French Revolution, Brinton's Theory

By Jacob M.

Phase 1- Preliminary Stage Characteristics

Class Antagonism

Within the French population their were three different classes that divided France up. These classes were the Clergy, which were on the top second only to the king, next was the nobility, and lastly their were the peasant's. These classes were also know as the First, Second, and Third Estates. The Third Estate lived in poverty because of the heavily taxes placed upon them.


Government Inefficiency

The king of France stopped listening to the demands and requests of the people. The First and Second Estates of France wanted to have more power and control within the government but the king ignored their requests. The Third estate never received help from the King, the First Estate, and the Second Estate. The Third Estate wanted more representation from within the government but the king locked them out with out a justified reason.

Intellectual Transfer of Loyalty

The Third Estate eventually realized how big of a difference their class was, compared to the First and Second Estate. They realized that they First and Second Estate were living a life of comfort with out much effort, while they were struggling every day to support themselves. Once more and more of the Third Estate realized the more people from the Third Estate began to switch side.

Failure to Force

The entire French army was made up of the Third Estate meaning when they start to switch their loyalties, the other Estates above them had almost no troops to command and protect them. Also the Third Estate made of nine/tenths of the population so they outnumbered the other Estates nine to one.


Phase Two- First Stage Characteristics

Financial Breakdown

The financial stand point of the French government start to fall because of multiply reasons.

The Nobility would spend an abundance of money on luxuries they did not need.

The Nobility did not have to pay taxes, so when the government needed more money the peasants to a major beating due to the extremely high tax rates at the time.

Also the war took a toll on the financial system, this was mostly placed on the Third Estate because they were the army and they had to also fund the war.

Increase In Government Protests

One of the most important Protests in the French revolution was Storming The Bastille. This Fortress represented royal authority over central Paris, and was a major point in the revolution when they took control over it.


Dramatic Events

A dramatic event that happened during the French Revolution would the beheading of their king Louis XVI on January 21, 1793.


Phase Three- Crisis Stage

Radicals Take Control

In 1792 the Legislative Assembly ends and the Jacobin Radicals replaced it. Under the control of Robespierre Jacobin they started the Reign of Terror to try to eliminate any opposition.


Civil and Foreign War

Through out France many different fractions broke out in conflict. France also was invaded by Prussia and they Waged a was against Austria and the Kingdom of sardinia

Phase Four- Recovery Stage

Slow, Uneven Return to Quieter Times

The Reign of terror ended with the execution of Robespierre. Also along this was the creation of Directory which was a leadership of five directors, they operated following the Committee of Public Safety and Preceding the Consulate.


Rule By Tyrant

In 1799 Napoleon has used his army to take control of the French government. In control of the French government Napoleon ruled has a Dictator


Radicals Repressed

Within the French society Napoleon suppresses radical ideas like the Jacobins, for example Napoleon closed churches through out France.

Napoleon also set in motion the Napoleonic Code, which forbade privileges based on birth and also allowed freedom of religion.


Moderates Gain Amnesty

Napoleon wants approval of the people with Plebiscite vote. Which is a vote made by the entire country to decide on a issue, in this case it would to decide to let Napoleon be the ruler.


"The French Revolution and the Enlightenment 2." The French Revolution and the Enlightenment 2. 13 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2016.