The French revolution begins in 1789 with the meeting from the General states and the Storming of the Bastille and is completed with the Coup d'etat of the 18 brumaire (9 - November 10th 1799) of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is one fundamental moment of the French history, marking the end of the Ancien Mode and the passage to a constitutional monarchy then with the first Republic which the country knew. It is of nothing a chance if the current republican symbols appeared during this period. The French revolution put an end to the royal Absolutisme , at the company of orders and all the privileges. She proclaimed the equality of the Citoyen S in front of the law, fundamental freedoms and the sovereignty of the Nation, ready to be controlled through elected representatives.
The French revolution created immediate and durable divisions between the partisans of the ideas Révolutionnaire S and the defenders of the old order, and between the anticlericals and the Catholic church.
The universal range of the ideas of the French revolution was practically recognized as of the beginning by its contemporaries, adversaries like partisans. Its impact was considerably increased by the Guerres of the French revolution and the Empire, which touched a broad part of the continental Europe, with the creation of “republics sisters” and the transformation of the borders and the States d' Europe. The Revolution remained an object of debates and a positive or negative reference throughout the two centuries which followed it, in France as in the world.
France in the years 1780
The dispute of the absolute monarchyIn 1788, the capacity rests on the Absolute monarchy of divine right. The king holds his capacity of God as the ceremony of the sacring in Rheims shows it, with the beginning of his reign; the monarchical tradition fits in the respect of the habits, i.e. the freedoms and privileges granted to certain individuals, certain cities or provinces. The bases of this political system are disputed and attacked in the second part of the 18th century.
The philosophy of the Lumières was diffused in the roadbases of the French company, the middle-class and the liberal nobility. Against the absolute monarchy with the Frenchwoman, the English model of a monarchy limited by a Parliament (assembled elected) is proposed. To the obedience of the subject the civil rights are opposed. The philosophers of the Lights defend the idea that the supreme sovereign capacity lies in the Nation.
The privileged orders also revolt against the royal capacity. Indeed, the absolutism deprived them of their traditional prerogatives. The Parlements are courts of justice under the Old Mode. They benefit from the traditional right which enables them to emit remarks during the recording of the laws in the registers of the Parliaments to criticize the royal capacity. Although they defend before very their privileges, they manage to pass, with the eyes of the public opinion, like the defenders of the people.
The Nobility, évincée of the capacity under Louis XIV, only dreams to return to the businesses. With this political claim doubles an economic claim. The noble ones do not have the right to exert a great number of economic activities under penalty of " déroger" , i.e. to lose their nobility. In one century when the revenue of the ground stagnates and where entertainment expenses (costumes, fit with body…) are raised more and more, their purchasing power decreases. The nobility is propped up on its old privileges, mainly the feudal rights and requires the payment of certain feudal taxes, fallen in disuse. She assumes also the exclusive exploitation of certain communal, these not cultivated grounds where traditionally the poor peasants could make feed their some animals. This crispation is very badly lived by the peasants who claim the abolition of the feudal Droits to relieve their misery.
Despite everything, in their vast majority, the French of 1789 do not imagine a violent Revolution with an abolition of monarchy. The king, in 1789, is regarded as the father of the French. He is liked and respected. Nevertheless, a deep reform of the State is hoped, and this in a peaceful climate.
The failure of the political reformsLouis XV and Louis XVI did not remain insensitive with the diffusion of the novel ideas and the blocking of the institutions. But they do not have the authority of their predecessor Louis XIV to impose on privileged the changes necessary.
- the legal Reform of the chancellor of Maupeou decided at the end of the reign of Louis XV, is given up by Louis XVI who yields in front of the Parliament S.
- the Tax reform: The problem of the kings was always the budget. Since XVIIIe, this one is strongly overdrawn. Indeed, the principal direct tax, the size, weighs only on the not-privileged people. The concern of the monarchs is thus to increase the tax re-entries. New taxes which weigh on all, whatever the order, are added to the old taxes: the “capitation since 1701”, which relate to all the heads but which weighs more in proportion on the nonprivileged ones, “twentieth” which strikes all the incomes (in theory 1/20e of the income but the noble ones and the clergy repurchase it, i.e. once pay it for all and are then disencumbered of it. The new taxes do not prevent the deficit and the national debt to grow hollow throughout the 18th century. In 1788, Necker makes public the budget of the kingdom. The State perceives 503 million recipe books for 620 million books of expenditure. The debt servicing only occupies with him 310 million books, that is to say half of the expenditure. The public opinion is scandalized to learn that the court spends 36 million books, in festivals and pensions for the courtiers.
Monarchy can make succeed no tax reform because of the systematic obstruction of the Members of Parliament. The “Journée of the tiles of Grenoble” which took place in 1788 illustrates alliance against-nature between the Parliament S and the people. The protests of the families touched by the economic crisis multiplying since May, these agitations push the garrison to intervene the June 7th. This one is received by jets of tiles launched by the inhabitants of Grenoble assembled on the roofs. After the “Day of the tiles”, an assembly of the three orders (Nobility, Clergy, Third state) meets in the castle of Vizille and decides the strike of the taxes as long as the General states of the province will not have been convened by the king to vote them. In bankruptcy and incompetent to restore the order, Louis XVI yields in August 1788 and convenes the State-Generals for on May 1st, 1789.
