputies intimidated into cancelling elections in many areas.

·         In a second decree, the arrested deputies, Directors and leading royalists sent to Guiana.

·         Directory had stayed in control but at expense of undermined status of constitution and by relying on army

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War/ Foreign Policy:

·         Directory’s aim 1796 was to defeat Austria and this was achieved, partly due to brilliant Italian campaign by Bonaparte. Left just Britain, but invasion made impossible by British naval victories over Spanish and Dutch fleets.

·         Directory now began to follow more aggressive policy of conquest, then setting up new republican states. Reasons for this war policy:

·         War became essential to Directory’s survival. Money from Italy staved off bankruptcy in 1797. Defeated states required to pay indemnities.

·         War kept army happy and ambitious generals occupied, ensuring Directory’s survival

·         Element of corruption. Under Jacobin dictatorship, state controlled supply of armies, but under Directory this was done by private contractors. There was a link between Directory and war profiteering.

·         1797 Bonaparte set off with his army to Egypt to attack British interests. Whilst military campaign very successful, they were trapped in Egypt when the French fleet destroyed by the British fleet led by Nelson.

·         This aggressive action antagonised other European powers and a Second Coalition formed against France.

·         1799 French forces defeated by Prussians and Austrians, French population war weary and so this increased unpopularity of Directory.

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The Thermidorian Reaction

Thermidorians were those involved in the coup against Robespierre (they were the men who overthrew Robespierre). They consisted of members of the CPS, CGS, former supporters of the Terror and the deputies of the Plain. Robespierre and his associates were labelled as Terrorists and blamed for the terror. Some who hadn’t died with him at Thermidor were later guillotined.


With the Terror over, there was great rejoicing, with Charles de Lacretelle noting that “people were hugging each other in the streets and at places of entertainment and they were so surprised to find themselves still alive, that their joy almost turned to frenzy”.


The Plain took control in the power vacuum left by Robespierre, they had profited from the Revolution by the purchase of biens, and were regicides (deliberate killing of a monarch) who had a clear self interest in maintaining the republic. They were opposed to the Jacobins because of the state economic control they had introduced and their co-operation with the sans-culottes.


After Thermidor, the Plain was bolstered by the support of former Montagnards who were now eager to distance themselves from the excesses of the terror.


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The end of the terror

Between July 1794 and the end of May 1795, just 63 people were executed across France. Most of them were leading terrorists.

The deputies of the National Convention moved to end the terror and reverse the process of centralisation by:

  • Ensuring that the membership of the CPS and CGS was changed frequently
  • Setting up new committees to share government responsibilities
  • Reorganising the Revolutionary tribunal
  • Repealing the law of Prairial
  • Releasing all suspects from prison
  • Abolishing the Paris Commune
  • Closing the Jacobin club

August 1794: Committees of the Convention took over the work of the CPS and CGS and the Law of 22 Prairial was repealed. The Paris Commune was abolished in order to weaken the influence of the sans culottes and the control of local government handed over to property owning moderates.

September 1794: Church and State are separated by the renouncing of the Constitutional Church and ending state recognition of the Cult of the Supreme Being. The Convention no longer paid clerical salaries.

12th November 1794: The Jacobin Club is closed21st February 1795: the free exercise of all religions is guaranteed. The Mallet du Pan said “in recreating Catholics, the Convention is recreating Royalists”31 May 1795- the Revolutionary Tribunal abolished.


Clearly, the Thermidorians were determined to dismantle the machinery of the Terror. There was a desire to move back towards the constitution of 1791, with the emphasis on bourgeois control over the institutions of the state. The power and influence of the sans culottes was to be removed, therefore preserving ideas of laissez faire and liberalism; a free market, as far as possible, unfettered by state controls.

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The risings of 1795

Germinal: Clearly, the failure of the rising was down to its spontaneity and its consequent lack of effective bourgeois leadership and planning. The power of the sans culottes, its ability to deliver Lenin’s “punch on the jaw” was severely limited due to the fact that it had no arms with which to impose its will upon the Convention and the National Guard stayed loyal to the new regime.

Prairial: Clearly, the failure of the rising was down to its spontaneity and its consequent lack of effective bourgeois leadership and planning. The power of the sans culottes, its ability to deliver Lenin’s “punch on the jaw” was severely limited due to the fact that it had no arms with which to impose its will upon the Convention and the National Guard stayed loyal to the new regime.

The sans-culottes once again failed because they now lacked effective bourgeois leadership. The arrest of key montagnards and the exile of others, after the rising of Germinal a few weeks earlier, hadn’t helped. However, the abolition of the Paris Commune and the closure of the Jacobin Club, in August and November 1794 respectively, had effectively removed the organs of potential radical leadership. It must also be noted that when the moment to act decisively came, the sans culottes and their National Guard sympathisers drew back, unprepared to unleash the violence that could have achieved their demands. No doubt, this was because they lacked a determined leadership that recognised how radical demands could be secured. Yet it is also arguable that having lived through the dark days of the Great Terror, the majority of the sans cullotes were no longer prepared to give their support to a period of prolonged and indiscriminate violence. As such, the liberal, moderate bourgeoisie were destined to remain in control of the political, social and economic structures of France. In that sense, Soboul is correct in believing that at this point in time, “the Revolution was at an end.

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The White terror

  • This was a series of attacks on ex-terrorists who had profiteered from the Revolution at the expense of the Terror’s victims, or who had supplied victims to the guillotine through the Committees and Tribunals.

  • The movement was named after the colour of the Bourbon flag- white. However most of its members were returned emigres and non-juring priests taking advantage of a groundswell of opinion against the Jacobins, and most were not royalists.

  • The White Terror was concentrated in a few departements to the south and west of the Loire and south of Lyon.

  • In Paris, the extravagantly dressed middle classes (‘muscadins’ and the ‘jeunesse doree’- gilded youth) simply beat up Jacobins and the sans-culottes. They dressed with their hair tied up at the neck like those about to the guillotined.

  • There were some prison massacres in Lyon and the Rhone Valley, killing 2,000 during 1795.

  • The White Terror lasted until 1797 but was nowhere near as widespread or effective as the Revolutionary Terror.

  • The violence in the provinces was worse. The government was unable or unwilling to stop this violence. In the west guerrilla warfare flared again in the Vendee with the Chouan movement. This was a response to the brutal suppression of 1793, in opposition to conscription, and had royalist links. With British assistance, an émigré army landed in Brittany however this was defeated. The violence was suppressed by the deployment of a massive army in 1796.

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Constitution of the year III (1795)

The constitution aimed to guarantee the revolutionary principles of 1789, some of which had become lost in the Terror: such as the abolition of privilege, the freedom of the individual and the control of local and national affairs by an elected assembly and elected officials. It was designed to prevent the return to monarchy, to a dictatorship like that of the CPS and to control by the common people (the sans-culottes.)


It aimed to prevent a return to Dictatorship by the Committees, the elimination of the political influence of the sans-culottes and a royalist restoration. As such it was a device to perpetuate the control of the bourgeoisie.


All males over 21 could vote in the primary assemblies, but the indirect elections meant that real power was held by the electors, of whom there were now just 30,000, as opposed to 50,000 in 1790-2. The electors were required to have paid taxes equivalent to 150-200 days labour. M.J. Sydenham has called this “an undemocratic device designed to perpetuate the rule of the rich”.

The National convention (legislature) was replaced by two counsils:

The legislature was separated from the executive so as to prevent a dictatorship and had two elements. The Council of Five Hundred would initiate legislation and then pass it on to a Council of Ancients, all men over 40, who would either approve or reject the bill. One third of members would retire each year when fresh elections would be held.

Council of Five Hundred: all members over 30 – initiated legislation

Council of Ancients: all 250 members over 40 – reject/ approve the legislation.

The Executive (CPS) was a replaced by the Directory of five, chosen by the Ancients from a list drawn up by the Five Hundred. Each Director held office for five years, but one, chosen by lot, must retire each year (Sydenham calls this “an absurd constitutional device”).  The Directors had limited powers and were not members of either council. They could neither initiate nor veto laws, declare war or control the treasury. They were vested with the authority of conducting diplomacy, being in charge of the army and enforcing laws.


Ministers could sit in neither council and were appointed by and responsible to the Directors in the way that the government commissioners who replaced the representatives on mission were.


The Yearly Elections provided instability as no majority was ever ensured longevity, and so nothing bold could be done. The Councils could paralyse the Directory by not passing the laws they needed. There was no mechanism to resolve disputes between the Directors and the two councils. This led to stalemate and inaction.


In order to prevent a royalist majority in the Councils, the Convention said that two thirds of the new deputies must have been members of the Convention.


A plebiscite of 1 Vendemiaire declared the Constitution approved by 1,057,390 to 49,978.


M.J. Sydenham has said of the Constitution that “democracy in the sense of universal suffrage and popular political power was something men had learned to abhor as synonymous with the exercise of arbitrary authority by some organised political minority, and as such it was regarded as the antithesis of true liberty”.

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The directory - government and finance

Economic: the directory tried to solve the problem of inflation by issuing a new paper currency. It failed and had to be withdrawn and metal coins became legal currency. There wasn’t enough coins in circulation which meant trade and commerce was hindered. Deflation resulted. This made the directory unpopular with all sections of society.

Financial: the directory was more successful in solving problems of government finance. In September1797 two-thirds of the national debt was written off through the issues of bonds to government creditors. These bonds were used to buy national property (property confiscated from crown, church and others). These bonds fell in value until they became worthless. This was known at the time as the ‘bankruptcy of two-thirds’. Even though the debt had gone, the directory lost the support of all those original government creditors. For government income, the directory relied in part on the profits of war which allowed the directory to function however it led to greater reliance on the army and on an aggressive war policy. In 1798 minster Ramel reformed the tax system:

  • Introduced 4 new direct taxes – the tax on windows and doors hit the rich the hardest.

  • Reintroducing the octroys – an indirect tax on goods entering towns

  • Made tax collection more efficient.

    This balanced government finances but at the cost of alienating those sections of society adversely affected by the bankruptcy and new taxes. These were the bourgeoisie, who the govt relied on

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political issues in directory

By early summer 1795, the Constitutional Monarchists were gaining support, since they seemed to offer a return to stability. However, the political ineptitude of the heir to the throne, the Comte de Provence, seriously undermined any chance of royalist success as he alienated the bourgeoisie, given that he was completely out of touch with new political and socio-economic realities within France. Effectively, he naively believed that he ‘could turn back the clock’ to some imagined golden age of the past and believed that a majority of the French nation would welcome it. This wasn’t the case and the decisive action of the young general, Napoleon Bonaparte, would crush the royalist attempt to seize power.


After the death of Louis XVI’s son in June 1795, the Comte de Provence proclaimed himself Louis XVIII and issued the Verona Declaration of 24th June 1795, promising to restore the ‘ancient constitution’, and thus by implication the ancien regime. He wanted to restore the three orders, the parlements and restore stolen property to its original owners.


The Verona Declaration angered those who had profited from the Revolution by the purchase of biens nationeaux, the abolition of the tithe and seignurial dues. It was thus a great boost for the Republic.


On 13. Vendemiaire (5th Oct 1795), 25,000 armed Parisians gathered to march on the Convention, outnumbering the 7,800 government troops.


However, they were put down by General Bonaparte’s “whiff of grapeshot”, which killed 300 in a bloody journee. It wasn’t until 1830 that the people of Paris were able to intimidate an elected assembly again.


The Rising can be seen as a royalist rising against the two-thirds decree, which prevented them from gaining a majority in the Councils. However, most of those in the crowds were supporters of the Thermidorians and defenders of the Convention at Germinal and Prairial, who had been badly hit by inflation.


The repression that followed was light, with just two people executed, although to prevent further risings, the Sectional Assemblies were abolished and the National Guard placed under the Control of the Army of the Interior, led by Bonaparte.


Barnett says that “by 1795, the republican regime, far from representing the will of the sovereign people, rested on no more legitimate a foundation than a wish to keep itself in power and a claim to be a truer voice of the nation than the nation itself”.


Significantly, it was the second time in just six months that the Army had been called in to save the Thermidorian Republic. Increasingly, it became clear that real power in France resided in the Army, an institution that could legitimately claim to be representative of both the nation and the revolution. After all, it was a meritocratic institution whose officers had risen through the ranks on their ability and whose soldiers believed in the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity. Robespierre had originally opposed the declaration of the revolutionary war against Austria in 1792. He had done so because he believed, as a classical scholar, that it may well bring the emergence of a French Caesar; a popular and ambitious general who, through military glory and the support of loyal troops, could become a military dictator who would take over control of the state. If a man of such ambition were to emerge, it was clear that the conditions now existed whereby he could become a very real threat to the survival of the Directory.



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the directory

The new third of Deputies were mostly royalist, but they weren’t numerous enough to have an influence on policy.


With the cost of war mounting, an empty treasury and a valueless paper currency (the assignat), the Directors faced daunting problems.


Although most Frenchmen did not expect the Directory to last long, its opponents were discredited: the Royalists by the Verona Declaration, and the Jacobins by the Terror. Public apathy helped the Directory to survive, since after six years of revolution, and three of war, revolutionary enthusiasm was on the decline. Backed by the Army, the Directory was safe, but vulnerable to a military coup (overthrow). To an extent, it could therefore be claimed that the Directory survived by default.


The Babeuf Plot (1796) and Conspiracy of Equals


Gracchus Babeuf hated the Constitution of the Year III since it gave power to the wealthy. He wanted society to aim for “the common happiness” and for the Revolution to secure the equality of life’s blessings for all. Railed against private property wanting “to establish the communal management of property and abolish private possession”. He is seen as the world’s first communist.Seeing the hunger on the streets of Paris, he had declared that “stomachs are equal”


Babeuf therefore organised a “conspiracy of equals” to prepare a rising headed by dedicated revolutionaries. He used the police and army to set up a dictatorship.This would then create a very different French society, one close to communism. Propaganda would win over the Army and Police in order to provide armed force.When power was obtained, Babeuf aimed to establish a dictatorship in order to reorganise society. However, Babeuf’s plot was soon revealed by a co-conspirator, and with a lack of support from either sans-culottes or former Jacobins, he was arrested in May 1796 and executed in 1797.


Brotier Plot (January 1797)

Brotier, a royalist agent, and his fellow conspirators were arrested for planning to persuade the roops in Paris to overthrow the government.


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Coups 1796 - 1799

The Coup d’Etat of Fructidor (September 1797)


In the elections of 1797, 180 out of 260 contested seats returned monarchists, creating 330 royalist members of both Councils. The Directory thus lost the majority support of the Councils and so it seemed that at the next election, the Royalists would have a majority by which to elect sympathetic Directors (there were 2 sympathetic directors), and re-establish the Monarchy.


Significantly, both the President of the Five Hundred and the President of the Ancients were monarchists as was Barthelemy, the new Director. In addition, Carnot was a moderate Director who would willingly give up conquered territory to secure a negotiated peace. Effectively, there were just two out of five committed republican Directors.


In response to this situation, Bonaparte sent Augerau to Paris with troops in favour of the Republican Directors.


On the night of 3-4 September 1797 (17-18 Fructidor, Year V), the republican directors order Augreau’s troops to seize all the strong points in Paris and surround the council chambers. Carnot and Barthelemy were arrested along with 53 deputies.


The remaining, intimidated deputies, passed laws annulling the 1797 elections, removing all 177 Northern deputies without replacement and deporting Carnot and Barthelemy. To ensure that they had sympathetic local officials in place throughout France, the Directors cancelled local government elections and made appointments themselves.


The Coup d’Etat of Fructidor is significant as it marks the end of parliamentary government and the Constitution of the Year III. The directors were in control of the council.


To further consolidate its position, the Directory took action against émigrés, ordering those who had returned to leave France, along with refractory priests in two weeks, on pain of execution. As a result, 1400 refractory priests were deported and many émigrés were executed. Catholic opinion was alienated by this furthering opposition to the Directory, but with the Army behind it, the new regime couldn’t be effectively challenged.


Benjamin Constant has called the Directory’s dependence on the Army, “a matter of regrettable necessity”.

The support of the Army, officers and men, for the maintenance of the Republic in the light of a potential royalist restoration, is clear. Napoleon’s comment is telling. Officers, like himself, who’d worked hard to achieve command in an organisation that now respected and rewarded ability, had no intention of allowing any return to the ancien regime, where opportunity would be denied them. So too the soldiers of the French Army. They believed that they, more than any other group in France, represented the ideals of the revolution. They were fighting for their Nation, for liberty, equality and Fraternity. They held no truck with kings and were determined that they wouldn’t serve another.


Importantly too, the Army had no wish to simply give up territories that had been hard won, as Carnot seemed to be suggesting that France do, for any peace on offer. As such they were determined that they would have a government mindful of their sacrifices for the nation and that would be sympathetic to their wishes.

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risings continued


After the Coup of Fructidor, the new disregard for democracy meant that the Directory and the Minister of Finance, Ramel, could introduce new reforms.  In September 1797 two thirds of the national debt was converted into bonds to be redeemed against national property. Sydenham calls this “the most drastic financial measure of the whole revolutionary period”.


Initially it seemed that the measure may be successful. Interest on the national debt was reduced from 240 million francs to 80 million by the “bankruptcy of the two thirds”. However, the value of bonds fell by 60% within a year and then become worthless when the government refused to accept them for the purchase of church lands. This was in effect a declaration of state bankruptcy.

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risings continued

After the Coup of Fructidor, the royalists had stayed away from the Councils in fear. As such, they held no concerns for the Directors. However,in the elections of 1798, the Jacobins captured a significant number of seats and so were now regarded as a potential threat.The Directors though, could be sure of a majority in the Councils and there was no need for them to have over-reacted. Nevertheless, they persuaded the Councils to pass the Law of 22 Floreal, annulling the election of 127 deputies, 86 of whom were suspected Jacobins. Rather than call fresh elections, the Directors chose the deputies to replace them.


 The Directory could argue that their actions at Fructidor was in response to a national emergency and the Republic was in danger. Their action at Floreal, had no such justification and just showed the Directory’s contempt for the wishes of the electors.


Sydenham says that after Floreal: “the parliament of the Republic was becoming both a co-optive oligarchy and a body increasingly comprised of placement, nominated by and dependent upon the Directors” and refers to the new deputies as “the minions [of the Directors] in the Councils”


Strengths of the directory:

  • Solved government finances

  • Had the support of the army

  • Destroyed sans-culottes power

    Weaknesses of the directory:

  • The constitution itself

  • Deep divisions in French society

  • Reliance on war and hence the army

  • Undemocratic actions – e.g. Floreal


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Failures of the directory

The achievements of the Directory




  • The Directory was undermined by its own contradictions, a supposedly liberal and democratic system, it relied upon the Coups of Fructidor and Floreal to remain in power and, according to Sydenham, “enslaved its sister Republics.”

  • The Constitution of the Year III created a weak form of government that lacked authority. The system, which placed great emphasis on ‘the separation of powers’ in order to avoid the perceived tyranny of the Montagnard controlled CPS, provided no sense of continuity or stability. The stipulation that one director would retire each year and that a third of the members of the Councils would be re-elected on an annual basis, meant that it was impossible to secure any real continuity of policies in either the executive or the legislature.

