UNIT 2: THE AGE OF REVOLUTION
UNIT 2: THE AGE OF REVOLUTION
The French Revolution
The beginning of the revolution
When their demands were rejected, representatives of the third estate redefined themselves as the National Assembly. Louis XIV tried to dissolve the assembly but was unable to do so.
The sessions of the assembly began on 5 May 1789. The first discussion dealt with the voting system. The high classes wanted a vote per order or class, meanwhile the third estate wanted a vote per person.
The causes of a historical revolution
Social and economic: all social groups were unhappy. The nobility and the clergy had lost power and many experienced economic difficulties. The bourgeoisie lacked political influence and the peasantry hardly had enough to survive.
Political and ideological: in the second half of the 18th century, absolutism had been criticised by Enlightenment, and the American Revolution showed that it was possible to topple this system.
The revolutionary spark
The spark that set off the revolution was a double economic crisis: a food crisis, which lead to extensive hunger throughout the country; and a financial crisis, caused by the government debt and the high expenses of the military and the court.
The evolution of the French Revolution
: after approving the constitution, The National Constituent Assembly was substituted by the Legislative Assembly. It faced several problems. For example, the opposition of the exiled nobles and the king.
was initially dominated by the Girondins. In this period the monarchy was abolished, the Republic was founded and Louis XIV was sentenced and guillotined. As a consequence, European absolutist regimes declared war on France.
National Constituent Assembly
: on 7 July 1789, the National Assembly voted to become the National Constituent Assembly, seeking to draw up a constitution for France. The first orders approved were to abolish feudalism, a Declaraation of the Rights of Men and the Citizen, and to make the first Constitution.
The revolutionary processes
The bourgeoise revolution and the Old Regime: The revolutions that began at the end of the 18th century were called 'bourgeoise revolutions', since they were led by the bourgeoisie. They were mainly political revolutions.
, the Industrial Revolution put an end to the dominance of the agrarian economy and imposed a new urban and industrial economy.
, the three-state system gave way to a new class-based society. In this society, the bourgeoisie became the dominant group.
, the aims of the revolutionaries were to put an end to absolutism and establish a liberal political system, based on the respect of the rights of citizens, national sovereignty and separation of powers.
, Neoclassicism was substituted by Romanticism and realism, which blazed a trail for the artistic avant-gardes that were to follow.
The American Revolution
The causes of the conflict: the cause of the revolution was the discontent of the colonists, who lacked representation in the British Parliament for trade and could not occupy extensive territories located to the west of the colonies.
The War of Independence: the harsh repression by the British authorities led to the War of Independence, in which rebels formed an army under the command of George Washington. While the war was going on, representatives of the thirteen colonies met in Philadelphia and passed the
Declaration of Independence
on July 4th 1776.
Europe under Napoleon
Napoleon. From Consulate to Empire
He achieved peace in France by squashing his radical opponents, allowing the exiled nobility to return and signing the Concordat of 1801 with the Holy See. He would recognise the Catholic religion.
The most important internal reforms he instituted were:
The civil code of 1804, which codified revolutionary achievements
Establishment of economic freedom
Creation of public welfare assistance and public education
Construction of several monuments in Paris