||The French Revolution Part I: THE OLD REGIME
||Structure of French Society before French Revolution
||Role of American Revolution
||The role of philosophers in French Revolution
||Phases of French Revolution
||Tennis Court Oath
||Women’s March to Versailles
||Limitation of Constitution
||The Reign of terror
||The Rule of Directory
||What was the impact of the French Revolution in France?
||RISE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
||What were the reforms introduced by napoleon Bonaparte in France?
||The Napoleonic Code
||The Decline of Napoleon
- Most important landmark in the history of man kind.
- Rejection of old system and formation of new Francenation.
The French Revolution Part I: THE OLD REGIME
French Society during the Late Eighteenth Century
- In 1774, Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of France.
- He was 20 years old and married to the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette.
- The royal family lived in luxury at the Palace of Versailles.
The Old Regime
- The term Old Regime is usually used to describe the society and institution of France before 1789.
- The Society of estates was part of the feudal system that dated back to the middle ages.
Structure of French Society before French Revolution
First Estate – The Catholic Church
- France was a catholic country.
- Church was in-charge of religious life, education and record keeping.
- Examption from taxes
- Hold in politics
Second Estate- The Nobility
- Nobilities were people with hereditary titles.
- Land owners with large estates
- Enjoyed privileges along with tax exemption
The Third Estate
- The third estate, the common people, was by far the largest group in France.
- Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers etc.
- Peasants and artisans.
- Small peasants, landless labour, servants.
- Peasants were obliged to render services to the lord- to work in his house and fields- to serve in the army or to participate in building roads.
- The Third estate bore the entire tax burden.
- Tithe- 1/10 th of the agricultural produce &
- Taille- Tax paid to the state.
- Clergy and Nobility enjoyed at their cost.
The French Revolution Causes:
- The society was divided into estates
- First and the second estates got privileges and exemption from taxes
- First estate consisted of clergy of Roman Catholic Church. Their population was less than 1% and hold 15% of the resources.
- Second estate consisted of Nobles. They accounts only for 2% of the population but hold more than 20% of land
- Over 97% of the population comprised of third estates .
- They did not get any privilege and were highly taxed.
- The artisan, labour and peasants were living in very miserable condition.
- Middle class of the third estate was wealthier as they were involved in business and other profession. This middle class was highly ambitious to acquire arch position in the social structure.
- This unequal structure of society caused a bitter discontent in the third estate and led to revolution.
- The French economy was in medieval state because even during 1780’s there was no trace of industrial revolution in France (Britain-1760- industrial revolution)
- Luxurious life style of the monarch Erratic taxation system
- French government didn't take interest in advent of economy. The kings and the aristocracy were busy in their own affairs.
- There was no system of budget in France
- The guild system was the worst feature of French economy
- The French Participation in American war of independence reuined financial health completely because an amount of more than five million livre was spent by France on this war.
- Collapse of administrative and political order as due to bankruptcy the government was not able to meet its regular expenses.
- The aggressive foreign policy of monarch.
- Incompetence ruler Louis XVI
Role of American Revolution
- American Revolution overthrown the British Government
- France had actively added in this struggle
- The example of the American colonist inspired the French soldiers
Also read: MPPSC Mains Paper- 2 Part- A UNIT- V Notes on Public Administration and Management
The role of philosophers in French Revolution:
Phases of French Revolution:
Phase I - Financial Bankruptcy:
- The financial condition of state gradually deteriorated under Louis XV because his continuous involvement in war and battle and on unlimited court expenditure.
- When Louis XVI sat on throne in 1774, the financial condition of state was already quite bad. There was an urgent need of reforms but this new king was unfit for challenge.
- Over and above this mistakes, king committed the blunder by pushing France into war of American independence. The Financial burden of this war exhausted the treasury and pushed France on verge of bankruptcy.
- By 1787, no money was left in state treasury, the soldiers were not being paid and when it became clear that the state would soon became bankrupt, the king accepted the suggestion for imposing taxes on privilaged class.
Louis XVI appointed a number of capable ministers such as Turgot (1774-76), Neckar (1776-1781), Calonne (1783-87) Brienne (1787-87). But they were dismissed, one after the other when they suggested the imposition of taxes on privilaged class . Finally the king has to sent the proposal to the Parliament of Paris for the registration. Parliament refused to register the new taxes and demanded the king to convene the session of Estate General.
Phase II – Estate General:
- On 5th May 1789 the meeting of estate general held.
- A proposal could be passed by the Estate General if it had been approved by any of the two estates.
- The Third estate insisted on having a combined session of all the three estate and representation with population ratio so that decision could be taken on the strength of majority.