  • It was clear that the Directory was dependent on the army for its survival after the risings of Prairial and Vendemiaire. This ensured that it had the power to continue to govern, but on the other hand this undermined its legitimacy in the eyes of the French nation. The Army’s support was also a ‘double edged sword’, since it meant that the emergence of a popular, military leader, with support from his fellow officers and men, would be in a position to seize power.

  • The reality was, that no popular and charismatic politician emerged that could secure loyalty to the Republic, as had happened in the years from 1789 – 94. France was therefore in need of a ‘hero’ and with battles being fought abroad, one that only the Army would be able to provide.

  • Increasing apathy meant that in the words of Sydenham, “no one was prepared to lift a finger for the Directory”.

  • Furthermore, there was a perceived increase in criminal and lawless behaviour throughout France; a problem of law and order that the Directory seemed unable to tackle effectively.

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successes of directory

  • The Directory was the first form of government of the Revolution ever to balance a budget.

  • Simply, by continuing for so long, it can be argued that it must have had some support.

  • As Sydenham has argued, “the impoverished Directory was far from enclosing France in the iron bonds which Bonaparte finally forged for her”.

  • There were positive industrial and agricultural developments which paved the way for further developments under Napoleon.

  • The period of the Directory saw a succession of military victories abroad that saw French power and influence firmly established beyond the far banks of the Rhine. In this, the regime achieved in a few years, what the French monarchy had failed to do in centuries.

  • “Although its collapse was sudden, the Directory’s achievements should not be dismissed as insignificant”- Townson

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Napoleons rise - mainly luck

On October 30, 1784 he left Brienne for the Ecole Militaire in Paris. He had originally wanted to join the Navy but was told that he hadn't spent long enough at Brienne. Therefore he decided to choose the Artillery but feared he wouldn't be accepted given that his performance at Classics wouldn't be good enough. It was at this point that we can see an early sign of fate intervening in Napoleon's advancement; helping launch his ‘Lucky Star.’ This was because the Minister of War authorised a special intake of candidates who were outstanding in maths and as such, Napoleon's excellence in the subject ensured that he was granted a scholarship as a gentleman cadet.

the flight to Varennes provided Napoleon with another fortuitous opportunity. The Army were now forced to take a new oath to the French constitution and the National Assembly. Many royalist offices resigned in consequence, and this was to help open up career opportunities for successful young officers.

Almost immediately, fortune intervened again. Passing through Nice on September 16, 1793 he met up with his fellow Corsican Salicetti, a government representative at Toulon, who attached him as an artillery officer to the forces besieging the British and Spanish in the occupied French port. Now a captain, Napoleon was the only officer in the besieging army who was competent to his job. As such he was promoted to major in October and with this authority, he assumed control of the siege, moving the artillery onto the heights above the town where they could bombard the British fleet in the harbour of Toulon and thus force it out to Sea. By December 19, Toulon was again under French control and Napoleon had been heroically wounded leading troops personally against the British positions. As a reward for his efforts, Napoleon was promoted to brigadier general. He was only 24.

It cannot be underestimated how important Josephine was to Napoleon's future. She gave him confidence and she gave him a purpose. She gave him political and social connections, helped him to overcome his awkwardness and so provide him with the social skills that he needed to follow his ‘rising star’. Napoleon would never love anyone else.

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The Italian campaign

Almost as soon as he arrived, Napoleon took a lesson from one of his military heroes, Julius Caesar. Caesar had ensured his fame by daily dictating his Gallic commentaries, which were written up and distributed among the citizens of Rome. In the same way, Napoleon ensured that his own accounts of his successful military campaigns were regularly sent to Paris where they were printed in sympathetic journals and newspapers, so raising his profile among the people of the capital. As Barnett notes: "Bonaparte began propagating his own legend just as soon as the army of Italy marched, feeding Paris with grandiloquent accounts of his successes, exaggerating enemy losses and defeats."

According to Barnett, Napoleon was helped by the fact that the Directory had a vested interest in continuing the military struggle abroad. This was because they needed to keep the revolutionary dynamic going and needed victories to sustain support for the new government. They therefore were keen to focus on Napoleon's victories for their own benefit, ultimately of course, helping to bring about their own downfall.

Napoleon soon showed that he was an energetic and dynamic commander. He was determined to make the best of what he’d got. He only had 24 mountain guns for his artillery, which was relatively little, but he had 41,000 men who were enthusiastic and well-trained. What Napoleon did well was to bring the spirit of improvisation; the ability to overcome problems by ‘revolutionary’ solutions. The problem of supplies was dealt with by ‘living offthe land’; food and materials secured from the areas occupied by the French troops. Importantly, Napoleon fought with his men. At Lodi in May 1796, he was up with them, laying in the guns to smash the rear guard of the Austrian forces and fully exposed to enemy fire. Sharing their hardships and dangers Napoleon’s soldiers saw him as ‘one of their own’. He was the ‘little corporal.’ In that respect, he was representative of the ideals of ‘equality’ and ‘fraternity’ that permeated the Revolution; so different to the haughty aristocratic officers that permeated the armies of Europe who, like the Duke of Wellington, regarded their soldiers as “the scum of the earth.” he transformed a band of demoralised, poorly equipped,, undernourished and unpaid men into a curageous and capable fighting force which rapidly won military glory. Although he did arrange for troops to be paid, and morale was boosted by some victories in the montenotte campaign, the truth was propbably less impressive.

In addition, Napoleon gained popularity with his political bosses in Paris by sending back money and treasures to help stave off bankruptcy. For example, the neutral Duke of Parma was relieved of 2 million French livres by Napoleon. Further, on May 18th,1796 Napoleon sent a number of pictures to Paris by classic artists such as Leonardo; Raphael and Titian.

Nevertheless, Napoleon never forgot that he was the bearer of the virtues and prizes of revolution. In a declaration to the people of Lombardy, Napoleon proclaimed that France "vows friendship to the peoples whom its victories free from tyranny" and that his armies would show "respect for property, the person; for the religion of the people."

By April 1797 Napoleon had gained an armistice with the Austrians. His aggressive tactics had cowed the Austrian Court which found it difficult to accept fighting an enemy who didn't play by the rules of the ancien regime. Napoleon never stopped fighting whatever the weather; his campaigns continued all year round. He harassed his enemy mercilessly and as such they were unable to comprehend that actually, Napoleon had placed himself in a position where, just a few days march from Vienna, he was isolated and low on supplies.

The truce would form the basis of the treaty of Campo Formio, signed on October 7th 1797. Significantly, Napoleon had negotiated and signed the treaty with the Austrians himself. He had not consulted with the government in Paris and a search was showing real signs of political ambition. Importantly, Napoleon returned to Paris to hand over the treaty in a public ceremony, which elevated his status as a military hero of the French Republic.

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The Egyptian campaign

the directory was frightened by napoleons ambition/ he had shown ability as a military commander and as a diplomat and state maker. with his new client republics in italy (established in 1796 as part of italian campaign) giving him his first taste for political leadership and law making. he was also steadily creating his own image through press releases and propagandist reports that thrilled the public. furthermore, the only general to rival him, Hoche, died in 1797. His choice of not commanding army to invade england was a good choice because Hoche's attempts to invade ireland to destablise england in 1796 had to be abandoned, an the strength of the british navy made any seabourne invasion difficult.

Clearly eager for political power, Napoleon did not believe the time was ripe for a military coup. As such he got government backing for a campaign in Egypt, his expedition setting out in May 1798. Napoleon gained victories over the Mamelukes at the battles of Shubra Kit on July 13th 1798 and the battle of the Pyramids on July 21st. The destruction of the French fleet by Nelson shortly afterwards at Aboukir Bay was a disaster however, effectively cutting his army off in Egypt. Napoleon also found it hard to gain the support of the local population. His attempts to express sympathy with Islam left the Arabs unmoved and in July he wrote: "I am having three heads cut off here every day and carried round Cairo; it is the only way to break the resistance of these people." On October 21st 1798,Cairo rose in general revolt against him. However, the French easily retained control.

Napoleon's final offensive campaign in the region, marching into Syria in 1799, ended infailure as he failed to capture Acre and his army, riddled with the plague and short of food, had to struggle back through Palestine to Egypt.

In July 1799, a Turkish army landed at Aboukir Bay, was easily routed by Napoleon but, in the words of Barnett, although Egypt was secure, it was "a dead-end both strategically and for Bonaparte personally." Napoleon's grand idea of Egypt becoming a stepping stone to a campaign against British India proved to be just a pipedream.

In August 1799, Napoleon left his army in Egypt's and returned to France with a small group of men, arriving back in October. He was desperate for political power, sure that conditions were now ripe for a military coup.

Bonaparte returned as a hero. His exploits in Egypt had only been portrayed in a positive light and to many he seemed like the strongman who would now save and reinvigorate the nation. Barnett notes that during autumn 1799 "Paris looked to him, talked of him, as the one man who could save the Republic. For the first time since the days of Danton and Robespierre the blur of mediocrity gave place to a name." the directory was in a weak position and heavily discredited after coups and purges 1798 -1799.

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Napoleons contribution and character

Napoleon had acquired a reputation as a military genius and his early campaigns in Italt, if not in Egypt (because he couldn't fill his orignal intentions of moving to India, had to abandon a siege of Acre, and had underestimated the resilience of defenders and the ability of the British to land men and guns to help the Turks), which certainly lend credence to such an idea. napoleon rapidly established himself as an intelligent and military strategist who applied a high level of calculation to winning his battles. he improved army organisation and developed good tactics of speed an maunovrability. he developed self contained army corps which was used to good effect by moving along different routes to deceive the enemy - march divided, fight united. he developed the idea of the forced march, using speed to take his men across large distances to suprise the enemy. they also lived off the land which improved speed and enabled them to take up superior battle positions and fragmented the opposition

his military leadership benefited from his sheer force of personality. he cultivated his men through speeches and buletins and leading through example. he took pains to ensure his troops were well fed, paid and supplied. he was respected for his charm and capacity for hard work.

he benefited from meritocracy as his commanders were good and the soldiers were fighting for a cause they believed in

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The coup of Brumaire

Bonaparte's arrival was convenient. Sieyes was looking to instigate a political coup against the Directory but was well aware that he needed the support of the Army to secure it and for this he would need to ally with a popular and successful general. His first choice, Joubert, had been killed at the Battle of Novi, his second choice. Moreau, was devoid of political ambition and declined his approach. Sieyes approached Bonaparte next and he was willing to take up the offer. he had never supported the 1795 constitution, however with its failure to maintain stability vindicating his views, he accepted a position as directory in may 1799. he had already played a significant part in the coup of prairial callingg on the army to enforce changes of personnel in the directory. he believed there needed to be changes to the constitution to allow strong government to emerge .

The actual coup of Brumaire, didn't go as smoothly as either man would have liked however and Napoleon, it could be argued, somewhat lost his nerve at the hostile reaction of the Council of Ancients. It was left to his brother Lucien to save the day, showing initiative and daring in rallying the troops outside the chamber and bringing them back to eject the recalcitrant politicians at the point of a bayonet.

It seems amazing that Sieyes had underestimated the intelligence and ambition of Napoleon and how quickly the young general would outmanoeuvre him. With the army behind him, Napoleon held the real power in France and this reality soon became apparent with his appointment as first Consul of France.

the troops were deployed around Paris, ready for action if necessary. the plan was to persuade directors to resign and persuade the two councils to appoint a commission to draw a new constition. On 18 Brumaire, sympathetic members of the ancients warned their collegues of a supposed jacobin conspiracy. and with Lucien, Napoleons brother, in charge of the 500s, both assemblies were persuaded to leave the centre of paris. the same morning sieyes and Ducos resigned as directors, Barras was persuaded to step down and the remaining 2 were put under house arrest. by the next day they realised it was a coup by the army. Napoleon (who had mistakenly hoped they would declare in his favour without force) lost patients and stormed into the ancients which hadn't been planned, and then moved to the 500s where he was met with threats. Lucien saved the day by getting the palace guards to intervene. he managed to find a few deputies from the ancients who were prepared to obey his orders and appoint three consuls to run the govt until the new constitution could be prepared. Napoleon commanded the most authority. Napoleon ensured a constitution that served his ambition. it provided for a strong top down control which is to some extent what Sieyes had sought when he planned to overthrow the directory. it was the first constitution to not be accompanied by a declaration of rights. and while it gave the vote to all adult males, this was diluted through the various electoral rounds. the constitution was undoubtedly complex. one fifth of the members of the two bodies of lthe legislature were to be replaced annually, but no clear provision was made as to how those who would step down would be selected. this together with the provision dor adding to the number of senators gave plenty of scope for the first consul to intervene. the decree of the senatus consultum also offered the first consul a way of by-passing opposition in the legislative body. his right to choose the members of the council of state ensure that his legislative directions were regarded favourably.

by the end of 1799 no one could be quite sure what the future would hold. napoleon had clearly shown overwhelming political ambition, but it would be wrong to see he was already an autocratic ruler of france. news of the coup had been greeted with more apathy, than enthusuiasm of the streets of paris, and there was some outright opposition from jacobins in the provinces. the constitutional arrangements clearly worked to napoleons advantage. however, in the midsy of economic crisis and general insecurity there was anxiety about the following year. some see the coup as the end of the revolution although, napoleon always claimed he was the heir to the revolution and that he set out to fulfil its prunciples.

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Constitution of the year VIII

first stage of voting - all french men over 21 - 6 million citizens - required to have lived in the same house for one year. voted for 10% of themselves to form a communal list.

second stage of voting - 600k men (the communal list) - members selected 10% of themselves to form a departmental list

third stage of voting - 60k (the departmental list) members selected 10% of themselves to form the notables

6k notables - the senate selected deputies to form the legislture from these notables. this meant that less than 1% of the adult males had a say in who represented their interests.

tribunate - the lower chamber of the legislature. comprised of 100 members, would discuss legislation but not vote

legislative body - the upper chamber of the legislature - comprised of 300 members, would bote on legislation bbut not discuss it.

seate - comprised 80 members, chose members from the notables to sit on the legislature. nominated by the first consul, appointed for life. duty to protect the constitution, advised the first consul on draft legislation could overide decisions made by the legislature through senatus consultum

council of  state - chosen by the first consul, acted as an advisory body, nominated officials and prepared draft legislation.

first consul - shared execuive power with two others, all held office for 10 years, appointed ministers and acted as director of policy and initiator of all legislation.

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Napoleon - the imperial court and nobility

in 1804, once declaring himself emperor, he was determined to suoound himself with an imperial court. creating a hereditary title, Napoleon was clearly acting against the values of the revolution and return to aristocratic rather than meritocratic principles, was soon underlined with the granting of princely titles to members of his own family. His brothers Joseph and Louis in 1804, his adopted son, his sister etc. Napoleon went further by creating ducal titles in 1806 for senior government figures and marshalls of france, in a clar attempt to buy the support of those important to his regime by offering them social pre-eminence in return. it was all a far cry from the quality of the revolution and harked by to the ancien regime. 

by an imperial decree in 1808 created the imperial nobility. the key ranks were counts,barons and knights. the titles were often awarded along with estates and pension. there was provision for titles to become hereditary. about 59% of titles went to military men and most of the rest to civil servants or to reward the loyal service of notables. this became a prop to the policy of ralliement because around 20% were from the ancien regime nobility. the award of titles thus helped ensure that the fate of napoleons uspporters were closely linked to his own. however the new nobility was not like the old nobility, it was only a seventh of the size and was primariily linked to service. 

Napoleon could argue that beyond his own family, grants of nobility were the reward for outstanding service. As such, he could claim that the ranks of his nobility were open to men of talent and hence represented meritocracy. He could claim that as most of the titles were not hereditary, that there wasn’t a closed social system as had existed under the ancien regime.Nevertheless, the fact that he had created distinctions of rank within Imperial Society meant that Napoleon had deserted notions of social equality and fraternity, the idea of the citizen, that had been at the emotional centre of the revolutionary changes. There could also be no hiding from the fact that Napoleon was buying off possible opponents by pandering to ideas of social snobbery and elitism.

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The legion of honour

napoleon established the legion of honour in 1802 to reward those who had served him well and shown their loyalty. it was mostly given to members of the armed force. of the 32000 awarded up to 1814, only 1500 went to civilians. Napoleon served as the grand master of the order and a council of severn grand officers administered the 15 cohorts which the order was divided. recipients received a small annual salary as well as a star of order bearing the head of Napoleon. this gives the impression Napoleon wanted to remind those people they should be thankful of napoleon - loyalty. in the legion of honour there was noothing to prevent women form getting the honour.

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Napoleon's education - primary

the purpose of his education was to provide an elite of educated young men, the sons of the notables, who would be of service to the napoleonic state and empire as civil servants in the bureaucracy or as army officers. it also was a way of promoting obedience to napoleon among young people and gain the support of the army officers and bureaucrats whose sons would be given free education. this was all part of napoleons intention to retain the loyalty of his officers and ensure the army remained the ultimate basis of his power and authority. 

the early revolutionaries sought to extend education howeverthey achieved little due to the revolutionary upheavals and pressure of war. Napoleon was thus enable to claim credit for devising a new enlightened educational system for france. However, as with many of his propagandist statements, his changes werent as extensive as early idealists would have wished.

primary education: in 1802 he established an ecole populaire in each commune. run by the local municipality and subject to inspection of a sub prefect. he also allowed primary schools to be run privately and by the church too. thiswas as long as they instilled th virtues of obedience to the state. he wasn't interested in the education of the poor, beyond desiring them to have basic literacy and numeracy skills and a moral education. the latter can be seen in the imperial catechism for french children, which increased loyalty.

As such, although Napoleon often stressed his belief in meritocracy, this is an idea that he saw as primarily relevant to the propertied classes. There was no desire on Napoleon's part for the state to assume the responsibility for the continuing education of the poor. The basic education that the latter received would be provided in primary schools run by the church, by the local community or by individuals.

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secondary education

napoleon was kee that the sons of the notables would be te new civil servants and army officers. for the purpose of their education he established a system of state selective schools, the Lycees in 1802. they provided boarding education and enterance was bynan open scholarship examination. 

Under the Directory, ther had existed a system of secondary schools known as the ecoles centrales. These had been poorly funded and staffed and had failed to make any impact. In May1802, secondary education was therefore brought under central government control and eventually the ecoles centrales were replaced by 45 lycees. where students were selected on the basis of ability.   The state provided 6400 scholarships to these new schools and 2400 of these places were reserved for the sons of army officers and government officials. The other 4000 were to be filled by competition among pupils from the remaining secondary schools.    

Napoleon was much more interested in these lycees than the primary education. hey saw them as the source of the empires future military and civilian personnel. thus he the curriculum of the lycees was to be ‘modern’; secular and scientific. The schools were run with military discipline and followed set patterns. Rees notes that Napoleon boasted that he knew exactly what every pupil in France was studying, from the time of day.

In the lycees boys were divided between those destined for a civil career and those for a military one. All who graduated would be guaranteed employment in their chosen career.

Notably however, although the selection process shows an element of meritocracy, free education was now only available for the sons of officers. This was in order to ensure that Napoleon continued to receive the support of the Army's officer corps. Access to the lycees was otherwise only available to the sons of the wealthy, who could afford it.

Alongside the lycees there existed:

  • ·      The colleges, municipal secondary schools and
  • ·      The instituts, state secondary schools that concentrated on a vocational education.

