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Sans-culottes -The Peoples Revolution

Massacre of the Swiss Guard August 1792

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION


PART 3 : SUMMARY POINTS
Overview of Events 1789-92 - Robespierre & the Terror Madame Guillotine and her victims - The end of the Terror

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
SETTING THE SCENE
In the eighteenth century French society was divided into a clear social structure called the Ancien Regime, more commonly known as the Old Regime The Old Regime was divided into three orders:

The First Estate : the clergy Enjoyed special privileges, receiving pensions and profitable positions, few paid their fair share of taxes The Second Estate : the nobility The Third Estate : everyone else; sans culottes and the burgeoise(which happened to make up 96% of the population) Heavily taxed, especially since the wars France fought in the past century

Under the Kings absolute rule (a power claimed to be derived from God) An extremely unfair and unequal system, it was despotic and founded on privilege and sanctioned by the law. Unlike England, there was no constitutional government with a parliament to represent the people and met as a continuous body which made for a very complex and confusing administration, ineffective with Frances growing population of 26 million As food prices soared especially the price of bread, a staple of the French, starvation threatened faster than wages, the country was plunged further into poverty Under this atmosphere of crisis, as poverty worsened for the people, hatred of the aristocracy and the monarchy intensified - would spark the fuse for the course of the Revolution to come.

The government of King Louis XVI of France faced the financial crisis of the 1780s

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE CAUSE
SOCIAL DISCONTENT
The liberal ideas of the Enlightenment, the prevailing 18th century philosophy, where writers and philosophers, namely the bourgeoise and some nobility in France, attacked the pillars of the established order appealing for a freer, more equal society, was a large factor in determining the first stage of revolution social discontent.
taught the Frenchman to find his condition wretched, or in any case, unjust and illogical and made him disinclined to the patient resignation to his troubles that had long characterised his ancestors

AMERICAN REVOLUTION
Frances support of the American Revolution had left Frances finances bankrupt The only solution was to tax the First and Second Estates and make them surrender their previous tax privileges The nobility resisted and forced the government to call for a medieval representative assembly called the States-General in July 1788 This aristocratic revolt backfired on the nobility - who had aspired to keep their privileges and solve the financial crisis at the expense of the Third Estate instead opening the way for revolutions by the Third Estate, destroying the Ancien Regime altogether and with it the aristocracy and its privileges

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE CAUSE
THE BURGEOIS REVOLUTION
The burgeois, the wealthy, well-educated upper class of the Third Estate, with the rise of capitalism, had already felt the first stirrings of the social discontent as no matter how much wealth they gained, struggled to move further up social ranks because of their class seal As the States-General convened on May 5, 1789, King Louis XVI, made a concession, allowing twice as many representatives for the Third Estate This was resisted by the First and Second Estates who were unwilling to let themselves be outvoted by the Third Estate which led to a stalemate

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

The Third Estate broke this stalemate as on 17 June, 1789 declaring itself the National Assembly, making their first revolutionary move On 20 June, when they were locked out of their customary meet hall, met at a nearby tennis court as deputies pledged not to disband until a new constitution had been drawn up for France France, now on the verge of social revolution, was met with alarm by the aristocracy and joined with the king in an effort to crush the burgeois-dominated National Assembly At this point, it would be uprisings from the common sans-culottes, the poorer group of the Third Estate and peasants in the countryside that would save the newly named, National Assembly, inspired by hopes of reform and intensified hatred of what they held, an indifferent, selfish aristocracy

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE 1789
The Bastille, a symbol of royal authority and despotism, a medieval fortress in the centre of Paris that was used as a prison On July 14, 1789 as level of tension in Paris had reached its climax, the price of bread soaring higher than ever (where the average labourer spent 80 percent of his income on bread), inspired by the hopes for reform that had been aroused in the meeting of the States-General and the fear of an aristocratic plot to crush the Third Estates newly declared National Assembly 800 to 900 Parisians stormed the Bastille, driven by hunger and fear of aristocratic conspiracy, taking gunpowder and removing the cannons that once hung over the local district, a large threat. The governor of the Bastille, Bernard Launay, fearing the attack, gave orders to fire into the incoming crowd of attacks. He and his men would later surrender as the crowd retaliated, aiming five cannons into the main gate of the Bastille, itself, and killed, their heads paraded on sparks through out the city. Considered the official beginning of the Revolution, the fall of the Bastille symbolised the end of the despotism of the Old Regime, saving the National Assembly and the Revolution.

