Creating a new Society 14 July 1789 to 9 Thermidor II, (27 July 1794) (snapshot Napoleonic France 1804) According to Joseph Weber, foster brother of Queen Antoinette, there were three primary causes of the French revolution ‘the disorder of the finances, the state of mind, and the war in America.’ The ‘disorder in the finances’ acknowledged that the bankruptcy of the monarchy opened the doors to defiance of the King’s authority. The greatest single cause of the revolution was the economic crisis, which forced the King to recall the redundant Estates General which had not been called since 1614, which opened the debate for people to make complaints with the current system through the cahiers of the three Estates. The ‘state of mind’ largely attributed to the philosophes of the Enlightenment who challenged the very foundations that the Ancien Regime was based on. Another contributing factor to the crisis was a plight of millions of peasants, and the even more critical situation of the landless vagrants and the unemployed masses in the towns. Between 1715 and 1789 the population in France had increased from 18 million to 26 million.
Land was a fixed resource, and thousands could not work in rural regions. As a result peasants were forced into the towns. Their situation was exacerbated by the bad harvest of 1788, which saw inflation of basic commodities such as bread, widespread unemployment and destitution accentuated the crisis. Original revolutionary goals Original ideology: Enlightened Document: Declaration of Rights of Man The August decrees cleared the way for the erection of a constitution, but first they decided to lay down the principles on which it was based. It is a curious mixture of enlightenment theory and bourgeois aspirations. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, passed into law by the National Assembly on the 26 August 1789, It condemned the practices of the Ancien Regime and expressed the broad agreement which was to be found in the cahiers of all three orders.
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1. Men are born free and equal in their rights 3. The fundamental source of all sovereignty resides in the nation – an application of Rousseau’s principle of the ‘general will’7. No man may be accused, arrested, or detained except in cases determined by the law 13, General taxation is indispensable for the upkeep of the public force and for the expenses of government. It should be borne equally by all the citizens in proportion to their means 17. the right to property is inviolable and sacred The Declaration of Rights represented a total break from the past.
In the Ancien Regime authority had been driven from g-d and the king. The Declaration primarily appealed to bourgeois (and nobility) spread to proletariat via propaganda (see Towns on pg. 43) POWER STRUCTURE – NATIONAL CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY (June 1789 – 30 September 1792) – deputies based the writing of the constitution on the Declaration of Rights of man- deputies saw the reluctance of the King to accept the changes that were taking place- and decided that he should have a suspensive veto- at this point no one considered abolishing the monarch completely and setting up a republic- it was decided that Legislative power reside in the National Assembly- over the next year went about re organising French govt. , laws, finances, and economy LOCAL GOVERNMENT- deputies wanted to make sure power was de centralised, passing from the central govt. in Paris to local authorities- making it more difficult for King to recover the power he had before- wanted the elected representatives to be responsible to those who elected them- already the principles of the Declaration of Rights were being undermined, as citizens were divided into ‘active’ and ‘passive’ citizens. – Only active citizens who paid the equivalent of three days’ labour in taxes, voted for the municipal officials, those who did not earn that amount from wages were not allowed to vote and known as ‘passive’- ‘active’ citizens also voted in the Primary Assemblies when national elections were held- the positions you could apply for increased in prestige the more you earn t- eg.
