History UsefulNotes / TheFrenchRevolution

26th Sep '16 2:54:18 PM JulianLapostat
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* Constitutional Monarchy at the time enjoyed consensus until the death of Mirabeau. At this time, [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness even Robespierre was reluctant]] about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and veto, but felt confident in the Constitutional Monarchy. This changed after the Flight to Varennes, an unmitigated PR disaster which overnight sent the King from HunderPercentAdorationRating to ZeroPercentApprovalRating, led to a protest that was suppressed by the Champs de Mars massacre, which split the existing factions and converted moderates into radicals.
* A faction of the Jacobins, led by Jacques Pierre Brissot came to be called the Girondins or Brissotins. They were the leading voices in the years 1792-early 1793. They were slow to pass reforms, represented and catered to the provincial cities rather than the Parisian sans-culottes/nascent working-class. They also sought to energize the Revolution by declaring war on Austria which Robespierre famously opposed, only to be silenced as it gained support even among extremists like the Hebertists.

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* Constitutional Monarchy at the time enjoyed consensus until the death of Mirabeau. At this time, [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness even Robespierre was reluctant]] about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and veto, but felt confident in the Constitutional Monarchy. This changed after the Flight to Varennes, an unmitigated PR disaster which overnight sent discredited the King from HunderPercentAdorationRating to ZeroPercentApprovalRating, formerly popular King, led to a protest that gathering to petition for a formation of a Republic, which was suppressed by the National Guard, leading to the Champs de Mars massacre, which split the existing factions massacre. This led to increasing polarization and factionalism, and converted moderates into radicals.
* A faction of the Jacobins, led by Jacques Pierre Jacques-Pierre Brissot came to be called the Girondins or Brissotins. They were the leading voices in the years 1792-early 1793. They were slow to pass reforms, represented and catered to the provincial cities rather than the Parisian sans-culottes/nascent working-class. They also sought to energize the Revolution by declaring war on Austria which Robespierre famously opposed, only to be silenced as it gained support even among extremists like the Hebertists.



* It was during the Revolution that the Louvre Palace, already used as a warehouse for the Royal Art collection and a residency for artists patronized by the throne, became the Louvre Museum, opening it to the public and declaring it part of the cultural patrimony. Likewise the Royal Garden became the Jardin des Plantes, headed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who would eventually become a key pre-Darwin evolutionary theorist. That said some artists and scientists suffered during this time, including Chateaubriand (who was a fierce royalist), Beaumarchais (the playwright, author of "The Marriage of Figaro" who moonlighted as an arms dealer for both the American and French Revolutions) and one of the victims of the Terror was the father of Modern Chemistry, Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier himself, because of his past as a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferme_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9rale tax collector]] and a Girondin.

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* It was during the Revolution that the Louvre Palace, already used as a warehouse for the Royal Art collection and a residency for artists patronized by the throne, became the Louvre Museum, opening it to the public and declaring it part of the cultural patrimony. Likewise the Royal Garden became the Jardin des Plantes, headed by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who would eventually become a key pre-Darwin evolutionary theorist. That said some artists and scientists suffered during this time, including time[[note]]Including Chateaubriand (who was a fierce royalist), Beaumarchais (the playwright, author of "The Marriage of Figaro" who moonlighted as an arms dealer for both the American and French Revolutions) and one of the victims of the Terror was the father of Modern Chemistry, Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier himself, because of his past as a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferme_g%C3%A9n%C3%A9rale tax collector]] and a Girondin. [[/note]]



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26th Sep '16 2:51:15 PM JulianLapostat
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* Louis XVI stayed King until 1792. He called the Estates-General in 1789 and despite recalcitrance, took an oath to abide by the Constitutional Monarchy which, at Mirabeau's insistence, gave him a veto. This did not work out quite as expected since, the King and the Royal Court kept issuing vetoes on every issue (earning him and his wife the nickname "Monsieur and Madame Veto"). Mirabeau and Lafayette tried to urge the King to begin reforms but the Queen was paranoid and distrusted both of them.
* Constitutional Monarchy at the time enjoyed consensus until the death of Mirabeau. This changed after the Flight to Varennes, an unmitigated PR disaster which overnight sent the King from HunderPercentAdorationRating to ZeroPercentApprovalRating. was the event which really split the existing factions into Constitutional and Republic Lines. At this time, even Robespierre was reluctant about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and put him on trial for his treason, but still backed the 1791 Constitution. The Storming of the Tuileries marked the end of Constitutional Monarchy and the birth of the Republic, which led to calls for a new republican constitution.