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION


THE GREAT FEAR 1789

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN 1789
The Declaration of the Rights of Man, was adopted not long after, on 26 August, intended as a preface to a planned constitution It outlined peoples rights including: - freedom of speech - right to decide when and how taxes should be paid - the inviolable right of private property

In French, la grande peur (the great fear) was a key event in the revolution as it secured the revolutions initial success and strengthened the National Assemblys power The economic crisis of 1788-89 had made conditions worse for the peasantry as the price of bread soared and the threat of hungry beggars wandering the road, seizing peasants crops increased Fueled by this economic misery, the hope for reforms unleashed by the States-General and fear of rumours that conspiring aristocrats employing bands of brigands to attack peasants, peasants made the first move By the spring of 1789, armed peasants set about burning down manor houses, destroying records of feudal dues These peasant insurrections proved to be useful for reformers providing the National Assembly with a chance to finally abolish, once and for all what peasants literally torched remnants of feudalism

ABOLITION OF FEUDALISM 1789


On 4 August 1789 the National Assembly voted for a final end to what remained of feudalism Aristocrats surrendered all their special privileges as all were declared citizens, subject to the same laws This eradicated former restrictions on free trade and the purchase of official jobs

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION ( MODERATE STAGE )
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ACHIEVEMENTS JULY 1789-92
the abolishment of feudalism on 4 August 1789 and slavery in the 1791 constitution The Declaration of the Rights of Man on 26 August 1789, destroying the Old Regimes despotic social order based on privilege, making all people of French, citizens, equal under the law the reduction of state debt via the confiscation and sale of Church lands and in July 1790, the introduction of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, to be elected by the people and paid by the state The 1791 constitution issued on the 3 September 1791 which established: - King Louis XVI as a constitutional monarch - a new parliament called the Legislative Assembly - voting rights (determined byu wealth and property)

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION ( MODERATE STAGE )
TOWARDS RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1791AUGUST 1792
Following the Great Fear and the new threat of armed sans-culottes and the abolishment of feudalism saw many nobles flee overseas These were called emigres who hoped to gain support from neighbouring states to invade revolutionary France and end the revolution. The royal family lost a large deal of support for a constitutional monarchy when they attempted to flee France in June 1791 to join the emigres but were captured and escorted back to Paris by armed guards. This failed escape would become known as the Flight to Varennes New political clubs formed in France including the radical Cordeliers Club and the more well-known burgeois Jacobin Club among others Together with the support of the sans-culottes, these groups gained great influence in Paris the centre of political power in revolutionary France On 27 August 1791, Austria and Prussia issued the Declaration of Pillnitz, a call to all European states to unite to restore the monarchy of France and the old order On 20 April 1792, France declared war on Austria when Frances diplomacy negotiations failed This threat of foreign invasion, more than any other factor, would be the one that fueled the radical revolution to come

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE RADICAL REVOLUTION AUGUST 1792-JUNE 1793

[ FIRST STAGE ]

