French Revolution- Part 1

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  • Created on: 26-04-13 10:35

Dismantling the ancien regime

The August Decrees 1789:

  • titthes payable to church were abolished
  • all financial and taxes privileges relating to land and persons were abolished
  • special priveleges for provinces (towns and villages were abolished)

Significance of the Decrees:

  • Starting proccess of dismantling the ancien regime
  • marked the end of noble power and established a fair and equal society
  • Frenchmen could enter any proffession and would pay the SAME taxes
  • Peasants supported mew regime as it removed feudal obligations
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Dismantling the Ancien Regime

Decleration of Rights of Man & Citizen: (outlined the rights of a citizen)

  • all men are born free and equal in their rights
  • main rigths of man are liberty , property and security
  • freedom of worship
  • freedom of expression
  • freedom of own property

Nationalisation of Church Land - by september government faced a financial crisis . On the 2nd November 1789 the Assembly agreed that all property owned by the church was to be nationalised. (assignats were issued and sold - used for settling debts and purchasing goods , was a type of currency - sale of the Church and riyal land made 400 million livres which would help the government)

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The Reaction of the Monarchy

King did not support the decrees and refused to officialy support the August Decrees and the Declaration of Rights, therefore the assembly gave him the 'suspensive veto' which was the right to susend or delay all laws apart from financial ones.

The October Days

The Kings refusal to support decrees cause a big reaction and tension

  • Loyal Flanders regiment summones to Versailles where on the 1st October were given banquet to celbrate the arrival in the palace -  both King and Queen were present
  • During this there were anti-revolutionary demonstrations - officers trampled on tricolour cockade and replaced it with the white cockade of the Bourbons
  • When news hit Paris they demanded that the King must be brought back to Paris at the same time Paris where suffering with a food shortage
  • 5th October a crowd of women stormed the Hotel de Ville (head-quarters of the commune) demanding bread
  • The women marched to Versailles to confront King and Assembly (6/7thousand of them followed by 20,000 national guards under lafayette followed them)
  • The King then agreed to provide Paris with grain he also agreed to support the Decrees
  • 6th Royals moved back to paris with the National Assembly
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Significance of October Days

Significance of October Days

  • Louis was a prisonner in Paris , and was forced to accept acts
  • The Assembly issued a decree that changes the title of the monarch to 'Louis , by the grace of god and the constitutional law of the State , King of the French'- Louis was now under control of the law and his subjects now citizens- shift in balance of power towards Paris
  • Many deputies distrusted the population of Paris it had extreme power
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The Reform Programmes of the National Assembly

After October 1789 moat people believed that the French Revolution was over , new structures had been made . Deputies of National Assembly set about reforming France with dedication:

Local Government:

  • Power was decentralised passing from the central government in Paris to local authorities 
  • France was divided in to communes and districts which were run by elected councils and Paris was divided in to 48 sections 

The right to vote

  • men who paid equivalent of 3 days labour in local taxes - they could choose electors. Men who did not pay this much were known as passive citizens and had no vote. people who paid equivalent of 10 days labour elected members of canton (administrative sub-division of a department) and deputies of National Assembly & could become officials.To become elgible to be a deputy in NA had to pay 54 days of labour of direct taxes- weighted toward wealthy. 
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The Reform Programmes of the National Assembly

Taxation & Finance - by 1790 the gabelle and all unpopular indirect taxes external custom duties were abolished

The Sale Of Church Land (the main reasons):

  • to provide money for the state before new taxation system was introduced
  • to show success of revolution - those who bought church land liked revolutionary changes and opposed ancien regime which meant church recovering land
  • hoped that clergy would support the new regime - depended on it for salaries 

Buying Church Land - was very brisk & majority was bought by the bourgeoise who bought the land near towns as peasants bought away from towns.Peasants bought a lot of the land and many were 1st time buyers so land did not go to just wealthy - peasant small holders increased by a million betwen 1789 and 1810

