CHAPTER 19 WORLD HISTORY

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1 CHAPTER 19 WORLD HISTORY Objectives The French Revolution and Napoleon 1. Explain the conflicts that divided the three French estates. 2. Describe the demands for reform made by French citizens in List the major events and issues of the French Revolution from 1792 to Describe the actions and policies of Napoleon Bonaparte as leader of France. 5. Describe the events leading to Napoleon's triumph and defeat. 6. Give possible reasons for Napoleon's downfall. In the mid 1700s, France began to suffer from economic problems. These problems grew from the enormous debt that the government owed, failed harvests and old regulations that made it tough for people to start new businesses. Louis XIV, the Sun King, had made France into a great power, but after his reign many of the people of France became unhappy with the government, or the Old Regime, under which the king ruled as an absolute monarch. They, like the English and Americans before them began to see the need for liberty and rights for humankind. People belonged to one of three estates. They were divided by law into the clergy, nobles and commoners. The wealthy clergy and poor parish priests made up the First Estate, nobility made up the Second Estate and commoners made up the Third Estate. The Third Estate consisted of a whopping 98% of the population, but yet they had the least amount of power. 1

2 The commoners of the Third Estate included the middle class, peasants and city workers. The middle class was known as the bourgeoisie, which included doctors, merchants, storekeepers and artisans. The bourgeoisie was very outspoken in condemning the privileges of the nobility. They were unhappy with the Old Regime, because it gave unfair advantages to people of the First and Second Estates, who made up less than 2% of the population, and yet were the only ones who could become army officers or high church officials. The commoners had to pay a tithe, or tax on their income, while the other two estates went tax-free. Under Louis XVI, Robert Turgot tried to reform the government, but was ultimately unsuccessful. Louis let him go when the nobles criticized his attempts. Louis incurred even more debt, until the bankers cut him off. In 1789, the bankrupt Louis was forced to call a meeting of the Estates General to try to solve the economic problems of France. Each estate elected its own deputies to this body. The three estates usually met separately, but the Third Estate insisted that they all gather in one place. Louis refused their request. They then announced themselves as the National Assembly. Their goal was to write a constitution for France. Louis was forced to instruct the First and Second Estates to meet with them. There was a lot of disagreement in the assembly. Most people of the upper classes were hesitant to give up their privileges. Some people desired a limited constitutional monarchy, and others wanted even more extreme changes. The storming of the Bastille took place on July 14, The Bastille was a prison in Paris that was rumored to contain hundreds of prisoners. Citizens of Paris and the immediate area were unhappy with the progress of the National Assembly and were afraid that Louis was going to try to put a stop to the revolution. The attack on the Bastille was their reaction to this. Trouble occurred in other areas also. The National Assembly quickly formed a new legal structure. They put an end to many privileges of the upper classes, as well as feudal obligations. They made it legal for people to worship as they chose. They put together a 2

3 Declaration of Rights, which declared the policies of their new government. The Declaration made all men equal. The constitution was finished in Under the constitution, the government of France was transformed from an absolute monarchy into a limited monarchy. A doctrine of separation of powers was put into effect. The legislature was entrusted with making the laws, and the king was in charge of executing them. The judicial branch resolved conflicts according to the law. The new government left many people still wanting something different. Some revolutionaries wanted more extreme changes, while nobles thought the changes were too drastic. Many nobles left the country because they were afraid. They were called émigrés, a person who flees his or her country for political reasons. Louis XVI tried to escape in 1791, but was captured and forced to agree to the new constitution. Other European rulers started to worry that the revolution would spread to their countries, so they wanted to put a stop to it. In France, revolutionaries believed that war would bring about a feeling of unity. In 1792, France declared war on Austria, which it believed to be initiating counterrevolutionary demonstrations. France won many battles in the war, but there were other problems to contend with, such as food shortages. As a result, the second French Revolution began. The National Convention was formed to compose a new constitution. The Convention made France into a republic and tried Louis XVI for treason. He was executed by means of the guillotine in The National Convention took possession of the land of émigrés and got rid of the few remaining feudal practices. Other European countries joined the fight against France. Problems within France also caused problems for the revolutionaries. Many people in France began to revolt against them. The Reign of Terror ensued. The Reign of Terror was an effort to wage war against enemies of France. The Committee of Public Safety was formed, and Maximilien Robespierre was chosen to head it. The 3

4 committee was in charge of dealing with anyone who was in opposition to the revolution. Thousands of people were ordered executed, including Marie Antoinette, who was the wife of King Louis XVI. The Reign of Terror ended when Robespierre was put to death after revolutionaries decided he had taken things too far. In 1795, the Directory was approved as the new government of France. The Directory included an elected legislature and an executive branch. It lasted for four years, until Napoleon Bonaparte drafted another constitution, under which he was designated First Consul, and eventually emperor. He boasted, I am no ordinary man. The Napoleonic Code was a unified national set of laws that were arranged in logical order and articulated in a straightforward manner. It was probably Napoleon s most important contribution to the modern world, because it stated that all men were equal and that they had the right to worship as they chose and also the right to choose whatever occupation they desired. This law code advanced the ideals of the French Revolution. Napoleon started the national Bank of France and set up lycees, or schools run by the government. He also started appointing bishops, instead of having them elected. He was an expert military leader who won many victories over other European countries and extended French rule over much of Europe. He also reorganized the Holy Roman Empire into the Confederation of the Rhine. 4

5 Napoleon was able to conquer the chief powers on the continent, but couldn t defeat Britain. Admiral Horatio Nelson of Britain destroyed most of the French fleet at Cape Trafalgar. Napoleon responded with a blockade of British ports, which he called the Continental System. He stopped all European nations from doing business with Britain under this system. Conquered peoples began to harbor resentment toward Napoleon as their feelings of nationalism grew. Nationalism is a sense of pride in one s country. They revolted against him because they wanted to re-establish their former governments. They didn t like having to pay taxes to France or having to serve in its army. They wanted political and social justice. For example, in Spain, Napoleon s brother, Joseph Bonaparte was driven out, and the Spanish reclaimed rule of their country. In 1812, the French attacked Russia after Alexander I, the Russian czar decided to no longer stand for the Continental System. After they defeated the Russians outside of Moscow, they went into the city to seek food and shelter, but the Russians had left the city in flames. As French troops retreated from Russia, many were killed or weakened from hunger and cold. Soldiers from Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia attacked them. Napoleon tried to put together a new army, but wasn t successful. Paris was captured by the alliance of Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia in Napoleon stepped down and was sent away to the island of Elba. Louis XVIII then became king. Louis XVIII created a constitution that granted religious freedom to all citizens and set up an elected legislature. In 1815, Napoleon tried to reclaim power, but he was quickly defeated by an army of British and Prussian soldiers in Waterloo, a town in Belgium. At the height of Napoleon s power, in 1812, he had power over most of Europe. The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and part of Italy were all part of the French Empire. He directly controlled Spain, the Confederation of the Rhine, the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, Switzerland, the Kingdom of Italy and the Kingdom of Naples. The Kingdom of Norway and Denmark, Prussia and the Austrian Empire were allies of 5

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