The coupled forces of of the war with Austria and Prussia from April 1792 and the worsening economic conditions that threatened to undo the reforms of the Revolution, led the way to what historians refer to as the Second French Revolution In an atmosphere charged with the tension of aristocratic counterrevolution in the south of France and food shortages, the Duke of Brunswick, who had defeated French armies, issued a the Brunswick manifesto that if the royal family was harmed, he would attack Parisians with a terrible vengeance This only served to enrage the Parisians more as on the 9-10 August 1792, angry Parisians and milita sent from the new revolutionary Commune, that replaced the Paris Commune, and other cities attacked the kings palace, the Tuileries, killing several hundred Swiss guards, burning down symbols of the monarchy The next day, the Legislative Assembly, faced with this popular uprising, suspended the king from office and the election of a new assembly, the National Convention, by wide male suffrage. The constitutional monarchy, replaced with a republic In the following weeks, mobs killed hundreds of people that were suspected counter-revolutionary activity For five days in September 1792, was a peasant uprising synomynous to The Great Fear, where peasants, hearing of rumors that jailed priests and aristocrats were planning to escape their cells and rush to support the foreign invasion, were driven by irrational fear, patriotism and murderous impulses as they raided the prisons of Paris, hammered and hacked to death 1100-1200 suspected royalists and other prisoners On September 21-22, 1792, the National Convention officially abolished the monarchy, proclaiming France a republic. The proclamation of the Republic was marked by the slogan Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. It also promised its support to citizens of other nations who wished to be free of their monarchs

OVERVIEW OF EVENTS1789-1792
THE RADICAL REVOLUTION AUGUST 1792-JUNE 1793

[ FIRST STAGE ]

The new National Convention, was far more radical than the Legislative Assembly as all former more moderate political factions of the right wing, supporting a constitutional monarchy were wiped out in elections as the radical Girondins took up the new right wing At the same time, French volunteer armies defeated by superior artillery, the forces of invasion of the Duke of Brunswick, in Valmy on September 20, 1792, forcing their retreat back across the border Divisions arose over what to do with the king, now that the monarchy was abolished. This was settled by trial in December 1792 and on January 21 1793, the king was executed for conspiring against the liberty of the French people, making him one of the first political victims of the newly invented guillotine The execution of the king which was accompanied by revolutionary social and political ideas threatened the balance of power, frightening the rulers of Europe, provoking declarations of war on France where by March 1793, France was at war with England, Holland and Spain who formed an anti-French alliance With the ensuing war, France tottering under the weight of foreign invasion, internal insurrection, suspicion and tensions spread rapidly across France - the Republic was barely able to exercise control over much of the country At this point of crisis, the revolutionary leadership grew more radical as the Montagnards (the mountain of the Convention) gained increasing support from the Plain (the majority of the Covnvention) to declare a more dictatorial government

1793-1794

ROBESPIERRE & THE TERROR


THE RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1793-JULY 1794

[ SECOND STAGE] THE REIGN OF TERROR

THE RADICAL STAGE The new National Convention, was far more radical than the Legislative Assembly as all former more moderate political factions of the right wing, supporting a constitutional monarchy were wiped out in elections as the radical Girondins took up the new right wing, led by the Montagnards (mountain) Robespierre, sitting high above all of the Convention on the left wing On 24th June 1793, Jacobins, the most radical, influential group of the Convention then, led by Robespierre declared the constitution of June 1793 the most democratic constitution the world had seen. It achieved for the first time an government completely decided upon by direct male suffrage, many liberal reforms adding economic, social and political rights such as: - the Louvre, the right to free, public education - the right to work and public assistance - the right to rebellion, important as a revolutionary idea in a world once founded on an absolute, unquestionable power This new constitution was temporarily suspended later as the government declared the need to take extreme action to save the revolution and defend France against the incoming foreign invasion This set France into a new era as the National Convention took upon a revolutionary dictatorship of France