Reforming the taxtaion system:- abolished indirect taxes and old direct taxes & tax farming-(new taxes included contribution fonciere which was a land tax where there were no special priveleges or exemptions.Contribution mobilere a taxt on moveable goods such as grain.) Citizens would pay according to their ability to do so, so was fairer on peasants all property and income taxed on same basis - no priveleges or exemptions. however tax rolls were based on old ancien regime and therefore so that taxes varied from region to region ( up to 5 more)

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The Reform Programmes of the National Assembly

Economic Reforms - french economic devleopment at this time was limited . Deputies in consitiuent assembly believed in laissez faire and introduced free trade in grain in August 1789 and removed price controls. In october 1790 tarrifs were abolished so good could move freely from one part of france to another without payin customs , and was helped by decimal system.

Employer / Worker relations

  • guilds were abolished as they restricted people to enter in to certain trades in order to ensure wage levely stayed high 
  • Le chapelier law inroduced which banned trade unions and employer organisations 
  • strikes were made illegal

The poor and needy 

  • Assembly set up a comittee in 1791 which showed the urgency of the problem- it showed 2 million supported themselves by begging however there was simply not enough money to help the poor so nothing was done 
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The Reform Programmes of the National Assembly

The Legal System- Areas removed: 

  • different sytems of law in north and south of the country 
  • different types of law courts 
  • the lettres de cachet system (sealed instructions from the crown allowing detention without trial of named individual) 

Main features of new system: 

  • each canton a justice of peace dealing with cases previously handled by seigeural courts
  • serious civil cases such as properties disputes now dealt with in a distrct court
  • criminal courts where trials would be held in public before jury 
  • a head judicial system was Court of Appeal 
  • all judges elected by active citizens - only elected if been a lawyer for 5 years so qualifid
  • torture and mutilation were abolished 
  • guillotine as execution was approved by Legislative Assembly - replaced other death way
  • justice was made free and equal to all 
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The Reform Programmes of the National Assembly

The Church (Constiutient Assembly wanted to create a church that was):

  • free from abuses such as absenteeism and plurality 
  • free from papal control 
  • democratic & that linked closely to state and govrnment 

Assembly abolishes tithes & pluralism and ended the priorities it had (how much tax it had to pay). Accpeted sale of church land as would be paid more than under ancien regime. 

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy- reformed the Catholic church in France . There would be fewer bishops and clergy as diocese were to concide with departments....Key terms:

  • each department would form a seperate diocese
  • Pope could not appoint bishop without approvement from French State 
  • all bishop and priests had to be elected for their posts 
  • priests paid by the state 
  • no priest or bishop absent from diocese for more than 15 days in a year 
  • many were against it but wanted to find a way to accept it and not part with the church 
  • as pope took to long to mak verdict on new laws assembly made clergy take the oath to agree however not many did and when the pope did finally disapprove many of those who did take it retractd it 
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The Reform Programmes of the National Assembly

Two Churches 

There were now two Catholic churchers in France : 

  • one that accepted revolution but was rejected by Rome 
  • the other was rejected with rome made up of refactory priests (refused to take oath) and against new revolution 

On 27th May 1792 Legislative Assembly made a firm choice that those priests who refused to take the Oath could be deported if 20 citizens denounced them. The public felt as if the assembly were trying to change their religion and felt betrayled which then led to the revolt in areas such as th vendee in 1793

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The Constitution of 1791

Constituent Assembly wanted to draw up a constituion that would replace an absoulte monarchy. Power would p*** from the constiutnent ***embly (which would be dissolved) to a legislaive ***embly and the members would be elected every 2 years and have much power. 

Under the terms and condtions the King had the right to : 

  • appoint ministersand military commanders
  • given a suspnsive veto (right to reject measures proposed by the ***embly) not financial
  • needed  ***embly  to agree before he could declare war
  • ***embly could p*** laws which the king had to obey

In Sepetmber 1792 Louis reluctanly accepted the Constitution 

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The Rise of Jacobins and Cordliers Club

As no political parties , they kept public informed on major issues , and pressured and influneced Assembly. They provided education in political participation.

