After analysis of the previous 3 years’ examination papers, it is concluded that the following topics are the most important concepts from this chapter and should be focussed upon.
The French Society during the Late 18th Century- The French Society comprised :
3rd Estate: Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, peasants, artisans, landless laborers, servants, etc.
Some within the Third Estate were rich and some were poor.
The burden of financing activities of the state through taxes was borne by the Third Estate alone.
The Struggle for Survival: Population of France grew and so did the demand for grains. The gap between the rich and poor widened. This led to subsistence crises.
The Growing Middle Class: This estate was educated and believed that no group in society should be privileged by birth. These ideas were put forward by philosophers such as Locke the English philosopher and Rousseau the French philosopher. The American Constitution and its guarantee of individual rights was an important example of political theories of France. These ideas were discussed intensively in salons and coffee houses and spread among people through books and newspapers. These were even read aloud.
The French Revolution went through various stages. When Louis XVI became the king of France in 1774, he inherited a treasury which was empty. There was growing discontent within the society of the Old Regime.
1789: Convocation of Estates General. The Third Estate forms National Assembly, Tennis Court Oath the Bastille is stormed, peasant revolts in the countryside, Assembly issues Declaration of the Rights of Man.
1791: A constitution is framed to limit the powers of the king and to guarantee the basic right to all human beings.
1792-93: Convention abolishes Monarchy; France becomes a republic. The Jacobin Republic overthrown, a Directory rules France.
1795: New Constitution is adopted. A new Convention appointed a five-man Directorate to run the state from 26th October 1795. Churches reopened.
1799: The Revolution ends with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon’s coup abolishes Directory and establishes Consulate.
Time Line: The French Revolution
1770s-1780s: Economic decline: French Government in deep debt. In 1774, Louis XVI ascends to the throne.
1788-1789: Bad harvest, high prices, food riots.
1789, May 5: Estates-General convened, demands reforms.
1789, July 14: National Assembly formed. Bastille stormed on July 14. French Revolution starts.
1789, August 4: Night of August 4 ends the rights of the aristocracy, the surrender of feudal rights.
1789, August 26: Declaration of the Rights of Man
1790: Civil Constitution of the Clergy nationalizes the Church.
1791: Dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly.
1792: Constitution of 1791 converts absolute monarchy into a constitutional monarchy with limited powers.
1792: Austria and Prussia attack revolutionary France, Robespierre, elected the first Deputy for Paris to the National convention.
1793: Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were executed.
1792-1794: In 1793, the Reign of Terror starts. Austria, Britain, the Netherlands, Prussia, and Spain are at war with France.
Robespierre’s Committee of Public Safety repels back foreign invaders.
Executes many ‘enemies of the people’ in France itself.
1794: Robespierre is executed. France is governed by a Directory, a committee of five men. The Reign of Terror ends.
1795: National convention dissolved.
1799: Napoleon Bonaparte becomes the leader of the French Revolution ends.
Napoleon ? In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself emperor of France.