The year 1789 marks the end of the absolute monarchy and the Old Mode
The legal revolution (May at the beginning of July 1789)
The electoral campaign for the election of the deputies to the State-GeneralsThe meeting of the General states raised great hopes among the French population. The peasants hope for an improvement of their living conditions with lightening even the abandonment of the feudal rights. The middle-class, kneaded ideas of the Lights, hopes for the introduction of the equality in right and the establishment of a parliamentary monarchy to English. It can count on the support of a small portion of the nobility acquired for the novel ideas and low-clergy which lives near the people and is sensitive to the difficulties of this one. This explains the animation of the political debate during the election of the deputies to the State-Generals. The debates carry, inter alia, on the organization of the State-Generals.
Indeed, traditionally each order elected about the same number of deputies. The elected officials of each kind met, discussed and voted separately. The result of the vote of each kind counted for a voice. It was the principle of the vote by order. So it was enough that the two privileged orders vote in the same direction, that to the maintenance of the privileges, and the Third-State was found in minority. The Third-State asks to the doubling of the number of the deputies for the representative, so that the number of their elected officials corresponds more to his weight in the company, as well as the principle of the vote per capita, i.e. a single assembly where each elected official has a voice. Louis XVI grants the doubling of the deputies of the Third-State but guard silence on the question of the vote by order or.
The deputies of the Third-State oppose to the king
The May 1789, the deputies arrive at Versailles. Those of the clergy (291) and the nobility (270) are received in great pageantry, not those of the Third-State. The May 5th, the king opens the State-Generals. Its speech warns against any spirit of innovation. Necker speaks during three long hours, but only about financial questions. No evocation of the so much awaited political reforms is made. The capacity does not make a clear decision on the question of the vote by order or. The privileged orders take party for the vote by order. The Third-State begins then in a process of resistance while refusing to meet separately of the two other orders. At the end of one month of discussions and waiting, the Third-State decides to take the initiative to check the capacities of the deputies by Bailliage and seneschalsy and not by order. June thirteen, three priests answer the call. The sixteen, they are ten.
The June 17th 1789, the General states, on a proposal from the Abbot Sieyès, take the title of “National Assembly”. June 19th, the clergy which counts a strong minority of priests sensitive to the problems of the peasants, decides to join the deputies of the Third for the verification of the credentials. The June 20th, the king makes close the room of the Menus, meeting room of the Third. Those move then towards a gaming room of close palm. In a great enthusiasm, they pronounce the Serment of the play of palm. They are committed not separating before to have given a Constitution written to France. June 23rd, at a royal meeting, a meeting of the three orders in the presence of the king, Louis XVI orders to the deputies to sit in separate rooms. Whereas appoint them of the Nobility and of the high clergy obey and from go away, the deputies of the Third-State and those of the low clergy remain motionless. Bailly, elected president as a senior, lance with the marquis de Dreux-Brézé come to ask them in the name of the King to leave, this sentence: “I believe Sir, that the assembled Nation does not have an order to receive from anybody”, following whom Mirabeau adds: “Say to those which send to you that we are here by the will of the people and that we will leave there only by the force the bayonets. ” It seems however that this sentence is apocryphal book. Vis-a-vis the resistance of the Third, supported by the clergy and around fifty the noble ones, the King invites, on June 27th the three orders to be discussed together.
The Parliament then takes again immediately her walk ahead. The July 9th, it proclaims constituent National Assembly. During these days, the Parliament carries out another decisive Revolution: many deputies are frightened by turning events and resign; the Parliament declares that it holds her mandate not voters individually for each deputy, but collectively of the very whole Nation. It is the application of the principle of the National sovereignty defended by Diderot.
This Parliament can be based on the hopes of the majority of the Nation, on the networks of “patriots”. Opposite, there are only divided ministers, a government without financial resources and a weak-willed king who moves back.
The summer 1789
The storming of the Bastille
Genesis of the revoltLouis XVI fact mines to yield to the Third-State. But, as of the June 26th, it makes come from the troops (20 000 men of foreign regiments) on the capital. However the Parisian opinion is agitated. The middle-class is disappointed. For the moment, nothing left the debates to Versailles. And it is afraid for survival of the assembly. The people, fear to him that the troops do not cut the roads of the supply of Parisian whereas, following bad harvests of 1788, the price of the bread is with most. At the beginning of July, of the riots burst with the barriers of granting. The king returns his ministers considered to be too liberal, among whom Necker, controller of Finances, returned the July 11th. The news is known in Paris the 12. In after midday, the journalist Camille Desmoulins exhorts crowd to be put in a state of defense, in the gardens of the Palais Royal. He considers the reference of Necker as an attack against the peuple.
The Parisian ones run up in the gardens of Tileries and with the Invalids against the soldiers of the Royal-German of prince de Lambesc, shown to have killed out of the demonstrators.
The July 13rd, 40 of the 54 barriers of grantings are burnt. The reserves of grains of the convents are plundered. A middle-class militia is formed.
The first revolutionary dayEffervescence grows. The morning of the July 14th 1789, the Parisian ones leave to seek weapons. In a revolutionary atmosphere. They plunder the arsenal of the Hôtel of the Invalids where they find weapons and guns but not of powder. The rioters then come to mass with the doors of the royal prison of the Bastille to seek powder. They find there other rioters who had massed in front of the fortress of the Saint-Anthony Suburb since the morning.