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to become a deputy in the Assembly you had to be able to pay the equivalent of 50 days labour in tax- 61% of Frenchmen had the right to vote in some elections- at a municipal level most peasants had the right to vote- b 4 1789 govt officials ran the provincial administration- 1790 no govt officials at local level, elected councils replaced them- councils in the towns were more effective – as it was made up of more literate and talented people- in the villages they found it hard to fill the council with men who could read or write- therefore rural communities carried about their duties badly FINANCIAL REFORM- new tax system could not be set up immediately- most unpopular taxes were abolished- the poor benefited- burden of taxation fell on produces rather than the consumers- fairer system- were keeping with the Declaration of Rights – as all property and income taxed on the same basis ECONOMIC REFORM- deputies in the Constituent Assembly believed in Laissez-faire trade and industry free from any govt. interference- the people wanted the price and distribution of all essential goods to be controlled- for the first time there was a uniform system of weights and measures, the decimal system was applied to the whole of France JUSTICE- no longer different laws in the North and the South- there were to be the same law courts throughout France- ‘Lettres de cachet’ were made illegal by the Declaration of Rights- trials were held before a jury of 12 citizens, who would decide guilty or innocence- the idea came from English law- head of judicial system was the court of appeal- torture and mutilation were abolished- anyone arrested had to be brought before a court within 24 hours- number or crimes for which death was the penalty was reduced (and in March 1792 the same speedy method of execution (the guillotine) was to be used for al condemned to death) – FOR THE FIRST TIME JUSTICE WAS ACCESSIBLE, IMPARTIAL AND CHEAP AND THEREFORE POPULAR- ‘ French system of justice had been one of the most backward, barbarous, and corrupt in Europe. In two years it became the most enlightened.’ According Towson RELIGION- Constituent Assembly wanted to make sure the church was free from abuses, foreign control, democratic and linked to the new system of local government- Unpopular decree in Dec. 1789 which gave civil rights to Protestants, and later extended to jews in September 1791- August – the Assembly abolished the tithe, and also ended old corporate privileges of the Church – such as right to decide how much taxation it would pay- Most clergy supported these measures- Also accepted sale of the church lands, as would be paid more then they had under the ancien regime- No serious conflict with the Church until the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in July 1790 – This adapted the organisation of the church to the administrative framework of local govt. – The attempt to extend democracy to all aspects of govt.
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also expanded to the church- Clergy no longer to be appointed but elected- Most clergy opposed the principle of election, but majority were in favour of finding a way of accepting the Civil Constitution- The Assembly decreed that in Nov. 1790 the clergy must take an oath to the Constitution- This split the clergy- When the Pope condemned the Civil Constitution, many who had taken the oath retracted- There were now in effect two Catholic Churches in Frances, one the constitutional church accepted the Revolution, the other, a non-juring Church (non-jurors or refractories), approved by the Pope but regarded as patriots as against the revolution- One major effect of this split was that the counter-revolution, the movement which sought to overturn the revolution, received mass support for the first time- before it had been supported by only a few royalists and ’emir ” es- many villagers complained that the Assembly was trying to change their religion- they felt a sense of betrayal, which combined with their hostility to other measures such as conscription, was to lead to open revolt in 1793 in areas such as the Vendee- Disaffection with the Revolution, which eventually turned into civil war, was, therefore, one result of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy REVOLUTIONARY CLUBS AND POPULAR DISCONTENT Political clubs had begun to form soon after the Estates-General met in May 1789. Jacobin Club – high entrance fee, members mainly came from most wealthy sections of society. Dominant members of the Jacobin club up to the summer of 1791 were liberal constitutional monarchists. In July the Jacobin Club split over the petition calling for the removal of the King. 900 such clubs in the spring of 1791, Cordeliers Club – founded in April 1790, more radical than the Jacobin club and had unrestricted admission.
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It objected to the distinction b / w active and passive citizens and supported measures which the sans-culottes favoured: direct democracy. Much support amongst the working class, although leaders were bourgeois. Most notorious write Marat, L’Ami du Peuple. Became chief spokesman of the popular movement. As there were no political parties, the clubs played an important part in the revolution. Kept – kept the public informed major issues of the day- acted as pressure groups to influence the members in the Assembly- the peasants and sans-culottes were not satisfied with what they had received from the revolution- when the peasants realised in the spring of 1790 that their harvest dues were not abolished realised in the spring of 1790 that their harvest dues were not abolished outright but would have to be bought out were deeply disillusioned- wave of strikes by workers against the falling value of their wages early in 1791- grain prices rose by up to 50 per cent after poor harvest 1791- the discontent of the workers could be used by the popular societies, who linked economic protests to the political demand for a democratic republic, AND by groups in the Assembly seeking more power- THIS MADE THE REVOLUTION MORE RADICAL IN WAYS WHICH THE BOURGEOIS LEADERS OF 1789 HAD NEITHER INTENDED NORE DESIRED.