The Jacobin Club  - members debated mesasures that were to come before the Assembly. They charged a high entrance fee and members came from wealthy sections of society. They rejcted the notion of a monarchy and were highly political men of action. They moved further to the left and favoured centrilisation. Key figure was Robespierre who was the leader - by 1793 over 2000 jacobin clubs 

Coredeliers Club - more radical and had no membership fee , it objected distinction between active and passive citizens and supported measures which the sans culottes favoured:

  • direct democracy - voters choose deputies 
  • the right of insurrection - rebellion against government if acted against poular wishes

Much support among working class although leader were borurgeoise (danton and desmoulins , marat). Marat hated all those who enjoyed privilges under the ancien regimeand became chief spokesperson.  1791 them and other sociteies elected a central committee and were mainly from professions such as teaching ,shopkeepers 

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The Flight to Varennes

Louis had deeply regretted his acceptance of the Civil Constituion of the Clergy and decided to flee from Paris as he felt restrircted and went to the border of Luxmebourg under the proection of the military commander. He hoped he would have more power and be able to negotiate with the Constituent Assembly the parts of the Constitution he did no like. Louis left Paris on 20 Jun 1791 however when he reached Varennes he was recognized and stopped , and was brought back to Paris in an atmosphere of Deathly silence. 

The significance of the event was that:

  • Louis had faild to understand the poularity of the changes taken place since 1789
  • the new constitution was undermined before it had even been implemented 
  • support for republic grew while popularity of the King delcined

The King lost much popularity due to this event - 30,000 people marched to NA in a petiton supporting Cordeliers Club and calling for Kings dismissal. People lost trust in Louis, and many wanted a republic than a monarchy. 16th July king was suspended until the constiution was complete he would return after agreeing to it. After the flight of V many radicals were apalled the king was not dethroned and they claimed that the Constituional Monarchy no longer represented the people. The Cordeliers persuaded the Jacobins to join in a peition for the Kings deposition, this split the Jacobin Club , those who did not want the King deposed left. They set up a new club the Feuillants- leader Robespiere 

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The Champs de Mars massacre

17th July 1791 50,000 people flocked to Champs de Mars to sign a rebublican petition and was a political demonstration by the poorer sections.Commune sent  Lafayette and national guard was sent to Champs de Mars where guards killed 50 of the peaceful and unarmed crowds. First clash between different groups in thw 3rd estate. Assembly were pleased ans martial law reamined in place for a month were radical leader were arressted. 

Legislative Assembly

The mood among the deputies were from co-operatrive because:

  • the King was reluctant to accept measures he disliked
  • kings commitment to the revolution e.g. fligh to varennes
  • fear of counter-revolutionary plots 

Robespierre passed a new law which meant no one could sit in the Legisaltive Assembly if was part of  the Constituent Assmbly. Elections were held for the new Legislative Assembly. Many were bourgeoise , few nobles and clergy and no peasants and artisants 

  • Growth of Counter Revolution= emigres numbers had increased since flight of V there was a desertiton of army officersand many had joined the emigres and many emmigrated. Laws were passed which stated that they must all return to the posts otherwise they would be seen as traitors however king vetoed these which increased his unpopularity as he was seen as undermining the revolution.
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Outbreak of War

During the first 2 year of the French Revolution Russia , Austria & Prussia had not inention to intervene with France , they were pleased with the Collapse of France but were more worried more worried about gaining territory from Poland. However after the fligth to Varennes Austria felt they had to make a gesture to support Louis. 27th August 1791 they issued Decleration of Pillnitz in association with Prussia , which stated that:

  • the present situation of the French King of common intrest to all other rulers
  • they hoped to restore the powers of the French Crown - and force would be used necesary

It was significant as it was seen as a threat to inerfere with internal affairs- it was not a threat as Austria knew other powers such as Britian would not join them- so decleration was unlikley to lead to any action. - it did not cause a stir and assembly & newspapers ignored it


