Patrick has been a certified personal trainer for over 5 years and is the assistant manager at Fitness Town in Burnaby. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The American and French political wars of the late 18th century, while on the surface appearing to be very similar, were, in fact, quite opposite in their foundations, processes used to achieve freedoms, and in their ultimate consequences. The French saw the Americans as being willing to put the dreams of the philosophes into practice and gave them hope to do the same in France. The French Revolution (1789-1815) looked to the secular theories of the Enlightenment for its guidance and legitimacy. France suffered through a century of turmoil, revolutions, and political upheaval, in contrast to the stable government and society that was established in the United States. The absolutism of the kings Louis XIV, XV, and XVI, the central figures of the French monarchy leading up to the French Revolution, led to the events that precipitated the Revolution that began in 1789.
The numerous and extensive wars conducted under Louis XIV (ruled 1643-1715) in the previous century had weakened the economy of the nation.
In similar fashion, Louis XV took the throne when he was five years old (ruled 1714-1774), succeeding in 1715 his great-grandfather, Louis XIV. Increasingly the nationa€™s economy was built upon borrowed money obtained from loans granted by private financiers. From the reign of Louis XIII and his primary counselor, Cardinal Richelieu, continuing through the reign of Louis XIV and his finance minister, Colbert, a severe absolutism controlled the nation.
In addition, the growing merchant and middle classes resented being excluded from participation in government, and during the reign of Louis XVI (picture right) there was no apparent change in sight. Increasingly the monarchy lost its charm, sense of loyalty, and honor among the French people.
As an indication of how little Louis XVI understood his nation and how unaware he was of the dynamics sweeping France, in 1788, when members of Parliament complained of his dictatorial ways, he issued the Lamoignon Edict, abolishing the power of parliament. Marie Antoinette was an Austrian princess, a nation resented and disliked by the i??French from the days of the anti-Austrian French foreign policy devised by Richelieu and promoted by Louis XIV. Essays and books by Descartes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Voltaire and others were more widely read in France than in any other place in Europe (see Unit 20). The philosophesa€™ general disdain for the Roman Catholic Church resulted in a widespread suspicion of the clergy. This led to a requirement that all Catholic clergy sign an oath of loyalty to France (Civil Constitution of the Clergy, 1790) or be expelled from the country. The peasants were growing more aware of and were less content to remain in their disenfranchised state at the bottom of society. The third estate was comprised of the middle class (Bourgeoisie): merchants, lawyers, physicians, government workers, and everyone else in society, including the peasants. The social and economic gap between the peasants the land owning nobility, including the monarchy, grew greater. In lean years 90% of the peasants lived below subsistence levels and were hardly able to survive. 10,000 female market workers (a€?the Paris fish market womena€?) marched the thirty-five miles from Paris to Versailles in 1788 to protest the high cost of bread. Versailles had first been the site of a hunting lodge built by Louis XIV about ten miles to the north of Paris. Eventually Louis XIV built a huge palace at Versailles and transferred the seat of government from Paris to Versailles. The French nobility resided in and around Versailles in order to be found daily in the French court. Riots had broken out in Paris over economic failures, the escalating price of bread, and the fear and frustration resulting from the two-year famine in many areas of France.
The Bastille, an ancient prison now turned into a military armory, in 1789 was stormed by Parisians seeking guns and ammunition for their protests. To appease the growing unrest and to convince them, however, that new and higher taxes were necessary to address the nationa€™s problems, Louis XVI, called into session the Assembly of the Notables.This was a weak ruse by the king to gain their support for higher taxes.
The weak king, counseled by strong-willed Maria who held to a strict absolutism for the monarchy, refused to share government with the nobles. The Assembly then demanded that Louis call into Session the Paris Parlement, which had not met since 1614!
