The assembly refused to take responsibility for the reforms and suggested the calling of the Estates-General, which represented the clergy, the aristocracy, and the Third Estate (the commoners) and which had not met since 1614. The outcome of the French Revolution, which began in 1789 and lasted for more than a decade, had numerous social, economic, and political effects not just in France but also in Europe and beyond. The first conscription measure (levée en masse) on 24 February sparked riots in Paris and other regional centres. Many people came day after day and vied for the best locations from which to observe the proceedings; knitting women (tricoteuses) formed a cadre of hardcore regulars, inciting the crowd. "[198], After the first year of revolution, the power of the king had been stripped away, he was left a mere figurehead, the nobility had lost all their titles and most of their land, the Church lost its monasteries and farmlands, bishops, judges and magistrates were elected by the people, and the army was almost helpless, with military power in the hands of the new revolutionary National Guard. The revolt became so strong that th… [195] Its influence was great in the hundreds of small German states and elsewhere, where it[clarification needed] was either inspired by the French example or in reaction against it. In return, it provided a minimal level of social support. [103], Meanwhile, a committee led by Robespierre's close ally Saint-Just was tasked with preparing a new Constitution. Others like Théroigne de Méricourt, Pauline Léon and the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women supported the Jacobins, staged demonstrations in the National Assembly and took part in the October 1789 March to Versailles. In the 1780s, the population of France was … [242] Most of these migrants moved to Montreal or Quebec City, although French nobleman Joseph-Geneviève de Puisaye also led a small group of French royalists to settle lands north of York (present day Toronto). Arguments for social reform began to be advanced. They led movements for achieving National Independence. As expected, Louis vetoed both. [59], When the National Guard arrived later that evening, Lafayette persuaded Louis the safety of his family required relocation to Paris. Counterrevolution, regicide, and the Reign of Terror, The Directory and revolutionary expansion, https://www.britannica.com/event/French-Revolution, U.S. Department of State - Office of the Historian - The United States and the French Revolution, French Revolution - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), French Revolution - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Marie-Thérèse-Louise de Savoie-Carignan, princess de Lamballe, Honoré-Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, prince de Bénévent, The growing popularity of the works of a number of intellectuals who argued for social reform, Crop failures in 1788 compounded existing economic restlessness, French participation in the American Revolution that drove the government to the brink of bankruptcy, Resentment among the bourgeoisie about being excluded from political power, The French monarchy, no longer seen as divinely ordained, was unable to adapt to the political and societal pressures being exerted on it, Widespread inequality between the rich and poor classes alongside growing dissatisfaction with the antiquated feudal system among the poor, Establishment of civil equality in the country (but not in the French colonies) and radical social change, The Reign of Terror, during which the Revolutionary government arrested 300,000 suspects, resulting in at least 25,000 deaths, The abolition of the monarchy and the deaths of King Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, Wars with a number of other countries, including Austria, Prussia, and Great Britain. During the Revolutionary Wars, the French invaded and occupied the region between 1794 and 1814, a time known as the French period. [43], Alarmed by the violence, Louis backed down and appointed the marquis de Lafayette commander of the National Guard. In response to protests by the Commune, the Commission warned "if by your incessant rebellions something befalls the representatives of the nation,...Paris will be obliterated". Despite limited support from sections of the military, it was easily crushed, with Babeuf and other leaders executed. [37], Since the system ensured the clergy and nobility could always outvote the commons, a key objective was to ensure all three sat as one body. Despite this, the constitutions of 1791 and 1793 denied them political rights and democratic citizenship. They also demanded vigorous price controls to keep bread – the major food of the poor people – from becoming too expensive. After the abdication of Napoleon III in 1871, the monarchists probably had a voting majority, but they were so factionalised they could not agree on who should be king, and instead the French Third Republic was launched with a deep commitment to upholding the ideals of the Revolution. Deputies argued over constitutional forms, while civil authority rapidly deteriorated. One suggestion is that after a century of persecution, some French Protestants actively supported an anti-Catholic regime, a resentment fuelled by Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire. The revolution ended when Napoleon Bonaparte took power in November 1799. However, moderate deputies