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Support For War

Support of War- many people thought that war was in their best intrest. King & Antoinette wanted war so could be defeated & then recover old powers.- army commander Lafeyette wanted war as he wanted authority of King to be strengthened- he wanted a short succesful war agianst Austria which he belvied would increase his prestige as a genral and also he could dictate his terms to King and Assembly. Brissots were a group who wanted war as it would force the King to show true sympathies for or again revolution & any traitors against he revoluion. (they wanted a republic). Brissot called a campaign urging for war, main case for was that a

  •  successful conflict would rouse enthusiasm for revolution 
  •  it would allow France to extend revolutionary ideas abroad.
  • French armies would have active support of their enimes own repressed subjects
  • international situation was favouable as powers were unlikley to unite agaisnt France- e.g Russia pre-occupied with Poland
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Opposition to War / Declaration of War

Most deputies were won by the arguments however some were not convinced such as Robespierre 'war in the right way , on our enemies at home'. He believed real threat from Lafayette as he was misleading public , and that war would be more difficult than the Brissots expected , as foreigners would not rise up in support of French invaders. As Robespierre was against war he became an unpoular and isolated figure.

Decleration of War- 7th Febuary Austria and Prussia became allies and thought that they could intimidate France by threaening War (both had great confidence in their armies). They believed that France would be weak and would not be able to defend theselves (officer had fled country), added to this they had a weak financial state and therefore could not afford many munitions. It was thought they would have no will or ability to resist Austrian/Prussia presence. Austrian threats and Giordin attacks on Austrian Comittee meant that appointed a more radical government including some Giordins , both assembly and governmrent now wanted war especially the new foreign minister Dumouriez , he wanted short war to increase personal power. French who actually declared war on 20th April 1792, the French wanted to fight against Austria only but Prussia declared war on France a month later, they all wanted a short was however 'Revolutionary War' was long and lasted 10 years , resulted in the lost of 1.4million french people and altered the way of the French Revolution

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Overthrow of the Monarchy (preceded overthrow of L

  • Military Crisis - when war declared France was not ready , half of 12,000 offices had emograted, they had poorly trained volunteers who were unequipped. In war whole units were desrted and faced fierce opposition , they wanted peace however , the allies counter acted and invaded Northern France . Marie Antointette had given French military pland to Austria - suffered from defeats
  • Royal Vetoes- Louis vetoed many laws on the refacory priests (a law of deportation of refacotry priests) and the federe camp (set up of 20,000 national guards from the provinces to protect Paris from invvasion)
  • Rise of Sans Culottes- Due to prevouis events an armed demonstration was held on 20th June (anniversary of tennis court oath) - there were 8000 demonstrators many of them  national guards poured into Tuilieres. However the day did no go as planned as King did not withdraw the vetoe or recall the Giordins ministers (which he had dismissed) , however did show weakness of King and growing power of Sections of Paris. On 11 July assembly issued an emergency act called 'la parie en danger', which meant every man had to fight , however this was unfair as men had to figth but not get the vote, it was demanded that the admission of passive citizens must be allowed in sectional assemblies and National Guard- these request were granted - sansc..popular
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Tension In Paris

The federes were a militant revolutionnaries and republicans . In July their total number was  never above 5000 however they were a powerful pressure on the removal of the king. At this time the Girodins changed their attidude so that of opposition to the king and tried to prevent a rising. The Giordins tried to warn Louis of a potential violent uprising as events were getting out of control , they offered to do as much as they could but Louis rejected the offer. Robespierre at this time was cooperating with the federes and in a speech to the Jacobin Club he put forward the following proposals :

  • Abandonment of Constitution
  • overthrow of the monarchy
  • establishment of a new convention

Robespierre felt this was the right moment to strike as petitions were pouring in from the federes , the club and provinces for the removal of the king

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The Brunswick Manifesto

This docucment was issued by the commander and chief of the Austro-Prussian Armies(1st  august):

