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Chapter 6, Section 1 On the Eve of Revolution
Section 1 – On the Eve of Revolution • 1789, the people of France were divided into three classes or estates – 1 st Estate – Clergy (Catholic Church) – 2 nd Estate – Nobles (people working in the government – 3 rd Estate – Everyone else (98% of the population)
The First Estate – the Clergy • Enormous wealth & privilege • Owned 10% of French land • Collected tithes but paid no taxes • Provided some social services including: – Schools – Hospitals – Orphanages • High church leaders were wealthy land owners while parish priests were poor
The Second Estate – the Nobles • Top jobs in: – – Government Army Courts Church • Owned land but had little income • They feared losing privileges & freedom from paying taxes
The Third Estate 98% of the people • Bourgeoisie – middle class – Bankers, merchants, manufacturers – Officials in government bureaucracy – Lawyers, doctors, journalists, professors, artisans
The Third Estate 98% of the people • Rural (country) peasants – Landowners – Tenant farmers – Day laborers
The Third Estate 98% of the people • Urban (city) workers – Apprentices, journeymen – worked in industry – Servants, stable hands, porters, construction workers
Section 1 • Unhappy because members of 3 rd Estate resented privileged 2 nd & 1 st Estates – Wealthy bourgeoisie could buy political offices & titles – Nobles had best jobs but hardest urban workers got very low wages – Peasants had to pay high taxes – Nobles had the right to hunt, but peasants could not even kill rabbits who ate their crops
Financial Crisis • Financial crisis because of deficit spending – government spending more money that it takes in • Burden of debt – Louis XIV – left France deeply in debt because • • 7 Years War/French & Indian War American Revolution Lavish court expenses ½ of income from taxes went to paying interest on debt – To solve financial crisis, the government had to: • Increase taxes • Reduce expenses, objected to by 1 st & 2 nd Estates
Reform Failures • Failure of reform – Heirs of Louis XIV • Louis XV (1715 -1774) pursued pleasure & ran up debt • Louis XVI well-meaning but weak & indecisive, chose Jacques Necker as financial director
King Louis XVI • When Louis XVI succeeded to the throne in 1774, he was not yet 20 years old. • He had an enormous responsibility, as the government was deeply in debt, and resentment to 'despotic' monarchy was on the rise. • Louis also felt woefully unqualified for the job.
Marie-Antoinette (Queen) • Initially charmed by her personality and beauty, the French people generally came to dislike her. • They accused her of being promiscuous and of harboring sympathies for France's enemies, particularly Austria, since Marie Antoinette was, after all, Austrian.
Jacques Necker • Necker urged Louis XVI to – Reduce court spending – Reform government – Abolish tariffs on trade
Poor Harvests in 1780’s • • • Food prices rose Hunger for poor peasants & city dwellers People rioted & demanded bread, attacked nobles’ manor houses
Pressure for Reform Mounted – Powerful classes demanded king summon Estates General – Hoped to bring king under control of nobles & guarantee own privileges
Estates General Called • Louis XVI called Estates General – first meeting in 175 years – Cahiers – notebook with grievances from the 3 Estates • • • Fairer taxes Freedom of the press Regular meetings of Estates General
Tennis Court Oath • Delegates to the Estates General from Third Estate were elected: – Lawyers, middle class officials, & writers (men with property) – Solve financial crisis & reform • Delegates dead-locked over voting issue – Each group had one vote & 1 st & 2 nd estates outvoted 3 rd Estate – After being locked out, the members from the 3 rd Estate moved to a nearby indoor tennis court and they made their famous oath – 3 rd Est. separated & called themselves National Assembly & wanted to write own constitution
Tennis Court Oath
Bastille • Paris Crowd Storms the Bastille – July 14, 1789, 800 Parisians met outside Bastille prison • Demanded weapons & gunpowder • Commander of Bastille refused & opened fire on the crowd, killing many • Angry crowd broke through defenses, killed commander & 5 guards, but found no weapons – Bastille became a symbol of French Revolution
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