THE RISE OF A REPUBLICAN MOVEMENTLouis’ flight to Varennes- Mirabeau, outstanding politician and orator in the Constituent Assembly, died in April 1791, the moderates were becoming more influential in the Assembly- They feared the new clubs and emergence of an organised working-class movement- wanted to end the revolution but for this to happen, had to be a compromise with the King- LOUIS DASHED ALL THEIR HOPES BY ATTEMPTING TO FLEE- One immediate result of his flight is that he lost what remained of his popularity, which was dependent on him being seen to support the revolution. – PPL started talking openly about replacing the monarchy with a republic- Deputes in the assembly acted calmly to the situation – did not want a republic- 16 July the Assembly voted to suspend the King until the Constitution had been completed – he would be restored only after swore to observe it CHAMP DE MARS- radicals appalled when the King was not dethroned or put on trial- their anger directed against the Assembly- Cordeliers and some Jacobins supported a petition for the King’s deposition- This split the Jacobin club- Robespierre left to preside over more radical rump – Parisian defectors formed a new club the Feuillants, which, for the moment had control over Paris- 17 July 1791, 50, 000 people flocked to the Champ de Mars, a huge field where the Feast of the Federation had been held 3 days earlier celebrating fall of the Bastille. – They were there to sign a republican petition on the ‘altar of the fatherland’ – this was a political demonstration of the poorer sections of the Paris population- the Commune, , under pressure from the Assembly, declared martial law- sent Lafayette with the National Guard to the Champ de Mars, where they fired on the peaceful crowd (trying to stop freedom of expression) – FIRST bloody clash between the different groups in the Third Estate, greeted with pleasure in the Assembly- popular leaders arrested- moderates had won, could now work out a compromise with the King without facing mob violence- Feuillants now more then ever committed to making an agreement with the King THE CONSTITUTION OF 1791- main aims of the Constituent Assembly had been to draw up a Constitution- which would replace absolute monarchy with a limited one- real power was to pass from an elected assembly- much of the constitution – that the King should have a suspensive veto and that there should be one elected assembly – had been worked out in 1789 but the rest now passed until sept. 1791- King, whose office was hereditary, was subordinate to the Assembly, as it passed laws King had to obey- ‘In France there is no authority superior to the law… it is only by means of the law that the King reigns.’ – In September the King was forced, reluctantly, to accept the Constitution THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (1 October 1791 – 20 September 1792) – when the King accepted the Constitution in September 1791, the Constituent Assembly was dissolved- to prevent opponents dominating next Assembly, Robespierre proposed a self-denying ordinance- stating that not member of the N. C.
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A could sit for the Legislative Assembly- assembly elected almost wholly bourgeoisie- few nobles- at the beginning 264 members Feuillant Club, who considered the revolution to be over 136 members Jacobins- other 350 deputies did not belong to either- many emitters- Assembly passed two laws in November- 1. Declared that all non-jurors were suspects- 2. All emitters who had not returned to France by 1 January 1792 would forfeit their property and and be regarded as traitors (GOING AGAINST D. R. O. R.
17! ! ! ) – when King vetoed these laws his unpopularity increased: he appeared to be undermining the revolution- yet despite mistrust of King, it seemed likely that the Constitution of 1791 would survive- what prevented to this was the war with Austria, which began April 1792- THIS EVENT HAD MORE DECISIVE AND FAR-REACHING RESULTS THAN ANY OTHER IN THE WHOLE OF THE REVOLUTION- WAR FINALLY DESTROYED THE CONSENSUS OF 1789 LED DIRECTLY TO THE FALL OF THE MONARCHY, TO CIVIL WAR AND THE TERRORTHE COMING OF WAR – CRISIS FOR THE REVOLUTION- the Great Powers had shown no interest in intervening during the first two years of the French Rev- Leopold II, Habsburg Empire approved of many of the liberal reforms in the Revolution and did not want a return to absolutism- Like other sovereigns, was places at the collapse of French power and no longer regarded France as a serious rival- After the flight of Varennes the Austrians felt they had to make some gesture to support Louis- THEREFORE, AUGUST 1791, ISSUED DECLARATION OF PILLNITZ, in association with Prussia- Said they were ready, with other sovereigns to restore the King of France to a position of power which he could strengthen foundations of monarchical govt. – appeared to be a threat to interfere with French internal affairs, but in reality it was no threat at all- in France, dec. did not create much of a still- SOME PEOPLE IN FRANCE WHO CAME TO BELIEVE, FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, THAT WAR WAS IN THEIR OWN BEST INTEREST- Marie Antoinette – saw that ‘conciliation is out of the question… armed force has destroyed everything and ony armed force can put things right.’ She hoped for a war in which Louis would be defeated, enabling him to recover his powers- King shared her view- at this same time he was taking an oath for the constitution, Antoinette was writing to the Austrian ambassador, ‘giving the impression of adopting the new ideas is the safest way of quickly defeating them.’ – Lafayette and Dumouriez also wanted war- The desire for war resulted in the cooperation of Lafayette and his followers with the Brissot ins, who also wanted war- Brissot one of the first to support the republic after Louis’ flight to Varennes and wanted abolition of monarchy- He saw King had not really accepted the Constitution, and thought a war would force the King to come out into the open, as it would traitors who were opposed to the revolution- Robespierre not in favour of war – made feeling known in Jacobin club- Austrian threats and Girondin attacks on the ‘Austrian Committee’ at Court forced the King to dismiss his Feuillant ministers in March 1792 and appoint a more radical government, including some Girondin ministers- THIS WAS A DECISIVE CHANGE- the old ministers had carried out wishes of the King, the new ones obeyed the Assembly- both the Assembly and the Govt now wanted war, especially new foreign minister Dumouriez- he hated Austria, but had aims similar to that of Lafayette- France declared war on Austria 29 April 1792- Prussia declared war on France a month later THE FALL OF THE MONARCHY- War showed the weakness of the French armies treason and traitors were blamed for for French defeats and with some justification: Marie Antoinette had sent details of French military plans to the Austrians- Govt also had other problems to deal with, such as from non-juring preis ts and counter-revolutionaries- 27 May Assembly passed a law for the deportation of refractory priest- another law disbanded King’s Guard, and third set up a camp for 20 000 National Guards (known as, because their arrival co inced with the feast of the federation) – were to protect Paris from Invasion and the govt. from a coup- Louis refused to approve these laws- Leader of the sections responded to these events by holding armed demonstrations on 20 June anniversary of the Tennis Court Oath – Leaders came from Cordeliers club- 8000 demonstrators, many of them national guards, poured into the Tuilleris – Louis behaved great dignity – probably saved his life- This journey did not achieve its desired end: King did not recall the Girondin ministers- did show very clearly the weakness of the King and the Assembly and the power of the Sections- Assembly soon took steps which recognised the growing importance of the sans-culottes- 11 July it declared a state of emergency, issuing ‘la patri e en danger’ (the father land in danger) which called on every french man to fight- titled the favour to democrats- how could u ask a man to fight and not give him the vote? – Federer demanded the admission of passive citizens into the sectional assemblies and National – Tension in Paris was increased by the arrival of from the provinces and by the Brunswick Manifesto- The fed res were military revolutionaries and republicans, unlike the Paris National Guard, whose officers were conservative or royalist- THE BRUNSWICK MANIFESTO, issued by the commander in chief of the Austro-Prussian armies, was published in Paris 1 August- it threatened that any National Guard captured fighting would be punished as ‘rebels of the king’- Parisians were collectively held responsible for the safety of the royal family- If it was harmed the allies would execute ‘an exemplary vengeance…
by delivering the city of Paris to a military.’ – The Manifesto was intended to help the King, but had the opposite effects- FRENCH MEN INFURIATED and many who has supported the monarchy not turned against it- a new insurrection was was being prepared by radicals and, Girondins changed the r attitude of opposition to the King and tried to prevent a rising- Louis was warned that there was likely to be more violent uprising then that of 20 June, and to really the ministers he had dismissed 13 June- Louis rejected their offer- Robespierre abandoned his previous support for the Constitution of 1991 and called for the overthrow of the monarchy- He also wanted a national Convention, elected by a universal male suffrage to replace the Legislative Assembly- On 3 August, Pelion, Mayor of Paris, went to the Legislative Assembly and demanded, on behalf of the 47 out of the 48 sections, the abolition of the monarchy- yet Assembly refused to depose the King- 9 August Sans-culottes took over the Hotel de Ville, overthrew the old municipality and set up a revolutionary Commune- the next morning several thousand National Guard, now open to passive citizens, and 2000, led by those from Marseille marched on the Tuileries- the place was defended by 3000 troops- 2000 of whom were national guard- the others were Swiss mercenaries who were certain to resist. – During the morning the royal family had sought refuge in the Legislative Assembly- The National Guard defending the Tuileries, joined the insurgents, who entered the court yards- Believed the attack was over until the Swiss started firing, King ordered his Swiss gu rads to cease fire- THE RISING WAS AS MUCH A REJECTION OF THE ASSEMBLY AS IT WAS OF THE KING- Deputies had to hand over the King to the Commune, who imprisoned him- As a consequence of