Origins and Features of the French Revolution (back
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 &
- 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!
- spring 1789: King Louis 16 allows 600 reps.
in 3rd estate
- May 5: Estates General convene
- June 10: 3rd invites clergy & nobility;
- 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
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).