ROBESPIERRE & THE TERROR


THE RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1793-JULY 1794

1793-1794

[ SECOND STAGE] THE REIGN OF TERROR

ROBESPIERRE A central, radical and influential personality in revolutionary France as it struggled with the twin forces of external enemies and internal inssurection in 1793-94. Born in 1758, the first of five children in Arras, he came from a long line of avocats (lawyer) and earned his law degree in 1780 attending the college Louis-le-Grand in Paris and returned to Arras to take up his career as an avocat He first entered the political scene in the calling of the Estates General, in 1789 as a young, articulate lawyer, he came to lead the Convention and directed the revolution A reserved and disciplined character, though he was often described as an ineffective orator, he was distinguished by his conviction in the rightness of his beliefs and strongly principled political thought that earned the appellation the Incorruptible A sincere disciple of Rosseau, Robespierre, he aspired to create a utopian-like society, founded on reason (superstition ridiculed), good citizenship and patriotism where there would be class divide; no kings or nobles and everyone would be free and equal, disregarding the human cost Maintaining that the Republic of Virtue could not be established while France was threatened by both foreign and civil war, he asserted that in order to preserve republican liberty, terror was to become a deliberate government policy as he justified: Does not liberty, that inestimable blessinghave the.right to sacrifice lives, fortunes, and even, for a time, individual liberties? There is no middle ground; France must be entirely free or perish in the attempt, and any means are justifiable in fighting for so fine a cause.

ROBESPIERRE & THE TERROR


THE RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1793-JULY 1794

1793-1794

[ SECOND STAGE] THE REIGN OF TERROR


EMERGENCY MEASURES AND THE CREATION OF A REVOLUTIONARY DICTATORSHIP Six weeks after the prison massacres in September 1792, France got its first taste of what was a revolutionary government a government which suspended ordinary legal processes and individual citizen liberty (superseding many of those in the Declaration of the Rights of Man in order to commit itself to defending the Revolution. Sometimes called the Jacobin Republic, as the Jacobins took the leading role in the radical Revolution and in the Convention Under the revolutionary government, real power came to be vested in two of the Conventions committees Committee of General Security and the Committee of Public Safety, the Revolutionary Tribunal, the Paris Commune and all local government sections representing the sans-culottes who were the real source of the Jacobins power The Revolutionary Tribunal, set up on 17 August 1792, had procedures that violated many of the guarantees in the Declaration of the Rights of Man where there was no appeal from its sentences and those condemned to death were executed with the new beheading machinery, specifically invented for the National Assembly the guillotine The Girondins who had become more moderate, supporting a new constitutional plan were overthrown by angry sans-culottes at the height of their unpopularity as the Montagnards condemned their plan unworkable and as a plot to turn the country against Paris, the centre of the government and the capital

ROBESPIERRE & THE TERROR


THE RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1793-JULY 1794

1793-1794

[ SECOND STAGE] THE REIGN OF TERROR


EMERGENCY MEASURES AND THE CREATION OF A REVOLUTIONARY DICTATORSHIP After the Girondins were overthrown, the Robespierres group gained a great deal of power as their main source of resistance in the Convention was eliminated leaving them with the majority they needed to pass a new constitution. The Girondins were federalists who opposed the Jacobins insistence towards a strong, central government in Paris and the influence of the sans-culottes movement in Paris on national politics Emerging triumphant from the Griondin coup of 31 May- 2 June 1793 Robespierre also emerged as the most prominent leader of the Montagnards, very popular among the Parisian sans-culottes whose cause he championed before and after the September Massacres of 1792, Elected to the Committee of Public Safety in late July 1793, he became the official spokesperson for the Committee before the National Convention, a role that contributed to his influence on the enforcement of the Terror or even the reinforcement of the THE TERROR The Terror encompassed the years of 1793-94 regardless of the debated beginnings of the Terror whether it began with the execution of the king in January 1793 or with the establishment of the Revolutionary Tribunal in March 1793 or even the reinforcement of the Committee of Public Safety in July 1793 to its endpoint by the fall of Robespierre on the 9 Themidor/ 28 July 1794. A revolutionary government, that is government by terror meant two things: - the temporary suspension of civil liberties in order for the: - repression of resistance (all those considered enemies of the Republic sanctioned by the Law of Suspects 17 September 1793) Enemies included: enemies of liberty, advocates of tyranny, supporters of federalism, the unemployed, emigres and ex-aristocrats who had not shown support for the revolution Federalists: those who opposed the centralised control of Paris and who wanted more independence for the regions