In July 1789, there were in the prison only some prisoners of common right, four forgers, two insane dangerous and a " delinquent sexuel". They were kept by 80 invalids and 35 Suisses. A many troop goes on the Bastille: the governor, the marquis Bernard de Launay, wants to resist but, at the request of mediators come from the Town hall where seat a Standing Committee, body of the middle-class insurrection, it lets crowd penetrate in the first court. Then it is charmed and made to mitrailler this crowd: there is a hundred deaths. Mutinés soldiers then bring guns taken to the Invalids: the governor yields and lowers the drawbridges. The victorious riot, after four hours of combat, involves it on the place of Strike: it is massacred there. Turning over then to the Town hall, the demonstrators show the provost merchants (function comparable with that of mayor) Jacques de Flesselles of treason. On the way of a public lawsuit to the Palais Royal, he is assassinated. Its head is walked at the end of a spade, with that of Launay, the governor of the Bastille.
After the popular victoryWhereas Louis XVI recognizes the accomplished fact, the demolition of the Bastille starts. Louis XVI yields to the Parisian pressure and comes in person the following day to announce at the assembly the withdrawal troops which encircled Paris. He points out Necker like all the returned ministers. With the Town hall of Paris, all the members of the old administration having taken the escape, Jean Sylvain Bailly, president of the National Assembly, is named by acclamation “Mayor of Paris”. Fayette is named Commander Général of the National guard. A new municipal organization was going to be set up. Louis XVI recognizes this one while going to Paris on July 17th. On this occasion, Bailly gives the Cocarde to him blue and red to the colors of the town of Paris that Louis XVI fixed on his hat, thus associating these colors with the white of monarchy. This gesture appears to seal the reconciliation of Paris and its king. In the facts however, the king accepts that its authority is held in failure by a Parisian riot. The deputies accept that their capacity depends on popular violence.
During this time, the fame of the “winners of the Bastille” gains whole France. The force carried it, assisting from the reformers. Very quickly, an interpretation symbolic system of the storming of the Bastille is elaborate. The Bastille represents the arbitrary royal one there. The most insane noises are spread, which describe filled up underground dungeons of skeletons and invent the fabulous character of the count de Lorges, exemplary victim of arbitrary royal. During the demolition of the fortress, the “patriot” Palloy carries out a company of political propaganda profitable by selling engraved stones and chains which come from it. The creation of medals commemorative and the distinction of the “winners of the Bastille” allow, thereafter, with many individuals to start interesting careers politico-soldiers.
See also: Storming of the Bastille
These events start also the first emigration: the young brother of Louis XVI, the count d' Artois, the large ones of the kingdom like the prince de Condé, the duke of Polignac and the duke of Enghien. Their destinations are England, the Netherlands or Germany. All think of returning in the three months.
Great fear in the French campaigns and the night of August 4th, 1789In province, starting from July 20th 1789 until August 6th, 1789, the campaigns bruissent of called confused rumors “Great fear”. The peasants fear that harvests are not plundered by Brigands. With the advertisement of the arrival of brigands, the alarm bell sounds in the villages. The peasants arm themselves with forks, forgery and other tools. When they realize that there is no danger, instead of turning over to be occupied with their occupations, they move towards the castle of the lord. They require the seigneuriaux titles which established the domination economic and social their owners and burn them. If the lord or his people resists, they are molestés. One counts cases of assassinated lords and castles plundered or burned. Vis-a-vis these violences, the Parliament reacts by abolishing the feudal privilege S, rights, the venality of the offices and the inequalities tax in the Nuit of August 4th 1789. It is the end of the Société of Old Mode. However the deputies, almost all landowners, that they are noble or middle-class, charm themselves partly during the drafting of the decrees from August 5th to 11th 1789. Personal rights (drudgeries, serfdom…) and the monopoly of hunting for the lord are simply removed. The rights in rem relating to the revenue of the ground (taxable quota, Champart) must be repurchased. Only can release the richest peasants completely. The owners of offices receive an allowance which they partly invest in the purchase of national goods. Thus having them could safeguard their economic interests while putting an end to the country revolts.
August 26th 1789, the constituent Assembly vote the Declaration of the Human rights and the Citizen. Taking as a starting point the principles of the Lights, it is a judgment without call of the absolute monarchy and the company of orders. It is also the reflection of the aspirations of the middle-class of the time: guarantee of individual freedoms, the sacralization of the property, the division of the capacity with the king and to all public employment.
Paris again capitalThe difficulties of supply bread and the refusal of Louis XVI to sanction the declaration and the decrees of the 4 and of August 26th are at the origin of the dissatisfaction with the people of Paris at the time of the days of the October 5th and 6th 1789. A walk of women brings back the royal family to Paris, leaving in Versailles the symbol absolutism. Two bodyguards of the king are killed, their head is hung at the end of a spade. From now on, the king and the Parliament sit at Paris, supervised by the population and threatened by the riot.
The royal capacity leaves there extremely weakened. France remains a monarchy but the Legislative power passed between the hands of the Constituent Assembly. Committees resulting from the Parliament have the upper hand on the whole of the administration which worries less and less about the royal capacity. The ministers are nothing any more but technical executants supervised by the Parliament. Nevertheless, the king keeps the Executive power. The Décret S promulgated by the Parliament are valid only if the king sanctions them. In addition, the intendants and other agents of the administration of the Old Mode remain at their station until the formation of a new administration. Until the summer 1790, the intendant S which did not resign continue to exert their powers, although the latter were considerably reduced.
