Apeh: Dbq7doc4

Question: How were the ideals of the French Revolution, Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité a reflection of the political, social, and economic breakdown of the Ancien Regime?

Document 1

French Society late 1700's

Document 2
One opinion pervaded the whole company, that they are on the eve of some great revolution in the government: that every thing points to it: the confusion in the finances great; with a deficit impossible to provide for without the states-general of the kingdom...but bankruptcy is a topic: the curious question on which is, would a bankruptcy occasion a civil war, and a total overthrow of the government?...

'-Travels in France: Signs of Revolution
Paris, October 17, 1787
Arthur Young-'

Document 3

To Combourg: The country has a savage aspect; husbandry not much further advanced, at least in skill, than among the Hurons (American Indians) . . . The people almost as wild as their country, and their town of Combourg one of the most brutal, filthy places that can be seen; mud houses, no windows, and a pavement so broken as to impede all passengers . . .
To Montauban: The poor people seem poor indeed; the children terribly ragged, if possible, worse clad than if with no clothes at all; as to shoes and stockings, they are luxuries . . . They did not beg, and when I gave them anything seemed more surprised than obliged. One third of what I have seen of this province seems uncultivated, and nearly all of it in misery . . .

'-Arthur Young- Travels in France
Brittany, September 1788-'

Document 4

The abuses attending the levy of taxes were heavy and universal. . . . The rolls of the taille, capitation, vingtiemes, and other taxes were distributed among districts. . . A cruel aggravation of their misery, to see those who could best afford to pay, exempted because able! The corvees {taxes paid in labor, often road building}, or police of the roads, were annually the ruin of many hundreds of farmers; more than 300 were reduced to beggary in filling up one vale in Lorraine: all these oppressions fell on the tiers etat {Third Estate} only; the nobility and clergy having been equally exempted from tailles, militia and corvees.

'-Plight of the French peasants
Arthur Young (1787-1789)-'

Document 5

1. That his subjects of the third estate, equal by such status to all other citizens, present themselves before the common father without other distinction which might degrade them.
7. That venality {sale} of offices be suppressed. . . .
13. That military ordinances establishing a degrading distinction between officers born into the order of nobility and those born in to that of the third estate be revoked, as thoroughly injurious to an order of citizens and destructive of the competition so necessary to the glory and prosperity of the State.
15. That every personal tax be abolished; that thus the capitation and the taille and its accessories be merged with the vingtiemes in a tax on land and real or nominal property.
16. That such tax be borne equally, without distinction, by all classes of citizens and by all kinds of property, even feudal and contingent rights. . . . JUSTICE.

'-Cahiers de doleances-lists of grievances
Presented to the Estates General
March 29, 1789-'

Document 6

Who is bold enough to maintain that the Third Estate does not contain within itself everything needful to constitute a complete nation? It is like a strong and robust man with one arm still in chains. If the privileged order were removed, the nation would not be something less but something more. What then is the Third Estate? All; but an "all" that is fettered and oppressed. What would it be without the privileged order? It would be all; but free and flourishing. Nothing will go well without the Third Estate; everything would go considerably better without the two others. . . . What is a nation? A body of associated living under common laws and represented by the same legislative assembly, etc. . . . Because of these special rights, the nobility does not belong to the common order. . . Thus its private rights make it a people apart in the great nation.

'-What is the Third Estate?
Emmanuel Sieyes (1789)-'

Document 7

'-Storming of the Bastille
July 14, 1789-'

Document 8

I. Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions may be based only on common utility.
II. The aim of all political association is to preserve the natural and unalienable rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, and security and resistance to oppression.
III. The principle of all sovereignty rests essentially in the nation. No body and no individual may exercise authority which does not emanate from the nation expressly...
VI. Law is the expression of the general will. All citizens being equal in its eyes are equally admissible to all public dignities, offices, and employment's, according to their capacity, and with no other distinction than that of their virtues and talents.
X. No one may be disturbed for his opinions, even in religion...
XI...Every citizen may therefore speak, write, and print freely...
XIII...common taxation is necessary. It should be apportioned equally among all citizens according to their capacity to pay.
XVII. Property being an inviolable and sacred right, no one may be deprived of it except for an obvious requirement of public necessity, certified by law, and then on condition of a just compensation in advance.

'-Declarations of the Rights of Man and Citizen
August 26, 1789-'

Document 9

Article I: The National Assembly completely abolishes the feudal regime. It decrees that among the rights and dues that are feudal, as well as rental, those which derive from...personal servitude...shall be abolished without compensation...
Article III: The exclusive right of hunting and of maintaining open warrens is likewise abolished...
Article IV: All manorial courts are suppressed without compensation...
Article V: Tithes of all kinds...are abolished...
Article X: As a national constitution and public liberty are of greater advantage to the provinces than the privileges which some of them enjoy, and as the sacrifice of these is necessary for the intimate union of the realm, it is declared that all the peculiar privileges of provinces...are forever abolished and shall be incorporated into the law common to all Frenchmen.
Article XI: All citizens, without distinction of birth, can be admitted to all offices and dignities, be they ecclesiastical, civil or military...