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* Louis XVI stayed King until 1792. His title before the Revolution was King of France and Navarre. In 1791, when he swore to uphold the Constitution, his title changed to "King of the French"[[note]]This title would be revived by King Louis Philippe [[UsefulNotes/FrenchPoliticalSystem during the July Monarchy]][[/note]]. He called the Estates-General in 1789 and despite recalcitrance, took an oath to abide by the Constitutional Monarchy which, at Mirabeau's insistence, gave him a veto. This did not work out quite as expected since, the King and the Royal Court kept issuing vetoes on every issue (earning him and his wife the nickname "Monsieur and Madame Veto"). Mirabeau and Lafayette tried to urge the King to begin reforms but the Queen was paranoid and distrusted both of them.\n
* Constitutional Monarchy at the time enjoyed consensus until the death of Mirabeau. At this time, [[EarlyInstallmentWeirdness even Robespierre was reluctant]] about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and veto, but felt confident in the Constitutional Monarchy. This changed after the Flight to Varennes, an unmitigated PR disaster which overnight sent the King from HunderPercentAdorationRating to ZeroPercentApprovalRating. ZeroPercentApprovalRating, led to a protest that was suppressed by the event Champs de Mars massacre, which really split the existing factions and converted moderates into Constitutional and Republic Lines. At this time, even Robespierre was reluctant about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and put him on trial for his treason, but still backed the 1791 Constitution. The Storming of the Tuileries marked the end of Constitutional Monarchy and the birth of the Republic, which led to calls for a new republican constitution.radicals.



* When the War started losing ground, and General Dumouriez who the Girondins had touted as highly sympathetic to the nation, defected to the enemy along with other noble defections, France found its borders threatened. This led to a city-wide insurrection that put the Jacobins in power, the Girondins imprisoned and the proper beginning of the ReignOfTerror, as a wartime measure to meet the armies on France's borders.
* To meet the challenge of the war, the [[EmergencyAuthority emergency laws]] of the Terror were unleashed. The National Convention apppointed the Commitee of Public Safety, essentially the first war cabinet, and provided them mandate to ensure that the government remains "Revolutionary until the Peace". This introduced mass {{Conscription}} - the Levee en masse issued by the great engineer Lazare Carnot. This involved able-bodied men, women and children performing all kinds of actions in what is often seen as the first attempt to mount a total war. Women were sent to hospitals and sent to work while the men were sent to fight the War in all kinds of capacities. Such initiative and mobilization would be repeated on a far grander scale during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.

