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{The French Revolution Unfolds}


4 Phases

1789-1791 | MODERATE Phase (18.2)

1792-1794 | RADICAL Phase (18.3)
1795-1799 | The DIRECTORY (18.3)
1799-1815 | Age of NAPOLEON (18.4)

I. Political Crisis Leads to Revolt

a. France was experiencing a great FAMINE @ the time
i. Many had to spend 80% of their income on bread alone!
b. Rumors lead to “Great Fear”
i. Many feared ATTACKS on villages and government takeover of LAND
ii. Peasants unleashed anger on NOBLES and stole grain
c. Paris Commune
i. Paris was the CENTER of the revolution
ii. Many FACTIONS or groups competed to gain power
iii. MARQUIS de Lafayette led one group. He fought along side George Washington in the
American Revolution
iv. The PARIS Commune was more radical. It could organize neighborhoods and protests to
further the revolution.
II. The National Assembly Acts
a. Uprisings and the Storming of the Bastille led the NATIONAL Assembly to act. One of the first
actions was from the NOBLES. They voted to give up their PRIVILEDGES (i.e. paying taxes)
b. In a first step to writing a constitution, the Assembly issued the DECLARATION of the Rights of
Man and the Citizen.
i. It was modeled on the DECLARATION of Independence
ii. It declared all men FREE and equal in rights; such as liberty, property,
SECURITY and resistance to oppression.
iii. Summed up in the slogan “Liberty, Equality, FRATERNITY”
iv. WOMEN, like Olympe de Gouges, were angered that it didn’t give them equal
v. Louis XVI did not want to accept the reforms either, and many continued to
STARVE. Anger soon turned to ACTION.
c. Women March on Versailles
i. October 5, 1789 – from Paris to Versailles, shouting BREAD!
ii. Most of the anger was directed at MARIE Antoinette, who was living a life of luxury at
their expense
iii. The demanded that the KING return to Paris. The royal family eventually moved into
Tuileries Palace, where they would essentially be PRISONERS for the next 3 years.
III. The National Assembly Presses Onward
a. The Church is Placed under State Control
i. Under the Civil CONSTITUTION of the Clergy, the French Catholic Church was put
under government control. It ended POPE’S authority over the French church and closed
monasteries and convents.
ii. Many were angered. The PRIESTS condemned it and many conservative
PEASANTS rejected the changes.
b. The Constitution of 1791
i. Set up a limited MONARCHY
ii. The LEGISLATIVE assembly would make laws, COLLECT taxes and decide on issues
of war and peace.
iii. Lawmakers would be elected by TAX paying MALE citizens over the age of 25.
iv. To MODERATE reformers this seemed like the end of the revolution.
c. Louis’s Escape Fails
i. Dressed as a SERVANT he tried to flee Paris
ii. His capture showed he was a TRAITOR to the revolution
IV. Radicals Take Over
a. Rulers fear spread of Revolution
i. Other European rulers feared the spread of what they called the FRENCH
ii. Many had heard stories from EMIGRES or nobleman and clergy who had fled France.
iii. Some predicted that the revolution would only get more VIOLENT.
b. Threats Come from Abroad
i. PRUSSIA and Austria threatened to intervene and protect the KING.
ii. Revolutionaries took this seriously and prepared for WAR. The revolution would enter
into a more RADICAL phase.
c. Radicals Fight for Power and Declare War
i. The new LEGISLATIVE Assembly lasted less than a year because of
ECONOMIC problems and threats from abroad.
ii. The SANS - CULOTTES or working class men and women pushed for more radical
change. Their name literally means “without breeches”
iii. They demanded a REPUBLIC or a government ruled NOT by a monarch, but by elected
iv. The JACOBINS, a revolutionary political club, supported the sans-culottes major
d. The National Assembly declares war On Tyranny
i. By 1792, the revolutionaries had taken their message to the BATTLEFIELD. They
wanted to destroy monarchs and spread revolutionary ideas abroad.
ii. They declared war on AUSTRIA then Prussia and Britain, as well as other states. The
fighting would last until 1815.