  • ensure welfare of france and not to conquer any french territory
  • restore Liberty of Louis XVI and his family
  • Paris to set Louis free , and make it responsible for safety of royal family
  • Tulieres Palace was attacked and royal family harmed then Armies would inflict on people of Paris

It was intended to help the king but had opposite effect as French men were angered by what they had considered to be foreign intervention in their affairs- many who had supported monarchy now turned against it. 47 out of 48 sections wanted abolition of monarchy yet assembly refused to dispose of King and put Lafayette on trial

Attack On Tulieres - night if 9th august sans-culottes took over Hotel de Ville , expelled the city council and set up a revolutionary commune.  10th aug 1792 several thousand of the National Guard (open to passive citizens) , marched on the Tulieres. Palce was defended by 3000 troops 2 tthousand belonged to national guard (others were swiss). King sought refuge in Assembly with his family, the national guard bdefending palace joined in with the crowd. Swiss fired at crowd and crowd attacked back, the fight was violent so the King ordered swiss guards to cease fire- 600 swiss were killed, 300 parasians.- forced assembly to recognize new commune and had to hand over King to the commune , imprisoned him in temple- had to agree with new democratic constitution- commune was no win control of Paris       

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Proclomation Of Republic

Following overthrow of Louis , (two thirds of deputies of assembly went in to hiding as did not feel safe)the Assembly did all that the commune wanted , passed radical measures:

  • refactory priests who did not leave France were be deported to the French colony Guiana
  • abolition without compensation of all feudal charges- ended feudal system
  • house-to-house searches ordered for suspects
  • divroce legalised & registration of births , deaths , marriages a state responsibilty

After the journee Louis was suspended of using powers and it was left to National Conventiobn to decide his fate . On 21st-22nd Monarhcy was abolished and republic was proclaimed.

Giordins V Jacobins in convention - in elections for the convention (sept 1792) all men over 21 could vote , in paris all who had shown royal sympathy were not allowed to vote and therefore all memebers for Paris were Jacobins or republicans. Robespierre came out as head of the poll in the capital. Jacobhins became known as the Monatgnards. The Giordins and Monatgnards argues fiercley and neither had discipline , many thought they were pursuing selfish intrests rather than common good.Neither side had a majority in the Assembly , each needed to gain support of the plain who were made up of bourgeoise (and had no set group), at first they supported the Giordins.

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Trial & Execution of Louis

Jacobins and sans-culottes demanded the King to be put on trial , (as they held him responsible for the bloodshed at the Tulieries). The Giordins tried to avoid this however were unable to do this so tried to save the Kings life in 2 ways: 

  • Suggested that the Kings fate should be decided by a referendum- this was rejected and the King was found guilty and sentenced to death - they then proposed a reprieve

Two factors which sealed Louis fate , one was the incriminating royal correspendence between Louis and the Austrian royal family, the second was Marats proposal that a desicion should be reached by appel nominal. In the Assembly (749 deputies)no one voted Louis was innocent . When the decision came about the sentence 387 voted to death while 288 voted for imprisonment. Convetion voted against a reprive by 380 voted to 310 .Voting pattterns revealed that there was a block of moderates in Assembly and Convention- relucutant to support execution of King 

Louis was executed on the morning of 21st January 1793- could be argued he was executed as could not be trusted (armoire de fer - austrian royal documents)- execution of Louis was the first Jaocbin victory in the Convention - securing Louis death Montagnards gained an ascendacy in the Convention 

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Republic at War 1792-1793

Lafayette abandonned France and joined the Austrians , this sent panic and fear accross France as no-one could be trusted - this was increased by  the Prussians who had crossed French frontier - French Capital was under immediate threat from enemey forces and the Revolution itself was in danger of being overthrown by foreign powers

