France Jasmijn van Heck and Kayleigh Kerkhof

An important part of the history of France. Is the French Revolution. Here are a few causes of the French Revolution.

1 The clergy had a few privileges: The church had a large piece of land compared to the part that they belonged to the population. The church did not have to pay taxes but was allowed to levy taxes.


2 The privileges of the nobility: They had a large piece of land and had were a small part of the population. They almost did not have to pay taxes. They got the most important functions in the church, the government and the army.


3 The complains of the farmers: The farmers had many obligations to the nobility. And they had not much land.


4 Complaints of the urban population: They had no important functions. They had to do hard work and have low wages. They had to pay more taxes. They had no freedom of speech.

5 The country was badly governed: The king made wrong decisions. There was an almost empty coffers. Functions could be purchased from the king.

6 The influence of the enlightenment by ideas of freedom of equality.

The course of the French Revolution.

The king summoned the representatives of all classes to talk about the empty coffers. The third class went then hold a private meeting because they wanted to discuss other important matters. It was decided that there should be a constitutions. The third class received support from lower clergy and some nobles. Eventually the king agreed, there came a constitution. In 1798 the poor Parisians stormed the Bastille, because they were afraid of the soldiers on the outskirts of Paris.The king decided after the fall of the Bastille to send away the soldiers. Many nobles then fled the country. The farmers revolt. They went plundering the estates of the nobility and gentry.To put an end to the uprising the National Assembly decided that the nobility had to give up their privileges. The king wanted this decision not approve at first, but was forced to move. Then he accepted it. The National Assembly came in 1789 with a declaration of the rights of man and citizen. And the constitution was further developed. France was at war with other countries, and the king was murdered. A group of nobles and high clergy found that the Revolution had gone too far. A small group, the radicals wanted more reforms. They were supported by the less wealthy citizens. The radicals conquer the majority in the National Assembly. Radicals begin terror. Radicals organize government and army in France better. And foreign enemies are defeated. The end of the Terror. The radicals found that the Terror was necessary to save France and the ideas of the Revolution. But during the Terror many people were simply accused of something. Many people also some radicals got among guillotine. Then not only moderates but also many radicals found that there should be an end to the terror and it did.

storming of the Bastille and decapitation in Terror

After the terror the Bourgeoisie got the power over the country. Five directors became the leaders of the land. Annually one of them was replaced for another. The name of the period in which they were in control (1795-1799) was called the Directoire.

The radicals had plans for a new constitution. They wanted a right to vote for everybody, a right to school for everybody and government healthcare for the poor. Because of the death of Robespierre and his radical followers these plans were not executed.


The Bourgeoisie didn’t like the democratic ideas during the Directoire period. You only could vote if you paid a certain amount of taxes.The Directoire faced difficult problems which they had to solve:

•a big famine

•foreign enemies which were at war with France

•the French nobility tried to get rid of the government with violence.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The nobility uprising was defeated by Napoleon Bonaparte, who became general after several years. In 1799 supported by his troops Napoleon decided to take over the power: at that moment there was a government of one man. Napoleon is in history mostly known as great, but also brought ideas of the French Revolution throughout Europe. In the conquered countries, new bills were introduced, code Napoleon. Important points are: Everybody was equal, rich or not.

Napoleon Bonaparte

People are not to be imprisoned, without a lawsuit. Such a lawsuit has to be publicly, accused got help from a lawyer and an eyewitnesses. A jury of citizens decided if the accused is guilty or not. Napoleon was not interesting the ideas of democracy, such as parliament and general right to vote. There was no freedom of speech. Critical people were severely punished. There was yet a lot of inequality. The kings of Europe didn’t like the ideas of the French Revolution, but the citizens like the ideas of the French Revolution. The kings are afraid to lose the control of the country. The citizens are hoping for a new chance in their land. Napoleon was received with enthusiasm by the people. But Napoleon appointed only family and friends in the conquered countries, the people had to pay a lot of taxes and deliver manpower for Napoleon's army. The people were happy with the code of Napoleon, but for all other matters they would like to get rid of him. In 1814 Napoleon was defeated by several armies. He was imprisoned in Elba, but he escaped and became ruler of France. In 1815 he lost his final battle in Waterloo. The nobility and their heirs from the time before the French Revolution ruled Europe again. Some changes staid:

•Code Napoleon

•In the most European countries constitutions was introduced, where the power of kings was declined. The declaration of human rights was the basis of it.

•State and Church were separated; freedom of religion was introduced.


Created with images by Free Grunge Textures - - "France Grunge Flags" • WikiImages - "napoleon bonaparte france emperor" • Yale Law Library - "France 221 ++1809"

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