ROBESPIERRE & THE TERROR


THE RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1793-JULY 1794

1793-1794

[ SECOND STAGE] THE REIGN OF TERROR


THE TERROR Terror became the order of the day in revolutionary France Under Roberspierrist leadership the Revolutionary Tribunal tried a whole series of prominent political figures the Girondins, the Queen, Jacques Danton (who wished the Terror to end and negotiate peace with the enemy), Hebert (too radical) Robespierre now had a strong influence on both the Convention and the Parisian sans-culottes (through his newspaper Le Defenseur de la Constitution and participation in Parisian muncipal politics) As a member of the Committee of Public Safety, he contributed to all the affairs the Committee had to deal with: - the war effort (and continuing military defeats) -the violent counter-revolutionary revolts in the provinces - the situation in Paris (food shortages, inflation, devaluation of the new Republic currency the assignats) As a response to these issues, the Convention, led by Robespierre and the Montagnards, passed laws that significantly increased the Committee of Public Safetys power: the levee en masse (the conscription of all adult males for war), the Law of Suspects (made it easier to arrest anyone under suspicion of being an enemy of the revolution and thus effectively supress all resistance condoning excesses of the Terror), the Declaration of the Revolutionary Government on 10 October 1793 where almost all power was given to the Committee of Public Safety Political leaders became more radical and revolutionaries more patriotic and passionate about the Republic as the Revolution instilled in the republican a love for la patrie (the nation) The Terror met its final stage in the passing of the Law of 22 Prairial on 10 June 1794, right after Robespierre was target of 2 alleged assasination attempts. The law harshened the Terror in a time when the threat of external and Federalists: those who opposed the centralised control of Paris and who wanted more independence for the regions

ROBESPIERRE & THE TERROR


THE RADICAL REVOLUTION JUNE 1793-JULY 1794

1793-1794

[ SECOND STAGE] THE REIGN OF TERROR


THE FALL OF ROBESPIERRE The law of 22 Prarial enacted from 10 June 1794 to the end of July accelerated the Terror in a time when the threat of both domestic rebellion and foreign war had subsided, allowed the arrest of anyone under suspicion of being an enemy of the Republic, even the deputies working in the Convention. This alarmed both the populace and the deputies of the National Convention. It allowed the Revolutionary Tribunal to sentence 1,594 people during those several weeks only. Alarmed, the Convention promptly declared Robespierre an outlaw and ordered his arrest and on the 9 Themidor of the new Republican calendar, 28 July 1794, he was guillotined along with others who supported him of which included Saint-Just, Couthon and his brother Augustin. The fall of Robespierre effectively brought an end to the Terror and the Revolutionary Government of 1793-94. Federalists: those who opposed the centralised control of Paris and who wanted more independence for the regions

MADAME GUILLOTINE 1792-94 & HER VICTIMS


THE GUILLOTINE
BEGININGS Named after a member of the Third Estate, Dr Joseph Ignace Guillotin, the guillotine stands as the principal symbol of the Terror in the French Revolution It later came to be known as La Guillotine and even later still, nicknamed la veuve (the widow) because that was the result of its use The idea that capital punishment should be enforced via decapitation was first proposed by Dr. Joseph Ignace Guillotin in the Constituent Assembly on 20 January 1790 during a time where before the revolution, only nobles had the right to be decapitated while commoners were often executed by the more painful, more drawn out methods of the ancien regime including public hangings The proposal was approved in legislation on 25 September 1791 Described as the most democratic (as all offenders sentenced to die, with no exceptions, got the same execution manner) and most quick, efficient and humane form of execution The guillotine was first used on the 25 April 1792 to execute a highwayman

THE MACHINERY OF THE TERROR The machine that came to be called La Guillotine consisted of a wooden frame approximately 4 metres in height at the top of which a diagonal , weighted blade was suspended by a rope Releasing the rope would make the blade descend quickly decapitating the head of the victim in one blow In a lunette placed directly below the blade, the victim lay face down on a bench, head and neck in the lunette