In desperation, Louis then called into session the Estates General, composed of representatives from each of the Three Estates. In frustration and anger, the Third Estate walked out of the meetings and refused to reassemble with the other two estates. When the third estates walked out, the king arranged to have the meeting place conveniently shut down a€?for repairs.a€? The third estate then took over the kinga€™s indoor tennis courts and held their own assembly, which became known as the Tennis Court Assembly. The nobility was abolished and a constitution was drawn up which would maintain a constitutional monarchy, with a strong Assembly and a weak monarch.
Promoted the concept of a free market economy and abolished the former mercantilism of the prior kings.
It approved and adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man which featured for all French a€?liberty, equality, property, security, and resistance to oppressiona€?. Thomas Paine, author of the pro-independence piece, Common Sense, during the American War for Independence, had left America for France. The National Assembly dissolved itself in 1791 in favor of a new Legislative Assembly with representatives elected by the people. The king and queen were brought to Paris and placed under palace arrest so that the French people could a€?keep their eye on them.a€? In 1791 Marie had attempted a secret flight from the country with her husband and children through a secret plan arranged with her brother, Emperor Joseph of Austrian.
By Spring 1792 three things were evident: (1) attempts to fashion a constitutional monarchy under Louis had failed, (2) civil unrest was everywhere in France, and (3) the Revolution was going badly. Counter-revolutionaries in France in Austria were at work to restore an absolute monarchy under Louis and had the financial and military support of Leopold II, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in Vienna.
Furthermore, there was wide-spread speculation that the king, himself, was on the side of the Austrian and Prussian armies that were driving from the north towards Paris. The National Convention, now controlled by the more radical members, viewed King Louis XVI as an enemy of the state, who would be, if he continued to live, even abroad, as a catalyst for enemies of the revolution.
On January 20, 1793 the National Convention condemned Louis to death and he was i??executed the next day. His wife, Marie Antoinette, during a purge of other suspicioned enemies of the revolution, was executed in October 1793, nine months after the execution of her husband.
Marie Antoinette gave birth to four children.A daughter died in infancy, a son died at age seven of tuberculosis, a daughter survived and was sent to Austria in a prisoner exchange, and the heir to the throne, Louis-Charles, suffered a horrible death. After his fathera€™s execution, Louis-Charles, born in 1785, stayed with his mother in prison. By June 1793 the crowds in the street, impatient with what they perceived to be the slow progress of the National Convention in pushing forward a radical reform, rioted. In September 1773 the street crowds again rioted and demanded that even terror be used to bring about the social, political, and economic revolution that the street crowds envisioned. Maximillien Robespierre had long argued for the abolishment of the monarchy, promoted the ideas of an assembly directly accountable to the people, promoted the end to the death penalty, and opposed war with Austria. Although initially an idealist committed to the rights of man as elaborated in the writings of the philosophes in the Enlightenment, Robespierre resorted to terror to maintain the course and direction of the revolution.
In May 1794 Robespierre supported a decree that established a new national religion in France, the Cult of the Supreme Being. The French calendar was changed to include a new ten-day week in order to abolish from the minds of the nation a€?Sundaya€? or the Christian a€?first day of the weeka€? in order to eliminate all references to Christ and the Resurrection.
The French also devised a new clock which measured not a 24-hour day but a 10-hour day, each hour divided into 100 minutes and each minute containing 100 seconds, with exactly 100,000 seconds per day. By 1794 most French churches were closed, 30,000 priests were either deported, killed, or shipped as prisoners to French Guiana, and no priests remained to conduct the sacraments. Finally, the treachery and evident emotional and mental imbalance of Robespierre was so apparent and the Reign of Terror so horrendous, that Robespierre himself was condemned to death. With the death of Robespierre, the nation was governed by a new team of leaders, The Directory.
Napoleon ordered his cannons to fire into the protesters and quickly brought order to the streets of Paris.
Considered to be one of the great generals and military strategists in history, Napoleon Napoleon defeated the army of Austria and proceeded to conquer Italy. Napoleon secretly had the desire to become the next Alexander the Great and saw Egypt as the first step towards establishing a new empire.