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* The Storming of the Tuileries marked the end of Constitutional Monarchy and the birth of the Republic, which led to calls for a new republican constitution. This event took place on August 10, 1792 and was led by Cordeliers, sans culottes, the Paris Commune, the National Guard as well as volunteers from the Province called Federalists. They came mainly from Marseilles and along the way they picked up a song and popularized it during their march, this became known as "La marseillaise".
* The King was imprisoned in the Temple Fortress after the insurrection, while the Queen was kept at La Force prison. He was executed in January 1793. The debates during the trial hardened the political polarization between Jacobins and Girondins, and the execution of the King broke off diplomatic relations between France and England, which had grown worse and worse until finally the Girondins declared war on England, which led to a NavalBlockade around France.
* As the war started going badly, there were calls for {{Conscription}}. An attempt to call for conscription in the Vendee region provoked a massacre of 200 Republicans at Machecoul and the weakness of the early troops sent to deal with them exacerbated an insurrection into a full-blown counter-revolutoniary rebellion.
When the War started losing ground, and General Dumouriez who the Girondins had touted as highly sympathetic to the nation, defected to the enemy along with other noble defections, France found its borders threatened. This led to a city-wide insurrection that put the Jacobins in power, drove the Girondins imprisoned to exile and prison, sparking another provincial rebellion, described as the proper beginning of the ReignOfTerror, as a wartime measure to meet the armies federalist revolt. France [[EverythingTryingToKillYou now had enemies on France's borders.
all its sides, two rebellions inside its border, and an increasingly angry Parisian mob]].
* To meet the challenge of the war, the [[EmergencyAuthority emergency laws]] of the Terror were unleashed. unleashed, in response to public demand. It was justified by Minister of Justice Georges Danton as maintaining [[https://www.britannica.com/topic/state-monopoly-on-violence the state monopoly on violence]] and to this end, Danton established the Revolutionary Tribunals. The proper beginning of the Terror comes with the passing of the Law of Suspects. The ReignOfTerror was confined geographically to Paris, and areas of external and internal revolt, with the majority of France unaffected by it.
*
The National Convention apppointed granted mandate to the Commitee of Public Safety, essentially the first war cabinet, and provided them mandate Safety to ensure that the government remains "Revolutionary until the Peace". This Membership in the Committee was renewed every month by votes in the convention and they were an executive body of 12 Men, charged with revolutionary dictatorship. They introduced mass {{Conscription}} - the Levee en masse issued by the great engineer Lazare Carnot. This involved able-bodied men, women and children performing all kinds of actions in what is often seen as the first attempt to mount a total war. Women were sent to hospitals and sent to work while the men were sent to fight the War in all kinds of capacities. Such initiative and mobilization would be repeated on a far grander scale during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* The Terror killed 17,000 people by Guillotine after a trial. While unofficial executions may have gone up to 40,000. Towards the final month of Thermidor, it became worse, a period called the "Great Terror". Statistically, and contrary to popular belief, only 8% of the victims were aristocrats (who considering they were 1% of the population did feel a disproportionate impact), 25% of the victims were bourgeois and middle-class, 28% were peasants and working-class and the rest were clergy. During the "Great Terror" after the Law of 22 Prarial, [[AxCrazy where 1000 people were executed in a single month]] ([[UpToEleven matching the executions in Paris the previous year]]), the victims became 38% Nobility, 26% Clergy, with [[EatTheRich the wealthy victims]] discriminated against since the law deprived them of a [[KangarooCourt right to call for witnesses, legal representatives or evidence]] by which according to Georges Couthon ([[HangingJudge who drafted the law to the Convention]]), wealthier accused escaped the blade before. Ironically, the largest single mass-execution of the Revolution, 77 people in a single day happened on the day after Robespierre's execution. Over three days , the National Convention purged and executed without trial 100 people connected to Robespierre and the Paris Commune.



* During the Terror, the Revolutionary Calendar was introduced. The calendar operated in decimal measures[[note]]Each Day had 10 Hours, Each Hour Had 100 Minutes and Each Minute Had 100 Seconds. Each month had thirty days organized in three 10 day weeks, with the tenth day being a public holiday. Five extra days were added to the end of the year to make a total of 365 days and a leap year likewise had six extra days.[[/note]]. Each year had 12 months divided into sets of three months to reflect the four seasons of Autumn (Vendémiaire [[note]]from Latin vindemia, "grape harvest"[[/note]], Brumaire [[note]] From brume, French for "fog"[[/note]], Frimaire [[note]] (From French frimas, "frost")[[/note]]), Winter (Nivôse [[note]] from Latin nivosus, "snowy"[[/note]], Pluviôse [[note]]from Latin pluvius, "rainy"[[/note]], Ventôse [[note]](from Latin ventosus, "windy")[[/note]]), Spring, (Germinal [[note]]from Latin germen, "germination"[[/note]], Floréal [[note]]from Latin flos, "flower"[[/note]], Prairial [[note]](from French prairie, "pasture")[[/note]]) and Summer (Messidor[[note]]Harvest[[/note]], Thermidor[[note]]summer heat[[/note]], Fructidor[[note]]Fruitful Month[[/note]]). There is a conversion table [[http://www.shtukoviny.ru/calendar/index.html for contemporary dates into the French Calendar]]. The real problems with the use of the calendar aside from widespread cultural inertia with the Gregorian calendar, is that the new months while corresponding well, more or less, with the seasonal structure of France was not quite as appropriate to the colonies or parts of France where a Snowy Month (Nivôse) doesn't snow. During the Terror, the Gregorian calendar continued to be use in daily practice, and it was the Directory government that made serious efforts to enforce it facing opposition from workers who hated the number of holidays being reduced. The Calendar remains well known on account for the fact that some of the dates have become proverbial, namely 9 Thermidor(The Fall of Robespierre), and 18 Brumaire (The Rise of Napoleon).