- The members of the first and the second estate opposed this demand .
- The third estate remain adamant on their demand and started protesting.
Tennis Court Oath
- On 17th June, when representative of third Estate came to sit in parliament, they found door of building of parliament was closed.
- The representative of third estate gathered nearby tennis court and proclaimed themselves as French National Assembly. (17th June 1789)
- On 20th June, these representative of 3rd estate took an oath known as tennis court oath. They decided not to go back to their home till they didn't accept their demand of joint session of parliament.
- Perplexed by the aggressive activities of third estate the king circumsed to popular pressure and on 27 June 1789, king ordered the representatives of first and second Estate to sit with third estate. In this way national assembly came into existence.
- Members of National Assembly achieved phenomenal success in very short period of time.
- The National Assembly abolished all class distinction and principle of equality was declared as basis of society.
- After completing its work the National Assembly converted itself into Constituent Assembly.
Phase III -Fall of Bastille:
- When everything was going peacefully in France the national assembly was busy in discussing aspiration and needs of people.
- Louis then made preparations to break up the Assembly. Troops were called: rumors spread that leading members of the Assembly would soon be arrested. This enraged the people, who began to gather their in thousands.
- They were soon joined by the guards. They surrounded the Bastille, a state prison.
- On 14 July. After a four-hour siege, they broke open the doors, freeing all the prisoners. The fall of the Bastille symbolized the fall of autocracy. July 14 is celebrated every year as a national holiday in France.
- By the late July, insurrection and spirit of popular sovereignty spread throughout the France.
- In the provinces, the peasants rose against the nobles and burnt their castle and also records mentioning feudal dues.
- There was excitement and violence.
- The nobles voluntarily surrendered their feudal rights and the privileges on 4th August 1789.
- Feudalism and serfdom were abolished.
- The principle of equality was established.
- Class distinctions were abolished.
Women’s March to Versailles:
There was a hike in the prices of bread in Paris. On 5th October, a large number of women went to the King’s palace at Versailles to make a petition.
They were not satisfied with the reply of the queen and hence they brought with them the king, the queen and their son to Paris.
After destroying the old Feudal order of France ,the National Assembly undertook the task of framing new constitution and declared itself as the Constituent Assembly on 9th July.
The Constituent Assembly drafted the constitution first time in 1791. It was the first written constitution in the history of the France.
On 26 august 1789, constituent assembly adopted declaration of rights.
- This declaration issued death warrant to old France. This declaration program that-a) Sovereignty lies in people neither in state nor parliament.
- Every person is born with certain natural rights. It is duty of state to protect the rights for citizens.
- Right to property was declared as fundamental, unavoidable right .No citizen could be deprived of it.
- Law is the expression of common will.
- Every individual enjoys the right to participate in functioning of administration and making of laws.
- No person shall be accused , arrested , imprisoned except in accordance with the law. All citizen enjoy rights to acquire government rank in accordance with their merit .
- Every citizen was free to practice and propogates any religion within the limit prescribed by law.
- Freedom of individual lies in its activities which don't harm others.
- The constitution of 1791 framed by the Constituent Assembly provided for the separation of powers.
- To evolve of political system 83 departments were established.
- The constitution provided for a hereditary king who had a suspensive Veto.
- Religious tolerance was proclaimed.
- The church property was Nationalised and the Civil constitution for clergy was established according to which the clergy turn into the official of the state.
- The constitution reflected the ideas of Rousseau, Montesquieu and Voltaire.
Limitation of Constitution:-
- In many accounts the proposed constitution suffered from inherent defects. A single assembly was established instead of bicameral legislature.
- Suffrage was restricted to those who paid certain amount of tax to the state. Declaration of rights emphasize on natural rights of man. There was no mention of natural rights of women. The principle of gender equality was missing.
- Proclamation of Right to property as fundamental and inviolable right was pro-rich. There was no provision to safeguard the interest of poor section of society.
- The separation of powers in three branches seemed to have no scope for communication.
- The king’s veto was not final.
- After completing its work of drafting new constitution the constituent assembly declared itself dissolved and elections were held to elect a new Legislative Assembly on the basis of new constitution the first session of the Legislative Assembly begin on October 1,1791
- With the formation of new government people expected that it would initiate a new epoch and open the doors of happiness and prosperity by strengthening the new setup.
- But the period of one year in the life of Assembly was eventful and stormy and could not complete its tenure of two years it witnessed the decline of monarchy and the revolution took a dangerous turn towards bloodshed
- Political parties didn´t exist when the French Revolution started, but the need for solving practical problems while the National Assembly was trying to transform France gave birth to different political groups. Political discussions also went on in political clubs, where deputies met after the sessions in the Assembly. At the beginning of the Revolution most of the revolutionaries where monarchists and expected that the reforms could establish a constitutional monarchy in France. Differences appeared when the debates focused on the idea of citizenship and limitation of some rights.