The failure of the constitutional monarchy
The regeneration of Francethe constituent Assembly, as a majority made up of middle-class man, undertakes a vast work of reform by applying the ideas of the philosophers and economists of the 18th century.
the administrative reorganization The first work of the assembly is devoted to the administrative reform. The administrative units of the Old Mode were very complex. The general information S, the government S, the Parliament S and the Diocèse S were superimposed without having the same limits. The deputies undertake to simplify them. They stick first of all to the municipal reform, made pressing by the disorder caused in the municipal bodies by the disorders of the summer. The law of December 14th sets up the Municipalité. As from January 1790, each common of France organizes the election of their elected officials. They are the first elections of the Revolution. By the law of December 22nd, 1789, the Parliament creates the department S. They are districts at the same time administrative, legal, tax and religious. 83, the departments bear names related to their physical geography - river, mountains, seas - and are then divided into District S, canton S and communes. Their leaders are elected by the people. In spring 1790, a Commission is charged by the assembly with cutting with France and to answer the litigations caused between the candidates cities with chief towns. The new democratically elected administrations are put in function as from the summer 1790.
Under the Old mode, the economic activities were strictly framed by the State or regulations which limited the number of producers. All the obstacles with the freedom of production, which they are agricultural, artisanal or industrial are removed. In a climate of distrust with respect to the professional regroupings, the law the Hatter is voted on June 14th, 1791. This law, remained famous in the history of the working, prohibited world all employers' and wage associations, in other words trade unions. The strike is also prohibited.
The revolution, in its mistrust of the group, its exaltation of individual freedoms, puts the workmen in the incapacity to organize itself for the defense of their rights for nearly one century.
the religious question
As of the August 11th 1789, the Dîme is removed without compensation, thus depriving the clergy of part of its resources. The November 2nd of the same year, on a proposal from Talleyrand, bishop of Autun, the goods of the clergy are placed at the disposal of the Nation for the extinction of the national debt. They become national goods which will be sold by batches to make up the deficit of the State. The same year, the Assignat S, the shape of paper money, are introduced. Considering the urgency of the financial position, the constituent Assembly makes national goods the guarantee of a paper which its holders will be able to exchange against of the ground, assignats. Used initially as Treasury bills, they receive a course forced in April 1790 to become a true currency. One emits thus for 400 million assignats: it is the beginning of a strong period of inflation.
Nationalization of the goods of the constrained clergy the constituent Assembly to be interested in the financing of the clergy. It is the Constitution civil of the clergy, adopted the July 12th 1790 and ratified by the king the December 26th 1790, which transforms the members of the clergy into civils servant paid by the State. The members of the secular clergy from now on are elected and must lend an oath of fidelity to the Nation, the Law and to the King. According to a tradition gallicane anchored well in part of the middle-class as well as part of the heritage of the Lights favorable to laicization of the company, the deputies did not request from the pope his opinion on the reforms of the catholic clergy. The first clerks start to lend oath without awaiting the opinion of sovereign pontiff. But as of March 1791, the pope Pie VI condemns all these reforms aiming at the Church of France. The Constituent one divided the population into two antagonistic camps. One counts to approximately 45% of ecclesiastics not swearers or refractories. The drama of 1792 - 1793 is in germ.
The religious question worsens the dissatisfaction with part of the French, disappointed by the Revolution. Since 1790, disorders between Protestants and Catholics had burst in the South. The question of oath degenerates into violent confrontation in the West where the cities support the priests swearers and the campaigns the refractories.
The king and the RevolutionThe July 14th 1790, one year after the storming of the Bastille, the Fête of the Federation is celebrated on the Field-of-March. The Marquis of Fayette attends the ceremony at the sides of the king and the queen. It is about one moment of national union: the king lends oath to the coldly established Constitution and its person is applauded by crowd. This moment of national communion can let accept the observers of the time that Louis XVI accepted the changes resulting from the Revolution of 1789. In fact, it of it is nothing. Louis XVI wavers between the various currents, to try to keep his autonomy and to reconquer his lost capacity. Moreover, sincere catholic, it takes makes and causes for the pope and the refractory priests.
The failure of the attempt at escape of the king (20 and June 21st 1791) results in to reveal at the great day its hostility with the project of 1789. The Parisian patriots most radical see in this epic the proof of the treason of the king and ask, in a petition that they want to deposit on the furnace bridge of Field-of-March, the forfeiture of the king. The deputies like Bailly and Fayette, in favor of a constitutional monarchy, set up the thesis of the removal of the king. They prohibit the demonstration and issue the martial law. July 17th, 1791, the people express despite everything. Lafayette does not manage to contain its men who listen to Bailly then. When this one orders fire, they shoot then at disarmed crowd, killing mainly out of the women and the children. The shooting of Field-of-March has as a consequence the rupture between the moderate patriots and the Parisian people whose spokesperson are, inter alia, Georges Jacques Danton, Maximilien de Robespierre and Jean-Paul Marat. Some as Condorcet ask for even the introduction of a Republic. By mistrust towards the people, Bailly and Fayette, followed by the majority of the deputies, leave the club of the Jacobins to found the Club of Breaking into leaf the. For them the revolution is finished and it is advisable to stabilize the mode by supporting the constitutional monarchy. In part of the public opinion, the king lost any regard. Many revolutionary newspapers caricature it in the shape of a pig and multiply the coarseness in its opposition as with that to the Queen. The royalist newspapers preach open resistance. The emigration accelerates. The counter-revolutionaries and the Jacobins constitute networks of influence in all the country and try to mobilize the opinion.