were uneasy at popular demands for universal suffrage, labour unions and cheap bread, and over the winter of 1790 and 1791, they passed a series of measures intended to disarm popular radicalism. [246] Other historians, influenced by Marxist thinking, have emphasised the importance of the peasants and the urban workers in presenting the Revolution as a gigantic class struggle. In 1788, the ratio of debt to gross national income in France was 55.6%, compared to 181.8% in Britain. Resistance was strong in every sector, as Belgian nationalism emerged to oppose French rule. [235], Antwerp regained access to the sea and grew quickly as a major port and business centre. But what was it? The people had revolted against the cruel regime of the monarchy. Although only 20% were committed Royalists, many centrists supported the restoration of the exiled Louis XVIII in the belief this would end the War of the First Coalition with Britain and Austria. [140] The elections of May 1797 resulted in significant gains for the right, with Royalists Jean-Charles Pichegru elected President of the Council of 500, and Barthélemy appointed a Director. Reform was gradual and the regime itself carried out agrarian reforms that had the effect of weakening absolutism by creating a class of independent peasant freeholders. [144] The architect of its end was Sieyès, who when asked what he had done during the Terror answered "I survived". The views of historians, in particular, have been characterised as falling along ideological lines, with disagreement over the significance and the major developments of the Revolution. Napoleon's Concordat was a compromise that restored some of the Catholic Church's traditional roles but not its power, its lands or its monasteries. In rural areas, wild rumours and paranoia resulted in the formation of militia and an agrarian insurrection known as la Grande Peur. When the French Revolution began in 1789, Americans were largely supportive of it. "[222], A 2016 study in the European Economic Review found that the areas of Germany that were occupied by France in the 19th century and in which the Code Napoleon was applied have higher levels of trust and cooperation today.[223]. [54] The 1791 French Constitution was viewed as a starting point, the Declaration providing an aspirational vision, a key difference between the two Revolutions. Fist fights broke out in the streets between the two factions of women. Fearing they would be forced to bear the burden of the financi… [116], The Law of 22 Prairial (10 June) denied "enemies of the people" the right to defend themselves. [15], The other major drag on the economy was state debt. [78], The massacre badly damaged Lafayette's reputation; the authorities responded by closing radical clubs and newspapers, while their leaders went into exile or hiding, including Marat. As a result, food prices rose by 65% between 1770 and 1790, yet real wages increased by only 22%. [47], Over 25% of French farmland had been subject to feudal dues, which provided most of the income of large landowners. [242] The influx of religious migrants from France reinvigorated the Roman Catholic Church in the Canadas, with the refectory priests who moved to the colonies being responsible for the establishment of a number of parishes throughout the Canadas.[242]. [9] Cohesion between these groups was fostered by shared experiences; it was common to study at a foreign university or participate in the European cultural expedition known as the Grand Tour, while many were fluent in more than one language. [214] Another 2017 paper found that the redistribution of land had a positive impact on agricultural productivity, but that these gains gradually declined over the course of the 19th century. [188], In the Ancien régime, new opportunities for nuns as charitable practitioners were created by devout nobles on their own estates. When Louis XVI was executed in January 1793, his severed head was paraded around for the crowd and was met with exclamations of "Vive la République!". The French Revolution or the “Revolution of 1789” started in the year 1789. Between 1700 and 1789, the French population increased from 18 million to 26 million, leading to large numbers of unemployed, accompanied by sharp increases in food prices caused by years of bad harvests. Although rumoured to hold many prisoners, the Bastille held only seven: four forgers, two noblemen held for "immoral behaviour", and a murder suspect. By far the most important issue to counter-revolutionary women was the passage and the enforcement of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790. In an attempt to gain support, the government ordered non-juring priests to swear the oath or be deported, dissolved the Constitutional Guard and replaced it with 20,000 fédérés; Louis agreed to disband the Guard, but vetoed the other two proposals, while Lafayette called on the Assembly to suppress the clubs. [122] A middle position suggests violence was not inevitable but the product of a series of complex internal events, exacerbated by war. [172], At the beginning of the Revolution, women took advantage of events to force their way into the political sphere, swore oaths of loyalty, "solemn declarations of patriotic allegiance, [and] affirmations of the political responsibilities of citizenship." [128] By April 1795, people were starving and the assignat was worth only 8% of its face value; in desperation, the Parisian poor rose again. In the 1780s, Saint-Domingue had been France's wealthiest colony, producing more sugar than all of the British West Indies colonies put together. It was clear if his opponents did not act, he would; in the Convention next day, Robespierre and his allies were shouted down. According to archival records, from September 1793 to July 1794 some 16,600 people were executed on charges of counter-revolutionary activity; another 40,000 may have been summarily executed or died awaiting trial. were to either default, or get the parlements to approve tax increases. Liberty. [210][211] Cobban says the Revolution bequeathed to the nation "a ruling class of landowners. The movement to de-Christianise France not only failed but aroused a furious reaction among the pious.