Plate depicting the execution
of King Louis XVI

UCSB Hist 2c (World History, 1700-pres.)
State Building in Latin America
Lecture 9, on May 2, 2006 (prev., next)

by Professor Harold Marcuse
(Prof's homepage;
created May , 2006, updated

What am I supposed to be learning?
6. Images & Symbols

What am I supposed to be learning? (back to top)

  • In l

1. Marseillaise (French national anthem) (back to top)

2. Ideas vs. Economics as primary causes (back to top)

The next slide was actually the concluding slide from L5 on antislavery: What caused the end of slavery?



3. The Concept of "Revolution" (back to top)

Revolution in World History
Revolution in World History notes

Revolution: "fundamental change"
(paradigm shift: "after" doesn't understand "before")

  • term used in "Western" (European) context since 1600s/1700s
  • in various areas
    • ideas (Scientific Rev.: Copernicus, Newton)
    • politics (England, 1640-1689: power of king changed, not structure of society)
    • US colonial: ideas & politics, not social
    • French, 1789-1804: political and social
    • economic (most fundamental, underlying cause): Ind. Rev., 1750-1850
  • economic rev. caused social & political
  • social causes political (ultimately/always)
  • ideas (and economics) can cause political
The point of this slide was to argue that the whole notion of fundamental change emerged in "the West," which needed to coin a term for it. This slide reviews the various revolutions we talked about in this course, and attempts to categorize them.

4. Origins and Features of the French Revolution (back to top)

What caused the French revolution?

  • financial (econ.): king needed to raise taxes to fund wars (vs. England, help US colonies)
  • demographic (econ/environmental):
    • pop. increase->urbanization 1730s-80s
    • crises in 1770s/80s: bad harvests, inflation
  • political: king needed approval of ancient [medieval] parliament for tax increase
    • ["ancient"--100, 140, 175 years =since 1614]
    • 3 houses: clergy, nobles, "third estate"
      (300, 300, 600 representatives)
    • vote by house: royalists win (c+n)
    • vote by head: bourgeoisie wins (most of 600 in "3rd" plus some sympathetic clergy & nobles)
  • student question: how was it decided by house or by head? The powerpoint answer in L8 looked like this:
    • July 1788: no more censorship of pamphlets, so Est. gen'l elections could proceed [lots of newspapers! (literacy!)]
    • spring 1789: King Louis 16 allows 600 reps. in 3rd estate
    • May 5: Estates General convene
    • June 10: 3rd invites clergy & nobility; they refuse
    • June 17: 3rd declares itself "National Assembly" (some clergy & nobles join).
      King suspends sessions.
    • June 23: meet in tennis court, swear oath
    • July 14: storming of Bastille ("pentagon")
    • Aug. 4: Nat. Assembly abolishes feudal system
What was the point of these slides? To show that underlying economic causes (some triggered by the king's politics--fighting England in its North American colonies) led to a situation in which political developments took their own course. That course was very much determined by the decisions and actions of individual human agents (such as the king, and outspoken members of the Third Estate).


5. Course of the French Revolution (back to top)


6. Images & Symbols of the French Revolution (back to top)







prepared for web by Harold Marcuse, May , 2006, updated: see header
previous lecture: 08: French Revolution  | next : 10=midterm; 11: Latin America
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