Within a few short years the goal for a free France ruled by a representative government would again slip into absolutism.
A French hegemony existed in Europe almost to the very eve of 1789.A A hegemony is the strong influence of a people, culture, or nation over others. Marie Antoinette was an Austrian princess, a nation resented and disliked by the French from the days of the anti-Austrian French foreign policy devised by Richelieu and promoted by Louis XIV. TheA peasants were growing more aware of and were less content to remain in their disenfranchised state at the bottom of society.
Versailles had first been the site of a hunting lodge built by Louis XIV about ten miles to the northA of Paris. 1.The nobility was abolished and a constitution was drawn up which would maintain a constitutional monarchy, with a strong Assembly and a weak monarch.
1.Promoted the concept of a free market economy and abolished the former mercantilism of the prior kings.
1.It approved and adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man which featured for all French a€?liberty, equality, property, security, and resistance to oppressiona€?. 1.The National Assembly dissolved itself in 1791 in favor of a new Legislative Assembly with representatives elected by the people. On January 20, 1793A the National Convention condemned Louis to death and he was executed the next day.
Increasingly he became more radical, sought to eliminate all opposition to his leadership and ideas. The French Revolution ultimately enthroned, at one point, the Goddess of Reason as its central cult.
The persecution of French Protestants forced most of their capable leaders to flee France, to the benefit of Holland, England, and the United States where they found new homes.
French nobles had revolted against the Bourbon royal family and the early childhood of Louis was spent with his mother in hiding.
And the French military effort under Louis XVI to assist the American colonists gain their independence from Great Britain virtually bankrupted France. Louis XIV established one of the first secret service agencies ini?? Europe in order to stamp out dissent. He dealt with dissenters harshly by means of lettres de caches (indefinite imprisonment without benefit of official charges, trial, or jury -- or the total absence of the English habeas corpus).
She was the daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette married Louis at age 15 and by the age of 20 was queen of France. Their works championed social justice and participatory government and their ideas stirred up the middle and merchant classes to an intoxicating quest for some form of democracy. The big question asked whether the Roman clergy was loyal to France and the French Church or were they loyal to the pope in Rome?
50% of the clergy refused to sign the oath of loyalty, including the majority of the local, village priests.
They owned 20% of the land, were 2-3% of the population, had access to the kinga€™s court, participated in government, and paid no taxes. They made up 96-97% or the population, but owned only 40% of the land, AND PAID ALL OF THE TAXES! But a severe drought in the spring of 1788 and a devastating hail storm in July ruined the wheat harvest. The march turned into an ugly protest and the women armed with knives, shovels, and rakes, stormed Versailles seeking the hated queen.
It was soon discovered, however, that his trips to Versailles were not for the purpose primarily of hunting but for secret rendezvous with his mistress. It was considered an architectural masterpiece and during the period of the French hegemony was copied in many European capitols. One of the great honors of a nobleman during the reign of Louis XIV was to assist him to dress and to empty his chamber pot (the kinga€™s a€?toileta€?).
The French lost their reverence for the monarchy, gained new understandings of the worth and the basic rights of the individual in a more just society. Hearing of the success of the Parisians in this takeover, the peasants revolted against the land owning nobility, destroyed fences, records of land ownership, seized manors, and killed many of the nobility. It did not work, however, because his new proposal included the taxation of the nobility, something from which they had traditionally been exempted! Out of fear of a major uprising, Louis called into session the Paris Parlement in 1789, made up of representatives from the 13 French provinces.
The Estates General was in actuality the Parlement which had not been assembled since 1614. Their appeal for a€?one person one votea€? was rejected by the first and second estates because the representatives of the third estate represented 94% of the people, and the first and second estates were not about to give up their traditional power. The Communes invited representatives from the First and Second Estates to join them and to boycott the Estates General. They were captured at the border by French soldiers and taken back to Paris as virtual prisoners.
