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Transcript of Chapter 11: The French Revolution - Mr. Bednorz The French Revolution > Revolution The French...

  • Napoleon names himself Emperor of the French.


    The Bastille falls.

    1789 Louis XVI becomes king.


    Treaty of Paris ends Seven Years’ War.


    Napoleon loses Battle of Waterloo.



    11 C h a p t e r


    The French Revolution

    > Revolution The French overthrow their absolute monarchy. Section 1

    > Change The National Assembly establishes a constitutional govern- ment. Section 2

    > Conflict The new French Republic faces enemies at home and abroad. Section 3

    > Movement Napoleon becomes France’s emperor and conquers much of Europe. Section 4

    > Reaction European leaders try to reestablish the old order. Section 5

    S The toryteller

    In 1792 the violence of the French Revolution filled the

    streets of Paris, where a young seamstress named Marie-Victoire

    Monnard lived and worked. Walking back to her workshop

    one afternoon, Marie-Victoire saw six large carts coming

    toward her. The 13-year-old girl later wrote in her diary,

    “The carts were full of men and women who had just been

    slaughtered … legs and arms and heads nodded and dangled

    on either side of the carts.”

    The next year she wrote again about the carts, “People just

    went on working in the shops when they passed by, often not

    even bothering to raise their heads to watch or to turn their

    backs to avoid the grisly sight.”

    What happened during the French Revolution that allowed people to become accustomed to the bloodied bod- ies? How did the French Revolution alter society in Europe? What lasting effects did it have on the rest of the world?

    Historical Significance


    Chapter Themes

  • Your History Journal

    Chapter 11 The French Revolution 335

    Assault on the Bastille, (artist unknown) Musée National du Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, FranceArt&


    Imagine living through the tumul- tuous events of the French Revolution. Choose a point of view represented by one of the following: a Catholic bishop, a landed aristocrat, a wealthy merchant, a poor artisan, or a peasant. From your chosen viewpoint, describe your reactions to three major events of the times as you read the chapter.

    Chapter Overview

    Visit the World History: The Modern Era Web site at and click on Chapter 11—Chapter Overview to preview the chapter.

  • A t its height, the absolute monarchy inFrance controlled the richest andpossibly the most powerful state in Europe. The French aristocracy set European trends in literature, clothing, art, and ideas for change. Yet the majority of the people did not share the wealth or privileges of the aristocracy. Working men and women who had few rights yearned for a better way of life. The success of the American Revolution fueled their desire for change.

    French Society Divided The source of the unhappiness lay within

    France’s class system, which fostered great inequal- ities among the French people. All French people belonged to one of three estates, or orders of soci- ety. The estates determined a person’s legal rights and status. The Catholic clergy formed the First Estate. The nobility formed the Second Estate. Everyone else, 97 percent of the French people, made up the Third Estate.

    Members of the Third Estate deeply resented the privileges that members of the First and Second Estates enjoyed. For example, neither the First Estate nor the Second Estate was required to pay taxes. The nobility received high positions in the Church, in the government, and in the army, and they could also hunt and carry swords. Third Estate members enjoyed none of these social and political privileges. No matter how successful and well-edu- cated Third Estate members became, they were always excluded from the First and Second Estates—simply because of the families into which they were born.

    The First Estate The First Estate consisted of Roman Catholic

    clergy and made up about 1 percent of the popula- tion. The First Estate comprised two groups: the higher clergy and the lower clergy.

    336 Chapter 11 The French Revolution

    > Terms to Define estate, tithe, bourgeoisie

    > People to Meet Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette

    > Places to Locate Versailles, Paris, the Bastille

    Louis XVI becomes king of France.

    1774 Great Fear breaks out.

    1789 Banks refuse to lend money to the government.


    1770 1780 18001790

    Fear tightened young Claudette Leroux’s throat as she waited for the questioning. She could not deny that she was smuggling salt. She could only explain that the gabelle—the tax on salt— made the cost ten times what it should be. French peasants simply could not afford the Farmers General’s prices. She wondered who gave these corrupt officials the power to store, inspect, tax, register, and force people to buy their salt. Did

    anyone understand the peasants’ plight?

    —adapted from Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Simon Schama, 1989

    S e c t i o n 1

    The Old Order

    Peasant woman’s burden

    Read to Find Out Main Idea France’s class system was a cause of the French Revolution.

    S The toryteller

  • Bishops and abbots, noblemen by birth, made up the higher clergy. These powerful men con- trolled between 5 and 10 percent of the land in France and enjoyed many privileges. At their dis- posal were the revenues from their land as well as a tithe, or a 10 percent tax on income, from each church member. Although this money was used to support schools, aid poor people, and maintain church property, it also paid for the grand lifestyles the higher clergy enjoyed, often at the expense of their religious duties.

    The lower clergy, made up of parish priests, came from poorer backgrounds and were socially more a part of the Third Estate. Many lower clergy members who carried out religious duties, ran schools, and cared for the poor resented the luxuri- ous lifestyles of the higher clergy.

    The Second Estate The nobility, the Second Estate, formed about 2

    percent of the population and owned about 25 per- cent of the land in France. Like the upper clergy, the members of the Second Estate enjoyed many privi- leges and lived in great style.

    The nobility held high posts in the government and the military. Some resided in the palace at Versailles. Others lived in lavish homes on inherit- ed land, some of which they rented to peasants to farm. The Second Estate’s main income came from the feudal dues they collected from the peasants who lived on and worked their land.

    The Third Estate The Third Estate made up the largest social

    group in France during the late 1700s. Peasants and artisans, as well as members of the bourgeoisie (BURZH•WAH•ZEE), or middle class, belonged to the Third Estate. Yet they had very few political rights or privileges.

    The doctors, lawyers, merchants, and business managers of the bourgeoisie generally lived in the towns and cities. Educated and well-to-do, they had read Enlightenment works and believed in freedom and social justice.

    Other members of the Third Estate, such as thousands of poor artisans and their families, also lived in the cities. Artisans worked for low wages and in poor working conditions. Many lived in the slums of Paris.

    The peasants, the Third Estate’s largest group, lived in rural areas. Although they owned 40 percent of the land, they were very poor because of the pay- ments they had to make to the other estates. These payments included a tithe to the clergy; feudal dues and fines to the nobles; and a land tax to the king. Although members of the Third Estate worked hard, they had no effective voice in the government.

    Growing Unrest Unhappy with this unfair social structure, the

    people of the Third Estate began to call for change. An Englishman traveling in France saw this grow- ing unrest reflected in a conversation he had with a peasant woman:

    Walking up a long hill … I was joined by a poor woman who complained of the times, and that it was a sad country; … she said her husband had but a morsel of land, one cow, and a poor little horse, yet they had [42 lbs.] of wheat and three chickens to pay as rent to one [lord], and [4 lbs.] of oats, one chicken and 1s. [shilling] to pay to another, besides very heavy tailles and other taxes.

    —Arthur Young, from Travels, 1789

    Chapter 11 The French Revolution 337

    The City and Port of Tolone (Toulon) by

    Joseph Vernet. The Louvre, Paris, France The bourgeoisie in French cities enjoyed wealth and leisure, but few political rights. Where had they learned about free- dom and social justice?

    Art& History

  • As a growing population put increasing demands on resources, and the cost of living in France increased, the peasants’ anger rose. Nobles also charged the peasants higher fees for the use of such equipment as mills and wine presses.

    At the same time, artisans in the cities faced higher prices while their wages stayed the same. Although members of the bourgeoisie were pros- perous, they wanted more political power. Nobles resented the king’s absolute power and wanted to increase their political influence in the government.

    A growing financ