[202][203]. They now pinned the blue-and-red cockade of Paris onto the white cockade of the Ancien Régime. It sought to completely change the relationship between the rulers and those they governed and to redefine the nature of political power. Although Robespierre himself was one of those excluded, his support in the clubs gave him a political power base not available to Lafayette and Bailly, who resigned respectively as head of the National Guard and the Paris Commune. [91], In late August, elections were held for the National Convention; further restrictions meant votes cast fell to 3.3 million, versus 4 million in 1791, while intimidation was widespread. There were three classes represented by the Estates General: the nobles, clergy and the rest of the population or the so-called Third Estate. Robespierre, himself a deist, and the Committee of Public Safety were forced to denounce the campaign,[204] replacing the Cult of Reason with the deist but still non-Christian Cult of the Supreme Being. [62] Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote it was "manifestly contrary to the law of nature... that a handful of people should gorge themselves with superfluities while the hungry multitude goes in want of necessities. 1998 pp. [74], The traditional force for preserving law and order was the army, which was increasingly divided between officers, who largely came from the nobility, and ordinary soldiers. This made generals like Bonaparte and Joubert essential political players, while both the army and the Directory became notorious for their corruption. Many Revolutionary symbols such as La Marseillaise and phrases like Liberté, égalité, fraternité reappeared in other revolts, such as the 1917 Russian Revolution. Instead it issued more and more paper money (assignats) supposedly backed by seized lands. Omissions? The next three years were dominated by the struggle for political control, exacerbated by economic depression and social unrest. They suggest that "areas that were occupied by the French and that underwent radical institutional reform experienced more rapid urbanization and economic growth, especially after 1850. The remaining deputies from the other two Estates were invited to join, but the Assembly made it clear they intended to legislate with or without their support. [192] It ended feudalism and created the path for future advances in broadly defined individual freedoms. In some respects, the French Revolution did not succeed. It was also a primary motivator behind the passage of the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. The state sold the lands but typically local authorities did not replace the funding and so most of the nation's charitable and school systems were massively disrupted. These émigrés funded reactionary forces within France and urged foreign monarchs to back a counter-revolution. [191], The French Revolution had a major impact on Europe and the New World, decisively changing the course of human history. 1998 p. 303, Olwen Hufton, "In Search of Counter-Revolutionary Women." [166], Its operation became a popular entertainment that attracted great crowds of spectators. Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite and Mary Durham Johnson, eds. [248], Historians until the late 20th century emphasised class conflicts from a largely Marxist perspective as the fundamental driving cause of the Revolution. [10] Under Louis XIV, the Court at Versailles was the centre of culture, fashion and political power. [209], Two thirds of France was employed in agriculture, which was transformed by the Revolution. Already unsettled by changes imposed on the church, in March the traditionally conservative and royalist Vendée rose in revolt. Updates? France promoted commerce and capitalism, paving the way for the ascent of the bourgeoisie and the rapid growth of manufacturing and mining. "[63], The Revolution caused a massive shift of power from the Catholic Church to the state; although the extent of religious belief has been questioned, elimination of tolerance for religious minorities meant by 1789 being French also meant being Catholic. Nevertheless, the threat rallied popular support behind the regime. In return, the state assumed responsibilities such as paying the clergy and caring for the poor, the sick and the orphaned. Completed in only eight days, it was ratified by the convention on 24 June, and contained radical reforms, including universal male suffrage and abolition of slavery in French colonies. [243] Under President John Adams, a Federalist, an undeclared naval war took place with France from 1798 until 1799, often called the "Quasi War". [225][226] William Coxe