- The political clubs sprang up in different quarters. Of these, the most conspicuous were the Jacobin Club and Cordelier Club.
- The Jacobin Club was led by Robespierre, a radical democrat. The Cordelier Club was led by Danton.
- The Girondists were a group of eloquent young men and stood for establishing a republican form of government. Madame Roland was a prominent member of the Girondists.
Flight to Varennes:
- When the new government started working it faced a lot of Storms and eventful situations
- it was not able to solve the economic crisis.
- country was facing close with large number of shops and factories closing down.
- Similarly, the officials of the church stack devout against the Civil constitution of the clergy.
- Infatuation king and his family fled Paris but they were apprehended at the border of varennes And brought back to Paris like prisoners.
When the revolution broke out many of the nobles (Émigrés) managed to escape from France.
They carried out propaganda against the revolution in France and tried to mobilize support from other countries. Austria and Prussia came forward to help them.
To support the king Louis XVI the king of Austria and Prussia issued the famous declared of Pillnitz (August 27 1791).
They also urged the European rulers to help Louis XVI regain the French crown.
National assembly responded by declaring war on Austria on 28 April 1792
Both supporters and opponent's wanted this what to go on for their own reasons. The former expected that the king would get an opportunity to recover his power and glory and the latter an opportunity to test the loyalty of the King for the cause of the revolution. Austria defeated the ill equipped revolutionary army. The wrath of the revolutionaries turned against the French king. On 10th August 1792 the mob attacked the King’s palace at Tuileries. The mob brutally massacred the guards and imprisoned Louis, Marie Antoinette, and their children in a stone.
The coming of the war on the border change the very character of the revolution .
It lead to dangerous situations and culminated in the execution of the king and the queen. Faced with the threat of the radicals, the members of the Legislative Assembly gave up the idea of a limited monarchy.
They set aside the Constitution of 1791, declared the king deposed, and dissolved their assembly, calling for the election of a new legislature. This was followed by National Convention.
The national convention was elected to draft a new constitution for France after the suspension of the king by the Legislative Assembly the elected national convention started its session on 21st September 1792.
Political and administrative measures of national convention:
The new constitution proclaim France a republican state
The work of codification of national laws of the country was taken in hand.
it was provided that there was to be no improvement for debt slavery was abolished in French colonies.
The price of grain and other necessities of life were fixed.
New and uniform system of weights and measures called the metric system was introduced in the country
Social measures of national convention:
Women were given right to property.
the property of the emigrants nobles confiscated and sold to poor peasants. all distinctions of high and low born were eliminated.
no one was to be addressed as Monsieur rather everyone was mentioned as citizen. The convention also show introduce a new Republican calendar. the new calendar was to date from September 23, 1792 to being the date of the proclaimed of the Republic.
Religious measures of National Convention:
The convention exhibit an unmitigated hostility towards the traditional form of Christianity and made efforts to de-christianize France.
Churches were transformed into temples of reason.
The deistic Cult of the Supreme Being was also introduced.
National convention reduced Louis XVI role from that of a king to that of a common citizen and Prisoner than guided by Jacobins they write Louis XVI for provision and found him guilty he was executed by guillotine on 21st Jan 1793.
The Reign of terror:
The period from 1792 to 1794 is referred to as reign of terror.
After the execution of the King and the Queen, the Great Britain, Holland, and Spain joined Prussia and Austria in an alliance known as the First Coalition in early 1793.
The France was attacked from several sides and suffered a string of defeats.
Apart from the foreign armies, the Jacobins faced threats from within the country from moderates, peasants, who were horrified by the beheading of the king.
The Jacobins had set up the Revolutionary Tribunal to deal with the moderates.
They followed a policy of severe control and punishment.
All those whom they show as Enemies of the republic were arrested, imprisoned and then tried by a Revolutionary Tribunal. If they found guilty they were guillotined.
Around 2100 people were killed by guillotine before he himself was sent to hell via guillotine in 1794.
It was the beginning of the Terror in France and was the final phase of the Revolution. It was also the darkest period of the Revolution.
For one year, Robespierre governed France nearly as a dictator, and the period of his rule became known as the Reign of Terror. The Reign of Terror put down all the riots staged by the royalists within the country.
Finally he was also convicted by a court in July 1794, arrested and then sent to the guillotine.