Louis XVI accepts unwillingly the Constitution of September 1791. The components take up the ideas of John Locke and of Montesquieu on the separation of the capacities but they apply them in a too strict way, thus devoting a rigid separation between the capacities. The king preserves only the executive power. He is irresponsible in front of the legislative Parliament which cannot anything against him. He can put his veto during four years (two legislatures) at any law which displeases and keeps the choice of the ministers to him. The legislative power is entrusted at a single assembly of 745 deputies elected by the vote censitaire with two degrees, the legislative Assemblée. On a total population of 24 million inhabitants, France counts 4 million " citizens actifs" who have the right to vote. It should be noted that nothing is designed to regulate the dissensions between the capacities. On proposal of Robespierre, no component could arise to the election of the new assembly which sits starting from October 1st 1791. The legislative Parliament is thus an assembly of new men, inexperienced, rich and rather young people, including/understanding on the right 250 Breaking into leaf which want to defend the constitutional monarchy and on its left 136 members of the Club of the Jacobins, primarily of the Girondins.
See also: Constitution of 1791
The fall of monarchy
walk with the war
The emigrants, mainly gathered in Coblentz around the Count d' Artois, maintain an agitation permanent at the borders and make pressure on the foreign sovereigns so that they intervene. To satisfy them, the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria make a Joint Declaration, the declaration of Pillnitz in August 1791 when they express their concern. This declaration is perceived by the revolutionary opinion like a threat. The legislative Parliament votes with the end of the year 1791 several decrees which contribute to contract the situation more. The November 9th 1791, it requires that the emigrants return in France within two month, or else, their properties will be confiscated. Then it imposes the civic oath to the refractory priests under penalty of deprivation of pension or even of deportation in the event of disorder to the law and order. A last decree enjoint foreign princes to drive out the emigrants of their States. The king agrees to sign the last decree because it makes the war possible.
The international situation is envenimée by the annexation, at the request of the inhabitants, Comtat Venaissin, until there pontifical possession, in France and by the business of the Princes possessionnés of Alsace, - German princes estimating itself injured by the abolition of the feudal rights in their Alsatian strongholds (possessionnés Princes) -. The Breaking into leaf and the king, conscious of the disorganization of the army, hope for a fast defeat to drive out the revolutionists without the contest of the emigrants. The Jacobins wish to export the Revolution in all Europe by the war. Robespierre is one of rare to be opposed to a conflict.
the war modifies the power struggles
On a proposal from Louis XVI, the April 20th 1792, France declares the war with the king of Hungary and Bohemia, i.e. with the emperor of Austria. The Of Gironde ones speak then about a war of the people against the kings, of a crusade for freedom. The Prussia lines up at the sides of the Austrians a few weeks later. The French Army completely disorganized by the emigration of part of the noble officers, does not have the capacities to resist the frightening Prussian armies. The borders are quickly threatened. For the patriots, the idea of a plot of the nobility, court and priests refractory to cut down the revolution develops. The assembly votes three decrees then allowing the deportation of the refractory priests, the dissolution of the personal guard of the king and the constitution of a camp of federate national guards to defend Paris. Louis XVI puts his veto at the decrees on refractories and the federate ones. This situation causes a new revolutionary blaze, which sees the people investing Tileries on June 20th. But for once, the king holds good. He agrees humiliation to wear the Phrygian cap in front of the sans-culottes but refuses to yield. The legislative Parliament circumvents the royal veto by proclaiming “the fatherland in danger” on July 11th, 1792 and asking all the volunteers to flow towards Paris.
inversion of monarchy July 25th, the chief of the Prussian army, the duke of Brunswick, fact knowledge with the government that Paris will be destroyed if the life of the king is again threatened. When the Manifeste of Brunswick is known Parisian revolutionists, those invest the Parliament and ask for the dismissal of Louis XVI. The Parliament refuses. Thus, in the night from August 9th to 10th 1792, an insurrectionary municipality led by Pétion and Danton are formed. To the small day, the insurrectionists present themselves in front of Tileries and end up investing and plundering the palate, defended by the Swiss guard, which is made kill on the spot. Many attackers are also killed. The king takes refuge in the enclosure of the legislative Parliament, but this one is turned over against him of suspending it of its functions. The constitution of 1791, in fact, having become null and void, it issues also the election of a national Convention by the vote for all with two degrees to decide new institutions of the country. The evening of August 10th (9 hours meeting), the legislative Parliament indicates by acclamation a provisional executive council, composed of six members, including/understanding Danton, Minister for Justice, and Gaspard Monge, Minister for the Navy.
The enemy troops go on Paris unrelentingly, making fall the fortresses the ones after the others. It is in this context that Danton declares on September 2nd 1792: “Of the audacity, still of the audacity, always of the audacity and the Fatherland will be saved”. The people, between panic and rancour, make responsible for the situation the enemies of the interior. Between the 2 and on September 6th, 1792, he massacres the refractory priests, the suspects of counter-revolutionary activity and the ordinary prisoners imprisoned in the prisons to Paris. Slaughters last several days without the administrative authorities daring to intervene, and the deputies will not condemn them before several months. These “massacres of September”, which strike the opinion, mark an essential turning in the Revolution.
forces in presence with Convention The elections with Convention proceed in the middle of the massacres of September. On 7 million voters, one estimates that 90% abstained from. The choice of the deputies thus belongs to a decided minority. As in 1789, the poll with two turns causes to eliminate the popular classes from the national representation. The elected officials all are almost resulting from the middle-class. A third comes from the trades of justice. In spite of this relative social homogeneity, two antagonistic camps are opposed. Brissotins or Girondins is wary of the Parisian people. Their supports are in province and among the rich person middle-class of the trade and manufactures. They are very attached to individual freedoms and economic of 1789 and feel reluctant to take emergency regulations to save the young republic to which they are however attached. They are directed by Brissot, Vergniaud, Pétion and Roland.