A system of private church schools still continued to exist too. Ironically, these schools were often seen as more ‘liberal’ and relaxed than the lycees. Their curriculums were less constrained and it is clear that many of the bourgeoisie and the nobility preferred to send their sons into these schools, rather than into the more regimented lycees.

In fact, the clergy remained crucial to the fulfilment of Napoleon's educational objectives. Just under one third of all teaching staff in the lycees and colleges were priests or ex-priests. This is probably the result of the fact that there were not enough suitably qualified lay staff.

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the imperial university

established in 1808. its function was to provide loyal teachers for the state secondary schools which operated directly under its authoity. to ensure conformity in teaching, the imperial university supervised all teachers and examinations. all staff were required to give an oath of loyalty and obedience. what was tought was reigorously monitored and was another example of Napoleons determination to establish centralised control of all aspects of the french state.

the imperial university was responsible for teacher training, appointments, promotions and the setting up of new schools, the curriculum and inspections and annual reports sent to napoleon. 

As a product of his time, Napoleon believed that it was only necessary for girls to receive a primary education. Nevertheless, he felt it important that they be literate and numerate and that they should learn a little history and geography. He believed in a religious and moral education, which he suggested would help encourage the development of "women of virtue" who "have high principles and warm hearts."

To the modern mind, Napoleon's comments about the education of women seem far from liberal and revolutionary. It has to be remembered however, that true equality for women, was over a century away and previous French revolutionary leaders had not seen fit to champion the cause of female liberty and equality in France.

In 1807, Napoleon declared: "What we ask of education is not that girls should think, but that they should believe. The weakness of women's brains, the instability of their ideas, the need for perpetual resignation, all this can be met only by religion."

It is ironic that Napoleon made statements that were patronising to the innate abilities of women, given that without the guidance and support of Josephine, it is highly unlikely that he would have ever risen to a position of prominence in France. She was the one who gave him the contacts and confidence to believe in his ability and follow his "Lucky Star."

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attitude to women

his personal behaviour reflects his public view. that women were destined for marriage and that marriage was for the purpose of acquiring and transmitting property and conceiving and raising children.

napoleon did little to fulfil the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equaity as far as women were concerned, although in his concern to clarify the law he introduced measures which partially increased womens rights. in the civil code 1804, women were granted marginallymore control over their own property when they were married. stil, married women were unable to accept an inheritance or legacy wthout their husbands authoirty. Divorce law also remained unfair. A husbands adultry was only considered grounds for divorce if he brought his mistress home, whereas a wifes adultry did qualify for divorce and could bring a gaol sentence. on the other hand, he did bring divorce by mutual consent, which was a major step forwards. 

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Napoleon the police state

the appointment of prefects was cricual to napoleon securing control of France. Each department had one. they were usually nominated by Npaoleon himself and they reported directly to the ministries of the interior and the police. A prefects jobs was to ensure that taxes were collected effieicntly, that conscription was carried out and that they provided the eyes and ears of central government. A key function they carried out was to report on any opposition to Napoleon and they had the responsibility of keeping a tight grip on public opinion through their control of censorship and propaganda at departmental level. the ranks of the prefects contained nobles, borugeoisie and the military. 

Napoleons chief of police was Fouche who served inevery government from 1792 to 1815. during the error he was appointed as a representent en mission and quickly showed his ruthless and brutal nature by taking responsibility for the mass shootings in Lyon in 1793. he particpated in thermidor and had served in the directory. he supported napoleon during the coup of brumaire and was made minister of police, which included position of head of the secret police.

his powers were wide ranging and crucial to the maintenance of Napoleons regime. the police spied on individuals suspected of opposition to the regime, searched for deserters, supervised the prisons, acted as censors and provided a constant stream of info and intelligence about the public and its attitude to the regime. fouche himself sent daily reports to napoleon. Napoleon himself had his own sperate network of spies also providing information for him shows nap was determined to root out any potential opposition. 

any opponents of the regime were dealt with harshly. Napoleon had special new courts set up. there were tribunals for political crimes on which magistrates for public security sat in judgement on suspects. in addition military courts were set up to deal with those accused of terrorism. in 1810, napoleon reintroduced imprisonment without trial, although the govt preferred to use house arrest wherever possible. this showed napoleon still had an eye on liberal opinion within france, concerned that his deprivation of individual rights would damage his reputation as the heir of the revolution. the network of spies, intelligence and surveillance wored in the sense that it discouraged french citizens from opposition and criticism of napoleon. in 1814 only 2500 people were imprisoned for political offences.

machinery to oppress - no freed political thought or association - fear of arrest - fouchesecret police, prefects. censorship of literature etc. stop expression of views, reudced newspapers. purging of the govt where there was opposition - in 1802 napoleon purged the senate, tribunate and legislative body. ho also changed the voting qualification to give more power to the prestige. in 1810, the tribunate was abloished altogether. informents, secret police, prefects

what ways wasn't it a police state? the bureaucracy needed to enforce a police state could be inefficient, communication slow and the prefects werent always responsive to napoleons orders. it wasnt as easy to chase up lazy officers and napoleons letters encouraging them to be vigilent shows he was unsure whether his orders were being carried out. Fouche claimed that naps wasnt a truly repressive regime because he had enligthened ideas. it looked to be inclusive rather than oppresive (amalgame and ralliement - he wants to win people over rather than oppress so he gave people the opportunity to become loyal). his main aim was to heal the divisions in french society caused by the revolution. therefore his most likely oppoents would come from the peasantry but he actively sought agreement with the catholic hcurch to influence them positibely. he had a degree of freedom - officers could choose whther or not to send their sons to the lycees or church schools, and he had always betrayed himself as heir of the revolution and looked to gain approval through plebiscites, showing a degree of accountability.

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in the early days of his regime, his desire to consolidate his power meant he acted ruthlessly against existing or potential opponents. Jacobinism was specifically targeted and spies were used to infiltrate potential new groups. in 1801, 129 jacobin leaders were deported to places like the seychelles. civil servants suspected of being jacobin sympathisers were dismissed. haps justification for these acts came from the jacobins being behin the dagger conspiracy 1800 trying to assassinate nap. he also dealt firmly with the royalist revolt in western france, using military tribunals to deal with those protesting against conscription. a general rounded up 6k chouan prisoners and 750 were shot in 1800. between 1800 and 1804, there were various royalist disturbances in paris, with attempts of assassination e.g. infernal machine 1800. false evidence in 1804 emerged that a bourbon prince, the duc d'enghien was implicated in these plots. as a result, napoleon ordered him to be kidnapped, and shortly after a quick trial he was shot. napoleon also extended the remit of his police and used prefects to report on incidents of trouble thus ensuring further disorder was localised and firmly addressed.  napoleon was also criticised by some of the liberals who saw an emerging fictatorship and wanted a constitution that guaranteed rights such as freedome of speech and freedom of the press. one example is madame de stael who formed a liberal resistence group in her salon. she was banished.

Napoleon could justify his actions and say they weren’t repressive because he was protecting himself and others from potential opposition to the regime, and he didn’t execute them, like what have happened in the terror, when under the revolutionary tribunal, for terrorism, the outcome was acquittal or death.

he was very concerned that the royalists had hoped that napoleon would place the comte de Provence on the thrown. In September 1800, he supressed this thought and made his position clear, threatening the comte de Provenance to not return to France. This shows he was willing to use violence to consolidate his power as, in his letter to the Comte de Provence it would be better for him to ‘march over one hundred thousand corpses’, which implies physical force would be applied if the royalists try and take over.he is also subverting the principles of the revolution by not allowing freedom of association, meaning napoleon was forcing people to support his regime under the consulate, and by 1804 the empire.


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he was conscious of the need to heal the divisions in france and was prepared for opponents to switch sides. in 1800 he offered a generous amnesty to rebels in the west if they were prepared to lay down their arms and give Napoleon their allegiance. many of them did and were able to live peacefully. napoleon also made promises he would protect the catholic church and also made overtures to emigres and refractory priests, offering positions and rewards to those who support him. in 1802, he granted an amnesty for all emigres, with a few exceptions, who returned to france before the end of september 1802. in return they had to swear an oath of alliefance to the new govt and give up connections with foreign powers.

napoleon was also eagure to reassure the bourgeoisie, a key element of his support, so he made it clear that there would be no attempts to restore te biens nationauxs which had given the bourgeoisie new found wealth. conscious of healing the divisions within france, napoleon spoke of amalgame and ralliement which helped reconcile the old nobility with the new ruling elites around the new regime. 

when he became consul for life, and emperor, he put the decision to the public in a plebiscite.This consolidated his power by legitimating it through moral, and fair means and it shows he was making himself accountable to the people and showed that he was concerned for democratic processes, a revolutionary principle. on the contrary, it is unknown how much the results from the plebiscite can be trusted because Napoleons brother, Lucien, who had been appointed minister of the interior, altered the statistics in the 1800 plebiscite to make it seem like just under 50% of the population had voted with an overwhelming majority in favour of Napoleon. This shows he used immoral methods because it suggests he made up supporters which as a result, led to the result being in favour of Napoleon.

as his powerwas based on military glory and an image of a hero, victories against foreign enemies helped to consolidate his power. a success against the austrians at marengo in 1800 provided a new opportunity for the propagandist image of military heroism. the 1802 piece of amiens was popular with the bourgeoisie whose interests were in trade and peacetime occupations, which provided necessary respite as it was the first peace in 10 years. by giving those with influence what they wanted, napoleon won over some who had doubts in 1799. 

emperor status: with the revival of war there was fears that napoleon could be killed on the battle field. while royalist plots such as that of duc denghienshowed him to beenemies that had to be put down. he didn want to be called king because of its prerevolutionary associations, but he was anxious to found a dynasty so took the title of emperor.


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napoleon was eager to confim control of all forms of art and media, given they had the capacity to influence popular opinion. As such there was firm consorship of newspapers, books, the theatre, artists and all froms of information. by 1801 only four newspapers remained. by 1809 they had a dedicated censor. they werent allowed to discuss controverisal subjects and only official news and military bulitins could be published. clearly, in limiting freedo of expression, napoleon was sacrificing revolutionary liberty fo the needs of maintaining his regime. from 1803, publishers needed government permission to print any book. strict punishments were handed out to those who printed material that hadn't been censored. in 1808 the number of publishing houses went from 200 to 60, of which had to gain licenses from the police and the same applied to provincial publishers. the police were given wide powers to searchpublishers shops and seize books and in 1810, a decree established a new censorship board whose job it was to approve books for publication. he was keen to control the performing arts. all theatres had to have a license, and official reports were made on plays, lectures and posters appearing in paris in order to identify politically unacceptable material. this shows how weak napoleon thought his power was if it was uncensored. 

This was important for Napoleon because he believed that newspapers should serve the interests of the government. After the closing down of the newspapers, the remaining owners had to provide proof of virtue as French citizens and sign loyalty to the constitution. This shows that he didn’t want anyone who was against him to be able to express their views. Napoleon himself stated that he wouldn’t allow papers to say anything contradictory to his own image. Napoleon sponsored the big theatres to make it easier for him to control what they were showing. This shows that censorship was also important in Napoleonic France in order to control what people saw and read, which helped stop ideas from being spread that contradicted Napoleons own.

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propaganda - support of the army

Propaganda was important in getting the support of the army. Napoleon used military bulletins to highlight his military victories, and exclude any defeats, or reduce their seriousness. An example of this was after Napoleons defeat in the Russian campaign in 1812. This was disastrous because the Russians used the scorched earth tactic meaning Napoleon couldn’t live off the land. This meant that the army didn’t have enough rations, had inadequate clothing, and many died from diseases. In this case, his military bulletins were very important to ensure the readers, and the army that Napoleon was well to keep his soldiers in good spirit. At the same time, Napoleon heard news of a plot to overthrow him, so he abandoned his campaign to return to Paris. This made his military bulletin even more important because he needed to show that it was going well because his power was based on military glory. If he was seen to be defeated, it would seem to validate the oppositions actions, leading to more opposition and undermine Napoleons position as emperor. Therefore meaning, propaganda and military bulletins were important to rally troops, dishearten the enemy and influencing public opinion to gain support. Gaining support from the people for the army was also important to Napoleon, because as the gendarmerie found, conscription was difficult, so it would be even harder if they knew of Napoleons defeats.

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propaganda - support of the people

it gained support of the ordinary people of France. This was very important to Napoleon because he needed the people to accept not reject him, and he couldn’t be seen to be like Robespierre and the terror, or the previous kings of France. Thus, by using propaganda to influence opinion, it legitimates his power. Through his official news, and the government’s own newspaper, Le Moniteur, Napoleon uses self-glorification which gave the image of him bringing order out of the chaos, which, according to Napoleon, was a product of too much liberty. By making it seem that he was saving people from the excess of the revolution, it is more important than censorship as it justifies his use of repressive means. As historians say it gave the image ‘the myth of the saviour’. He can be seen to do this through the use of artists, architects, sculptors etc. David, an artist, is an example of this. He created glorified images of Napoleon, such as him crossing the alps and the imperial coronation. The sculptors portrayed Napoleon like the Roman emperors, through the imperial eagle, which shows his great power and strength. These were important because it appealed to all the different members of society. The bourgeoisie could relate to the visuals (through the sculptors, different hairstyles etc.) created by artists like David, and in plays he put subtle hints that reminded them of Napoleon. The sans-culottes would support Napoleons efforts in rebuilding and public works. He improved practical things such as water supply, and roads, which would improve their quality of life, but also, he created statues and showpieces for example the arc du carousel which glorified the regime. Finally, the imperial coronation painting would gain support of the peasants in France, because by having the popes hand raised in blessing, it shows that he supports the new regime. Earlier in the revolution, in the civil constitution of the clergy, the pope didn’t support it, which led to people in the country turning against the revolution and causing civil war, so it is important for Napoleon to avoid that. This therefore means, art was important because It led to the country respecting Napoleons imperial power.

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conscious of the personalisation of his power, napoleon was ken to produce imagery with which he could be readily idenitified. he was keen to adopt new heraldic symbols particularly in the shape of the imperial eagle. this recalled the classical past, so it became to symbolise the grand empire and the grand army. 

from 1802 coins displayed Napoleon's profile in a classical type pose. After 1807, a closer identification with the Roman past was brought about with Napoleon’s head was wreathed in laurels to symbolise the return of glory under a new Caesar. Crucial in all this propaganda was the fact that Napoleon desired to associate himself with the glories of the past and thus create the image of himself as a true classical hero of almost godlike proportions. As Napoleon knew that the basis of authority rested upon his glorious image, he could not afford to project himself in any other way.

the government published its own paper l'moniteur and he provided regular bullitins from the war front. these were intended to boost the morale of the army and dishearten the enemy, but also maintain peace back home.  officers were sent back to paris to report on achievements and any bad news was kept out of the press. 

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the church and concordat

the revolutionaries decision to destory the independence of the church had become one of the prime causes of the civil war in france and had left a bitter legacy of division. reconciliation with the church would help the policies amalgame and ralliement. it would also give napoleon another means of control, through cooperative priests whose teachings would encourage acceptance and obedience. religion could help preserve social order, what napoleon most wanted. catholic worhsip had started to become more open at the time of the directory in reaction against the SCs dechristianisation campaign. in 1799 napoleon decreed that churches could be open any day of the week and in July 1800 he authorised sindays should be the day of rest, moving away from the revolutionary 10 day weeks. the accession of a new pope in 1800 provided an excuse for a reconciliation. 

by the concorday with the pope, negotiated in July 1801 but not published until 1802, napoleon, as first consul, had recognised that catholicm was the religion of the majority in france and that it had a special position within french society. the concordat also recognised the rights of other religious groups to freedom of worship. in this sense, napoleon was demonstrating his belief in nlightened principles. it was accompanied by the organic articles which napoleon issued without any reference to the pope. these stated that government approval had to be given before any papal legate entered france, or papal document was published. it also guaranteed religious toleration to the 700k protestants and 40k jews living in france. he was concerned that jews had suffered during the terror and were often victimised and denied their right to carry on their business. he encouraged assimilation of the jews into the wider french society. 

in 1804 napoleon decreed freedom of conscience for all and in 1807 he met with rabbis to discuss proposals for greater assimilation. 

the concordat is often hailed as a great triumph for napoleon. it certainly helped win over uncertain royalists and did much to reassure the notables with its promises that the biens natiounaux were safe and new won wealth would not be lost. retaining authoirty over the appointment of the biships and clergy was also a coup for the emperor, since it provided him with a sueful network of loyal clerics who could spread state propaganda and curb subversive behaviour. just to be sure all clergy were carefully watched by the local prefects and police. 

following the concordat, refractory priests came out of hiding, churches reopened and the revolutionary calender was abandoned. chuehmen took a more prominent role in education and a degree of harmony was restored. 

however, napoleons relationship with the pope steadily declined. this is partly because of french ambitions in italy but also because of the way napoleon treated pontiff. he was humiliated at napoleons coronation in 1808, french troops occupied rome and in 1809, napoleon imprisoned the pope and annexed the papal states to his new kingdom of italy. this caused old tensions to resurface.

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the napoleonic codes

legal reform, even for all its shortcomings, was one of napoleons greatest achievements in fulfilling the aims of the revolution. although the revolution had already made changes in frances legal sustem, it was only through napoleons insistence that the clarification of frances complex structures of laws was completed. this helped standardise law by creating an accessible record, but also helped define the law after the revolutionary upheavals. a committee of legal experts was established in 1800 under the supervision of second consul, their aim was to unify french law which differed vastly in the north and south. napoleon took great interest in their work. in march 1804 the civil code was finally issued. it was renamed code napoleon in september 1807. it underlined the key revolutionary changes and consequently made it impossible for future french regimes to deny these changes. it can be credited for securing this aspect of the revolution. this must not be underestimated in any balance sheet that considered the question of how far napoleon fulfilled the revolution and its ideals. it confirmed the abolition of feudalism and privileges. it secured the secularisation of the state, recognised equality before the law and freedom of conscience. confirmed the legal rights of the purchasers of the biens nationaux. nevertheless it has been criticised for being repressive and less liberal in some areas. the code supported the rights of the employer over the emplyee. it forbade the formation of trade unions, and insisted that workers obtain a permit to work. this interfered with the free movement of labour and was not in line with laissez faire thinking. it was a device that allowed police to supervise workers more closely, so controlling any possible opposition to the regime. in certain areas women rights were damaged. in 1810 a new penal code was established. this turned france back to pre revolutionary days given its reintroduction of harsh punishments. the death penalty was laid down for murder, arson, forgery. other crimes were punished by hard labour and branding. on a more liberal note, it established maximum and minimum penalties. a criminal code in 1808 kept trial by jury.