The National Assembly abolished the monarchy, the French Republic was proclaimed, Increased in-fighting, civil war, regional disputes, and the eventual lack of an emerging strong leadership, opened the door for a small group of representatives, the Committee of Public Safety, to take control of the Assembly. In response, Revolutionary leaders on the other side declared war in April 1792 against the Holy Roman Empire with the hope that war against Austria and the Empire would unite France in a new national spirit. In August 1792 a battle between revolutionaries and monarchists was fought at the royal palace in Paris and the monarchy was overthrown.
He was tried for crimes against the people and the National Convention declared France a Republic. The Committee of Public Safety passed the Law of Suspects, giving it broad freedom to seize and arrest anyone suspected to be an anti-revolutionary. In the 1793-1796 civil war in western France between conservatives opposed to the excesses of the revolution and revolutionaries, it is estimated that up to 450,000 combatants from both sides died.
He lead one of two major political factions in the National Assembly, the Mountain (so-called because they sat to the rear of the Assembly in rows higher up from the floor level), which was the more radical of the two. He purged the Committee of all opposition and conducted the execution of hundreds of remaining noble families. The house arrest of the king was the final sign on the wall of their own future if they stayed in France.
In fact, each of the new months did not contain actual a€?weeksa€? but three decades of ten days each.The names of the months were also changed. A grateful Directory rewarded Napoleon and approved his plan to build a stong military with the goal of invading Italy and Austria, Francea€™s two hated enemies--Austria because of its constant threats of invasion and Italy because of the Popea€™s constant attempts to interfere in Francea€™s politics. Instead, he convinced the Directory to allow him to invade Egypt as a first step to conquering India, as an attempt to break the financial and political empire of England which occupied both India and Egypt in its vast British Empire. The French Revolution ultimately enthroned, at one point,A the Goddess of Reason as its central cult.
Styles of dress, architecture, literature, music, theater, vocabulary, technology are all avenues through which a hegemony develops. And the French military effort under Louis XVIA to assist the American colonists gain their independence from Great Britain virtually bankrupted France. Louis XIV established one of the first secret service agencies in Europe in order to stamp out dissent. Out of fear of a major uprising, Louis called into session the ParisA Parlement in 1789, made up of representatives from the 13 French provinces.
InA August 1792 a battle between revolutionaries and monarchists was fought at the royal palace in Paris and the monarchy was overthrown. The event itself was turned into a major display and triumph for the Revolution.A 1,200 armed horsemen accompanied him from the prison to the place of execution, two hours away, with crowds lining the route. 100 calories of whole wheat bread and look at the vitamin and minerals content between the two. And it produced a weakened Catholic Church which rapidly lost the allegiance of the masses to the spirit of humanism and secularism. France was at war three of every five years during his reign and participated in four major European wars. Defeat at the hands of Great Britain in the Seven Years War and the humiliation of the Treaty of Paris (1763) was blamed by the nation on Louis XV. The French hatred for the Austrians (resulting in wars under Louis XIV) and the British (Louis XV) drove France to the brink of national bankruptcy.
The situation was so dire that lenders were no longer willing to loan the French monarchy money.
But by the time of the reigns of Louis XV and XVI, rule by terror and military might could no longer control the masses. Flour for bread, the sustenance of the French diet, became very scarce and drove the price of bread extremely high. It began to dawn on the more educated of the third estate that they could agitate for greater access to the government and that perhaps they could, in an organized effort, bring reforms to France.
The nobility refused to consider any new taxes unless the king gave them a major share of the government. He gave them the same sales pitch for higher taxes and got from them the same negative response. This was then reformed to become the National Constituent Assembly and existed from July 1789 to September 1791. A new government, the National Convention was declared in September which immediately declared that France was no longer a monarchy but a republic.