* The Reign of Terror under the Committee of Public Safety, killed 17,000 people by Guillotine after a trial. While unofficial executions may have gone up to 40,000. Towards the final month of Thermidor, it became worse, a period called the "Great Terror". Statistically, and contrary to popular belief, only 8% of the victims were aristocrats (who considering they were 1% of the population did feel a disproportionate impact), 25% of the victims were bourgeois and middle-class, 28% were peasants and working-class and the rest were clergy. During the "Great Terror" after the Law of 22 Prarial, [[AxCrazy where 1000 people were executed in a single month]] ([[UpToEleven matching the executions in Paris the previous year]]), the victims became 38% Nobility, 26% Clergy, with [[EatTheRich the wealthy victims]] discriminated against since the law deprived them of a [[KangarooCourt right to call for witnesses, legal representatives or evidence]] by which according to Georges Couthon ([[HangingJudge who drafted the law to the Convention]]), wealthier accused escaped the blade before.



* There were several different governments during this time:
** The National Assembly (1789)
** The National Constituent Assembly (1789-1791)
** Legislative Assembly (1791-1792)
** National Convention (1792-1795), of which the Committee of Public Safety was a sub-group, as was the Paris Commune.
** The Directory (1795-1799)
* Napoleon Bonaparte ended this when he took direct power. [[SarcasmMode It's not like he caused any more mess.]] At least he stabilized the country and its institutions and consolidated most of the reforms of the Revolution with his Napoleonic Code (authored by Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, a member of the National Convention).

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* There were several different The Different governments during this time:
**
of the Revolution were: The National Assembly (1789)
**
(1789), The National Constituent Assembly (1789-1791)
**
(1789-1791), Legislative Assembly (1791-1792)
**
(1791-1792), National Convention (1792-1795), of which The Directory (1795-1799) and the Committee of Public Safety was a sub-group, as was the Paris Commune.Consulate (1799-1804).
** The Directory (1795-1799)
* Napoleon Bonaparte ended this when he took direct power. [[SarcasmMode It's not like He was initially a co-conspirator of a liberal coup masterminded by Abbe Sieyes, but he caused any more mess.]] At least he stabilized hijacked the country and its institutions and consolidated most plot to strengthen his power. Bonaparte initially served as one of three Consuls in the Consulate before declaring himself TheEmperor in December 1804 (marking the end of the First French Republic). During the Consulate, he ended Dechristianization, conducted a Concordat with the Catholic Church and oversaw the consolidation of many Revolutionary reforms of the Revolution with his Napoleonic Code (authored by Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, a member of the National Convention).
25th Sep '16 10:43:38 PM JulianLapostat
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!! Some basic notes]]

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!! Some basic notes]]notes
25th Sep '16 10:41:31 PM JulianLapostat
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[[folder: Some basic notes]]

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[[folder:
!! Some basic notes]]
25th Sep '16 10:37:11 PM JulianLapostat
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These debates, at first, played out in the National Assembly, in journals, debated in the clubs and the streets. Eventually [[SeriousBusiness it became matters of life and death]], as everyone took a stance for their beliefs on increasingly partisan lines. A series of incidents took place, often described as [[ShortLivedBigImpact a century's worth of activity in a decade]]. The King after seemingly accepting the Constitution and Limited Monarchy, discredited himself in the failed plot of the Flight to Varennes. This set of a chain reaction of events: [[LongList Then there was an agitation for war, a second insurrection that toppled the Constitutional Monarchy and installed the First French Republic, victory and setbacks in the battlefield, the execution of the King, internal insurrections in different parts of France, invasion by external powers on all sides, calls for extreme measures on the government to meet these threats]], the ReignOfTerror with its many high profile victims, [[BackFromTheBrink the stunning reversal of the military situation]] from the jaws of defeat to total victory, the end of Terror, a new conservative Republic that resorted to using the army to purge factions that seem to topple the centrist hegemony, and ending with the military coup of UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte.

to:

These debates, at first, played out in the National Assembly, in journals, debated in the clubs and the streets. Eventually [[SeriousBusiness it became matters of life and death]], as everyone took a stance for their beliefs on increasingly partisan lines. A series of incidents took place, often described as [[ShortLivedBigImpact a century's worth of activity in a decade]]. The King after seemingly accepting the Constitution and Limited Monarchy, discredited himself in the failed plot of the Flight to Varennes. This set of a chain reaction of events: [[LongList Then there was an agitation for war, war to spread the revolution, a second insurrection that toppled the Constitutional Monarchy and installed the First French Republic, victory and setbacks in the battlefield, the execution of the King, internal insurrections in different parts of France, invasion by external powers on all sides, calls for extreme measures on the government to meet these threats]], the ReignOfTerror with its many high profile victims, [[BackFromTheBrink the stunning reversal of the military situation]] from the jaws of defeat to total victory, the end of Terror, the terror, a new conservative Republic that resorted to using the army to purge factions that seem to topple the centrist hegemony, and ending with the military coup of UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte.



!! Some basic notes:

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!! [[foldercontrol]]
[[folder:
Some basic notes:notes]]



* Constitutional Monarchy at the time enjoyed consensus until the death of Mirabeau and the succeeding Flight to Varennes, an unmitigated PR disaster which overnight sent the King from HunderPercentAdorationRating to ZeroPercentApprovalRating. was the event which really split the existing factions into Constitutional and Republic Lines. At this time, even Robespierre was reluctant about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and put him on trial for his treason, but still backed the 1791 Constitution. The Storming of the Tuileries marked the end of Constitutional Monarchy and the birth of the Republic, which led to calls for a new republican constitution.

to:

* Constitutional Monarchy at the time enjoyed consensus until the death of Mirabeau and Mirabeau. This changed after the succeeding Flight to Varennes, an unmitigated PR disaster which overnight sent the King from HunderPercentAdorationRating to ZeroPercentApprovalRating. was the event which really split the existing factions into Constitutional and Republic Lines. At this time, even Robespierre was reluctant about a Republic, he wanted to erode the King's inviolability and put him on trial for his treason, but still backed the 1791 Constitution. The Storming of the Tuileries marked the end of Constitutional Monarchy and the birth of the Republic, which led to calls for a new republican constitution.



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25th Sep '16 10:34:06 PM JulianLapostat
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The era in French History known for UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] saying "Let Them Eat Cake" for which the people responded, by storming the Bastille, then Versailles, until the found her and her husband and guillotined them, and a few other nobles for good measure. It promised Liberty, Equality, Fraternity but [[MeetTheNewBoss led to the rise of]] UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. He marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality. That's TheThemeParkVersion. The real history of the French Revolution was even more of [[GambitPileup a wild ride]]. Start with a series of nations (Britanny, Gascogne, etc. etc.) that have little in common with each other but are bound by King and Church. France was drained by [[UsefulNotes/WarOfTheSpanishSuccession three]] [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar major]] [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution world]] wars in the last hundred years, and lots of smaller ones besides. There were these expensive-to-make-and-keep royal palaces, a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country, a nobility that did not want to pay exorbitant taxes even if they had money and didn't use it at all, with the emerging middle and lower-classes being asked to foot an exorbitant bill. A nation with an obsolete form of government that had missed the reforms [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar that]] [[UsefulNotes/HanoverStuartWars modernized England]] in the intervening hundred years. Over and above, there was the escalating famine, where bread is too expensive for the average person in the Parisian Basin to buy. The famous cahiers de doléances ([[LongList list of grievances]]) petitioned in 1789 outlined the frustration people across France felt towards the government and society, complaining about hunting rights, pointless taxes, poor infrastructure, corrupt nobles, corrupt priests and general frustration. Alexis de Tocqueville later noted that the cahiers essentially called for ''the simultaneous and systematic abolition of all the laws and and all the customs obtaining throughout the kingdom.''

