The end of the ancien regime/ Chapter 2


1. Estates-General

  • Last met in 1614, therefore the structure and procedure were outdated.
  • Voting was per estate not per head therefore unequal. This favoured two privileged estates who wished to protect their privileges.
  • The Third Estate demands twice the number of deputies and voting by head. This form would give them majority.
  • In December 1788 the King's Council allowed number to be doubled. Nothing was said about voting by head. When the Estates-General met there was confusion.
  • The Third Estate wanted all estates to gather in one hall to discuss all matters. The Third Estate refused to do anything until the other two orders would join them. Some priests from the First Estate joined the Third Estate which even more made the situation difficult. On 15th June the Third Estate voted to call themselves the National Assembly. They claimed that they now have the right to manage their affairs and decide taxation. The First Estate officially joined the Third Estate.
  • On 23 June Louis called a seance royale at which he would propose reforms. On 20 June the deputies of the Third Estate found out that the hall was closed. The deputies met instead in a tennis court where they took the Tennis Court Oath which stated they will not disperse until they had given a constitution.
  • After this, Necker advised the King to hold a seance royale and accept voting in common on all important matters. However, under pressure of the Queen and his brothers, Louis ignored his advice and when the seance royale met on 23 June Louis declared the previous decisions taken by Third Estate as null and void. He would not allow discussing privileges of the nobility in common.
  • However, King proposed to accept considerable restrictions on his power: no taxes without the consent of the representatives, freedom of press, gabelle would be abolished.
  • If these reforms were put forward in May, the Third Estate would be satisfied but now it is not enough for them, they want more. King ended by ordering to meet in their separate assemblies. On 24 June clergy joined the Third Estate, on 25 June 47 nobles joined, on 27 June The King ordered the nobles and clergy to join the Third Estate and vote by head.
  • By late June nearly 4000 troops were stationed around Paris. Louis planned to used military force and this caused alarm in the capital. Louis wanted to dissolve the National Assembly however Assembly would be saved by the revolt of the people of Paris.

2. Revolt in Paris

  • Economic problems such as high bread price fuelled the…


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