'-Decrees Abolishing Feudalism
August 11, 1789-'

Document 10

His majesty...appeared...before the States General which for the first time he called the National Assembly. He confirmed the dismissal of the army camped around Paris, approved the establishment of the bourgeois militia, handed a letter for the recall of Necker to the president of the Assembly, authorized eighty deputies to be sent to Paris...
The capital...barricaded its streets and was covered with armed men who seemed to have sprung from the earth.... The national cockade was hoisted everywhere; it was white, blue, and red. These colors decorated everything, sanctioned everything, justified everything.... Versailles will never forget that day and that departure: the king's former servants could not, without shedding tears, watch the French monarch...proceed...toward a capital...

'-Journal politique national, No.8;
A Royalist Journalist Comments
on the King's Acceptance of the
July 14 Revolution-'

Document 11

Tithe I

Article I. Each department shall form a single diocese, and each diocese shall have the same have the same extent and the same limits as the department.
II...All other bishoprics in the eighty-three departments of the kingdom, which are not included by name in the present article, are, and forever shall be, abolished.
XX. All titles and offices other than those mentioned in the present constitution,...are from the day of this decree extinguished and abolished and shall never be reestablished in any form.

Tithe II

XXI. Before the ceremony of consecration begins, the bishop elect shall take a solemn oath, in the presence of the municipal officers, of the people, and of the clergy, to guard with care the faithful of his diocese who are confided to him, to be loyal to the nation, the law, and the king, and to support with all his power the constitution decreed by the National Assembly and accepted by the king.

Tithe III

VII. The salaries in money of the ministers of religion shall be paid every three months, in advance, by the treasurer of the district.
XII. In view of the salary which is assured to them by the present constitution, the bishops, parish priests, and curates shall perform the Episcopal and priestly functions gratis.

'-The Civil Constitution of the Clergy
July 12, 1790-'

Document 12

The National Convention...faithful to the principles of the sovereignty of the people,...decrees: ...2. The French nation declares that it will treat as enemies the people who, refusing liberty and equality,...it promises...not to lay down its arms until after the establishment of the sovereignty and independence of the people whose territory the troops of the Republic have entered upon and who shall have adopted the principles of equality, and established a free and popular government.

'-Decree for Proclaiming the Liberty
And Sovereignty of all Peoples
(December 15, 1792)-'

Document 13

Citizens, the tyrant is no more.... The National Convention and the French people are now to have only one mind, only one sentiment, that of liberty and civic fraternity....Never did circumstances more urgently require of all citizens the sacrifice of their passions and their personal opinions concerning the act of national justice which has just been effected. Today the French people can have no other passion than that for liberty....Let us, through our patriotism, avert those horrible shocks, those anarchical and disorderly movements which would soon overwhelm, France with disturbances and grief, if our outside enemies, who are fomenting them, could profit therefrom

'-Proclamation of the Convention
To the French People
(January 23, 1793)-'

Please write your answer below the double line.

Going into the eighteenth century, France was ripe for revolution. The economy was in an extreme state, the social structure and distribution of wealth was imbalanced, and the government was becoming powerless. The Third Estate, comprised of the working class citizens began to feel unrest. Prompted by the enlightenment, the ideas of civics began to evolve. With this evolution came the principles of liberte, egalite, and fraternite, literally meaning liberty, equality, and brotherhood. As the French revolution progressed and the old government was replaced these became fundamental reflections of the political, social, and economic changes taking place in the country.

The ideas of liberte, egalite, and fraternite were essential in the overthrow of the Ancien Regime. As these ideas began to spread, members of the Third Estate comprised a list of grievances “cahiers dedoleances” (document 5). Through this list they supported the adoption of a constitutional government free of corruption from governmental injustice and corruption. As depicted in document 7, members of the third Estate stormed the Bastille in July 14, 1789. With the fall of the Bastille, the old society was symbolically overthrown. Soon after, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (document 8) was drafted. Exemplary of the new concepts of freedom, equality, and brotherhood, this became the model for a new republic. As the Third Estate became the National Assembly, they moved to abolish the feudal regime (document 9) and created an equal opportunity for political office for citizens. It can also be noted that nationalism (fraternite) was promoted by the passing of the Declarations of the Rights of Man and Citizen. The third article of which states, “The principle of all sovereignty rests essentially in the nation. No body and no individual may exercise authority which odes not emanate from the nation expressly.” Document 10, shows the removal of the king and the final overturn of the old government. The National Assembly attempted to unify the French people with the ideas of liberty and fraternity following their acquisition of power. However, in documents 12 and 13 we see that their nationalistic sentiment strongly opposed those who were against these ideals.

The French Revolution was a turning point in European history, especially in economics. The ideals of the revolution were reflected economically throught eabolition of old institutions. The French revolutionaries with their liberal ideals did away with ancient institutions. Restrictions from the old regime that were abolished included seigniorial charges upon the land, vestiges of feudalism, tax privileges, and guild upon monopolies on commerce. Bu the common people still had to carry, economically, the weight of the nobility and clergy, as illustrated in Document 1 and described by Documents 3 and 4. This inequality caused tensions especially because the lower classes were fighting for their “liberte” and those in authoritarian positions sensed the sense of liberty as stated in document 2. Some officials and those of the lower class united in fraternite to fight either oppression. The abolition of personal taxes and equality of taxation was supported and brought to the Estates General.

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