With the fall of Robespierre the Reign of Terror gradually came to an end. The Revolutionary Tribunal was suspended and the functions of Committee of Public Safety were restricted. The Jacobin Club was closed.
The reign of terror was put down.
The new government was dominated by girondist.
The Rule of Directory:
The National Convention drafted the new constitution on 26th, October 1795. According to this new constitution the executive power was entrusted to a board of 5 directors Called Directory.
The internal and external policies of directory were completely failure.
On the one hand the directive failed to satisfy the aspiration of French public, its internal policies were weak and unpopular and on the other hand The peril of foreign invasion gift France Under the burden of adverse and Anarchic circumstances the French had lost their patience. On 10th November 1799 Napoleon overthrew the rule of directory.
does the four year long reign of directory which was fraught with corruption and immorality came to an inglorious end.
What was the impact of the French Revolution in France?
- Marked the end of absolute monarchy and paved way for the republican government.
- Upheld the theory of popular sovereignty and laid the foundations of democratic government.
- Feudalism and serfdom abolished.
- the power of the clergy curbed.
- Written Constitution.
- New reforms were introduced in education, administration and the judiciary.
- The Empire of France became French nation
Effect on England
- French Revolution influenced various movements of social and political reforms in England.
- French Revolution also affect the British politics.
- it led to financial crisis in Britain.
- It influenced several other colonies of Britain like Ireland to struggle for independence.
- it also influenced literature up to a great extent
Effect on Europe
- The French revolution was a significant event not only in the history of Europe but of the entire world. It was the greatest socio-political event of the European history. In fact European history began with it.
- French Revolution led to a phase of new wars in Europe.
- With outbreak of French revolution in 1789, history of Europe got merged into history of one event, one nation and one man. For next 25 years not single important event took place in Europe that was not connected with French revolution either directly or indirectly.
- In this way French revolution constituted and important place of modern European history.
- The liberal and progressive ideas of French revolution were propagated throughout Europe by victorious army of napoleon.
- The French revolution was responsible for emergence of national spirit in Europe. For example Spain
- The ideological impact of French revolution and changes brought about by napoleon started the process of decline of ancient regime in Europe.
- Development associated with French Revolution placed France at centre of Europe. France emerged as intellectual leader of Europe and masses is started looking towards France guidance and inspiration.
RISE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
What were the reforms introduced by napoleon Bonaparte in France?
Political and Administrative Reform:
- Napoleon created strong stable France
- Centralized administration
- Established Central Secretariat
- A new civil service known as auditor was created by Napoleon.
- He appointed officers known as prefets and subprefets at district level. They were responsible for Central government.
- Napoleon held the view that the French Revolution was an outcome of social maladjustment and economic inequality. He, therefore, curtailed liberty and chose equality.
- More than 20 people could not gather without permission of Estate.
- Anybody could be arrested on suspicion on indulging anti-static activity.
- Political decisions were prosecuted.
- Freedom of speech and expression was not allowed in France.
- The power and function of elected bodies were curtailed for effective control over administration.
- Napoleon tried to improve the economic condition of France.
- He established the Bank of France, which greatly facilitated trade and commerce.
- He also tried to check the evils like black marketing, speculation, profiteering and punished economic offenders very severely.
- Machines were imported to commence industrial revolution.
- Doctrine of Laissez – Faire (free trade) adopted.
- Freedom of profession was granted to everyone.
- Land captured by FL was recognized as their property. More than 299 roads were built by napoleon in France to connect various part with each other and France with other countries.
- In the sphere of economy, his goal was to achieve “Equal taxation and low prices”. He set up a fair taxes code.
- Napoleon carried out several reforms in the field of education but he was of the opinion that the educational institutions should be under the control of the state.
- During the consulate period, education was nationalised by Napoleon. The payment of the salaries of the trained teachers in various schools was made by the government but the teachers and the students had to swear fidelity towards the country.
- The courses of Paris University and the affiliated colleges were decided by the government. Some limitations were placed on the study of politics, philosophy and history.
- Vocational schools were established vocational training, and military schools were also opened to impart military training to the students.
- A Normal School was also started the training of the teachers.
- All the educational institutions controlled by the University of Paris. It was essential to pass the Higher Secondary Examination to get admission in the University.
Religious Reforms (Concordat)
- Napoleon used to say that "a state without a religion is like a ship without a compass. The National Assembly of France had framed a civil constitution for the clergy who had created a breach with the Pope but Napoleon wanted to narrow down these differences due to the following reason:
- System of election of priest was adopted which hurt the sentiments of Catholics because even non-catholic used to vote in election of priest.
- Robespierre tries to destroy institution of church itself by replacing with deism (worship with reason).
