Crisis Of The French Revolution (стр. 1 из 3)

– Notes Essay, Research Paper

Creating a new Society

14 July 1789 to 9 Thermidor II,(27 July 1794) (snapshot Napoleonic France 1804)

According to Joseph Weber, foster brother of Queen Antoinette, there were three primary causes of the French revolution ‘the disorder of the finances, the state of mind, and the war in America.’ The ‘disorder in the finances’ acknowledged that the bankruptcy of the monarchy opened the doors to defiance of the King’s authority. The greatest single cause of the revolution was the economic crisis, which forced the King to recall the redundant Estates General which had not been called since 1614, which opened the debate for people to make complaints with the current system through the cahiers of the three Estates. The ’state of mind’ largely attributed to the philosophes of the Enlightenment who challenged the very foundations that the Ancien Regime was based on. Another contributing factor to the crisis was a plight of millions of peasants, and the even more critical situation of the landless vagrants and the unemployed masses in the towns. Between 1715 and 1789 the population in France had increased from 18 million to 26 million. Land was a fixed resource, and thousands could not work in rural regions. As a result peasants were forced into the towns. Their situation was exacerbated by the bad harvest of 1788, which saw inflation of basic commodities such as bread, widespread unemployment and destitution accentuated the crisis.

*** Original revolutionary goals***

Original ideology: Enlightened

Document: Declaration of Rights of Man

The August decrees cleared the way for the erection of a constitution, but first they decided to lay down the principles on which it was based. It is a curious mixture of enlightenment theory and bourgeois aspirations. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen , passed into law by the National Assembly on the 26 August 1789, It condemned the practices of the Ancien Regime and expressed the broad agreement which was to be found in the cahiers of all three orders.

1. Men are born free and equal in their rights

3. The fundamental source of all sovereignty resides in the nation – an application of Rousseau’s principle of the ‘general will’

7. No man may be accused, arrested, or detained except in cases determined by the law

13, General taxation is indispensable for the upkeep of the public force and for the expenses of government. It should be borne equally by all the citizens in proportion to their means

17. the right to property is inviolable and sacred

The Declaration of Rights represented a total break from the past. In the Ancien Regime authority had been deriven from g-d and the king.

** The Declaration primarily appealed to bourgeois (and nobility) spread to proletariat via propaganda

(see Townson pg.43)

POWER STRUCTURE – NATIONAL CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY (June 1789 – 30 September 1792)

- deputies based the writing of the constitution on the Declaration of Rights of man

- deputies saw the reluctance of the King to accept the changes that were taking place

- and decided that he should have a suspensive veto

- *at this point no one considered abolishing the monarch completely and setting up a republic

- it was decided that Legislative power reside in the National Assembly

- over the next year went about reorganising French govt., laws, finances, and economy

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

- deputies wanted to make sure power was decentralised, passing from the central govt. in Paris to local authorities

- making it more difficult for King to recover the power he had before

- wanted the elected representatives to be responsible to those who elected them

- already the principles of the Declaration of Rights were being undermined, as citizens were divided into ‘active’ and ‘passive’ citizens.

- Only active citizens who paid the equivalent of three days’ labour in taxes, voted for the municipal officials, those who did not earn that amount from wages were not allowed to vote and known as ‘passive’

- ‘active’ citizens also voted in the Primary Assemblies when national elections were held

- the positions you could apply for increased in prestige the more you earnt

- eg. to become a deputy in the Assembly you had to be able to pay the equivalent of 50 days labour in tax

- 61% of Frenchmen had the right to vote in some elections

- at a municipal level most peasants had the right to vote

- b4 1789 govt officials ran the provincial administration

- 1790 no govt officials at local level, elected councils replaced them

- councils in the towns were more effective – as it was made up of more literate and talented people

- in the villages they found it hard to fill the council with men who could read or write

- therefore rural communities carried about their duties badly

FINANCIAL REFORM

- new tax system could not be set up immediately

- most unpopular taxes were abolished

- the poor benefited

- burden of taxation fell on produces rather than the consumers

- fairer system

- were keeping with the Declaration of Rights – as all property and income taxed on the same basis

ECONOMIC REFORM

- deputies in the Constituent Assembly believed in Laissez-faire trade and industry free from any govt. interference

- the people wanted the price and distribution of all essential goods to be controlled

- *** for the first time there was a uniform system of weights and measures, the decimal system was applied to the whole of France

JUSTICE

- no longer different laws in the North and the South

- there were to be the same law courts throughout France

- ‘Lettres de cachet’ were made illegal by the Declaration of Rights

- trials were held before a jury of 12 citizens, who would decide guilty or innocence

- the idea came from English law

- head of judicial system was the court of appeal

- torture and mutilation were abolished

- anyone arrested had to be brought before a court within 24 hours

- number or crimes for which death was the penalty was reduced (and in March 1792 the same speedy method of execution (the guillotine) was to be used for al condemned to death)