The Montagnards sit on the highest benches, which explains their name. They are more sensitive to the difficulties of the people. They are ready to be combined to the people, in particular to the sans-culottes of the commune of Paris and to take emergency regulations to save the republic. Their chiefs are, inter alia, Robespierre, Danton, Marat and Saint-Just. In the center a majority of deputies sits, called the plain or the marsh which support the two extremes in turn.
The French Army gains an unhoped-for victory over the Prussians, on September 20th at the time of the Bataille of Valmy. The Prussians and the Austrians leave France more concerned about the Polish businesses. November 6th, 1792, the general Dumouriez gains the Bataille of Jemmapes. The French troops occupy the Austrian Netherlands. In the East, the armies of the General Custine occupy left bank of the Rhine. The Savoy, possession of the Maison of Savoy is it also invaded. Everywhere the French propagate their revolutionary ideal but at the same time state the idea that the Rhine is the natural border of the North and the East of France.
The last act of the Legislative Parliament is to laicize the civil statue. September 20th, 1792, it decides that the registers of the births and the deaths must be from now on held by the communes. The following day, Convention meets for the first time. It temporarily has the legislative powers and executive. It decides to abolish the royalty. September 22nd, 1792, the Republic is proclaimed. It is, for the revolutionists, beginning the one new era.
Of Gironde against Mountain dwellersConvention is initially dominated by the Of Gironde ones. They sit at the executive council. They try to avoid the lawsuit of the king fearing that this one does not revive the Contre-révolution and the hostility of European monarchies does not reinforce. But, the discovery of “the iron cupboard” to Tileries on November 20th, 1792 makes the lawsuit inevitable. The documents found in this secret trunk prove without possible dispute the treason of Louis XVI. The lawsuit begins on December 10th. At the conclusion of the debates, the king is recognized guilty with one crushing majority, 693 votes against 28. He is condemned to died by a narrower majority, 366 votes against 334. The deferment and the call to the people required by the Of Gironde ones are pushed back. The king Louis XVI is guillotine the January 21st 1793 place of the Revolution.
Its execution causes reactions mitigated in the French population. The sovereigns of Europe react by forming the First coalition in February 1793. The Girondins decide on February 24th, 1793 then the lifting of 300.000 men. This lifting must be done by drawing lot, which annoyingly points out the practices of the Old Mode. The advertisement of this lifting causes rural risings in Alsace, Brittany and in the Massif Central; risings repressed at once by the force. But Convention votes a law which sets up a true logic of terror; very rebel taken the weapons with the hand will be carried out in the 24 hours without lawsuit.
At the beginning of March 1793, the Vendean insurrection starts. The South of the the Loire, the lifting of the 300.000 allows an alliance of the peasants disappointed by the Revolution, the refractory clergy and the noble ones. whereas the departments exist only since 1789 and that the insurrection develops well beyond the the Vendée, very quickly, with Convention, one speaks about “Guerre of the Vendée”, argument of the Montagnards and the Sans-culotte to stigmatize mollesse with the Girondins and to claim emergency regulations to which the latter feel reluctant. The Girondins are obliged to accept the creation of the Comité of Public Hello and of the revolutionary Tribunal. The Girondins are driven out capacity by the days of May 31st and the June 1793, carried out by the Parisian sans-culottes. The Montagnards were combined with the factions more the extremists of the Parisian people to arrive at the capacity. In province, it is the opposite movement which occurs. In Marseilles, in Lyon, the partisans of Of Gironde drive out the mayors Montagnards capacity.
The Republic in dangerWhen the Montagnards arrive at the capacity, the Republic knows extreme dangers. The Vendean insurrection, become royalist after its resumption in hand by the noble ones, extends in the West from France. Saumur and Angers are taken in June 1793 but Nantes resists. Royalist revolts also develop in Lozere and in the valley of the Rhone. The deputies of Gironde who could escape Parisian repression call with the revolt against Paris in the departments. They are supported by the departmental authorities as in Normandy. July 13rd, Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated by the federalist Charlotte Corday. The French borders were crossed by the Spaniards in South-west, the Piedmontese one in South-east, the Prussians, the Austrians and the English in North and the East. To entreat these dangers and under the pressure of the Sans-culotte S, the Montagnards take radical measures.
Convention votes in July 1793, a very democratic and decentralized constitution, ratified by referendum. The Constitution of year I seeks to establish a true popular sovereignty thanks to frequent elections by the vote for all, the mandatory instruction and the possibility for the citizens of intervening in the legislative process. But this Constitution will never be applied. August 10th 1793, Convention issues that the application of the Constitution is suspended until peace. Saint-Just explains why: “ In the circumstances where the Republic is, the constitution cannot be established, one immolerait it by itself. It would become the guarantee of the attacks against freedom, because it would miss will necessary to repress them ”.
The principal body of government resulting from the Parliament is the Comité of public hello. It was creates in April 1793 and was dominated by Danton until its elimination on July 10th. The “large committee of year II” counts 12 re-elected members every month by Convention. It on the initiative them laws, the executive power and appoints the officials. it is him which centralizes the capacity during one particularly critical time. It is dominated by the personality of Robespierre. Each member specializes in a particular field like Carnot with the armies.
The members of the Committee of General security are them also members of Convention. This committee is charged with the police force and to draw up the list of the suspects. A competition of competence opposes it to the Comité public safety. To apply the adopted measures, Convention sends in the unquestionable departments and to the armies of its members: the Representatives on mission. They have very wide capacities to punish the counter-revolutionaries.