the fall of the monarchy, the 1791 Constitution became inoperative. The Assembly had to agree to the election, by universal male suffrage, of a National Convention to draw up a new, democratic constitution- The constitutional monarchists, about 2/3 of the deputies, did not feel safe, so they stayed away from the Assembly and went into hiding- Left the GIRONDINS in charge, the beneficiaries of a revolution they had tired to avoid- Convention met for the first time 20 September 1792. On the next day they abolished the monarchy REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT AND THE TERROR-symbol of the Terror is the guillotine, and is symbol most pp have in mind when they think of the French Revolution, bloodthirsty purges, terrified citizens, dictatorship and the suppression of the liberties which had been so triumphantly announced in the Declaration of Rights and Man in 1789. French historians Fret and Richet saw the period from August 1792 to July 1794 as time when militant sans culottes knocked the revolution off course STRUGGLE FOR POWER: GIRONDINS AND JACOBINS THE CONVENTION (20 September 1792 – 26 October 1795) – all men over 21 could vote in the elections to the Convention- but the result was distorted by fear and intimidation- IN Paris, all who had shown royalist sympathies were disfranchised – Thus all 24 members for Paris were Jacobins, republicans, and supporters of the Commune- Robespierre came head od the poll in the capital- At first about 200 Girondins and 100 Jacobins in the Convention- Majority of the deputies, uncommitted to either group, know as the Plain or March – middle ground they sat- Until 2 June 1793 the history of the Convention is that of a struggle between the Girondins and Jacobins- The latter came to be known as Montagnards (Jacobins) as Girondins too members of the Jacobin club- Girondins and Montagnards were all and agreed on most policies- Both strongly in the Revolution and the Republic, hated privileges, were a nit-clerical and favoured a liberal economic policy- Both wanted a more Enlightened and humane France- Differed in sure of supp or- Both Girondins and Montagnards committed to winning the war but the latter more flexible in their approach- Girondins thought that Robespierre wanted a bloody dictatorship, the Montagnards convinced that the Girondins would compromise with conservative, even royals t, forces to stay in power- They therefore, accused them of supporting c outer-revolution- As neither side had the majority in the Assembly each needed to have the support of the Plain- They too were bourgeois, believed in economic liberalism and were deeply afraid of the popular movement- At first supported the Girondins, who provided most of the ministers and dominated most of the Assembly’s committees SEPTEMBER MASSACRES- August the situation of the French armies on the front tier was desperate, Lafayette fled to the Austrians on 7 August- With leading general deserting, who could still be trusted? – Panic and fear of treachery swept the country- By the beginning of September Verdun, the last major fortress on the road to Paris, was about to surrender- Commune called on all patriots to take up arms, thousands volunteered to defend the capital and the revolution- BUT ONCE THEY HAD LEFT FOR THE FRONT, THERE WAS CONCERN ABOUT THE OVERCROWDED PRISONS, WHERE THERE WAS A RUMOUR WHERE THERE WERE MANY PRIEST S AND NOBLES, COUNTER REVOLUTIONARY SUSPECTS- a rumour arose that they wee plotting to escape, kill the helpless population and hand the city over to the Prussians- Marat, called for conspirators to be killed- Massacre of prisoners began 2 September and continued for 5 days- Killers the sans-culottes- this massacre cast a shadow over the first meeting of the Convention- just as the routines of war had brought about the September Massacres, they also brought an end to this part of the Terror- political history of the first phase of the National Convention (20 September 1792 to 2 June 1793) is that of the power struggle b / w Girondins and montagnards- it was clouded by the debate over the arraignment, trial and execution of the King, and the political contest for power among the divided republicans is confused and compounded by the of the more limited war of 1792 into the war of the First Coalition THE TRIAL OF LOUIS XVI-Jacobins insisted on the trial of the King, in order to start republic more firmly- increasingly depended on the sans-culottes, who wanted the King tried and executed- held him responsible for the bloodshed at the Tuileries in August 1792- Girondins tried to prevent a trial- What finally sealed the King’s fate was the idea of Marat to have an ‘appel nominal’ pp had to say there vote in public- KING EXECUTED 21 JANUARY 1793 (For radical republicans this was a logical action since Article VI of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen stated that ‘the law must be the same for all, whether it protects or punishes.’ – First Jacobin victory in the Convention- By Louis’ execution the Montagnards gained an ascendancy in the Convention which they rarely lost afterwards THE WAR EXTENDED- At same time war, civil war in the Vendee- to the surprise of the French the war went badly EFFECTS OF THE WAR- by winter 1792-3 the counter rev. in France had virtually collapsed- REVIVED by the expansion of the war and conscription- Govt.