- ***FOR THE FIRST TIME JUSTICE WAS ACCESSIBLE, IMPARTIAL AND CHEAP AND THEREFORE POPULAR

- ” French system of justice had been one of the most backward, barbarous, and corrupt in Europe. In two years it became the most enlightened.” According Towson

RELIGION

- Constituent Assembly wanted to make sure the church was free from abuses, foreign control, democratic and linked to the new system of local government

- Unpopular decree in Dec. 1789 which gave civil rights to Protestants, and later extended to jews in September 1791

- August – the Assembly abolished the tithe, and also ended old corporate privileges of the Church – such as right to decide how much taxation it would pay

- Most clergy supported these measures

- Also accepted sale of the church lands, as would be paid more then they had under the ancien regime

- No serious conflict with the Church until the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in July 1790

- This adapted the organisation of the church to the administrative framework of local govt.

- The attempt to extend democracy to all aspects of govt. also expanded to the church

- Clergy no longer to be appointed but elected

- Most clergy opposed the principle of election, but majority were in favour of finding a way of accepting the Civil Constitution

- The Assembly decreed that in Nov. 1790 the clergy must take an oath to the Constitution

- This split the clergy

- When the Pope condemned the Civil Constitution, many who had taken the oath retracted

- There were now in effect two Catholic Churches in Frances, one the constitutional church accepted the Revolution, the other, a non-juring Church (non-jurors or refractories), approved by the Pope but regarded as patriots as against the revolution

- **** One major effect of this split was that the counter-revolution, the movement which sought to overturn the revolution, received mass support for the first time

- before it had been supported by only a few royalists and ?migr?s

- * many villagers complained that the Assembly was trying to change their religion

- they felt a sense of betrayal, which combined with their hostility to other measures such as conscription, was to lead to open revolt in 1793 in areas such as the Vendee

- ********** Disaffection with the Revolution, which eventually turned into civil war, was, therefore, one result of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy

REVOLUTIONARY CLUBS AND POPULAR DISCONTENT

Political clubs had begun to form soon after the Estates-General met in May 1789.

Jacobin Club – high entrance fee, members mainly came from most wealthy sections of society. Dominant members of the Jacobin club up to the summer of 1791 were liberal constitutional monarchists. In July the Jacobin Club split over the petition calling for the removal of the King. 900 such clubs in the spring of 1791,

Corderliers Club – founded in April 1790, more radical than the Jacobin club and had unrestricted admission. It objected to the distinction b/w active and passive citizens and supported measures which the sans-culottes favoured: direct democracy. Much support amongst the working class, although leaders were bourgeois. Most notorious write Marat, L’Ami du Peuple. Became chief spokesman of the popular movement.

** As there were no political parties, the clubs played an important part in the revolution. Kept

- kept the public informed major issues of the day

- acted as pressure groups to influence the members in the Assembly

- the peasants and sans-culottes were not satisfied with what they had received from the revolution

- when the peasants realised in the spring of 1790 that their harvest dues were not abolished realised in the spring of 1790 that their harvest dues were not abolished outright but would have to be bought out were deeply disillusioned

- wave of strikes by workers against the falling value of their wages early in 1791

- grain prices rose by up to 50 per cent after poor harvest 1791

- *** the discontent of the workers could be used by the popular societies, who linked economic protests to the political demand for a democratic republic, AND by groups in the Assembly seeking more power

- THIS MADE THE REVOLUTION MORE RADICAL IN WAYS WHICH THE BOURGEOIS LEADERS OF 1789 HAD NEITHER INTENDED NORE DESIRED.

THE RISE OF A REPUBLICAN MOVEMENT

Louis’ flight to Varennes

- Mirabeau, outstanding politician and orator in the Constituent Assembly, died in April 1791, the moderates were becoming more influential in the Assembly

- They feared the new clubs and emergence of an oganised working-class movement

- *wanted to end the revolution but for this to happen, had to be a compromise with the King

- LOUIS DASHED ALL THEIR HOPES BY ATTEMPTING TO FLEE

- ********One immediate result of his flight is that he lost what remained of his popularity, which was dependent on him being seen to support the revolution.

- PPL started talking openly about replacing the monarchy with a republic

- Deputes in the assembly acted calmly to the situation – did not want a republic

- 16 July the Assembly voted to suspend the King until the Constitution had been completed

- he would be restored only after swore to observe it

CHAMP DE MARS

- radicals appalled when the King was not dethroned or put on trial

- their anger directed against the Assembly

- Cordeliers and some Jacobins supported a petition for the King’s deposition

- **This split the Jacobin club

- Robespierre left to preside over more radical rump – Parisian defectors formed a new club the Feuillants, which, for the moment had control over Paris

- 17 July 1791, 50,000 people flocked to the Champ de Mars, a huge field where the Feast of the Federation had been held 3 days earlier celebrating fall of the Bastille.