Convention must deal with the most radical Sans-culotte S Parisian with at their head the journalist Jacques-Rene Hébert, the founder of the father Duchesne , a popular newspaper with the remarks extremists and sometimes orduriers, and the chief of the group of “mad”, the former priest Jacques Roux. On September 4th and 5th 1793, they invade Convention and obtain the lifting of a revolutionary army charged to repress the counter-revolution and the remuneration of the sans-culottes who sit in the sections. Following their action, the Terreur “is put at the day order” the September 5th 1793.
See also: revolutionary Government
Laws to save the Republic
See also: Terror (French revolution)
independent measurements Vis-a-vis the dangers, Convention votes all the laws which presents to him the Comité of public hello. The law of August 23rd, 1793 on the Levy in masse makes it possible to send under the flags all young unmarried people. The other French must take part in the effort of war by providing military equipment, by rubbing the walls of the cellars to collect there the Salpêtre, essential to the manufacture of the powder. All the economy of the Nation is turned towards the war. Very quickly, an army of a million combatants is setting-up. The number and the heat with the combat replace the experiment of a professional army.
The Conventional ones were very marked by the summary executions of the massacres of September. To overcome the enemies of the Revolution and to avoid a return to the popular fury, they organize the legal Terreur. They vote in September 1793 the law of the suspects. The list of the suspects is very broad. The noble ones, the refractory emigrants, priests, the federalists, the speculators and their families are included in this category. They must be imprisoned until peace. The popular companies, controlled by the sans-culottes, receive capacities of monitoring and police force.
To calm the dissatisfaction with the urban people touched by the difficulties of provisioning, the rise in the price of the foodstuffs and the devaluation of the course of the assignat, the Committee of Public Hello sets up economic terror. As of on July 27th, Convention votes the capital punishment against the monopolizers, i.e. against those which store the foodstuffs instead of selling them. In September, the law on the maximum of the prices blocks the prices on the level of those of 1790 increased by 30%. Finally the forced course of the assignat is founded. These measurements do not make it possible to put an end to the difficulties of supply cities. The purchasing power of the employees, paid in assignats, does not cease eroding.
The political volunteer impelled by the Committee of public hello makes it possible to save the Republic. As of the end of the month of September 1793, the first victories make it possible to push back the members of the First coalition out of borders. The federalistic revolt is quickly reduced to nothing, except in Toulon, where the royalists take the control of the city and deliver it to the English.
In the Vendée, the republican troops inflict a severe defeat with the catholic and royal army with the Bataille of Cholet. Part of the Vendean army goes up towards North to try to take the port of Granville in Cotentin. This forwarding, known under the name of Transfered of Galerne, shows a failure, but she testifies to the force and the determination of the counter-revolutionist. Rural armed bands continue to furrow all the West of France. One gives them the name of “chouans”. Repression against the Vendean ones is terrible. Between December 1793 and February 1794, the representative on mission Jean-Baptiste Carrier makes carry out several thousands of people in Nantes. Floodings and the collective shootings sinisterly remained famous. In Angers, nearly 2.000 women are carried out. In the Vendean scrap-metal, the infernal columns ordered by the general Louis Marie Turreau burn the villages and massacre the population without making difference between civil population and revolted.
The measurements of Dechristianization, spontaneous or organized by the representatives on mission, extend to all the Republic. In the name of the equality, statues, crosses and bell-towers are cut down. October 5th, 1793, Convention adopts the republican Calendrier. November 7th, the archbishop of Paris Gobel abdicates his sacerdotal functions. All the priests and the pastors of Convention, except the abbot Gregoire, imitate it the same day. The constitutional priests are constrained with défroquer and to marry. The churches are closed. The sans-culottes and the hebertists develop the worship of the martyrs of the Revolution. November 10th, the festival of the Reason is celebrated in the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris, transformed into temple for the occasion. After the ceremony, the hebertists invite themselves to the meeting of Convention and improvise a festival under the disapprobative glance of Robespierre which sees only one masquerade there. The disorder which causes these behaviors leads Robespierre to express its hostility and to require the re-establishment of the order.
Robespierre and Great TerrorOn the initiative of Robespierre, an emergency government is set up by the decree of the 14 frimaire year II (December 4th 1793). Convention becomes the “single center of the impulse of the Government”. She assumes in theory all the capacities. To avoid the arbitrary acts in the provinces, the representatives of the people see being able to them limited. Some of them as Fouché are criticized for their action. Robespierre fustigates atheism. Hostile with the policy of dechristianization it makes vote a law guaranteeing the freedom of the worships then the another grateful immortality of the heart. It sends in the North of the representatives to put a term at the disorders caused by the revolutionary army which it makes dissolve.
In Paris, the Committee of public hello gets busy to limit the influence of the sans-culottes on Convention. At the end of the month of March 1794, he manages to eliminate the left wing from the Montagnards and makes carry out the “mad” main leaders: Hébert, Red-headed Jacques and Varlier. At the beginning of April, it is with the turn of the right wing of the Montagnards directed by Georges Jacques Danton to be eliminated. The Lenient ones, name given to the group of Danton, are guillotines after an irregular lawsuit where Danton is private of its right to defend oneself personally. Fabre d' Eglantine, the creator of the revolutionary calendar and Camille Desmoulins, however friend of Robespierre, are them also guillotines.