MADAME GUILLOTINE 1792-94 & HER VICTIMS


THE GUILLOTINE
THE MACHINERY OF THE TERROR The machine that came to be called La Guillotine consisted of a wooden frame approximately 4 metres in height at the top of which a diagonal , weighted blade was suspended by a rope Releasing the rope would make the blade descend quickly decapitating the head of the victim in one blow In a lunette placed directly below the blade, the victim lay face down on a bench, head and neck in the lunette Executions were public and would often draw large crowds HER VICTIMS The guillotine was used to execute many victims from prominent political figures including: King Louis XVI, where the guillotine was erected on Place de la Revolution (of which it remained for the rest of the Terror) The queen, Marie Antoinette. To earning its reputation as the revolution that devoured its own children, revolutionaries including: The magnetic Georges Danton and his followers, the Indulgents The radical Jacques Hebert and his followers, the Exaggeres The cold-blooded, calculating Robespierre who once sat at the height of revolutionary power, the leader of the Montagnards, the mountain of the Convention The too-moderate, federalist Girondins

MADAME GUILLOTINE 1792-94 & HER VICTIMS


THE GUILLOTINE
HER VICTIMS Her victims also included many of the excesses of the Terror and the need for the extreme measures of a revolutionary government as armees revolutionnaires built mobile guillotines that could be rolled from village to village enforcing revolutionary justice to all suspected of treasonous activities including peasants who withheld grain from the market or sheltered refractory priests (priests who refused to swear the Civil Oath by the Civil Constitituion of the Clergy Sanctioned by the Law of Suspects, best estimates estimate 40,000 people were guillotined in the Terror alone under the revolutionary government in the year of 1793-94. Initially a symbol of equality and a more humane execution method, the guillotine came to be more viewed with horror symbolic of cold, efficient, impersonal death

THE END OF THE TERROR

1794-1799

THE FALL OF ROBSESPIERRE (Aftermath)


The arrest and execution of Robespierre and his Jacobin supporters marked the end point to the Terror that had a clear and immediate effect on revolutionary France including: - dismantling of the machinery of the Terror : the guillotine - the overthrow of the all-powerful Committee of Public Safety, Revolutionary Tribunal and Paris Commune - the dispersion of the National Convention - the abolishment of the Law of Maximum (December 1794) which once again prices rise up rapidly and inflation and public workshops restored to private ownership - the Law of Prarial repealed and those held under its terms released from prison (June 1794) - the official closing of the Jacobin Club (November 1794) - moderates restored to power in local government T The rule of a new committee followed: the Directory (Directoire) A more conservative government, it came into power in October 1795 and paved the way to the Consulate to come: Napoleon Bonaparte The Directorys regime was defined by the Constitution of 1795 To guard against dictatorship, a two-chamber legislative structure was established which consisted of: Council of Ancients (to pass, but not change laws) Council of Five Hundred (to produce laws) which was led by an executive branch of five directors who shared power and were elected by the legislative houses annually

THE DIRECTORY

THE END OF THE TERROR


THE DIRECTORY

1794-1799

The Directory never succeeded in achieving political stability as It ruled unsteadily and insecurely through devious compromise, purges, indecisively switching sides between Right and Left political factions and relying on the army and the money taken from the plundering of foreign states (especially in Italy and Germany), occupied by French armies The task faced by the Directory was not an easy one as they met the multiple forces of war, continuing economic crisis, the threat of royalist restoration threats from both sides of the political spectrum and the legacy of the Terror It was not completely without accomplishment however as the Directory: Brought the finances of the Republic under control Reformed the tax system Advancements in the area of secondary education These reforms however primarily benefited the bourgeoisie and most of the conditions for the poor only worsened The Directory failed to: - Restore peace between the Republic and the Catholic Church - solve the economic problems that had also defied its predecessors which led to many populist protests, sometimes led by the National Guard It also condoned the repression of so called radicals on the streets by bourgeois bully-boys called jeunesse doree who roamed the streets with clubs looking for radicals By 1799, the Directory failed to maintain order as their tax demands were resisted, forced loans unpopular and the return of conscription following failure in war widely resented and the administration in the provinces virtually collapsed