ordered a levy of 30000 troops in Feb. 1793- This led to massive risings in the Vendee- Troubles in the Vendee had begun long before 1793 and conscription- Peasants there were paying more in land tax than they had under the ancien regime and so dislike d the government- This dislike turned into hatred with the Civil Constitution of the Clergy- Sale of church lands also unpopular- Economic problems, for which the war was largely responsible, added to the difficulties of the government- To pay for the war more and more assignats were printed and had fallen to half their nominal value by February 1793- This pushed up price- Although good harvest Nov 1792, bread s carse- The results of high prices and scarcity, were as usual, widespread riots and demands from the sans-culottes for price controls- Support of the people necessary to fight the war, so it was clear some of their demands would have to be met- Realised first by the Montagnards- The Plain joined the Montagnards in favour of repressive measures- BARER E, A LEADER OF THE PLAIN, TOLD THE CONVENTION THAT IT SHOULD RECOGNISE THREE THINGS: IN A STATE OF EMERGENCY NO GOVERNMENT COULD RULE BY NORMAL METHODS, THE BOURGEOIS SHOULD NOT ISOLATE THEMSELVES FROM THE PEOPLE, WHOSE DEMANDS SHOULD BE SATISFIED, THE BOURGEOIS MUST RETAIN CONTROL OF THIS ALLINA CE, AND SO THE CONVETNION MUST TAKE THE INI ATIVE BY INTRODUCING THE NECESSARY MEASURES.’ These measures were passed by the Convention between 10 March and 20 May 1793. They had 3 objectives. 1. to watch and punish suspects 2. to make govt.
more effective 3. to meet at least some of the demands of the sans-culottes 10 MARCH – REVOLUTIONARY TRIBUNAL SET UP- tribunal set up in Paris to try counter-revolutionary suspects and was intended to prevent massacres like those of September 1792- tribunal to become one of the main agencies of the terr o- owing to the resistance to conscription, and the suspicion of generals after Dumouriez’s defection, representatives on mission were sent to the provinces- they were deputies of the Convention, mainly Montagnards, whose job was toi speed up conscription and keep an eye on the conduct of generals on 6 April perhaps th e most important of all these measures, THE COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY, was set up to supervise and speed up the activities of ministers, whose authority is superseded- Committee not a dictatorship, depended on the support of the Convention which renewed its powers each month- Who was to be on the new Committee? – All these measures – Revolutionary Tribunals, representatives – on-miss on, watch committees, the Committee of Public Safety summary execution decree – were to become vital ingredients of the TerrorTHE FALL OF THE GIRONDINS- 2 June 80000 National Guardsman surrounded the Convention and directed their cannon at it- they demanded the expulsion of Girondins from the Assembly and a maximum price on al essential goods- when deputies tried to leave they were forced back- for the first time armed force was being used against an elected parliament- to avoid a massacre or a revolutionary commune seizing power, the Convention compelled to agree to the arrest of 29 Girondin deputies and two ministers THE NEW COMMITTEE OF PUBLIC SAFETY- 2 June most deputies frea red and distrusted the Montagnards- however, did not want to see the Republic overthrown by domestic or foreign enemies and so for the next 14 months they were reluctant accomplices of the Jacobin minority- when a new Committee of Public Safety was formed between July and September 1793, the 12 members were all either Montagnards, or deputies of the Plain who had joined them- the new committee was to become the first strong govt. since the Revolution began- all members were re-elected to the Committee by the Convention every month from Sept. 1793 to July 1794- Robespierre joined the Committee on 27 July- As Robespierre shared many ideas with the sans-culottes he was popular with the people of Paris but he was never one of the people as Marat was THE JACOBIN REPUBLIC AND THE REIGN OF TERROR (JUNE 1793-JULY 1794).