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Napoleons administrative system

justice -much of the basic structure of the judiciary as established in the revolution was retained by napoleon. under the constitution of year VIII onlt the local magistrates countinued to be directly elected by citizens, all other judges became directly appointed. even the elections of mags was discontinued after 1802. mags served for 10 years, all other judges were appointed for life. initially they were appointed by the senate from a list of notables, and those in the lower courts were appointed by the first consul, from departnmental lists. however, this was abbandoned in 1802 and napoleon maid direct appointments, including the appointments of government commissioners. he appears to have chosen men from sound legal background who may have served during the revolution. however he was eager to ensure their loyalty and there were sometimes purges of the judiciary, most notably in 1807. 

prefects - napoleon inherited a system established by the revolutionaries of elected councils running for the running of local government. this arrangement hadn;t been entirely effective because there was no direct communication and cooperation between the local councils and central government.  and also because the local councils often lacked money to operate efficiently. to assert his control, napoleon created prefects, agents who were directly responsible for carrying out government directives in the departments. they were appointed by napoleon and directly responsible to the minister of the interior. to highlight their status, the prefects and assistants were to wear uniform. . they were responsible for conscription, tax collection, industry, public works, elfare and education, which was a very wide remit. and they were to also be napoleons eyes, ears and voice. they were to report on subversive behaviour, spread propaganda and ensure government orders were carried out. napoleons main concern was that his prefects were good administrators. almost 70% of those involved came from the revolutionary government.

napoleons administrative system offered internal stability, however it was more difficult to operate in the years 1812 - 1814 when military setbacks encouraged the growth of opposition. 

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napoleon gave a high priority to the development of an efficient police force in his quest for order and stability at home. he inherited two police forces from the revolutionary government. the military police - the gendarmerie which replace the old royal police. the civilian police - administrative police - secret police force

The gendarmerie became an elite, uniformed professional force made up of army veterans of a minimum height of 1.75m. Their job was to carry out everyday law enforcement. They dealt with bandits, theft and violent crime. They suppressed riots and rebellions and helped to enforce conscription. They were generally effective. There was quite a large amount of wandering labourers, urban unemployed that could cause periodic bursts of trouble and enforcing conscription wasn’t always easy

The administrative police were responsible for general surveillance. They identified political opponents and habitual troublemakers, the gendarmerie carrying out the arrests. They were led by a police commissar, appointed in each town of over 5000 people. The commissar answered directly to the departmental prefect and could also communicate directly with the Ministry of General Police.

Joseph Fouche was minister of police from 1800 to 1810, followed by Jean-Marie Savary (1810 – 14). Under Savary, as Napoleon’s government was coming under increasing pressure, surveillance was extended: correspondence was intercepted; recipients of suspicious letters interrogated; potential trouble makers – such as Madame de Stael – permanently exiled and ‘dangerous’ literature was destroyed.

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conclusion of administration

Clearly, in the roles assigned to the prefects – and their staffs – and to the administrative police, Napoleon’s government were impacting on the individual rights that the Revolution had sought to guarantee. He of course, defended his actions by asserting that there could be “no liberty without order”. Certainly however, there were many in France who were sympathetic to such a view, especially following the chaos and uncertainty that had permeated the Revolution and that had continued under the Directory.

In the days after 1810 however, it is hard to challenge the assertion that Napoleon’s administrative policies were serving just one purpose, the maintenance and survival of his regime. There was mounting opposition to the increasing burden of taxation and recruitment required to maintain French armies abroad. This opposition had to be suppressed if Napoleon were to survive.

The creation of Prefects made clear that Napoleon was unsympathetic to the ideals of 1791; of the decentralisation of administration. Napoleon believed in a centralised state where the work of public officials could be closely monitored and controlled. Merit was certainly a key consideration when Napoleon appointed his officials but loyalty to the regime was the most crucial quality required by all who served the Emperor. Consequently, Napoleon had no hesitation in launching periodic purges of the bureaucracy. Officials were accountable it is true, but not to the citizens of France, but to Napoleon.

napoleon aimed to provide stability and uniformity. 

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Timeline - 1740 - 1789

1740 - 1748 - war of austrian succession

1756 - 1763 - the seven years war

1771 - exile of parlements

1774 - louis xvi becomes king

1774 - 1776 - Turgot is controller general

1776 - six edicts

1777-1781 - necker is director general

1788 - 1783 - american war of independence

1783 - 1787 - calonne is controller general

1786 - calonne warns the king of imminent bankruptcy

1787 - the assembly of notables

1787 - 1788 - brienne is ocntroller general, may edicts, revolt of the nobles, eastes general called for 1789, Neckers return

1789 - bread crisis, eastates general, tennis court oath.

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The ancien regime

the royal government: the kings authoirty was absolute and based on the accepted belief that he was divinely ordained by God to rule. the church in france heavily supported this concept of the divine right. the ancien regime was what pre revolutionary france was called. 

divine right was the foundation of the monarchy. royal authoirty was sacred, and all power comes from God. this meant that the king wasn't accountable to any earthly power (his people), although it was understood if he failed to act according to reason then he will face judgement of God. 

the royal ministers were appointed by and solely responsible to the king. they had the responsibility of running the various departments of government.

the government of france was very centralised. in the provinces it was the responsibility of the intendants of police justice and finance. they had wide powers in the 34 generalites that france was divided into. dealt with collection of taxes, law and order, public works, commerce and industry. 

the Kign was the source of all legal authority in the kingdom, Louis would also act as head chief was essential that he should maintain law and those customs and rights previously accepted by the crown.  this included protecting the privileges of the 1st and 2nd estates. the kings power rested upon his legitimacy. just as thepriviliged orderrecognised louis fundemental rights to the succession, so he would recognise their liberties andprivileges. as the king was chief noble and landowner, these mutual ties were accepted. hence the power of the crown was heavily circumscribed:

  • ·      He had been taught to take advice on important decisions.
  • ·      His advisers/ ministers came from a pool of career administrators and courtiers.
  • ·      He was bound by the laws and customs of France. He was expected to maintain the conventions and to rule ‘by the law’ instead of as a despot. This meant upholding Christian morality and respecting the rights, privileges, and customs.
  • ·      He needed the consent of the noble elite (i.e in the Parliaments).
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The Kings dilemma and taxation

effective government could be seen to mean efficient administration. Privileges such as taz exemption, hindered the government. on the one hand, how could the king maintain law and customs while, on the other, increasing his power to run the state more effectively without being called a despot, as a chief executive (efficient administrator) rather than protector of privielege would. 

taxation - the king has the sole right to levy taxation which he can do at will. it is a system that was neither efficient nor fair. most of the burden falls on the poorer sections of society - the peasantry - given that privileges to the nobility, clergy and other groups e.g. some towns.

  • direct tax - the taille - a tax on commoners - privileged exempt. 
  • indirect tax - aides - food and reink, gabelle - on salt. 

tax collection was by the farmer general, a group that the king had sold theright to collect taxes to (venal office holders). this guaranteed the monarch an income without the hassle of having to organise a bureaucracy of officials to collect it for him. however this was corrupt as the farmers were able to add their own profit to the amount collected - revenue denied from the government. furthermore, when the monies were passed on to the royal officials there was much inefficiency caused by the venal officeholders. these have the right to sell their offices on. they can take some of the money as the king cannot remove them for laziness of incompetence. there also wasn't a central treasury or efficient accounting system, which meant it lacked uniformity and was inefficient. slow communications made it difficult to work. 

corporate bodies:

  • Pays d'etats - had ancien rights and privileges in justice and finance. these provincial estates mainly represented the nobility and reigorously defended their privileges. 
  • parlements - 13 of which paris was the most important. they contained magistrates who were nobles of the robe. it was the final court of appeal. the king could apply no law until it was registered as an edict by the parlement. they began to see it as their job to block edict. they had the right to criticise any law in a remonstrance but the king could override this in a lit de justice. meant they had no real power.
  • there was no uniform legal system in france between the north and south of the country and in addition, no trlu national economic market could be creted as there were internal customs barriers between the provinces. 

from the perspective of the enlightened, the whole system of government and administration in france was inefficient. confusion reigned as there was no uniformity or order. as the kingdom developed and expanded, no structures had been added on to the old, bringing with them an overlapping  jurisdiction.

the absolute monarch wasn’t as absolute as it was first seen to be. Administrative, legal, judicial and ecclesiastical divisions and rights frequently overlapped (for example the French bishoprics and dioceses rarely coincided with the administrative divisions.) the venal office holding magistrates conflicted with the ministers, the intendants clashed with the bureaucracy of officers and often lacked the guidance from the centre. The parlements had almost come to see it as their job to block edicts and question royal authority.

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Louis XVI

  •       Some historians believed he lacked in will, was indecisive and lacked charm. He had little knowledge of politics. He tried to curb the excessive spending of his grandfather by keeping his personal expenditure down. However this made him look weak and defensive rather than a proud figure of authority the courtiers expected to be able to look up to. Taking 8 year to produce a child caused discussion. He relied in his wife who was a stronger character, but frivolous in nature.
  •       Others believe he was devoted to his subjects, committed to reform and was the victim of circumstance rather than his own failings.
  • he was well meaning but indecisive - he swung towards reform and then away again. he was isolated at versailles - a concern that came through in the cahiers of the parisian third estate. at versailles, Louis XVI was out of touch with the concerns of parisians and frenchmen in general, too prone to cave into the pressure of the ministerial cliques and court factions, whose self interest led to them to oppose louis attempts to reform the ancien regime. he was politically naive and too loyal to his nobles and clergy. he hadn't the strength of character to push through necessary reforms in the face of opposition. his lack of self belief paralysed the government.
  • life was expensive in versaille, lavish, luxuries, the king was the ultimate dispensor of patronage, and he constantly gave out pensions, sinecures,  
  • the king failed to grasp that the enlightenment had undermined divine right, so government remained archaic. there was a contradiction between the king, who claimed to be the source of earthly power, and the forces of privilege and customery right that prevented him from exercising that power. CObban argued that the system based on personal government didnt add up to an effective administrative system. the king couldn't exercise complete control over all aspects of the government. such were the complexxities of administration that there were areas that the king ruled over in name only.  in louis xvis reign, a minister was more concerned with safeguarding his own post and reputation, than the effective running of government
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Marie Antoinette

exceptionally unpopular die to her austrian background, the traditional enemy of france - and deficiencies in her chaacter. she wasnt well educated as it wasn't assumed she would be the subject of an important marriage. she quickly upset the court factions and became relient on favourites. her behaviour was poor. there were rumours of an affair with a count, and she made visits to the theatres of paris. she was exceptionally extravagant, gambled huge amounts of money, and the king spoilt her. frivolous behaviour - self willed and impulsie - extravagant hair-dos, fashion, shoes, dresses. left louis to deal with her debt, brought the monarchy into disrepute but she didnt care. compared to the poeple in paris/ the country - caused a lot of hatred - the myth of her saying 'let them eat cake' fueled the burning desire for change - filthy conditions, starvation - out of touch - didnt take crisis seriously. 

she publicly ridiculed the king - turning clocks forwards so he would go to bed too early. she became the scapegoat for discontent as it was too dangerous to attack the king directly. she was especially hated by the sans-culottes in Paris. there were a number of scandals, such as the affair of the diamond necklace, and developed nicknames such as austrian she wolf and madam defecit - blamed for financial crisis - spending on unneeded luxuries - destroying the economy. the palace built by Louis - didnt care about helping to run the country, or duty as quee. she was constantly playing sherpardess rather than helping solve problems of france - isolated poweful factions of nobles at court. . ultimately, her actions were to undermine the monarchy. louis became increasingly dependent on her after the storming of the bastille severly shook his self confidence.  

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origins of French rev

enlightenment - new ideas - legal equality and political accountability. philosophes - salons - rousseau - social contract - montesquieu - seperation of powers - locke - natural rights of man - ideology for the french rev - absolute - constitutional monarchy - rationalisation - science replacing religion - question unproven dogma replace with science. 

financial crisis - forced calling of estates general. extraordianry expenditure led to defecit which was caused by the expensive wars, most recently the american war. unable to meet financial commitments. privileges exacerbated problem. bread prices rising, poor people hangry so there was potential for crowd action to get food

character of Louis - sense of duty to serve god but was seen as weak willed and indecisive with contradictory policies. he didnt want to introduce and support reform, as he clung on to the belief of divine right - pressure from the privileged - avoid acting as despot. lack of interest to serve as the king - reluctance to move to paris to be with the people. if king wouldnt reform country, action was needed. 

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enlightenment and its influence on rev

the enlightenment, its key philosphes and other political thinkers heavily influenced those members of the educated classes who were looking towards reform of the ancien regime. the ideas of Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Paine, Jefferson and the american declaration of independence were to impact upon the work of the constituent assembly. it challenged the old thinking of the ancien regime, the control of the king and church and natural order ordained by God. society could be liberated by reason and reorganised on rational lines. 

They explored the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity. It had a particularly strong influence in France. They stressed the importance of reason, logic, criticism and freedom of thought to challenge unproven dogma.

in france the encyclopaedia - which undertook to explain all aspects of the world around, condemned prejudice and superstition. louis XV and the pope responded by banning it. it encouraged the search for truth over superstition, reason over privilege, meritocracy over aristocracy. voltaire ridiculed the institution of the church for materialism and corruption. lock, montesquieu and Rousseau talked of the social contract, the accountbaility of monarchs and the rights of citizens which undermined royal authoirty, based on divine right. The expressed a deep dislike of organised religion and discussed how social and political institutions might be changed for the good of the people. The questioned he institutions of the ancien regime but didn’t advocate revolution.

The standards of literacy and the readership of books etc. was on the rise but it wasn’t mass readership. The philosophes addressed the genteel, polite society. Their writings were meant for the aristocrats and the wealthy bourgeoisie. The philosophes were almost all noble and never intended for their ideas to reach the masses – showing how they didn’t want a revolution.

Rousseau disliked authoirty of any sort, he wanted respect for creativity and work for individual human beings. he argued that many political and moral inequalities are purely conventional in origin.he believed that the government was a contract between the people and their rulers with obligations on both sides. Governments should protect liberties and ensure quality but decisions should be based on the general will of society. They argued a despotic monarch could be overthrown by their subjects and that sovereignty resided in the people rather than in the person of the king. Believed in general participation in government.

Montesquieu: he defended the nobility and privilege but questioned the structure of political authority. He argued for a separation of powers in the state. (the legislature, executive and judiciary). He argued that it was the role of the aristocracy to limit royal power, not the peoples. He criticised royal absolutism. He believed that this separation will make the state more equal and accountable and achieve checks and balances.

Key areas of enlightened thought:

  • ·       The church and its traditions
  • ·       They criticised organised religion and the idea of ‘chain of being’ which said the hierarchy of society was divinely ordained. They criticised corruption in the church and church control over ‘ignorant masses’ who lived in fear of eternal damnation.
  • ·       The divine right.This led to the questioning of absolute monarchy and the roots of a monarchs authority – they looked to the English system of a limited monarchy which shared power with an elected parliament. The separation of powers led to debate of how to achieve checks and balances which prevented any individual or group from becoming too powerful.
  • ·       Thought was given to safeguarding the rule of law and reconciling this concept with the idea of civil liberties. The privileges of the clergy and nobility were attacked.
  • ·       The emphasis on liberty extended to economic freedom and a questioning of mercantilism (opposite of free trade and laissez faire).
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the salons


Enlightened ideas were spread through salons. Clubs for intellectuals interested in political and social matters. They took place in the homes of influential women. This facilitated the dissemination of enlightenment ideas. As it was based more on intellect rather than social status, it was a place where both sexes, bourgeoisie and nobles could exchange views. However this meant that even though the enlightened ideas were circulated around the educated, it was confined to them. However the literacy levels in paris were comparatively high, the particularly offensive pamplets e.g. attacking marie Antoinette permeated to lower levels of society. it is hard to measure how much the ideas of the enlightenment brought on the revolution.

Louis xvi recognised the threat to the established order. Freer criticisms sapped confidence as people recognised the alternatives to the status quo. Censorship tightened and spies were everywhere.  But as Doyle points out, the government was losing control of informed public opinion. The monarchy was losing its legitimacy. The monarchs legitimacy also rested on military glory, but the defeats during the seven years war showed that frances status as a leading power was declining.

However: the enlightenment impact is limited as it had no coherent programme, and they were critics, not policy makers. They had no power beyond the salons. The cahiers of 1789 revealed a conservative society that lacked the commitment for radical change. Most of the philosophes didn’t want to abolish the monarchy or destroy the aristocracy. But the enlightenment had provided the language, concepts and ideas. It provided justification for revolutionary action and guidance in making a new political order.

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American revolution and war of independence

The impact of the American revolution and war of independence.

America was another source of ideas challenging the Ancien regime. Lafayette became a hero of the wars. The enlightened elites celebrated the American victory in 1783 however the cost of the ware and the boost given to enlightened thinking were to prove damaging to the French state. they saw the american revolutionary war and the new constitution as an example of what it could be like in France. not only political - also had an economic influence on the french rev - left france in near bankruptcy - didn't get much in return for helping america.

During the war in America, allied Frenchmen fought side by side with American soldiers, which, in some cases, meant exchanging values, ideas and philosophies.One key ideological movement, known as Enlightenment, was central to the American uprising. Enlightenment stressed the idea of natural rights and equality for all citizens.Although the Enlightenment movement started in Europe and wasn’t new to the French, it shaped the American Revolution, and many believe, went on to inspire the French Revolution as well.

The National Assembly in France even used the American Declaration of Independence as a model when drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen in 1789. Much like the American document, the French declaration included Enlightenment philosophies, such as equal rights and popular sovereignty.

The Americans’ victory over the British may have been the single greatest impact on the French Revolution.

The French people saw that a revolt could be successful – even against a major military power – and lasting change was possible. Many experts argue that this gave them the motivation to rebel.
The newly-formed government of the United States also became a model for French reformers.

Ideas that were once just abstract thoughts – such as popular sovereignty, natural rights, constitutional checks and balances and separation of powers – were now part of an actual political system that worked.

But what was the extent of America’s influence?

Though most historians agree that the American Revolution impacted the French Revolution, which lasted from 1789-1799, some scholars debate the significance and extent of this effect.France, a country on the verge of financial collapse with an outdated feudal system and a wildly unpopular monarchy, was a powder keg waiting to explode, with or without the American war to serve as an example.Other political, social and religious factors also activated the French people’s appetite for change.Though there were clear differences between the motives for each revolt and how the two wars were fought, most experts believe that the war in America at least partly paved the way for France’s uprising. The Americans provided a working model of revolutionary success that wasn’t lost on the French.

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French society

the clergy - the first estate - a powerful orgnisation. owned 10% of the land in france, often provided advisers to the king and had enormous influence over the peasantry. a strong pillar of the ancien regime. enjoyed privileges. they were expempt from taxes but gave the dongratuit - a lump sum directly to the king. there was a key divide between higher and lower clergy. the higher clergy lived luxurious lives and their position in the church gave them control of large estates and great wealth. the local priests lived similar lives to the peasantry and consequently many of them who were elected to the estates general drifted to the third estate. they carried out important functions in society - poor and education. the king made appointments to senior church posts and this was an accepted career route for sons of nobility. pluralism was still practices by the higher clergy who made the most of social exclusivity. Village priests were hard workers and understood the weight of the taxation system and feudal dues. There was evidence in the cahiers that cures wished to participate more in the running of the church. Their problems were exasperated by the abuse of the tithes and by the bishops who demanded obedience. these divisions spilled over into matters of faith - lower clergy continued to be gallican, unlike their clerical massters. (independence of church from papal interference. the tensions, although laready existed, may have been made worse by radicalism. the upper clergy shared the assumption that the king ruled by divine right.