opposed Price's premise that one's country is principles and people, not the State itself. Susan Dalton, "Gender and the Shifting Ground of Revolutionary Politics: The Case of Madame Roland,", Hufton, Olwen. Deprived of political rights under the Ancien Regime, the 1791 Constitution classed them as "passive" citizens, leading to demands for social and political equality for women and an end to male domination. While loyalties constantly shifted, around 160 of the 749 deputies were Girondists, 200 Montagnards and 389 members of La Plaine. Its options Her publications emphasised that women and men are different, but this shouldn't prevent equality under the law. The Bastille stood for the repressive power of the kingdue to which it was hated by all. Napoleon as emperor set up a constitutional system (although he remained in full control), and the restored Bourbons were forced to go along with one. This took different forms, such as the English 'coffeehouse culture', and extended to areas colonised by Europeans, particularly British North America. [72], On 14 July 1790, celebrations were held throughout France commemorating the fall of the Bastille, with participants swearing an oath of fidelity to 'the nation, the law and the king.' In June, the Estates were converted into a National Assembly, which swept away the existing establishment in a series of radical measures. The French Revolution was a period of major social upheaval that began in 1787 and ended in 1799. The efforts made by Calonne’s successors to enforce fiscal reforms in spite of resistance by the privileged classes led to the so-called revolt of the “aristocratic bodies,” notably that of the parlements (the most important courts of justice), whose powers were curtailed by the edict of May 1788. After the collapse of the First Empire in 1815, the French public lost the rights and privileges earned since the Revolution, but they remembered the participatory politics that characterised the period, with one historian commenting: "Thousands of men and even many women gained firsthand experience in the political arena: they talked, read, and listened in new ways; they voted; they joined new organisations; and they marched for their political goals. As the Martinican author Aimé Césaire put it, "there was in each French colony a specific revolution, that occurred on the occasion of the French Revolution, in tune with it. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. At the end of July, the Convention set price controls over a wide range of goods, with the death penalty for hoarders, and on 9 September 'revolutionary groups' were established to enforce them. The French Revolution had general causes common to all the revolutions of the West at the end of the 18th century and particular causes that explain why it was by far the most violent and the most universally significant of these revolutions. "In Search of Counter-Revolutionary Women.". In December 1791, Louis made a speech to the Assembly giving foreign powers a month to disperse the émigrés or face war; it was greeted with enthusiasm by his supporters, but suspicion by his opponents. The 1793 Constitution itself was suspended indefinitely in October. [58] These protests quickly turned political, and after seizing weapons stored at the Hôtel de Ville, some 7,000 marched on Versailles, where they entered the Assembly to present their demands. [71], Centrists led by Sieyès, Lafayette, Mirabeau and Bailly created a majority by forging consensus with monarchiens like Mounier, and independents including Adrien Duport, Barnave and Alexandre Lameth. [64] The church was the largest individual landowner in France, controlling nearly 10% of all estates and levied tithes, effectively a 10% tax on income, collected from peasant farmers in the form of crops. [175] On 20 May 1793 women were in the forefront of a crowd demanding "bread and the Constitution of 1793"; when they went unnoticed, they began "sacking shops, seizing grain and kidnapping officials."[176]. [249] The central theme of this argument was that the Revolution emerged from the rising bourgeoisie, with support from the sans-culottes, who fought to destroy the aristocracy. [123], The bloodshed did not end with the death of Robespierre; Southern France saw a wave of revenge killings, directed against alleged Jacobins, Republican officials and Protestants. Many of the women of the Revolution were even publicly executed for "conspiring against the unity and the indivisibility of the Republic". [86], Accompanying this was a campaign for war against Austria and Prussia, also led by Brissot, whose aims have been interpreted as a mixture of cynical calculation and revolutionary idealism. [10], Transnational elites who shared ideas and styles were not new; what changed was their extent and the numbers involved. [239] Press coverage in Quebec on the Revolution was reliant, and reflective of public opinion in London, with the colony's press reliant on newspapers and reprints from journals from the British Isles. A larger population created a greater demand for food and consumer goods. Although willing to authorise one-time taxes, the parlements were reluctant to pass long-term measures. [156], Although the French Revolution had a dramatic impact in numerous areas of Europe, the French colonies felt a particular influence. [158] However, the 1794 decree was only implemented in Saint-Domingue, Guadeloupe and Guyane, and was a