The crisis of the Revolution – June – December 1793-when the Jacobins assumed state power in early June 1793 the French Republic was beset by multiple crisis over the summer and autumn of 1793 the gravity of this crisis would augment to a pint where the very survival of the Republic, and hence of the Revolution the Republic was simultaneously threatened by foreign invasion across all land frontiers- counter revolution in Western France, internal rebellion (the federalist revolts) savage inflation – assignats, the volatility and potential anarchy of the sans-culottes in the cities, and the rural community who remained, over whelming ly, Catholic and royalist at heart under the violently anti-clerical republic regime- when Marat assassinated 13 July 1793, Parisians feared that the virus of counter revolution had finally penetrated the itself THE FEDERALIST REVOLTS AND THE DISINTEGRATION OF NATIONAL UNITY- ‘federalist’ revolts that broke out like an epidemic in France in the summer of 1793 were the fruit of both factional conflict in the Convention b / w the Gironde and the Mountain in APRIL-May and of the Paris insurrection of 31 May-2-June which forced downfall Girondin govt. – whatever form the ‘federalist’ revolts assumed – civil disorder, passive resistance to national govt. , armed rebellion, or factional terrorism, in provinces – federalism revolts were seen as royalist plots to destroy the unity of the Republic- Federalism appeared as a serious threat to the Government- most serious consequences of the revolts was the disruption of the harvest, and dislocation of the war effort, and the severance of lines of communication to the ffrontiersCREATING THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE TERROR- the Terro should be viewed as an outgrowth of the siege mentality that gripped Paris in Year II – as a response to pressure from the sans-culottes for total solutions to to al problems, and as a react on to ther exigency of war, rebellion and counter-revolution- it was always viewed by the convention, the Jacobin Party, and the sans-culottes as a temporary phase in the history of the Republic, as a disruption of the normal course of development of the revolution- strictly speaking the Terro means extra-parliamentary govt. – it becalm de jure on 5 September, 1793, when the constitution of 1793 ws made inoperative- during the reign of terror – del cared that they ‘were revolutionary until the peace’- the machinery of the Terro was fashioned in an atmosphere of patriotic exaltation, suspicion and violence CONSTITUTION OF THE TERROR – OCT 1793 INSTITUTIONS OF THE Terrorthe Executive Committees- b / w July and December the Convention slowly defined and enlarged the functions and powers of the executive committees of finance, public safety and general security- the Convention retained sovereign power in the formal sense that it elected all members of the three committees each month, and the committees were responsible to it- committee of public safety and General Security were given enormous discretionary powers, and by the end of 1793 had become virtually autonomous- eventually, during the first half of 1794, the Committee of Public Safety came to monopolise all the powers of govt. , a situation in which quite literally 12 ruled France The Levee en masse and the creation of Armees Re volutionnaires- rev. govt.
helped enormously in its work of national defence by the levee en masse of 23 August, 1793- and the creation of civic militia – – the levee en masse was both an act of military conscription and a call for a national, patriotic rising to extirpate the enemies of the Republic- response in Paris electric, but in provinces the had to be bludgeoned into the army and terrorized into co-operation with civil authority- to make dangerous generalisation – e / where throughout France townsmen responded magnificently to this call for a national rising, while in rural communities it was received with apathy and fatalistic passivity- the armees revolutionaries recruited in Paris and the larger towns, staffed by sans-culottes elected by the rank and file, para-military, ultra-revolutionary, and dangerously autonomous, went out into the countryside in the autumn and winter of 1793-4 to promote recruitment, to requisition grain, ECONOMIC POLICIES AND CONTROL- the principal economic policies of the Convention b / w June and December 1793 were introduced in response to sans-culotte pressure- most important economic decree abolished all remaining feudal rights without indemnification- declared monopoly of capital crime, stabilized the assignats, established, established a compulsory loan- Of these decrees the LAW OF MAXIMUM – 29 SEPTEMBER 1793 – was the most important- it empowered the state to regulate the supply and prices of essential commodities (food stuffs, fuels, industrial raw materials. Representatives on Mission and the Agents Nation aux- C. P. S. slowly centralised its power over the provinces during the autumn and winter of 1793-4 with the aid of ad how and permanent officials- Reps on mission (at one time up to 100 members of the Convention) carried the power of the state personally into the more troubled regions of France and made lightning on the armies of the frontiers- The power of the reps on mission symbolized for frenchmen in the Provinces was both august and terrible GREAT TERROR- the govt wanted to be in complete control over repression, so in May 1794, it abolished all the provincial Revolutionary Tribunals- all enemies of the Republic had now to be brought to Paris, to be tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal- did not mean Terror less sever- Law of Prairial, passed 10 June 1794 ‘Enemies of the people; were defined as those ‘who have sought to mislead opinion… to dpr ave customs and to corrupt the public conscience.’ – Terms so vague almost anyone could be included- No witnesses were to be called and judgement wa to be decided by the ‘conscience of the jurors’ rather then by any evidence produced- Defendants were not allowed defence council and the only possible verdicts were death or acquittal- this law removed any semblance of a fair trial and was designed to speed up those process of revolutionary justice- MORE PEOPLE WERE SENTENCED TO DEATH BY THE REVOLUTIONARY TRIBUNAL IN THE NINE WEEKS AFTER 10 JUNE THAN IN THE PREVIOUS MONTHS OF ITS EXISTENCE 9 THERMIDOR – FALL OF ROBESPIERRE-throughout July, moves were being made within the Committees and the Convention to organise a coup against the Robespierris- the conspiracy was very difficult to organise, since it encompassed moderates and extremists whose dislike for each other was only subordinate to their greater hatred and fear of Robespierre- in the end it was Robespierre’s final speech to the Convention on the 8 Thermidor that finally cemented an alliance of the Thermidorian’s- the speech took several hours to deliver- as it progressed became increasingly hysterical, irrational, and paranoid- near the end Robespierre made wild allegations of reason and corruption within the Committees of Finance, General Security, and Public Safety, but when challenged to name the traitors he refused- when the Convention reassembled the next day (9 Thermidor, 27 July) a motion to impeach and outlaw the Robespierrists was moved and carried – Robespierre arrested and executed- Thus began the Thermidorian reaction – Within a month of the whole machinery of the of the Terror would be dismantlyeNAPOLEONThe effective ruler of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, 30 year old general, first consul between 1796-1799.
After years of turmoil, or rebellion, revolution and counter-revolution, people yearned for a stability and security. In 1802 another plebiscite approved Napoleon’s appointment of consul for life, in 1804 he assumed the title of emperor. At the crowning ceremony 2 December 1804 Napoleon took the crown from the hands of the pope and placed it on his own head as a symbolic enthronement of a ‘self-made’ emperor The bank of France established to stabilize the currency. New codes of civil law, pean and commercial were formulated into the Code Napoleon, ensure ing equality before the law and bestowing a sense of permanence on the gains of the Rev… OUTCOME AND INFLUENCE OF THE REVOLUTION- rev many diff.
Things to many diff people- its effects varied from city to country side, from northern France to the south- evaluation of the significance of the revolution brought about during the rev. involves an identification of the aims of the revolutionaries, and judgement of the extent they were attained – both ‘democratic’ and ‘liberal’ aspirations became influential forces in European society as a result of the Rev. period- in the early stages of the rev. the liberals and democrats were united in the ier efforts to achieve an alteration of the old order THE REVOLUTION AS AN ASSERTION OF REPUBLICANISM- the establishment of a republic had not been one of the primary aims of the revolutionaries- a form of constitutional monarchy was widely preferred opinion in the early years- after the republican administrations had failed to achieve stability and order, the French people returned to the monarchical form of govt. DESTRUCTION OF PRIVILEGE- through the momentous 1789 declarations abolishing feudalism and proclaiming the rights of the citizen, together with that abolishing the monarchy (1792) – french revolutionaries destroyed the power and prestige of both previously privileged aristocracy and the monarchy- people could no longer be ‘born to rule’ and the principle of divine right did not return THE REDUCTION IN AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH-through the revolutionary proclamations of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, and the confiscation and sale of Church lands, the Roman Catholic Chuch lost its dominant position in French society in effect society was largely de-Christianized and seculariesIMPORTANCE OF REV. HISTORIANS VIEWS Since the rev n most historians have argued that for better or worse, the rev n profoundly altered most aspects of life in France.
Since mid 1950 s, when Alfred Cobb an a tacked ‘the myth of the french revolution’ revisionist historians have increasingly questioned the long accepted certainties of the origins and outcomes of the rev. British historian Roger Price ” In political and ideological terms the revolution was no doubt crucial importance, but humanity was not transformed, thereby at the end of all the political upheave ls fo the revolution and Empire little had changed in the daily life of most frenchmen t.’s o boul: ‘A classic bourgeois rev n, its uncompromising abolition of the feudal system and the seigneurial regime made it the starting point for a capitalist society and the liberal representative socialist rev n.’ Nobles – greatest loses in the rev n- lost their feudal dues- Nobles who stayed in France and were not prosecuted during the Terror their lands and never lost their position of economic dominance.