  • Plurality & Absenteeism
  • Archbishops earned 400,000 livres per annum
  • Where as parish priests earned 700
  • Some bishops served more than 1 area to make money
  • Putting money before spiritual needs
  • Tithes
  • ·      Largest single land owner in France
  • ·      Wealth came from people paying tithes for it (payment was 1/10 of someone’s income, usually in crops)
  • ·      Created 50million livres each year
  • ·      Was meant to spent on church however usually pocketed by the priests 
  • Tax exemption
  • ·      Didn’t pay any tax, instead paid don gratuit yearly to the king (under 5% of churches income)
  • Power over the people
  • ·      Very religious country
  • ·      Church had considerable influence
  • ·      Church censored anything negative about them
  • ·      Acted as ministry of info for the government


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French society

the nobles - not a honogenous group. there were historical distinctions between the nobility of the sword - the old feudal warlords who had provided soldiers for the king, and the nobility of the robe- who had gained their title through legal or administrative service to the king. the nobility was seen as an undynamic class, reliant on their privileges. they paid no tax and traditionally, had forbidden to engage in manufacture, retail or manual work on pain of loss of status - why backwards in industry.  

there was great variation in wealth and status between the court and provincial nobility. 250 families had incomes worht 50k+ livres a month. 20% had incomesless than 1000 which was on par with modest peasants. these poorer provincial nobles were thus wedded to their social status. some of the wealthier nobles however, were prepared to accept change and were influenced by the ideas of the enlightenment. the society of thirty is an example of this. the nobility wasnt closed. it was possible to enter the ranks through purchasing ennobling offices. this meant that the bourgeoisie, who aspired to become part of the nobles, bought these. 

although they dominated french society, they were a tiny group  only around 1% of french population. they had immense wealth, owning around 1/4 of french land as well as holding powerful positions. a booming economy up to mid 1770s had enabled them to take over high positions in the state. the revolutionaries were keep to keep an image of the nobility a single, exclusive class, living a life of lixury while viewing society with snobish disdain. in 1789, they led an aristocratic reaction to protect their privileges frombeing undermined from the challenge of the bourgeoisie. 

the title of noble brought numerous privileges, particularly tax exemption. they recognised that they should serve the crown, in the army or administration, and it was in their interest to maintain the angien regime. 

the nobility reflacted different opinions to do with the enlightenment - most nobles saw no reason to embrace reformist ideas and therby challenge an ancien regime that enshrined their privileges. there was a minority such as lafayette who were eager to engage in debates in salons, literary societies, acadmies etc. the divide between these nobles made it difficult for the second estate to act with any sense of purpose of find acceptable leaders when the estates general met. enlightened philosophes recognised the central role of an educated elite of nobles in government and society. they didnt have to pay the direct taille, or indirect gabelle, or the labour - crovee. had right to be beheaded rather than hanged. 

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French society

the third estate - everyone else - sieyes - the nation. varied greatly. at the top was the bourgeoisie - non nobles, comfortably off, living mostly in towns. there were almost 3 million of them in 1789 8% of population.they werent hostile to the nobility as they aspired to enter its ranks. between 1787-2788 they were closely allied to the notables in their opposition to despotism. they believed that liberal, representative institutions - a constitutional monarchy - was essential for those who owned property and paid taxes who should have a say over how that money was sepnt. however from september 1788 when the nobles showed their true concern of defending privilege - the bourgeoisie turned against them. they managed small enterprises,  invested or were professional peoples. lawyers, rentiers, doctors, shopkeepers etc. the range is so wide, there cannot be a generalisation. the dividing lines between the rich bourgeoisie and the nobles would become blured. the upper bourgeoisie bought up land - 25% of the countries and thereby acquiring seigneural rights. however beneath the surgace their were social tensions. enoblement of bourgeois families offended the pride of sword nobles with ancient titles who never accepted the idea that true nobility could be bought. the economic boom made the division between businessmen and the non-commercial bourgeoisie more obvious. as commerce prospered, they were impatient about the forces of privilege that hindered them, such as guilds, municipal immunities, customs dues, regulations and tax expemptions. the social ambitions of the rich were frustrated as the government was selling fewer and fewer offices.  when the depression squeezed their incomes, the government seemed to be conspiring against them by signing treaties that opened up foreign markets. e.g. the eden treaty with britain. 

the rich businessmen became richer and the poorer non-commercial bourgeoisie became poorer. office-holders and investors in rentes felt especially jelous. rentiers felt undermined by the economic downturn of the late 1770s. 

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French society

the people of paris - paris was to be the dominant force in the revolution. in 1789 it had a population of 600k, six times larger than any other provincial town. 20% of its population was very rich, yet there was also great poverty.wages had only risen at one third the rate of inflation. traditionally, the residential buildings were socially stratified - lower floors = rich, higher = poor. however, the rich were moving out of the centre of paris, and their carriages raced around the town, often killing or injuring the poor - a major grievance of the sans culottes in the cahiers. according to doyle they were motivated by hunger politics - the true foundation of public order in the capital was cheap bread suuply. the sans culottes were v important. the historian rude points out that the stereotypical view of an illiterate, ignorant, violent workers was incorrect. the composition varied - skilled artisans, small shopkeepers as well as labourers, and the unemplyed. hunger politics was cricual to the hungry and distressed, their actions inspired more by economi needs rather than political ideals. they were hostile to the nobility and church. 

the peasantry - large regional variations in the status and living conditions experiences by the peasantry -cant stereotype. they made up over 80% of population many were very poor and lived under a large burden of taxation - direct and indirect - gabelle - salt - corveee - roads. seigneurial dues - feudal rights of the landord did vary through different regions of france - difficulty of landlords to raise them at a time of sustained inflation. peasant cahiers - their key desire was to be free of all obligations to the seigneurs and get complete control of their land. otherwise, they were very conservative and strong supporters of the monarchy and church. 

agriculture was backwards. the revolution in farming techniques in britain seemed to bypass french countryside, where farmers were locked into old fashioned and ineffective practices. a spiral of low preductivity began, with the need to feed more hungry mouths and grow more arable grops. this led to a reduction in the number of animals kept and less manure to fertilise soil which had already been over-ploughed. 

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The financial crisis

why? war debts - series of expensive wars throughout the 18th century - final one being war of american independence ending in 1783. the increased extraordinaryexpenditure led to the inability of the government to meet its financial commitments - inefficient revenue collection, tax privileges, high interest payments on government borrowing, leading to increased pressure on being able to service the governments debts. 

key problem: France was potentially the wealthiest country in Europe and GBs government successfully operated during the period under far heavier debts. the french govt needed to effectively tap the resources of the kingdom through an effective system of tax assessment and collection - however this would prove difficult as it would bring the king into conflict with his traditional supporters - the privileged. secondly develop an efficient and cheaper way of managing a national debt to enable the government to meet the needs of extraordinary expenditute such as in wartime. 

these began with the appointment of Necker as director general of finance. he introduced policies up to his dismissal in 1881, to try and address the problem. as a protestant he couldnt become controller general. he brought initial relief as he was able to negotiate lians at lower levels of interest on the european money markets. he has been criticised for publishing the compte rendu in 1781, the first budget statement that stated their was a budgetary surplus which neglected french long term debts. this allowed the notables to  argue financial reform was unnecessary. 

He continued Turgot’s cost cutting measures by: reducing royal household expenses and pensions, appointing salaried officials rather than venal corporations to run the royal estates, removing the vingtieme (income tax) on industry. He also tried to make the accounting system more professional by restructuring administration, reducing the number of separate collecting bodies and replacing venal accountants with paid secretaries. He also reduced the number of tax farmers from 60 to 40.

These helped to reduce corruption however by reducing venality it created the problem that a vital source of credit was lost as the venal office holders lent money to the crown.

He published the first ever budget statement known as the compte rendu. However the crown saw this as a breach of royal protocol. It was also inaccurate. He disguised Frances high interest payments as normal expenditure which suggested they were in a much stronger financial system instead of in a substantial deficit. He did this to not resort to raising taxes.

He was extremely popular with ordinary people of France because of his attacks on vested interests and his involvement in a successful war without raising taxes as well as his concerns over the food supply and the provision of cheap grain.

It had enemies in court. he tried to control the spending of royal ministers and their departments, which led to the court thinking his influence to great also included Marie Antoinette, whose influence on louis helped bring about neckers resignation in 1781. Louis, because of his character and unpopularity at court dismissed him in 1781.

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Royal finances continued - Calonne,

Calonne took over between 1781 - 1787, they undid most of neckers attempts at reform.  Calonne was more traditionalists in outlook and ready to support the provisions of pensions and extravagant spending (to help maintain confidence in the monarchy) and didn’t intend to tackle the inconsistencies of the ancien regime. The confidence in the monarchy meant that it could raise loans. He, however, recognised this couldn’t continue and that reform was still needed. Circumstances meant that he couldn’t raise loans in 1785+86 and the Paris Parlement became less willing to endorse the borrowing of large sums at high rates of interest which kept adding to their crippling debt. In august 1886, he told Louis that the govt was close to bankruptcy calonne was forced to take the difficult decision of introducing a land tax paid by all thus removing the exemptions of the privileged classes. aware of the contentious nature, he persuaded Louis to call an assembly of notables to meet in 1787. significantly the reform initiative is coming from the king and his ministers.

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finance issues

Louis just borrowed from international banks, but in the long term this made things worse. The annual interest payments on the debt were more than the government collected in taxes which produced a severe balance in payments crisis. Louis increased this debt further when he cose to side with the American revolutionaries in their war of independence against Britain. At the same time as income was hit by an economic depression. The treaty of Paris which concluded the war in 1783 gave the French little reward.

The government was financed by direct and indirect taxation, which was supplemented by loans. The main direct tax was the taille (paid on the estimated value of possesisons). Other kings had introduced other direct taxes to pay wars which included capitation and vingtieme. Indirect taxes include the gabelle (salt tax), tabac, and aides. This system was inefficient because:

·      The nobles, the richest subjects, were exempt from paying

·      Taxation collection was chaotic and incomplete because of all the regional differences

·      Accounting procedures were limited which led to widespread corruption. There was no central treasury or bank so it was almost impossible for ministers to anticipate income and budget accordingly.

·      Financial officials and corporations purchased their positions and it was accepted practice for them to keep something of what they collected.

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economic issues

  •          The French economy was mainly agricultural based and remained backwards compared with Britain. This was partly because of the seigneurial arrangements and because of the rise in population. This meant that farming families were dividing land between sons which reduced the levels of holdings below levels of self-sufficiency
  •          Food production couldn’t keep up with population growth and the yield was very low.
  •          The state imposed many regulations on the domestic economy. This included limiting industries to certain cities and they also had internal trade barriers.
  •          There were variations in weights and measures across the country. This offered ample opportunities for fraud. It had been estimated there was 25k different units of measures.
  •          They lacked a network of rivers or canals to carry goods, especially grain.
  •          The banking system wasn’t advanced. A system of paper money designed by John law had collapsed which led to businessmen fearing paper money which made raising capital hard.
  •          A failure of vintage (1778), a bad harvests, and disastrous winters from 1785-89 depressed peasants incomes. This led to a trade slump which produced lay-offs in industry at a time of rising bread prices.
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the assembly of notables

the assembly membership was chosen by Louis and it was made up of 144 leading mmbers of parlements, princes, nobles and bishops. it was far from the doctile rubber stampt it was meant to be. it wasnt happy about the land tax, but it agreed some changes were necessary. crucually they say that the whole nation must approve any reform, they may just be playing for time in order to derail reforms - and call for a meeting of the estates general. they were effectively rejecting calonnes proposals and so Louis dismisses him in 1787.

·      The clergy was hostile to the new plans to tax the church. The opposition to the reform was led by Brienne, the archbishop of Toulouse.

·      Other Notables were not convinced the situation was bad enough to warrant such extraordinary changes. When Calonne revealed Neckers compte rendu was in error, it only made matter worse. Necker published an attack on Calonne, and the assembly accused Calonne of incompetence and trying to shift the blame onto others.

·      Calonne ignored reasonable. Criticsm of hs reform, and swept aside the legitmate concerns about the land tax voiced by some of the nobles. Calonne said that the notables represented selfishness in order to maintain their privilege. This was wrong as they could have been persuaded to agre to many of their proposals, particularly fair distribution of taxation as they had been influenced by the enlightenment. He proved that he had no liking for parlements. The notables were clearly suspicious and refused to cooperate with Calonne. They saw his behaviour as a prime example of the hated ‘ministerial despotism’ and weren’t prepared to work with him.

·      Under pressure from Marie Antoinette, the king dismissed Calonne.

·      Calonne urged the notables either to agree to the new taxes or to forfeit their exemption to the current ones. Unsurprisingly, the notables refused both plans and turned against Calonne, questioning the validity of his work. He was dismissed shortly thereafter, leaving France’s economic prospects even grimmer than before.

Reasons why the notables rejected Louis XVI’s proposals:

  • 1.     Self-interest to keep their privileges.
  • 2.     Making a principled stand against royal despotism – saw Calonnes behaviour as this and weren’t prepared to work with him.
  • 3.     Blaming Calonne for the problem – his incompetence (due to Neckers inaccurate compte rendu)
  • 4.     Plotting by Marie Antoinette and her clique at court against Calonne – pressure MA forced Louis to dismiss him.
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how far was the monarchy responsible?

royal failures of will and character are not to be dismissed, though they are only of limited significance when weighed against enormous pressures which inevitably destoryed the ancien regime.

CObban sees the failure to reform in terms of the personality of the ruler.louis gives the impression of being one of the most uninterested and uninteresting spectators of his own reign. Doyle also takes the view that failure to support reform was his. 

louis xvi might have had a keep sense of duty to serve god and his people, but he is seen as too shy because of lack of self confidence, too lacking in will to either introduce reform or to support the reforming ministers. he clung to the belief of ruling in divide right at. time when the tide had turned in favour of enlightenment which had sown the seed of doubt on outdated ideas. this shows the impact of the enlightenment because the nobles were only willing to consider reforms, thus ask for an estates general because of the changing attitudes. 

louis was too easily blown off course by pressure groups and factions at court. his lack of self-belief paralysed government, and didnt encourage firm decision making. other historians see louis as intelligent and hard working and not entirely to blame for the slow working of the french government. interestingly enough, louis retained some credibility up to 1789, because blame was pointed at the ministers and advisers who had given him poor counsel/advice. 

louis lack of interest seemed to be confirmed by his reluctance to leave paris and versailles. 

marie antoinette played a large part in undermining the monarchy. she was conceited, flippant and unpopular. selfwilled and impulsive to such an extent that her extravagance became legendary. despite the need for strict economies in court expenditure, she managed gambling debts of half a million in one year and became known as madam defecit. 

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the financial crisis and Brienne

decided to push on with the reform programme, in an attempt to wrest the initiative away from notables and back towards the king - he proposed an end t the venal financial officeholders, established a new central treasury, goes beyond the financial sphere to introduce reforms in other areas that show the influence of enlightened thought, the laws to be codified, the educational system to be reformed, religious toleration, and the army to be reformed. he puts the proposals to the paris parlement for registration, crucially the pp declines, reiterating the point that the nobles made about the estates general. it is now that the weakness and vacillation of louis xvi xomes to the force. he initially acts tough by exiling the parlement in August, but when the move proves unpopular with paris and encouraged popular perception that the royal government was over extending itself and behaving illegally, and other parlements obstructed govt business tand refuse to impose the new taxes the king backs down. he allows the parlement to return to paris, abandons the new taxes, and brienne agrees to call the EG before 1792. this showed that Louis is vulnerable to pressure.

in may 1788, the PP raised the stakes by its proclamation of the fundamental laws of the kingdom. these states that only the EG had the right to vote in taxes, french men couldnt be imprisoned without trial, the king couldnt change privileges and customs of the provinces. these revealed the true agenda of the notables and PP - on the surface they appeared as the defenders of the rights of the whole nation, in reality their stance was a conservative reaction to a reforming monarchy, one that wished to relieve them of their privileges and thus upset the balance of the existing constitution and established social order. for a time the PP were seen as heroes by the bourgeoisie and SCs, but they were exposed as charlatans who had misled the people. in response to the fundamental laws the minister of justice deprived the parlements of their right to register and protest against royal decrees. the response to the move became knwon as the aristocratic revolt. all over france, the nobles met in unauthorised assemblies to discuss action and were supported by an assembly of the clergy. yet there was no popular support for the nobles revolt in paris. however, the financial crisis deepened the treasury was empty and no further loans were available. in August 1788, brienne agreed to summon the EG for MAy 1st 1789. all payments from the treasury was suspended and the govt was bankrupt. brienne resigned, Louis reappointed Necker who declared no action would be taken until the eg meets. 

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Were enlightened ideas important?

the price of published works remained high and it was confined to the well-to-do. the enlightenment was a movement for the educated elite and it wasnt intended to reach the masses. 

if there was an emerging political culture in late 18th century france, it was becoming apparent that the monarchy was losing its legitimacy. 

the enlightenment impact was limited. the philosophes had no agreed coherant programme. they were critics rather than policy makers. the cahiers which listed grievances revealed a lack of commitment to radical change. 

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how important was the revolt of the nobles?

royal authoirty outside of paris appeared to be collapsing. remonstrances poured out from provincial assemblies opposing the judicial changes. the assembly of the clergy joined in the chorus of disapproval and boted only a quarter of the requested don gratuit. pamphlets attacking Brienne and the minister of justice poured from printing presses. historians can find no shortage of evidence of disturbances, many of them fuelled by the privileged. royal officials were intimidated, intendants attacked in britanny. in the day of tiles, royal troops wre pelted with stones and roof slates.

it was all just excitiment. royal troops remained loyal, and there were few serious signs of paris backing for the nobles. the attacks were uncoordinated and sporadic

however collapse was imminent. with tax collection breaking down, and intendants doing nothing about it while feeling abandoned by versailles, confidence in the government had completely disappeared. short term loans dried up, and brienne stopped all payments from the royal treasury, its business couldn't be conducted with no cash flow. the govt was bankrupt.