Whereas the Terreur finishes in province, it is accentuated in Paris after the vote of the laws of Meadow. The revolutionary Tribunal can only consider crimes political. The definition of enemy of the revolution is extended to all “those which seek to destroy freedom by the force or the trick”. It has neither witness no more there, nor lawyer. Two sentences are possible: freedom or death for the culprits. The law of Meadow gives rise to the Great Terror. In the weeks which follow, more than 1.400 people are guillotinées in Paris.
At the beginning of the summer 1794, the effort of war agreed by the nation bears finally its fruits. The victory of Fleurus, on June 26th, 1794 makes it possible the French troops to take again Belgium. Vivres start to be requisitioned in the areas occupied to be sent in France.
Robespierre while fighting against the factions, while making return the most dedicated terrorists, was made much enemies. He became the most influential politician. When it chairs the supreme Festival Être, on June 10th, 1794, its adversaries murmur that it wants to monopolize the capacity. Its temporary withdrawal of the political scene allows the constitution of a group of opponents around the general Committee of safety and former representatives on mission like Tallien or Fouché.
When it finally decides to reappear with Convention, it holds up the threat of a new purification, including against certain deputies that it with awkwardness not to name. The plot is tied with the support of the Marsh. Thermidor 9 year II (July 27th, 1794), he is issued of charge by the Parliament and decree. An action of the commune of Paris delivers it against its liking and takes along it to the Town hall. But the sans-culottes, demoralized by the setting with the step of the movement sectionnaire, after the elimination of Hébertistes, and dissatisfied with the strict application of the maximum of the wages, do not unite with the friends of Robespierre. The Convention which immediately put it out the law, sends the troops which take by storm the building. It is guillotine the following day, on July 28th, 1794, with its principal partisans. Conventional the thermidoriens points out the deputies of Gironde and puts an end to Terror.
The new Constitution of the An III is messidor voted by Convention the 29 messidor (August 17th 1795) and is ratified by Plébiscite in September. It is effective from the 4 vendémiaire (September 26th) of the same year and founds the new mode of the Directoire.
The Directory (October 26th, 1795 - November 9th, 1799)For the revolutionary calendar, the Directory lasts of the 4 Brumaire year IV to the 18 Brumaire year VIII. It is about the second attempt to create a stable mode because constitutional. The pacification of the West, the end of the first coalition allow the establishment of a new constitution. For the first time in France, the legislative power rests on a bicameral Parliament : the the Council of the Five hundred (500 members) etle the Council of Old the (250 members). The executive power is a directory of 5 people named by the council of Old on a list provided by the Council of the Five hundreds. The ministers and the five directors are not responsible before the assemblies but they cannot either dissolve them. As in 1791 no procedure makes it possible to solve the conflicts. Thermidoriens imposed that two thirds of the elected officials result from Convention. The areas of the West, the valley of the Rhone and Is Massif Central elect royalist deputies. Throughout all Directory, political instability is ceaseless. The “networks of correspondence”, royalists mix the information, propaganda and the political action. They square the country with the support of the brothers of Louis XVI and of the enemy powers. The partisans of the return to monarchy gain the elections of March 1797. The moderate Republicans organize in September 1797 a coup d'etat which drives out two of the five directors and relieves or invalid the election of 177 deputies. In 1798, the elections seem to give the favor to the Jacobins. The councils then grant the right to designate the deputies in half of the districts. Thermidoriens are maintained with the capacity but are completely discredited.
The economic situation also contributes to divert the French of the mode. The taxes do not return any more. The Assignat which lost all its value is replaced by another paper money, the territorial mandate which undergoes in one year the same fate as the assignat. As from 1797, the State asks the taxpayers to pay the taxes in cash. However, with the financial crisis, the coin rarefied. After the years of inflation related to the assignat, France knows one period of price drops which touch mainly the rural world. Incompetent to deal with the enormous debt accumulated by the absolute monarchy and eight years of revolution, the assemblies resign themselves to the bankruptcy of “two thirds”. France gives up paying two thirds of its national debt but consolidates the last third by registering it in the large book of the debt. To appear credible with the eyes of the creditors, a new tax on the doors and windows are created in 1798. The gendarmes are requisitioned to recover the tax. Thanks to the efforts of the government of public hello, the French Armies passed to the offensive. In spring 1796, France launches a great offensive through Germany to force Austria with peace. But, it is the army of Italy ordered by the young general Napoleon Bonaparte who creates the surprise while flying of victory in victory and forcing Austria to sign peace by the Traité of Campo Formio of April 17th, 1797. Between 1797 and 1799, almost all the Italian peninsula is transformed into République sister with modes and institutions copied on France. If the victories relieve finances of the Directory, they make the capacity increasingly depend on the army. Bonaparte becomes the referee of the dissensions interior policies. Forwarding in Egypt has like objective to cut the road of the Indies to the United Kingdom, but the directors are not dissatisfied to move away encumbering it support from Corsican who does not hide his appetite of being able.
The multiplication of the republics sisters worries the great powers, Russia and the United Kingdom at the head. They fear the revolutionary contagion and a too strong domination of France on Europe. These two States are at the origin of the formation of the Second coalition in 1798. The English, Russian and Austrian offensives are pushed back by the French Armies directed by Brune and Masséna.
The Directory ends by the Coup d'etat of the 18 brumaire An VIII (November 9th 1799) of Napoleon Bonaparte which declares “Citizens, the revolution is fixed at the principles who began it, it is finished”. The Consulat is set up, an authoritarian regime directed by three consuls, of which only the first holds really the capacity: France starts a new period of its history while being on the point of entrusting its destiny to a Empereur.
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