- They were there to sign a republican petition on the ‘altar of the fatherland’

- this was a political demonstration of the poorer sections of the Paris population

- the Commune,, under pressure from the Assembly, declared martial law

- sent Lafayette with the National Guard to the Champ de Mars, where they fired on the peaceful crowd (trying to stop freedom of expression)

- **** FIRST bloody clash between the different groups in the Third Estate, greeted with pleasure in the Assembly

- popular leaders arrested

- moderates had won, could now work out a compromise with the King without facing mob violence

- Feuillants now more then ever committed to making an agreement with the King

THE CONSTITUTION OF 1791

- main aims of the Constituent Assembly had been to draw up a Constitution

- which would replace absolute monarchy with a limited one

- * real power was to pass from an elected assembly

- much of the constitution – that the King should have a suspensive veto and that there should be one elected assembly – had been worked out in 1789 but the rest now passed until sept.1791

- King, whose office was hereditary, was subordinate to the Assembly, as it passed laws King had to obey

- ‘In France there is no authority superior to the law?it is only by means of the law that the King reigns.’

- In September the King was forced, reluctantly , to accept the Constitution

THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (1 October 1791 – 20 September 1792)

- when the King accepted the Constitution in September 1791, the Constituent Assembly was dissolved

- to prevent opponents dominating next Assembly, Robespierre proposed a self-denying ordinance

- stating that not member of the N.C.A could sit for the Legislative Assembly

- assembly elected almost wholly bourgeoisie

- few nobles

- at the beginning 264 members Feuillant Club, who considered the revolution to be over136 members Jacobins

- other 350 deputies did not belong to either

- many emitters

- ** Assembly passed two laws in November

- 1. Declared that all non-jurors were suspects

- 2. All emitters who had not returned to France by 1 January 1792 would forfeit their property and and be regarded as traitors (GOING AGAINST D.R.O.R. 17!!!)

- when King vetoed these laws his unpopularity increased: he appeared to be undermining the revolution

- yet despite mistrust of King, it seemed likely that the Constitution of 1791 would survive

- what prevented to this was the war with Austria, which began April 1792

- *****THIS EVENT HAD MORE DECISIVE AND FAR-REACHING REULTS THAN ANY OTHER IN THE WHOLE OF THE REVOLUTION

- ************* WAR FINALLY DESTROYED THE CONSENSUS OF 1789**** LED DIRECTLY TO THE FALL OF THE MONARCHY, TO CIVIL WAR AND THE TERROR

THE COMING OF WAR – CRISIS FOR THE REVOLUTION

- the Great Powers had shown no interest in intervening during the first two years of the French Rev

- Leopold II, Habsburg Empire approved of many of the liberal reforms in the Revolution and did not want a return to absolutism

- Like other soverigns, was plaes at the collapse of French power and no longer regarded France as a serious rival

- After the flight of Varenned the Austrians felt they had to make some gesture to support Louis

- THEREFORE, AUGUST 1791, ISSUED DECLARATION OF PILLNITZ, in association with Prussia

- Said they were ready, with other sovereigns to restore the King of France to a position of power which he couuld strenghthen foudations of monarchical govt.

- *appeared to be a threat to interfere with French internal affairs, but in reality it was no threat at all

- in France, dec. did not create much of a stil

- ***SOME PEOPLE IN FRANCE WHO CAME TO BELIEVE, FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, THAT WAR WAS IN THEIR OWN BEST INTEREST

- Marie Antoinette – saw that ‘conciliation is out of the question..armed force has destroyed everything and ony armed force can put things right.’ She hoped for a war in which Louis would be defeated, enabling him to recover his powers

- King shared her view

- ***at this same time he was taking an oath for the constitution, Antoinette was writing to the Austrian ambassador, ‘giving the impression of adopting the new ideas is the safest way of quickly defeating them.’

- Lafayette and Dumouriez also wanted war

- The desire for war resulted in the cooperation of Laafayette and his follwers with the Brissotins, who also wanted war

- Brissot one of the first to support the republic after Louis’ flight to Varennes and wanted abolition of monarchy

- He saw King had not really accepted the Constitution, and thought a war would force the King to come out into the open, as it would traitors who were opposed to the revolution

- Robespierre not in favour of war – made feeling known in Jacobin club

- Austrian threats and Girondin attacks on the ‘Austrian Committee’ at Court forced the King to dismiss his Feuillant ministers in March 1792 and appint a more radical government, including some Girondin ministers

- ***THIS WAS A DECISIVE CHANGE


Copyright © MirZnanii.com 2015-2018. All rigths reserved.