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Napoleon timeline 1797 - 1815

early career

  • 1797 - treaty of Campo Formio
  • 1798 - second coalition
  • 1799 - Coup of Brumaire

the consulate and early empire

  • 1800 - bank of france is set up, battle of Marengo and Hohenlinden
  • 1801 - concordat with the pope
  • 1802 - piece of amiens
  • 1803 - failed ivasion of England
  • 1804 - code Napoleon, crowned emperor
  • 1805 - Battle of Ulm, Trafalgar and Austerlitz, Napoleon crowned king of Italy
  • 1806 - confederation of the rhine set up, battle of Jena, contenental blockade (until 1813)
  • 1807 - treaty of Tilsit

decline and defeat

  • 1808 - spanish campaign (until 1814)
  • 1809 - battle of Wagram, the pope capture
  • 1810 - Holland annexed
  • 1812 - Russian Campaign 
  • 1812 - Battle of Leipzig
  • 1814 - fall of Paris, Napoleon abdicates
  • 1815 - the hundred days, napoleon in exile to St Helena. 
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Napoleon early life and early career

  • he was born in COrsica, which had only just become French in the year he was born (1769)
  • His cultural heritage was more italian than french
  • he received an excellent education at the expense of the french by attending the ecole militaire in Paris. here he trained as an artillery officer
  • he supported the french revolution and saw the chances that the emigration of so many noble officers would offer him. he saw an opportunity to advance his career and did so.
  • Napoleon was deeply hostile towards the Paris mob and the scale of violence associated with journees
  • in 1793, he seized an opportunity to make a name for himself. Toulon had revolted against the revolution. British and Spanish fleets had been allowed into the ports. napoeon organised the french troops besieging the town, and with clever use of the artillery, forced the enemy fleets to quit. 
  • following this, fame spread quickly, at 24 he was already brigadier general. 
  • after writing a pro-Jacobin pamphlet, he entered Robespierres circle of radical politicians and was appointed an army planner.
  • RObespierres downfall threatened execution of napoleon, however he spent a month in jail and then saved by a corsican who was investigating napoleons case. 
  • following this escape, napoleons career resumed its amazing climb. he planned an invasion of italy, provided cannon fire to disperse royalist rioters, became major-general and married Josephine. 
  • By 1796, Napoleon not only survived but also had achieved a meteoric rise in military and revolutionary society. this scene was set for military glory.
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How effective were Napoleons financial and economi

1. was Napoleon successful in financing his armies?

to 1806, Napoleon financed his armies without resorting to crippling tax action and without suffering from excessive debt and inflation. there was confidence in Napoleons system, which was more efficient at harvesting frances wealth for the treasury. 

  • a central treasury administered and supervised tax officials and prefects.
  • expenditure and income were carefully monitored and recorded
  • a bank of france, which was eventually taken into state control, regulated the money supply.
  • paper money was abandoned in favour of metal currency
  • indirect taxes and custons dues were increased to inject moneny into the treasury. tobacco, alcohol and salt taxes quadrupled.
  • the bourgeoisie supported the government because land taxes remained static and interest was paid on the national debt. he had to keep a high level of taxation because of the costs of war. he kept the land tax inherited from the directory. during the consulate, the tax on personal property was also collected in urban areas. however, this brought in relatively small amounts of revenue and was sometimes more costly to collect than it was worth. other direct taxes, including custons duties and fees for registration and services, also continued as before.
  • plunder from foreign conquests financed the armies, kept prices low and provided employment. this enabled Napoleon to balance the budget. when the plunder from abroad was reduced after 1806, the army began to drain the financial system heavily of funds and taxes rose significantly. by 1810, debt was at an intolerable level and financial ruin threatened the regime. inflation took hold, banks collapsed, firms went bankrupt and unemployment rose. taxes doubled and a bad harvest, in 1811, sent bread prices into an upward spiral. the whole country suffered, but particularly the landed bourgeoisie - they had been mapoleons mainstay. as confidence waned, they deserted him.
  • in 1807, napoleos officials began drawing up a land register to measure the value on land in order to recalculate the land tax. this was not only to make the tax fairer,the compilation of this new register took far longer than expected, and only one fifth of the country had been assessed by 1815. 
  • from 1803, follwoing the elad of Paris, towns and cities could levy an octroi on consumer goods entering their administration. 
  • tax collectors and inspectors were appointed for each department and paid in proportion to the taxes they collected. their tax receipts were passed to receivers who were subject to the inspection of the central government. 
  • in a situation of almost continuous war, any improvement in tax assessment and collection were offset by the cost of maintaining the army and the empire. consequently, the government relied heavily on indirect taxes on a range of goods - as shown above - the tax on slat etc. quadrupled, which hit hard at the working class. 
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How effective were Napoleons financial and economi

did the french economy enter a period of sustained growth under Napoleon?

generally speaking, the economy did not grow. there were exceptions, but the sustained growth in the economy, which is associated with the agricultural, industrial, and transport revolution in britain didnt happen in france. the population only grew slowly. the brith rate was falling, as people had smaller families. this was partly because of the wars, which robbed France of young men. High casualties after the russian campaign, robbed the country of around one third of that generation who were in their early 20's. without population growth, agriculture and industry changed very little. capital was in short supply, the technology was backwards. food production increased up to about 1811 - there were good harvests and strong prices - but farming techniques remained old-fashioned. increases in output were caused by more acreage being used for growing food. poor communications meant that the huge market for french goods created by the continental system could not be tapped. france remained a largely pre industrial state - small scale and cottage based. Althoughh 12k workers were employed in the cotton spinning in paris in 1807, few of them worked in factories. mechanisation had a long way to go. there were technical advances in the chemical industry, but this was the exception. Napoelonic warfare did stimulate iron production, but techniques were out of date, with charcoal still being used for smelting. this was the more tupic picture of french industry. industrial wages declined and usually fell below rising prices and taxes. 

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How effective were Napoleons financial and economi

what effect did the continental system have on France?

it caused economic distruption, not only to its intended victim but also to france. it proved impossible to enforce and smuggling was commonplace, even officials took part. the french navy had been fatally weakened after the battle of trafalgar (1805) and, as french troops were required else-where, the ban on british goods was continually being breached. 

whilst british economy was able to withstand the strain, there is no doubt that considerable distress was caused. by 1810, britain's balance of payments was suffering. exports had declined and Britain was short of gold to pay for imports. In france, the atlantic trading areas as well as the shipbuilding industry were badly hit. the linen industry of the north was ruined. however other areas benefited. Strasbourg and MArsailles developed their trade with Germany, Italy etc. Luxury goods developed in PAris and Lyons. 

the system gave french industrialists a huge protected market. Conquered peoples were forced to buy french goods at inflated prices. Nevertheless, demand did not increase significantly. Alsace and Belgium did well, but elsewhere the advantages were indignificant. 

in the final analysis, Napoleons attempts to extend the continental system proved catastrophic. this was partly the motives behind the invasion of Spain and Russia, two campaigns which cost france dear. furthermore, the resentment which it caused throught the empire contributed to the growith of nationalism and opposition. there was little wonder the empire collapsed so rapidly. the continental system had proven to be a liability.

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financial and economic policies a complete disaste

war - expese of peacetime industry and investment. labour was lost to the army which reduced internal demand.this also negatively finances - drain the financial system heavily of funds and taxes rose signifcantly. the tax on tobacco and salt quadrupled. by 1810 - debt was at an intolerable level and financial ruin threatened the regime. inflation took hold, banks collapsed, firms went bankrupt. taxes doubled and a bad harvest in 1811 sent bread prices into an upward spiral. real wages decline, unemployment - less consumerism. this was a complete disaster because he wanted france to become an industrial nation in order to rival Britain, this wouldnt work when people weren't willing to invest, and people wouldn't buy. napoleon paid for his wars through tightening taxation, conscripting soldiers at low wages, taking out loans and selling land. however, this was a disaster because he never provided sufficient income to meet its own expenses e.g. sale of louisiana. 

why france didnt industrialise - industrial work remained unattractive since workers were restrained by the livret. there was a ban on trade unions and living conditions were poor. joining the army was a more attractive proposition and the mass of the population was still tied to farming. agriculture remained the largest sector of the french economy and here thepicture was mixed.

agriculture - some regions saw major improvements as new large landowners developed their estates and agricultural associations were established to share ideas on new crops, animal breeding and scientific farming. however the majoirty of france remained in the hands of peasant proprietors who could barely support their own needs . the division of farms between surviving sons, supported by the new civil code, exacerbated the problems. elsewhere, tenant farmers were often reluctant to make improvements for fear of rent increases. the government tried to encourage the growth of replacement crops such as ccotton, coffee, tobacco and sugar, so as to avoid the dependence on colonial production which was disrupted by war. prefects were ordered to ensure certain amount of land was set aside for these. in 1813, the import of sugar cane was prohibited to stimulate the hom sugar beet industry. despite the fact that targets were not met, this policy had some effect, although the results werent felt until after 1815. there were also some good harvests which helped the feeling of prosperity, althoughconditions became less promising after 1809. 

war and trade - the continental blockade up to 1813 - had an adverse effect on trade. ports and industrial cities in the west were badly hit, but where the blockade from britain was less tight, they suffered less. napoleon aimed to beat britain by introducing a continental blockade in 1806 - 1807. this banned all of french trade with britain and insisted that french allies do thesame. he hoped at the same time as forcing peace on britain, french trade and production would increase to fill the gap. this was a complete disaster because the french navys hold on the coastlines of europe wasn't strong enough to enforce it. also, smuggling thrived despite the tripling of customs officials under napoleons rule. it was also a disaster because sometimes the officials, gedarmes and soldiers responsible for enforcing the system indulged in illegal practices. similaly, british counter action affected french producers, depriving them of raw materials. colonial and wine trades were hit hard and british supplied goods e.g. sugar were in short supply. it was such a disaster that he was forced to allow some licensed trade from 1810 to offset french decline in customs receipts. britain continued trading with America so it was never really 'brought to its knees' like napoleon had hoped. however war did stimulate the production of armaments and other military supplies, but this came at the expense of peacetime industry and investment. 

on the other hand it wasn't a complete disaster because Chaptals polcies included many ways to stabilise the economic sector. he established a Bureau of stats to gather data on population and condition of agriculture, commerce and industry, and the formation of industry societies offered prizes, published newsletters and help exhibitions of products which encouraged the increase in mechanisation and technical innovation. howeverthis benefited the bourgeoisie more as Nap was more interested in luxury goods, and chaptals direction was lost when he stepped down. france did see industrial advancement - 1811 - 1812 the wool industry inicreased yield by 400%, and silk value rose from 26millio to 64million. 

money suplply - he declared that the only legal tender would be metal coinage, and in 1800 he established the bank of france in order to provide an nstitution that could provide credit for govt and entrepreneurs. its main purpose was to control a national currency of gold and silver coins, and its control and responsible behaviour were a considerable boost to the french economy and it made sure nap could raise loans at reasonable interest. 

despite these few improvements, it is likely that the policies were a complete disaster because in a situation of continuous war, any improvements in the financial sector were offset by the cost of maintaining the army and empire. 

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the constitutional monarchy

the declaration of the rights of man and the citizen in august 1789 set the tone for the work of the constituent assembly. it was clearly heavily influenced by the 1776 american declaration of independence. it was a statement of intent that the government of the anicen regime was over. in the new france the governent would be accountable and citizens would have their rights enshrined in law. this would guarantee essential political rights such as freedom of expression and association crucial if france were to develop a constiutional monarchy. 

Louis and the march to versailles - he was clearly unhappy at the changes that were taking place, yet his indecisiveness during the storming of the bastille and subsequent visit to paris meant that the army was unreliable and couldnt be called upon. in a letter to a archbishop on 5th august said he would 'never consent to the spoilation of my clergy and of my nobility' - this commitment to the privileged orders was ill judged in his new role as constituional monarch and accountable to the people not god. his position and ultimately his survival depended on a working relationship with the assembly. ironically it was the lack of cooperation of the assembly of notables which had forced the calling of the estates general and placed him in a revolutionary situation. now louis was underming his own position by his misplaced sense of loyalty to them this is a clear example of Louis lack of political accumen and an instinct for survival. 

he thus adopted a policy of non - cooperation - he refused to pass the august decrees and declaration of rights. however, the new assembly as property holders were desperate for the constitutional monarchy to work. their property rights depended on a france that had stability and order. their ideas for a new constitution reflected this. it required a strong executive - through accountable to the nations most important subjects - with authoirty to keep the more radical elements in check. this is shown in the fact that they accepted Louis to have a suspensory veto to be able to delay the laws for up to 4 years. there was no chance of a republic as the assembly declared the kings person is invoilable and sacred. louis would appoint ministers but they would be answerable to the assembly. legislative powers would reside in the assembly.

the march to versailles secured the revolution. with news that at.a banquet an officer had trampled on the revolutionary cockade, which was interpreted as being indicative of the counter revolutionary views influencing the king at versailles, it spread concerns that a military plot may be concocted to destroy the revolution. rev pamphlets and newspapers produced by political leaders such as marat - l ami du people and hebert had been agitating for the king to be brought back to paris, where he would be close to his people, understanding their problems and be away from the 'evil' counsellors at versailles. paris was suffering food shortages and women couldnt feed their families, so on october 5th, a crowd of women, spontaneously and consisting of a range of social classes marched to versailles with the intent of bringing the king back to paris. the 6k women were accompanied by national guards under the comman of lafayette whose concern was that the events would get out of hand. the king accepted the dec of rights and august decrees. here the women were loyal to the king, believing he would listen to the peoples demands if he could be prised away from the reactionaries at court. their attitude to MA was completely different - she was well established as the scape goat for the nations problem. on the next day the royal family was escorted back to paris where they took up residence in the tuilleries palace. 

this was a significant turning point because it saved the revolution from the threat of counter revolution as it detached louis from his hardline advisers and army leaders around hi at versailles. in paris, the revolutionaries had control of the kings person. in the interest of his safety, it was unlikely that a military strike would be launched on paris. louis didnt see the actions of the october days as being fundementally loyal - he saw himself as an unwilling prisoner of the mob. he felt he wasn't bound by any concessions he had made to the assembly, meant he wasn't likely to commit hiself to the role of the constitutional monarch. when the deputies of the assembly followed louis to paris, many of the more moderate members felt equally intimidated by the potential threat of crowd action. they believed that the often hysterical atmosphere of paris would make it hard to strike a compromise with Louis. the more radical deputies saw the opportunity to build an alliance with the mob who could drive the revolution forward. they wouldn't hesitate to use the threat of mob violence to obtain their political objectives.

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constitutional reforms

financial - abolition of indirect taxes - salt tax. expropriation of church lands and their sale to increase revenues. new taxation system in 1791 - land tax.

economic - abolition of internal customs to create a national market. lw chapelier law forbids unions and employer organisationss. 

justice - unified system of laws established. more humane penal code.

religious 1789 - abolition of tithes, annates and pluralism as well as the old corporate privileges of the church. civil rights given to protestants and extended to jews. established the principle of religious toleration. 

1790 - decrees supressing the monastic orders who didnt work among the community, civil constitution of the clergy - brought about conflict within the clergy and ultimately make religion and the position of the catholic church in french society, a key battleground of the revolution. it centred on the reorganisation of the church dioceses to correspond with the new administrative departments. this reduced the number of bishops from 135 - 83. it also eliminated all ecclesiastical posts between bishops and priests. as it would remove so many church officials from their position, there was much opposition to the proposals from those likely to be effected. it now proposed that all members of the clergy be elected to their posts. the pope lost the right to confirm new bishops further undermining the traditional obedience of the french church to rome. all new clergy had to reside in their parish to eliminate pluralism. 

ironically, the assembly was trying to defend the church, reforming it of those abuses that had led to increased criticism and development, particularly among sans culottes of anti clericalism. if the assembly allowed more time for consultation, it is possible for compromises to be reached, but they refused the right for the church to call a national synod to discuss the issue. this was done because allowinf it, the church would have been seen as a privileged order. in november - the church members were required to take an oath of loyalty to the constitution which turned many clergy into oppen the opponenets. only 2 bishops and a third of the clergy took the oath in the assembly. in the rest of france only 55% of the clergy followed suit. furthermore, when the pope condemned the CCC in 1791, many of the clergy retracted their oath accepting their ultimate obedience to the pope, as fear of eternal damnation proved more convincing than loyalty to the revolution. 

the growing counter revolutioanry sentiment - a belief that the revolution is going too far and spiralling out of control is given an emotive issue which will provide it with mass support. in strong catholic areas incluidng the west, few clergy took the oath, the peasants were prepared to follow these natural leaders - so turned a number of peasants against the revolution. many villages complained to the assmebly about religious changes. there was a large level of discontent growing that had previously only been felt by a few royalists and emigres. as anger mounted through other measures - such as conscription - open revolts against the assembly broke out in 1793 - vendee. 

unfortunately for the church, prior to the revolution, many philosophers and much enlightened thought directly associated religion with superstition. this maintained that royal despotism had been fostered by the church. once a dispute amounted between assembly and clergy, the church was immediately identified as resistent to change and counter revolutionary. this wasnt a fair assessment, but it quickly took hold in the minds of those who supported the revolution. the church continued to be a key political issue. 

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Napoleon and centralised control

a police state

prefects - collecting taxes efficiently, conscripttion enforcement poperly, eyes, ear and voice of central government in the provinces. they reported on opposition to napoleon, controlled consorship and propaganda.  they spied on people who might be politically dangerous and submit reports on them, spread propaganda, increase commerce and trade. they were local administrators who were expected to carry out government wishes to the letter. napoleon took a personal interest in these appointments, advancing men of talent who had proved themselves capable administrators. it was a good way to heal divisions. came from all shades of the politcal spectrum - pre 1789 nobles, middle class, military.

fouche - the police had formidable powers. they spied on individuals who were regarded as rebellious, searched for deserters, supervised prisons, acted as censors, constant intellegence about the public. send daily reports to napoleon. he didnt rely on these exclusively, he also had his own network of spies too. 

anyone caught could expect strict treatment from a reorganised legal system. special new courts were set up. tribunals for political crimes, on which mags for public security sat. military courts dealt with terrorists. in 1810, the government increased its powers still further by reintroducing imprisonment without trial. house arrest was used regulaly, but surveillance produced the desired result - opposition had been quitened. in 1814, only 2500 people were in prios for political crimes. judges, although appointed for life were closely supervised. the civil code of 1804 fixed the confusion of french law, which differed in the north and the south. the unified system was more repressive and les sliberal. 

less equality, especially for women. legal codes asserted male rights, in marriage and property. husbands and fathers had their control over family enshrined in law. wives who strayed faced jail. workmen need a livret to work, which allowed for close police control oer workers. 

napoleon attempted to build stability and a strict frame-work of order, obedience and social control. codifying laws - commercial, criminal and penal codes were published. napoleon knew his main supporters were property owners. - support of the bourgeoisie by legally transferring property titles to those who had boought the biens nationaux. they turned the clock back to the pre revolutionary days of hard labour and harsh punishment. the liberal days of the revolution were clearly over.

these signala were reinforced by the use of censorship. the government kept a firm hold of papers, books, theatres, artists and information. the govt controlled the issuing of news by ensuring its own version were published. official bullitins many written by napoleon and his ministers, came out in le moniteur. 