dead letter in Senegal, Mauritius, Réunion and Martinique, the last of which had been conquered by the British, who maintained the institution of slavery on that Caribbean island. Tackett, Timothy, "The French Revolution and religion to 1794," and Suzanne Desan, "The French Revolution and religion, 1795–1815," in Stewart J. "Interpreting the French Revolution,", Censer, Jack R. "Amalgamating the Social in the French Revolution. [255] The Revolution represented the most significant and dramatic challenge to political absolutism up to that point in history and spread democratic ideals throughout Europe and ultimately the world. Cockades with various colour schemes were used during the storming of the Bastille on 14 July. Austria was at war with the Ottomans, as were the Russians, while both were negotiating with Prussia over partitioning Poland. In 1792 Christopher Wyvill published Defence of Dr. Price and the Reformers of England, a plea for reform and moderation. [124], The December 1794 Treaty of La Jaunaye ended the Chouannerie in western France by allowing freedom of worship and the return of non-juring priests. Nearly everyone was Catholic, but the Church was repressed. In North America this backlash caused the American Revolution, which began with the refusal to pay a tax imposed by the king of Great Britain. [160], Newspapers were read aloud in taverns and clubs, and circulated hand to hand. Emboldened by this, on 22 September the Convention abolished the monarchy and established the French First Republic. [131] Largely designed by Pierre Daunou and Boissy d'Anglas, it established a bicameral legislature, intended to slow down the legislative process, ending the wild swings of policy under the previous unicameral systems. [99], The Girondins hoped war would unite the people behind the government and provide an excuse for rising prices and food shortages, but found themselves the target of popular anger. Many of its principles are now considered fundamental aspects of modern liberal democracy.[1]. King Louis XVI of France yielded to the idea of a new constitution and to the sovereignty of the people but at the same time sent emissaries to the rulers of neighbouring countries seeking their help in restoring his power. On this basis, a new committee was convened to agree on a constitution; the most controversial issue was citizenship, linked to the debate on the balance between individual rights and obligations. The Republic seemed on the verge of collapse. As a result, it was never fully accepted by radicals in the Jacobin club. However, it was clear power had shifted from his court; he was welcomed as 'Louis XVI, father of the French and king of a free people. In its early stages, this seemed unlikely; the 1791 Constitution specifically disavowed "war for the purpose of conquest", and although traditional tensions between France and Austria re-emerged in the 1780s, Emperor Joseph cautiously welcomed the reforms. This culminated in the appointment of Napoleon as First Consul in November 1799, which is generally taken as its end point. Second, armies were primarily loyal to their generals, for whom the wealth achieved by victory and the status it conferred became objectives in themselves. [183] They took it upon themselves to protect the Church from what they saw as a heretical change to their faith, enforced by revolutionaries. Terror was not confined to Paris; over 2,000 were killed after the recapture of Lyons. At first it brought liberal and democratic ideas, the end of guilds, serfdom and the Jewish ghetto. [130], A committee drafted a new constitution, approved by plebiscite on 23 September 1795 and put into place on 27th. Thompson says that the kings had "ruled by virtue of their personal wealth, their patronage of the nobility, their disposal of ecclesiastical offices, their provincial governors (intendants) their control over the judges and magistrates, and their command of the Army. External powers like Austria, Britain and Prussia viewed the Revolution as a threat, leading to the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars in April 1792. When presented to the legislative committee on 11 July, it was rejected by pragmatists such as Jean Joseph Mounier, President of the Assembly, who feared creating expectations that could not be satisfied. [11], In addition to these social changes, the French population grew from 18 million in 1700 to 26 million in 1789, making it the most populous state in Europe; Paris had over 600,000 inhabitants, of whom roughly one third were either unemployed or had no regular work. [92] The former Brissotins now split into moderate Girondins led by Brissot, and radical Montagnards, headed by Maximilien Robespierre, Georges Danton and Jean-Paul Marat. The Declaration of Independence Was A Template For The French. There is no evidence of a negative effect of French invasion. [84], Despite being a minority, the Brissotins controlled key committees, which allowed them to focus on two issues, intended to portray Louis as hostile to the Revolution by making him use his veto. For some, the French Revolution was a beacon of light that gave a world dominated by aristocratic privilege and monarchical tyranny a hope of freedom. Rapid population growth and restrictions caused by the inability to adequately finance government debt resulted in economic depression, unemployment and high food prices. 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