French Revolution

By: Ashley HIll

The late 1780's

At this time France was split up into to three estates (large groups of people). There was the first estate who was the highest up on the ranking list; they owned 10% of the French land and only paid a little bit of taxes to the government. The second estate was made up of rich nobles that owned 20% of the land and didn't have to pay taxes at all. The finally the third estate was the lowest ranked people; it made up 97% of population! This group included the well educated "middle class" and the poor. The third estate had the worst deal, 50% of the money they made went to taxes.

I Call this meeting to order

France was in a financial Crisis due to the king Louis XVI spending habits. The only way to get out of the debt hole the country was in was to raise taxes. So in order to do so the king had to call a meeting of the estates. An meeting of estates is when the three classes of estates meet to discuss the things like rules, money, etc. Regularly the third estate always go their way in the meetings because they did a head count of votes and since the estate take up 97% of the population they had the greater advantage. So when the king suggested they raise taxes the 1st and 2nd estate decided that they would vote by order rather than amount which meant each estate only got one vote. Both the 1st and 2nd estates voted they raised taxes on the 3rd estate; this upset the third estate who already paid 50% of their money to taxes in the first place.

The Tennis Court Oath

If You Want Stuff Done You Have to do it Yourself

The third estate decide that they were not begging listen to enough on such a big change since higher taxes effect them the most. They made up almost all of the French population so they decided that they should make the laws for the French people because they were the french people! They formed a new National Assembly to make new laws. The National Assembly swore to a tennis court oath where they pledged a new constitution and limitations on the kings powers.

Revolutionary Ideals

The National Assembly wrote their revolutionary ideals down in what they called the Declaration of Man of the Citizens. They believed that "men are born free and equal in rights."; and that their rights should include "liberty,property, security, and resistance to oppression; and guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and equal justice.

March on Versailles

The country continued to be in a economic crisis. The citizens complained that the queen could afford to wear her fancy clothes and the king could throw big parties but he couldn't feed their citizens! Then when the price of bread went up women became outraged. They barley had enough food to feed their families, they could not afford to pay more for bread. Many women and few men got together armed with weapons and marched to the palace of Versailles to demand the king change the price. To get the kings attention a few women murdered some of the guards out front of the palace. When they finally met with the king the people took him hostage and brought him back to Pairs to put in jail.

The Storming of Bastille

When the king was taken capture and placed in jail in Paris; many rumors started going around that he was planning to send his army over to help him escape and take back over France. The rumors were untrue but the citizens of pairs were taking any chances. On July 14,1789 the citizens attacked the prison to take any weapons and gun powder they could. This became known as the storming of Bastille and represents the beginning of the French revolution.

Reign of Terror

In 1792 radicals took control over France and started making the important decisions. The radical leaders feared that "enemies of the revolution" were going to try and overthrow their new republic. in 1793 a radical by the name of Maximilien Robespierre took over. He used the guillotine (beheading machine) to execute 40,000 "traitors" , this time period became referred to as the reign of terror. So many people were begin accused as a begin a traitor that radicals started to turn against each other. This terror period finally ended when french citizens accused Maximilian of treason and sent him to the guillotine.

Rise of Napoleon

When Louis XVI was executed many countries started to attack France. A military officer named Napoleon Bonaparte became known as a hero for successfully defending France. Napoleon took advantage of of this newly love that everyone had for him and staged a coup d'etat (overthrow) of the french republic and took power as dictator. As dictator he began to fix France and its problems. He introduced a new fair tax system and a Bank of France to help control the money, he created a merit based system for governments bureaucrats. He also created a public school for students of all backgrounds. But one of the most important thing Napoleon did was issue a comprehensive set of laws called the Napoleonic code that provide order, freedom of religion, and eliminated privileges of estates. Then in 1804 Napoleon order a election were the french people voted him emperor for life.