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success of military affairs before 1808

his victories until 1808 got him a great military reputation, which he based his right of authoirty over france on.

success based on - 

  • the armies he inherited - napoleons grand armee - french army had changed a lot since the start of the revolutionary wars in 1793. napoleon would reap the benefit. france had become a nation in arms. the levee en masse act had produced a citizen army of an unprecedented scale - making use of frances large population. 1 million men was in the army defending la patrie, from foreign invaders - with superior numbers they had a lead over their enemies. the motivation of these patriots made a real difference. gone were the mercinary armies fighting to be paid, who made a poor fighting force. they weren't slow lumbering armies. they fought to defend the liberties won in the revolution. it was a peoples war, based on the concept of the nation in ars. similarly, the large population of 28 million, gave napoleon reserves which would sustain years of warfare. this number was even larger when recruits from annexed and satellite states are included - however the motivation of these wasn't the same, suggesting why napoleon ended in failure as he became increasingly dependent on them. the desertion of the royalist officers meant that promotion was now open to men of real ability - meritocratic - stark contrast to soldiers who fought for other great powers. weren't commited to sovereigns. Prussia army at battle of jena - purely professional with officers of the aristocracy. french commanders were far younger - napoleon himslef said that shouldnt be over 40. number of young successful general such as Murat. commanders of other armies were much older - duke of brunswick was 71, prussian commander. system of military education - ecole militaires in 1751 under louis xv. well educated, competent and understnd functions of all part of the armed forces - napoleons education was an example of this. armies had tactics that were decisive on the battle field. mixed order. flexible, speed of movement, disorientated their enemies. the corps-d'armee. each corps were designed to be a complete army in itself act indepently - split up forces. live off land - werent held back by supply wagons. 
  • napoleon as a military leader - he had avidly read about previous military commanders, and had a list of the top commanders of all time included julius ceasar and cromwe;;/he analysed them and learnt lessons from their strategies and tactics. showed he was a deep thinkers, but had the capacity to put this thought into action, made himself into an innovative general. he took sole control of military affairs which gave direction and purspose t french campaigns. however this could have been a problem if anyhting happened to him - forced to leave his troops at end of moscow campaign, to rush back to paris to stave off a political coup. this left the army without an effective head. the reason why france was successful before 1808 is because they didnt have this problem, suggesting it was more luck for the reason why they were successful - weakness of enemies, control at home. he had a good relationship with his officers and men. he was the little corporal and they trusted him. he had never failed to put himself on the front lines with his soldiers sharing their dangers. this gained the respect, confidence and loyalty of his men.heroic general - brought glorious victories - legend of invincability. the army enjoyed its special status. propaganda - encourage his men through the bullitens. stress on napoleons leadership. he had acquired a reputation as a genious. sheer force of personality. speeches and bullitens, appearing to share his mens privations. took pains to ensure his troops were well fed, paid and supplied.   he was representative of the ideals of ‘equality’ and ‘fraternity’ that permeated the Revolution; so different to the haughty aristocratic officers that permeated the armies of Europe.  he tried to keep his opposition guessing and confused. he would use his reserve to make swift attacks. however, his reputation as a tactician and general isnt entirely desrved. it has been noted that he wasn't an innovator. he made numerous errors. his planning was often inadequate and his army lacked system and discipline. in many cases living off the land left them badly supplied. he often threw hunger, exhausted men into battles. training and weaponary developed very little, and he made mistakes because of his inadequate understanding of the weather or geography. speed of movement, he would hold back reserve forces analyse the progress of the battle and throw the in at a decisive moment to secure victory. and he was aware of the need to pursue a defeated enemy. after jena, he didnt afford the prussians any respite and had soon occupied berlin. he had the benefit of having military and political powers. this meant he had control of the resources of the state which could be thrown into the war effort. domestic reform strengthened his control. military expenditure was enormous. conquered territories were exploited to make the army self-sufficient. troops quatered on annexed or occupied lands. 
  • luck (ie. enemies weaknesses) - he faced generals of little capability before 1808. even when exposed to dangers, he beneffited fom the divisions and weaknesses of his opponents. this allowed him to improvise when his poor planning was shown. the enemies continued to deploy men inn long lines, who didnt show their initiatie so their tactics became predicable. furthermore, they were led by undynamic officers who were only in their position due to social status - promotion wasn't based on merit. and they were much older. he faced great coalitions who were determined to destroy him and ensure he didnt continue to dominate europe. britain, russia, prussia and austria were all participants in the coalition against napoleon. however their was mutual suspicions and jelousies between the great powers which meant that it was hard to stay together,, even though they were being funded by britain. they were also fighting for different reasons. napoleon exploited these differences, always prepared to make peaces attractive to individual powers to seperate them from their allies. the second and third coalitions broke up because individual members made peace. 
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conquests under the consulate

battle of marengo - highlights napoleons tactical use of reserved troops - against austria in 1800 - looked set to loose as they were outnumbered and exhausted but the reserve troops allowed them to win. 

battle of jena - highlights the enemies weakness (regarding army) - purely professional with aristocratic commanders - defeated by France in 1806. 

Austria and Drance signed the treaty of pressburg in dec 1805 - highlights the weakness of the enemy - breaking up because individual members made peace - this cleared the way for the creation of confederation of rhune. 

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conquests under the consulate

battle of marengo - highlights napoleons tactical use of reserved troops - against austria in 1800 - looked set to loose as they were outnumbered and exhausted but the reserve troops allowed them to win. 

battle of jena - highlights the enemies weakness (regarding army) - purely professional with aristocratic commanders - defeated by France in 1806. 

Austria and Drance signed the treaty of pressburg in dec 1805 - highlights the weakness of the enemy - breaking up because individual members made peace - this cleared the way for the creation of confederation of rhune.  - also shows napoleons military genious - looked unbeatable - austria was left with no lands in italy and germanly at all. 

treaty of tilsit 1807 - showed napoleons military power - he charmed the tsar of russia and they joined forces and became allies, the third coalition was shattered. purssia was abandoned and left powerless. 

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reasons for the empire.

many of the reasons thaat napoleon gave were while he was on St helena, this maes the claims less valuable as he sought to deflect those attacks which portrayed him as a dictator who exploited other states to serve the wartime demands of europe, so he wanted to portray him positively. 

l'agglomeration - bring the people of europe together . hep to unify each national group in their own country so they could share their common language, culture and traditions. this means he would say he was exporting the vitues of the french experience  on the rest of europe.

- sweeping away the ancien regime, attacking tradition and privilege, and concentrating power in the hands of a more efficient, centralising administration. an attempt to modernise the state, serfdom and feudalism abolished and the law would be reformed to guarantee liberty and equality. only in these ways could the happiness of the greatest number be restored. utlilitarian principle - greatest happiness of the greatest number - efficiency administration.

cynical self glorification. emphasises ambitions, desire for personal flory and his obsession with power to ensure his name would live on after his death. likely to be important. as he won victory after victory, he saw his empire knew no bounds. he saw himself as the next charlemagne, this can be seen in his title of king of rome which gave connection to the holy roman empire, he had inherited his mantle and that he wished to exopand on charlemagnes authoirtya cycle ofheroic legends and romances developed around him. 

the creation of a dynasty - louis bonaparte - holland and spain for joseph from 1808.  for family and relatives - assume they would form a loyal base of support across europe, although his letters at the time complained they weren't fulfilling their obligations. given the trouble that napoleon went to over the divorce, the birth of a son was an important milestone. it may have contributed to his decision to annex and absorb into france a number of territories after 1810. 

it can also be seen to increase his support from his people, as it provided estates for those who were due to receive imperial honours. as there was little land left in france, territories such as the grand duchy of warsaw could be used to reward the imperial nobility. 

practicle considerations - satellite states supported frances military conquests. they sustained campaigns for even more conquests. satellite states were expected to send men - eventually provided one third of the grand armee,supplies, cash as well as quarters for the army stationed there. they provided a buffer zone around france, protecting the motherland frontiers. satellite states were also a crucial part of the continental blockade against britain. the more complete the blockade, the more chance of bringing britain to its knees. - it was crucial to the effectiveness of the continental system. 

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how effectively did nap control the empire

in terms of military supplies, the empire supplied the grand armee with men, resources, money throughout the campaigns. taxation and conscription were despised and maintained with force. small groups of people, probably urban and bourgoeis were content to back the french but they were exceptions. annexed territories did adopt french law and administration. elsewhere, amonf the satellite state states, the picture was patchy. napoleon found he could not rely on his relatives to control the sattelite states. louis in holland resisted all attempts to be ruthless. conscription wasn't introduced, some self government was allowed and the contental blockade was never fully imposed. hollands trade was hit badly by the continental system and the authoirties took a relaxed attitude to any trade with britain. hence, in 1810, he was forced to abdicate. in spain, joseph was never in control, and proved incapable of overcoming spanish opposition and the british military. no reforms were put into place. the penninsular way had a significant impact on draining napoleon of valuable men and gold - costly - had to send some corps to help joseph. in naples, there was continued resistance, which undermined reform, the administration could not introduce code napoleon and the continental system was completely ineffective. 

if napoleo aimed to introduce liberty and equality before the law, as well as abolish feudalism, he succeeded in some places but failed in others. in some places, his activities had undesired consequences, the spirit of national resistence which galvanised france after 1793, in defence of la patrie begin to spark life. this time it was aimed against the french. particularly so in germany. he wanted his grand empire to share the french experience. this meant destorying privilege, applying the nap codes and oncentrating power in the hands of an efficient, centralising administration. wherever the empire was established, there followed an imperial bureucracy of prefects, sub prefect, tax collectors gendarmes. in the territories that had become part of wider france, departments were carved out and the administration system was fully integrated into the system centred on paris. it was dependent on finding suitable men to make hem function effectively. napoleon called on a mixture of men from the incorporated territories, who were thus given a stake in the regime, and professional french officers. sometimes he deliberately appointed men who had been disgraced in paris to get them out of the way. for the most part it was effectively run. a gendarmerie was also set up which reinforced the power and authority of the central government in even the most remote parts of naps large and disparate empire. a gendarmerie was essential to establish control over those who opposed french rule and in the policing of lawless areas, such as parts of the rhineland, which were known for smuggling and banditary. they prived very effective in the directly controlled territories but in souther italy and north german coast the concept was never well accepted. they resented the imposition of a parliamentary police force, regarding it as oppressive an unnecessary. all attempts to create a gendarmerie in spain failed. administration was very centralised. he insisted the rulers should report regularly and refer all major decisions to him. documents ranging from minutes of meetings to copies of budgetary statements were sent to paris, which caused substantial delas when authorisation was sought. the french passion for regulation may have smothered independent initiative and stifled the aspiration of some of the empires subject peoples.

- exploited the empire to the maintenance and upkeep of the french armies - extra soldiers - 1/3 grand armee, provided supplies cash and quarters - troops stayed in civilian housing on the local populace. in order to keep cost of war off the french, whose discontent could lead to the overthrow of his regime, he had little alternaitve to place the burden on the empire. this created hardship and huge amounts of hostility. the policy of france first and they paid heavilit for the privilege of french pritection. the removal of privilege, dismantlin of the guild system and internal custom barries, combined with a rigorous tax collection system were intended to maximise revenue that could be squeezed out of the satellite states. war made the successful financial management of the satellite states more difficult, napoleon was more concerned with their contribution to the french budget than self sufficiency. 

- continental blockade - the berlin and milan decrees 1806/07 which forbade all states under french control from buying british goods, and the capture of neutral ships from british ports. it meant that british and the empires goods were excluded and siezed.this laid behind many of the problems napoleon faced agyer 1808 in the empire. tea, coffee, sugar and tobacco became almost unobtainable due to the expense for the common people, and this provoked complaints and uprisings. the treaty of tilsit brought austria, russia and others into the blockade. this brought hardship for the common peoples as french manufactuirng was unable to fill the void that the blockade left. non-french manufactuirng centres suffered. the silk industry of piedmont rapidly declined as all raw silk went to france and the impact on commerce and manufacturing centres economy was catastrophic. this meant they had to buy goods at inflated prices, and as the decline in industry meant many would be unemployed or reduced wages, it led to the fall in real wages, which increased discontent. however, not all areas suffered, others such as the unner empire which was the annexed states did well. belgium took advantage of the ban and their testile industry boomed, and mining did well in the rhineland and the confederation of the rhine, 1806 helped to integrate the economies which made it more cohesive and the people prospered. similarly, napoleonic policies didnt affect agriculture as much.

-continental point 2 -  the absence of overseas trade meant that there were insufficient markets given that manufactured goods had to be sold within continental markets caused hardship because manufacturing industry over produced which brought a collapse in prices, and this slump aggrivated by a bad harvest. it cannot be said that napoleon caused all the problems in the economy. other factors, particularly british industry supremecy had already challenged continental europe before napoleon. also, since europe wa primarily a rural economic area with localised markets, policies werent felt everywhere. furthermore, napoleon failed to have a tight grip on continental europe which meant that it didn't cause as much hardship. nevertheless, in some areas, constant financial drain coupled with disruption to trade caused considerable hardship among the common people . 

at the same time as economic ruin, napoleons social policies caused hardship for the common people. the changes to the church through the application of 1801 concordat caused hardship among the rural peasants who were very religious. they felt threatened by the challenges napoleon posed to the church, for example getting rid of religious festivals and saints days, this can be seen to cause hardship because it inspired spain risings in 1808 and various popular disturbances in 1809. on the other hand, socially it can be seen napoleon improved the lives of the common people - he brought an attack on feudal privilege, fiscal structures were harmonied and tax exemptions disappeared.and the napoleonic code brought legal equality. for example, in the grand duchy of warsaw in 1807. however, the benefit of thiese social changes were offset by military conscription. by being made to fight for a cause they weren't invested in, it created hostility and provoked peasant revellions. for example, after 1808, there was growing discontent in more rural and less developed areas pf europe. 

a reason why the view may be less valid is that not all of napoleons relatives carried out his orders. this meant that the hardships were reduced. in Holland, for example, Louis resisted all attempts to be ruthless, and conscription wasn't introduced, and in Naples, as a result of the resistence from the people, this undermined reform, they couldnt introduce code napoleon and the continental blockade was completely ineffective. 

to conclude, whilst the middle classes benefited from the new liberal nationalist ideals, for the common people, any reforms were instituted were made redundant as they were still under foreign dominance and subject to a system of rule in which they had little choice, so while opportunities opended up for some, for others, life often seemed worse meaning that it caused more hardship for the common people. 

128 of 138

political clubs

they began to form soon after the estates general in 1789. 

the jacobin club originated in the meetings of the radical Breton. they debated measures that were to come up before the assembly. membership required a high enterence fee so were from the wealthier sections of society. up to summer of 1791, the dominant members of the club were liberal committed to the constitutional monarchy. the kings flight to barennes changed attitudes.. robespierre emerged as a leader of a minoirty group of radical jacobins. a national newtwork grew - 900 by 1791. 

the cordeliers club founded in 1790 was more radical than the jacobins. they didnt believe in the distinction betweenn active and passive citizens and it followed a policy of unrestricted admission to membership. supported measures favoured by the SCs, direct democracy, the recall of deputies to account for their actions, the right of insurrection. support of sans culottes but bourgeois leaders - danton, desmoulins.marat was a member and attacked all who had privilege in his newspaper LAmi du peuple. he was very popular among the sans culottes and soon became the chief spokesman of the popular movement. an ability to communicate easily with the sans culottes would become increasingly important as the political potential of the revolutionary journee. men such as marat, robespierre, danton and hebert were all to be effective and not afraid to exploit the revolutionary potential of the crowd for political and personal ends. 

the cordeliers club led in the winter of 1790/1 to the formation of many popular and friendly societies. they were soon found in every paris district and in several provincial towns. i 1791, the cordeliers club and poplar societies formed a federation and elected a central committee. members of th epopular societies were draw from the liberal porfessional, officials, skilled artisans and shopkeepers. labourers raily joined as they didnt have the time nor resources to participate in politics. the political clubs and popular societies were very important as they filled the function that political parties didnt - keeping the people informed on all major issues. supporting the election of sympathetic candidates. acting as pressure groups to act on reluctant deputies in the assembly. 

the sans culottes - they cannot be defined as a class, as their numbers contained artisans, master craftsmen and wage earners and the unemployed. they were resonsible for the attack on the bastille, bringing the royal family back to paris after the october days, yet they received few rewards in political or economic terms, given that most of the bourgeois deputies were afraid to euther hand them too much political power oe inrwefere in the new free market economy. the sans culottes were passive citizens who werent allowed the vote, and there was much suffering due to the continued inflation - made worse by govt printing of assignats.there was a wave of strikes by workers in early 1791 complaining about the fall in the real value of wages, grain prices had risen by 50% following a poor harvest. hunger politics can be seen to fuel violent action which could be turned to political value by sympathetic and ambitious bourgeoisie politicans. riots force shopkeeper to reduce their prices, and the workers discontent was used by the popular societies and groups in the assembly to demand further political changes. this was to lead to splits emerging amonf the deputies to the assembly. it made the revolution more radical in ways the bourgeois leaders of 1789 had neither intended or desired. 

peasant risings 1790 - 1792 - there was much anger in the countryside that the harvest dues hadnt been abolished outright. as a reuslt rural revolt began in 1790 in brittany, central france and the south east which lasted until 1792. peasants fized grain prices, called for the sale of biens in small lots so they could afford a share, and there were attacks on the chateaux of the old seigneurs. 

129 of 138

political clubs

they began to form soon after the estates general in 1789. 

the jacobin club originated in the meetings of the radical Breton. they debated measures that were to come up before the assembly. membership required a high enterence fee so were from the wealthier sections of society. up to summer of 1791, the dominant members of the club were liberal committed to the constitutional monarchy. the kings flight to barennes changed attitudes.. robespierre emerged as a leader of a minoirty group of radical jacobins. a national newtwork grew - 900 by 1791. 

the cordeliers club founded in 1790 was more radical than the jacobins. they didnt believe in the distinction betweenn active and passive citizens and it followed a policy of unrestricted admission to membership. supported measures favoured by the SCs, direct democracy, the recall of deputies to account for their actions, the right of insurrection. support of sans culottes but bourgeois leaders - danton, desmoulins.marat was a member and attacked all who had privilege in his newspaper LAmi du peuple. he was very popular among the sans culottes and soon became the chief spokesman of the popular movement. an ability to communicate easily with the sans culottes would become increasingly important as the political potential of the revolutionary journee. men such as marat, robespierre, danton and hebert were all to be effective and not afraid to exploit the revolutionary potential of the crowd for political and personal ends. 

the cordeliers club led in the winter of 1790/1 to the formation of many popular and friendly societies. they were soon found in every paris district and in several provincial towns. i 1791, the cordeliers club and poplar societies formed a federation and elected a central committee. members of th epopular societies were draw from the liberal porfessional, officials, skilled artisans and shopkeepers. labourers raily joined as they didnt have the time nor resources to participate in politics. the political clubs and popular societies were very important as they filled the function that political parties didnt - keeping the people informed on all major issues. supporting the election of sympathetic candidates. acting as pressure groups to act on reluctant deputies in the assembly. 

the sans culottes - they cannot be defined as a class, as their numbers contained artisans, master craftsmen and wage earners and the unemployed. they were resonsible for the attack on the bastille, bringing the royal family back to paris after the october days, yet they received few rewards in political or economic terms, given that most of the bourgeois deputies were afraid to euther hand them too much political power oe inrwefere in the new free market economy. the sans culottes were passive citizens who werent allowed the vote, and there was much suffering due to the continued inflation - made worse by govt printing of assignats.there was a wave of strikes by workers in early 1791 complaining about the fall in the real value of wages, grain prices had risen by 50% following a poor harvest. hunger politics can be seen to fuel violent action which could be turned to political value by sympathetic and ambitious bourgeoisie politicans. riots force shopkeeper to reduce their prices, and the workers discontent was used by the popular societies and groups in the assembly to demand further political changes. this was to lead to splits emerging amonf the deputies to the assembly. it made the revolution more radical in ways the bourgeois leaders of 1789 had neither intended or desired. 

the poltiical clubs wer einfluential because of the memebrship, which ranged from prominent members of the assembly to humble parisian workers, and because of the ideas emerging from them. they provided the platform for propaganda and often delivered their views in forms of petitions to the assembly. this allowed them to influence decisions. they produced revolutionary pamphlets which reached out to the ordinary people through public readings, and spread around cafes etc. the thee dominant journalists:

desmoulins - low cost nation widepaper which strongly attacked the monarchy. 