Marie was tried by the Committee for Public Safety and accused of holding orgies at Versailles, sending funds secretly to her brother, Emperor Joseph of Austria, and even committing incest with her son, so intent was the Committee on establishing guilt worthy of execution. But after his mothera€™s execution, Louis-Charles was given to a shoemaker and his wife to oversee him in a small prison cell. This opened the door for a committee of twelve to take control of the government, which shrewdly called itself a€?The Committee of Public Safetya€? to give leadership in the war effort against Austria and Prussia as well as to bring order to the streets of Paris. Armed militia from Paris spread out into the other provinces to root out whomever they determined to be an enemy of the revolution. The instrument of death was an invention created just for this period in the Revolution, the guillotine.
Earlier the Paris Cathedral had been stripped of all Christian symbols and in November 1793 a large statute of the Goddess of Reason was erected in the cathedral. It was not a popular move, however, because under the new calendar there were nine days of work separating each day of rest which occurred at the end of each decade, rather than after six days under the Christian calendar. The Rulera€™s Law of the Corsican general would merely replace the Rulera€™s Law of the Bourbon kings. It eventually reverted back to a dictatorship under Napoleon, not very different from the a€?rule from the top downa€? of the French monarchy against which they had revolted. But by the time of the reigns of LouisA XV and XVI, rule by terror and military might could no longer control the masses. This opened the door for a committee of twelve to take control of the government, which shrewdly called itself a€?The Committee of Public Safetya€? to give leadership in the war effort against Austria andA Prussia as well as to bring order to the streets of Paris. Over 30,000 priests and nuns were eventually either killed, exiled, or sent to prison in French Guiana.
Those early experiences embittered him against the nobles and resulted in his building an absolute monarchy.
She had a distain for French culture, refused to learn or use the French language, was highly materialistic, vain, and considered by the nobility to be a snob. Crowds in Paris stormed the prisons and executed 2,000 prisoners, including many priests, nuns, and nobility.
War raged not only with Austria and Prussia, but a full-scale civil war was being fought against provinces in western France who rejected the radical government in Paris.
Even former close friends and colleagues of the Committeea€™s leader, Maximillien Robespierre, were executed by the guillotine.
When 32 of the Girondist leaders were imprisoned, supposedly due to fear that they would work to reinstate the monarchy, Robespierre became the undisputed leader and virtual dictator. Louis requested and was accompanied by an English priest living in France, Henry Edgeworth, who Louis requested be with him prior to his death. War raged not only with Austria and Prussia, but a full-scale civil war was being fought against provinces in western France who rejected the radical government inA Paris.
A disease created by abuses of power and neglect of the peasants class was eating away at the inner core of the the nation.
However, he was also a man of the arts and culture, and during his reign French culture blossomed and became a hegemony throughout Europe. Furthermore, to strengthen his position militarily he had aligned France with its hated neighbor, Austria, and lost the economic benefits of a valuable alliance with Frederick the Great of Prussia. She hosted lavish parties at the palace, promoted gambling, and filled her closets with expensive clothing. The first and second estates traditionally voted in tandem, and usually against the third estate. By 1794 The Committee went so far as to deprive those accused of being not supportive of the revolution from legal counsel and the requirement that witnesses be present to give testimony against them. While several factors led to the escalating price of bread, the government received the blame. For this he was also called a€?the Sun Kinga€? because French language and culture dominated Europe.
I pardon the authors of my death, and pray God that the blood you are about to shed will never fall upon France.a€™ The executioners seized him, the knife struck him, his head fell at fifteen minutes after ten.
Government buildings generally sought to copy the architecture of Versailles (pictured below). However, she was the strength in the royal marriage and was a major source of energy and direction for Louis. The Committee of Public Safety had hoped to use him as a pawn to trade to the Austrians in a prisoner exchange, as they had done earlier, with his older sister. All of the problems that developed within France over the previous 100 years became his when he took the throne. Higgins, editor, The French Revolution as Told by Contemporaries, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966, pp.
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