- All this act of revolution were deeply resented by most of Frenchman who were committed Catholics.
- Napoleon was aware of sign of religion. He knew that Catholicism promoted loyalty and discipline.
- After a prolonged discussion he succeeded in arriving at agreement on 15th July, 1801 which is known as the Concordat in the history of Europe.
- It stabilized the relation of the state with church and satisfy religious aspiration of Frenchman.
The Napoleonic Code:
Napoleon’s most lasting effect on France and the world was the set of laws he created during his rule as emperor.
Rule of law was implemented without any discriminatory treatment on basis of birth or any other criteria.
The laws were codified in 1804 Under the title “the code of civil justice”. It was renamed as “code Napoleon” in 1807.
- Continental systems was adopted by Napoleon as economic weapon to defeat and destroy Britain. This system was created through a series of Orders issued by Napoleon starting in November 1806.
- The system was created to destroy Britain but it ended up destroying The Napoleonic Empire.
Why was continental system was adopted
- Continental system was outcome of failure of napoleon to defeat Britain militarily.
- Britain and France were rivals since a long time.
- Napoleon was invincible on land but French navy was no match to Britain Naval strength.
- The continental systems was an expression of Napoleonic imperialism having subjugated Continental Europe.
- Napoleon wanted to ensure complete subjugation of Britain as well.
- The British product were being used in all countries of Continental Europe. French industries were facing tough competition from British goods.
By blocking entry of british good in Continental Europe Napoleon wanted to give an extensive market to French industry. So that he could add economic dictatorship to his political supremacy in Europe.
Impact of continental systems.
- Napoleon was highly successful in his object during first few years. Britain got pushed into a serious economic crisis but Britain could somehow tide over its crisis because extensive Britain colonial empire.
- The continental system turned entire Europe against napoleon. The rulers were already his enemy but now common masses turned against him. He lost popular support which was main source of strength of Napoleonic empire.
- The France industry couldn't fill the gap created by sudden prohibition imposed on duty on Britain goods.
Evolution of continental systems
Continental system was introduced by napoleon in November 1806 through his Berlin decree:prohibit entry of British goods into parts of continental Europe.
Jan 1807, Warsaw decree: British goods was prohibited in ports of Prussia and Henover. To counter this challenge Britain government issued series of orders known as “order in council.”
October 1807decree of Fountain Bleu: all contraband goods seized and burned. December 1807 Italy decree: any neutral ship abide by Britain regulation then it would be treated as an enemy ship.
Continental systems remained in force till 1813 when it officially abandoned.
- The Pope was the first to abundant continental systems at this napoleon attack the pope but this action turned entire catholic world against him.
- When Russian czar Alexander I withdrew from continental system, at this napoleon attacked Russia. But in this Russian campaign he faced big loss of men and material.
- These reversal faced by napoleon encouraged the European ruler to form 4th coalition against the napoleon. Now these European monarchy enjoyed mass support against napoleon. In war of nation that followed in October 1818 napoleon got defeated.
The Decline of Napoleon
Role Of Inherent Contradiction Of Napoleon Empire In Downfall Of Napoleon
- Napoleon proclaimed himself as son of revolution but many of essential ideas of revolution abundant by him.
- Napoleon proclaimed his faith in the principle of merit. He was product of system based on merit but he violated his principle.
- Napoleon was product of equality. But institution of league of honour created by him was against principle of equality.
- Democratic institutions like plebiscite used by napoleon to strengthen his authority but at the same time he curbed power and function of elected bodies.
- Napoleon proclaim his faith in ideal of fraternity but his wars and battles were against this very ideas.
- Political liberty of French citizen was curtailed by him. It was also and important ideal of French revolution.
- Napoleon did nothing for empowerment of women he neglected their education.
Role of nationalism
Napoleon was symbol of France nation but his imperialism outside France was against spirit of nationalism of German, Italians, Spanish, Russian, etc. Spanish Ulcer: Napoleon seized crown of Spain deceptively. Napoleonic imperialism triggered upsurge in Spain. The Spanish rebellions inspired by spirit of nationalism fought hard against the force of Napoleon. Napoleon got trapped in serious crisis known as “Spanish ulcer”. His withdrawal from Spain seriously affected his prestige and myth of napoleon invincibility got shattered.
This inspired the Germans, Italians, Russian to rise against napoleon dominance and defeated him in battle of Leipzig leading to downfall of napoleon empire.
Role of continental systems
Role of limitation of napoleon personality
Napoleon was a great military conqueror. But he suffered from number of personal limitations.
Napoleon was autocratic. Napoleon was over ambitious.
Napoleon was selfish and opportunist. Napoleon was revengeful in outlook.