Marat - lAmi Du peuple - a poular and influential paper among the working people of paris. 

hebert - a humerous and course publication popular with the workers but with a cult following among the higher classes who wanted to be seen as true to the revolution. 

by 1791, authoirty in france was fragmented. executive power remained with the king but royal authoirty was continously underminds by the assembly, which itself were divided politically. lafayet and the paris mayor both had influence in the capital. the paris commune was also influential which was under the control of the sections, established in 1790 as electoral districts, some of which were quite radical. in the ocuntry, disorder continued and the only form of authoirty was the use of force. 

peasant risings 1790 - 1792 - there was much anger in the countryside that the harvest dues hadnt been abolished outright. as a reuslt rural revolt began in 1790 in brittany, central france and the south east which lasted until 1792. peasants fized grain prices, called for the sale of biens in small lots so they could afford a share, and there were attacks on the chateaux of the old seigneurs. 

130 of 138

the progress of war and levee en masse

at the same time as the republic was trying to prapple with the revolt in the vendee and federalist revolut mron march/ june 1793, france military situation continued to deteriorate. the defeats increased sense of fear and urgency among the parisian sans culottes. they demanded that the people be given the opportunity to rise up against their enemies and demanded retribution on the military generals who had betrayed their peoples trust. this led to the levee en masse decree by the CPS, in august 1793. this ordered all french people are on permanent requisition for the services of the armies. all men between 18-25 would be on immediate military service. married men were to forge weapons and transport supplies. women were to make tents and serve in hospitals, children were to shred old linent for lint. the old were to preech hatred of kings and unity of the republic. 

the decision to call only on young men was tactical. france was in more need of weapons and supplies than for fighters. a new manufacturing process was developed to increase the supply of gunpowder and factories and workshops around the country were issued with manuals on how to manufacture steel. everywhere, materials were requisitioned, foodstuffs and animals re-allocated and recruitment and training stepped up. france had over a million men in arms by 1794 and its 14 armies were well trained and supplied. discipline was also tightened and the representants-en-mission saw to it that morale was kept high and troops and generals remained loyal. carnot and saint just made it their business to replace aristocatic generals, or those associated with the ancien regime with new youngercommanders who were totally commited to te revolution. this gave france an advantage over the enemy. a total of 17 general executed in 1793. examples of the replacements include hiche and pichegru. the distinction between the regulars and volunteers also disappeared and the white uniform was replaced by the blue one. under carnot, the armies were placed on the offensive and the situation bean to improve. under this, three austrian regiments were distroyed which gave a tremendous psychological boost to the country. by the end of 1793, thanks to the lack of coordination of the first coalition, but also the war effort within france, foreign invaders were forced back, leaving french military in the ascendant. 

131 of 138

the sans culottes

the power of the sans culottes was a product of the war. they had stormed the bastille and brought the king to paris in the october days. following that the bourgeois national guard had kept them under control - e.g. champ de mars. the opportunity for the sans culottes came with the opening of the national guard to passive citizens on 30/july/1792. they overthrew the monarchy and from summer 1792 and spring 1794 no one could control paris without obtaining their support. they were resposible of the expulsion of the girondins which brought the jacobins to power. 

  • the hated aristocracy and those with great wealth - resentment. 
  • they were devoted to equality. red caps of liberty symbolised equality of all citizens. they had an emotional attachment to the tricolour
  • passionately anti-clerical - church had taken their wealth - the country was very catholic which meant they gained resentment from the departments
  • believed in direct democracy not the delegation of their power to representatives to choose the legislature. 
  • believed in the right to control and change their elected representativess - right of insurrection if betrayed

the majority of the sans culottes were wage earners. real power in the sections was held by a small minoirty of better off members who had spare time. the majoirty of the scs didnt have time so couldnt be politically active. of the revolutionary committees in paris 1793 - 94 only 8% were wage earners. power came through their own institutions, they were not responsible to the central government effectively creating a situation of dual power in paris beyween the sections and the assembly. the commune and the sections were administrative units of parisian local government - if the sans culottes had control of the sections they controlled the national guard which gave them power. 

concessions to the sans culottes - the sans culottes wanted social transformation as well as legal and political change. the bourgeois leaders wont like it as they would have to pay.

a new declaration of rights - they weren't motivated by hunger politics - it went further than 1789 as it stated the rights of people to work, have assistence when needed, and be educated. all adult males to have the vote and there were to be direct elections. - conned by the jacobins - said they would enforce it after the war.

journee 4-5 september 1793. 

economic situation was deteriorating - assignats were only one third of its value, droughts reduced grain imports to paris by 3/4 by the end of august. grain shortages and unemployment meantconstnt rioting in the capital. roux was shocked by the distress of wage earners who were now unemployed and starving in cowded attics. he attacked the convention, declaring its members were charlatans who appealed to the people for support but refused to introduce social and economic reforms to alleviate their hardship. roux advocated a programme of economic terror, the execution of hoarders who inflated grain prices, and a ppurge of ex nobles from the army. robespierre had him arrested as the was threatening the commune and convention, he died in prison. the sans culottes were worried about losing the war - there was growing hysteria, need to do something to sort it. the scs distress grew worse after 13 july when marat was murdered by a disgruntled girondin corday. they demanded that all suspects be arrestedand their ever increasing demands for action posed a real threat to the CPS and convention. on 5th september they marched on the convention, demanding lower bread prices, higher wages and attack on those oppresing the people. the convention had little choice but to promise action against grain hoarders and counter revolutionaries. the terror id the order of the day. 

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terror measures

- convention authorised parisian armee revolutionnaire. this was to force farmers to suurender grain and attack the horders. these were to be raised in paris and the provinces and members paid, armed and placed under a military command. the CPS disliked these revolutionary armies as they were outside their control and created opposition among th peasantry. also, probespierre turned against them because of their dechristianisation campaign. conglicted with his own religious views

- the law of suspects - supplemented the law which created the revolutionary tribunal and provided a new definition of suspects - could be arrested because of their conduct, relationships, words or writing. nobles, relatives of emigres, officials, officers, hoardes were also suspects. the surveillance committes were required to draw up lists of suspects, issue warrents for arrest and give their lists to the committee of general security. 

- new law of general maximum replaced the earlier law of may which had not worked effectively. it laid down a maximum for grain, flour, meat, oil etc. this was the same price in 179 plus one third. to also imposed wage regulations

this turned the peasants against the scs as they couldnt make a profit, but the govt needed their support to collect taxes, so in 1794 the price was revised upwards. 

robespierre talked about the terror as prompt, severe inflexivle justice rather than rule by fear. nevertheless, the law of suspects, armee revolutionnaires helped to create an atmosphere in france known as the terror. 

133 of 138

the political terror

official terror - controlled by the cps and cgs centred in paris whose victims became before the revolutionary trbunal - worst strocities in the areas of federalist revolts. 

in september, the convention had declrared that it must destroy the enemies or they would destory the convention. following the law of suspects there was a rapid increase in the numbers of those brought before the revolutionary tribunal. terror in the provinces was under the control of the watch committees, representatives en mission and the revolutionary armies. up to september 1793 there was just 66 guillotined from the rev tribnal, in the three months after in paris it sent 180. altogether in the terror there were 40k victims. 

show trials - scs desire for blood had been raised by the eceution of the king and the outpourings of the political agitators, such as hebert, as a result there were a series of show trials. prominent people, mostly aristocrats. only 9% came from the nobility and 7% from the clergy - suggesting that it wasn't all counter revolutionaries. the most notable - marie antoinette - conspiracy against the internal and external security of the state - very true - had given infor in the austrian committee the previous year. all of the expelled girondins were executed in october too. roalnd and his wife - who said 'oh liberty, what crimes are committed in they name

death of ordinary citizens - saint just said there was terror until peace - justify an intense campang among the provences

local watch committees monitored residents, the revolutionary armies roamed the countryside to clamp down on federalists and counter revolutionary activity, spies and afents from the committee of general security

although their activities were overseen by the cps, officials and groups frequently took the law into their own hands and some acted with indiscriminate savagery. the worse affected area - vendee where up to january 1794 2000 were executed, marras and fouche were also involved. 

they thought it was necessary for government control - a member of the cps reported that many communes throughout france were indifferent or histile to the revolution. the representatives, clubs and watch committees kept support for it going. a break down of the victimes showed it wasnt directed at aristocrats but lower sections of society. 

dechristianisation - an attack on the church as a result of sans culottes who were very anti clerical. churches closed, bells and silver reoved, crosses destroyed. as few refractory priests remained, the attacks focused on the constitutional church. which soem of its clergy had supported the lyon rising, so the campaign became part of the struggle against counter revolution. the convention was unsympathetic to catholicism, but didnt like the attack on the church. they created a new revolutionary calender with 10 days a week instead of the religious 7. they were determined to destroy religion as a symbol of the ancien regime. the paris commune made dechristianisation an official policy. the notre dame cathederal became the temple of reaso, and in november the festival of reason was held there. 

towards the end of 1793 problems were being overcome:

revolts crushed, towns fed and assignat value risings. war was going well, austrians were beaten and spanish were driven out of roussillon. so the convention wished to regain lost power to sans culottes and their organisations - the commune, rev armies etc. the power of the cps and cgs were increased. the argument was that france needed a more ordered system of government since too many conflicting bodies had emeged, which was a way of justifying the curbing of sans culottes power. 

  • law of 14 frimaire - dec 4th - reversed principles of 1789 by having strong central government - arguable ti was needed to win the war. it gave the cps direct powers over ministers, generals, representants en mission and local government. the departments were to be left esponsible only for the collection of taxes and provision of public works. all other authoirties would take orders from the cps. the rev armies were disbanded, popular societies and local patriotic committees were closed down - the cordeliers club closed. highly centralised, chain of authoirty in which the cps was supreme. it opened the way for the destruction of the sans culottes influence by reoving their most important cannels for activity. therewere laws of january and march 1794 which promised needy patriots a share of the property and seized lands. this may appear to be pandering to the sans culottes, but it was part if the montegnard idealism and hopes of creating a new society. however, like the law of the maximum, it was mainly ignored. 
  • in 1794, the cps found new rivals to attack. the followers of hebert who was a radical. they were arguing that robespierre was setting up a dictatorship, and he was very influenial with the sans culottes and preached extreme violence. hebert called for the sans culottes to rise up against those who oppress us, which threatened robespierre. at the other side were the indulgents - danton and desmoulins, who were very popular in paris, but their political views suggesting that it was time for the terror to end was aginst robespierres views. 
  • robespierre disliked the hebertists for turning christians against the revolution by taking part int he dechristianisation campaign and political extemism. demands for more hoarders to be executed and redistribution of property worried bourgeois rev leaders.hebert was guillotined in march, which meant more power was taken back by the government. danton and desmoulins was also executed. the removal of these factions left the convention and cps in a dangerous position. although they had appreared to work together, there were growing splits. many plains wanted the end of the terror, yet they feared to speak out in case they were branded as indulgent themselves. the triumvrite - robespierre, saint just and couthon helped to alibate the extreme revolutionaries. the power of the sans culottes, commune in paris and sectional soceties had been broken and anyone critical of the views of the triumvirite was in danger. between march and june 1794 around 1k was guillotine as robespierre urged the ocuntry to rid itself of corruption. 
134 of 138

the great terror

with dantons, and the indulgents and hebertists death, it stifled all criticism of the CPS. everyone lived in an atmosphere of hatred and suspicion in which the deputies were afraid to say anything.

the great terror - 

the government wanted to be in complete control of repression so in may 1794, it abolished all the provincial revolutionary tribunals, and enemies tried in the paris revolutionary tribunal - centralised controll. 

after murder attempts against robespierre and couthon they drafted the law of prairial - june 19th 1794. all those accused of political cimrs, were to be taken before the parisian revolutionary tribunal - the enemies of the people - anti - patriotic behaviour. this could include almost anyone.

no witnesses were to be called, and there was no defence council - the verdict was acquittal or death - which shows how the rev principles had been reversed as there was no semblence of a fair trial, more people were sentenced to death after june 10 for 9 weeks than in the previous 14 months.- the great terror. no one dared speak out. following the dechristinaisation campaign. robespierre ensured that a close associate assumed leadership of the paris commune - to keep an eye on the sans culottes activity 

135 of 138

robespierres decline -

the weakening of robespierres position - the cgs become increasingly hostile to the cps, to which it was subordinate. the many anti clericals in the chs were dismayed at the promotion of the cult of the supreme being, and were angry that they hadnt been consulted on the law of prairial. robespierre had also set up seperate surveillance and police network to hunt for counter revolutionaries infringing the cgs' power. dissention within the cps also increased, and in the convention, the deputies of the plain feared robespierre was turning himself into a dictator . they were particularly uneasy about the number of persecutions increased and the fear anyone of them could be next. added to this, local government was breaking down because of the overload of work and atmosphere of fear. meanwhile, catholic priests and athiests alike were angered by the cult of the supreme being and feared for the future or religion under robespierre. 

he had lost the support of the sans cullottes and other s- the cult of the suprememe being didnt please the people they were meant to - the catholics were angered as he was telling them what true religion is. anti clericals saw it as a step for reintroducing catholicism and that robespierre was setting himself up as the heigh priest of the new religion

he loses the support of the sans culottes - execution of hebertists, danton etc. , the dissolution of the popular societies, end of direct democracy, end of armee revolutionnaires, raising of the maxumim - led to inflation and the introduction of maximum on wages. never forgave robespierre for this.

victory in war made it feel like the great fear was no longer necessary, as the terror was justified by the war situation. 

in thermidor, robespierre disappears, and when he comes back and addresses the convention in a poor speech he accused different people of conspiring against public liberties and there needed to be a purge for impurties, but he refused to name names and this threatened those on the cps who werent his direct allies. as a result there were shouts of down with the tyrant, a decree to arrest robespierre was passed unanimously. 

the reaction in the commune was to try to raise the national guard to defend robespierre byt the support of the sections was variable and only 1/3 responded. 

on 10 thermidor, robespierre and 22 associates were found guilty, all were guillotined on the same day.

136 of 138

Estates General

the paris parlement decided to follow the methods of the estates general that was used the last time it met, which included meeting seperately and voting per order. this lost their influence with the third estate because before they were working together for the findamental laws of the people, however, now, they were seen to be working in their own selfish interests as that would lead to no changes. thus it divided those who were previously united. they were now considered to be defending tradition. this undermined respect from the bourgeoisie and lost their previous position of leadership, that was replaced with enlightened nobles. 

not all nobles and clergy were reactionary some were happy to see change. society of thirty were liberal nobles who were very prominent in their attacks upon privilefe. a crucial impact was mamde with the publication of sieyes what is the third estate - demanding meritocracy over aritocracy - said that the third estate was verything, the nation, so this led to the third estate thinking they should act as leaders. 

this meant it was clear that the third estate was likely to follow an independent line. demands for equal number of deputies were met, but this wouldnt work without voting by head. therefore the concessions didnt placate the third estate so the demand for voting by head became the key issue. 

the cahiers - list of grievances. the first estate represented the interests of the paris clergy, end to plurality , non nobles to become bishops, in return they would give up the privilege of the third estate. however, they didnt want religious tolerance for protestants - inherently conservative. the second estate were suprisingly liberal, prepared to give up financial privileges but not the seigneural rights. they attacked the monarchy for despotism, inefficiency and injustice. 

the third estate were varied. the enlightened nobles created model cahiers, but many were a true reflection of their grievances, the peasants wanted fiscal equality, regulation of the grain trade, end of tithes and seigneural rights.

the bourgeoisie wanted regular meetings of the estates general, civil liberties, equality of taxation and taxation only with the consent of the peoples representatives, voting by head, a more market orientated econy, removal of internal customs barriers. 

the paris cahiers showed the concerns of people with everyday and local issues. 

on the day of the estates general - louis and his ministers lose the initiative, they dither, with no agenda for a reform packafe put forwards, and no indication of the procedure to be adopted. the third estate split a few weeks later as a result of the delay, and frustrations of louis incompetence and called itself the national assembly. (17th of june) on the 20th of june, Louis closes the meeting place of the national assembly, and the deputies feared the worse. the king said it was to decorate ready for the upcoming royal session, but the deputies were alarmed that it was a plit against the third estate. as a result they go to the local tennis court and sign the oath, which said that they wouldnt disband until france had a constitution. this was a direct challenge to the king. this loses the kings initiative because initially he acts tough and sides with the nobility, acting against the wishes of necker and denounces the third estates claimms of being a national assembly. in a difficult royal session on the 23rd of june, the king accepts restrictions to his power, no taxation without the consent of the national representatives. over the next days, meetings were held at the palais royal where speakers such as desmoulins stirred up fury against the court. wary that the financial situation wasnt improving, the king brought more soldiers into paris, which increased the publics supsicions he was acting against them. the king had lost control, the clergy and nobility joined the third estate in the national assembly. 

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the storming of the Bastille

a couple of days before on the 11th of july, necker, the popular financial minister was dismissed. this was a bad move on the kings part because it confirmed popular fear that the king was trying to go back on his promises and prevent reform. this came ata time when there was high level of political agitation in pars, but also when economic conditions were low. a poor harvest had sent bread prices rocketing and by 14th july, they were at the highest they had been since 1715. growing cost of bread, rising unemployment and reduced wages. on the 12th and 13th july there had been a food riot where40 barriers around paris had been destroyed. this made people angry at the dismissal of necker as he had championed the cause of reduced bread prices and increase the grain supply - simple of an attack on the ancien regime and the desire to creat a constitutional monarchy. when he was dismissed there was 30000 royal troops in paris, so counter revolution concerns were high. 

the incompetence and indecisiveness of the king - having relief on the french guards to desperese the riots in spring, louis offered no thanks to his soldiers, made it more difficult to keep their loyalty.neckers dismissal a clear example of the incompetence. he was well aware of the popular feelings for necker, given the reaction in paris and among the third estate deputies when it was rumoured he had been sacked in june. he was replaced by a hard line minister

how far were the crowd being directed by the emerging bourgeois leaders - the bourgeois deputies moved between bersailles and paris and arly realised that the pressure could be put on the king and his advisers if they could rally support among the sans cuottes. the scs were seen as allies to be brought on the streets of paris to hold counter revolutionary measures in check. consequently bourgeois political leaders such as danton robespierre and marat emerged who actively sought to build the support for revolution among the scs. 

it was from a member of the nobility - the dic'dorleans that the opportunity to develop revolutionary sentiments and provide leadership for the scs first developed. orleans sympathised with the revolution and held meeting places for the revolutionaries- the palais royale. speakers agitated the crowds that fathered. 

to the bourgeoisie, the sans culottes could be a two edged sword. it was only out of necessity that the bourgeois deputies sought an alliance with the scs. the common fear that the king may unleash army against them.

some of the parisian electors met at the hotel de ville and set up the commune to take control of the citu. they set up the national guard of volunteers, which would police the city, restore order, protect property and protect parisians from action from the king - active ctizens - bourgeoisie - prtoect property - worried that the rev may turn to radical in the hands of the sans culottes - 

on the 14th july they went to les inalides and got weapons, but they were useless without gunpowder, so they went to the bastille, accompanied with members of the commune and national guard. 

political - as a result - the king was forced to accept the national guard, commune and reinstatement of necker. 

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