September Massacres- panic and desperation settled in authorities appealed for forces - thousans volunteered to defend capital & revolution - however there was a growing concern about the overcrowded prisons and a rumour spread that they were plotting to escape (counter-revolutianist) and kill the helpless population and hand over the city to the Prussians- Marat powerful in the Commune called for the prisonners to be killed - massacreof prisonners was 1st appearnce of the Terror (1400 prisonners in Paris jails were murdered)- quarter were nobles others just common criminals- killers were from sans-culottes , convention or Danton (minster of justice tried to stop them)- now on moderates and foreign opinion regarded Monatgnards and sans-culottes a blood-thirsty

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Republic at War 1792-1793

The Battle of Valmy - on 20th September 1792 at Valmy 52,000 French troops defeated 34,000 Prussians - significant victory - as little doubt if prussians has won Paris would have fallen - meant end of revolution. New forces were effective and many were volunteers and National Guardsmen (men were workers and traders who belonged to sans-culottes) - commitment to Revolution would be considerable- French republic would not be easily defeated - Prussia retreated the frontier - within a month the Republican forces had occupied much of the left bank of the Rhine - and occupied most of Belgium 

From Defence to Offence - Republicans felt secure from external threat- government wanted to expand to Frances natural frontiers - such as the Rhine and Alps - Jan 1793 passed a decree stating it was Frances , this territory gain is not what the local peopel wanted and was a change from the policy which Constituent Assembly originall laid down. Change in policy was accompanied with propoganda and the Decree of Fraternity (support those of any state who wished to overthrow their ruler)- some politicans favoured the idea of extending the Revolution to other states- Savoy and Niece where the first terrotories to be added to the Rebuplic - french armies had to be paid and fed at the expense of a local population- church land and those belonging to enemies of the new regime were confiscated -feudal dues abolished 

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The War of the First Coalition

Republican Covention were a threat to European monarch due to decree of Fraternity- alarmed by Nice and Savoy - Britian particulary worried by Frances extension to the Rhine as it would lead to uniting of large part of United Provinces & also Austrian Netherlands as they were seen as a threat  as they possesed good ports from which to launch an invasion on England- Convention declared war on Britian and Holland on the 1st Feb 1793- Spanish were shocked and prepared to join against France , the French then declared war on Spain (France at war with most of Europe). Both sides thought that the War would be short and went in to it confidently (banruptcy , or crumble). Britian persusaded other countries to join her against the French- the campaign went very badly for the french lost against Holland and Austria - much fighting on French soil ( agreed with Austrians to dissolve Convention and restore Constitution).  

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Vendee Rebellion

 Winter 1792-1793, the Vendee could be described as anti-revolution as it was drirected more against the Revoluiton and its demands rather than for the restoration of the ancien regime. Basic causes of the uprising were the expansion of the war and introduction of conscription (compulsory military service)- government ordered for 300,000 conscriptions troops in Feb 1793 which triggered a massive up-rising on 11 march 1793. 

In the Vendee dicontent had been present from 1789 as peasants had found themselves paying more in new land tax then they had paid under the anicen regime. They did not like the revolutionary goverment- religious changes were strongly opposed in the Vendee- deeply attached to Catholic Church . Sale of church lands was unpopualr as most were bought by bourgeoise of the town and rents were often raised. Peasants looked up to nobles as leaders and many of these were monarchists (active supporters of bourbon monarchy) and so the rising became caught up in counter-revolution.

New local officials, constitutional priests and National Guards were massacred- situation beacame so bad government had to draw 30,000 troops from the front to deal with the rising- rebels were never a serious threat to government (ill-discplined) 

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Vendee Rebellion

Economic Issues - war had created a created economic problems added to the diffculties for the government- to pay for war more assignats/money was printed - reduced value of those in circulation- purchasing power of assignat had fallen by 50% by 1793- which then pushed up prices as more assignats needed to buy goods- bread was scarce- resulting in widespread riots against grain stores and demanding for price controls. (sans culottes)

Republic Saved- war against allies got worse throughout summer 1793 - Austrians and Spanish made way into France. If allied commanders had joined forces there would have been a disaster - however the allies did not co-ordinate their plans. The allied armies headed seperate ways and army broke in 2 - which saved France 

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