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The era in French History known for UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] saying "Let Them Eat Cake" for which the people responded, by storming the Bastille, then Versailles, until the found her and her husband and guillotined them, and a few other nobles for good measure. It promised Liberty, Equality, Fraternity but [[MeetTheNewBoss led to the rise of]] UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. He marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality. That's TheThemeParkVersion. The real history of the French Revolution was even more of [[GambitPileup a wild ride]]. Start with a series of nations (Britanny, Gascogne, etc. etc.) that have little in common with each other but are bound by King and Church. France was drained by [[UsefulNotes/WarOfTheSpanishSuccession three]] [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar major]] [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution world]] wars in the last hundred years, and lots of smaller ones besides. There were these expensive-to-make-and-keep royal palaces, a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country, a nobility that did not want to pay exorbitant taxes even if they had money and didn't use it at all, with the emerging middle and lower-classes being asked to foot an exorbitant bill. A nation with an obsolete form of government that had missed the reforms [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar that]] [[UsefulNotes/HanoverStuartWars modernized England]] in the intervening hundred years. Over and above, there was the escalating famine, where bread is too expensive for the average person in the Parisian Basin to buy. The famous cahiers de doléances ([[LongList list of grievances]]) petitioned in 1789 outlined the frustration people across France felt towards the government and society, complaining about hunting rights, pointless taxes, poor infrastructure, corrupt nobles, corrupt priests and general frustration. Alexis de Tocqueville later noted that the cahiers essentially called for ''the simultaneous and systematic abolition of all the laws and and all the customs obtaining throughout the kingdom.'' \n



These debates, at first, played out in the National Assembly, in journals, debated in the clubs and the streets. Eventually [[SeriousBusiness it became matters of life and death]], as everyone took a stance for their beliefs on increasingly partisan lines. A series of incidents took place, often described as [[ShortLivedBigImpact a century's worth of activity in a decade]]. The King after seemingly accepting the Constitution and Limited Monarchy, discredited himself in the failed plot of the Flight to Varennes. This set of a chain reaction of events: [[DisasterDominoes Then there was an agitation for war, a second insurrection that toppled the Constitutional Monarchy and installed the First French Republic, victory and setbacks in the battlefield, the execution of the King, internal insurrections in different parts of France, invasion by external powers on all sides, calls for extreme measures on the government to meet these threats]], the ReignOfTerror with its many high profile victims and public endorsement of state violence, [[BackFromTheBrink the stunning reversal of the military situation]] from the jaws of defeat to total victory, the end of Terror, a new conservative Republic that resorted to using the army to purge factions that seem to topple the centrist hegemony, and ending with the military coup of UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte.

to:

These debates, at first, played out in the National Assembly, in journals, debated in the clubs and the streets. Eventually [[SeriousBusiness it became matters of life and death]], as everyone took a stance for their beliefs on increasingly partisan lines. A series of incidents took place, often described as [[ShortLivedBigImpact a century's worth of activity in a decade]]. The King after seemingly accepting the Constitution and Limited Monarchy, discredited himself in the failed plot of the Flight to Varennes. This set of a chain reaction of events: [[DisasterDominoes [[LongList Then there was an agitation for war, a second insurrection that toppled the Constitutional Monarchy and installed the First French Republic, victory and setbacks in the battlefield, the execution of the King, internal insurrections in different parts of France, invasion by external powers on all sides, calls for extreme measures on the government to meet these threats]], the ReignOfTerror with its many high profile victims and public endorsement of state violence, victims, [[BackFromTheBrink the stunning reversal of the military situation]] from the jaws of defeat to total victory, the end of Terror, a new conservative Republic that resorted to using the army to purge factions that seem to topple the centrist hegemony, and ending with the military coup of UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte.
25th Sep '16 10:27:28 PM JulianLapostat
Is there an issue? Send a Message


The era in French History known for UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] saying "Let Them Eat Cake" for which the people responded, by storming the Bastille, then Versailles, until the found her and her husband and guillotined them, and a few other nobles for good measure. Everyone in this time period wore pastel-colored satin, big fancy wigs[[note]]Wigs in fact went out of style during the Revolution itself, only recalcitrant dandies like Robespierre were still wearing them by 1794[[/note]], fake beauty marks, and snorted snuff like it was cocaine. Unless they were poor, in which case they wore trousers ''sans culottes'' with tricolor badges and sang "String the aristocrats from the lamp posts!" whilst [[TorchesAndPitchforks waving their pitchforks]] and gnashing their rotting teeth while shouting about ''l'Ancien Régime''. It promised Liberty, Equality, Fraternity but [[MeetTheNewBoss led to the rise of]] UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. He marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality. That's TheThemeParkVersion. The real history of the French Revolution was even more of [[GambitPileup a wild ride]].

Start with a series of nations (Britanny, Gascogne, etc. etc.) that have little in common with each other but are bound by King and Church. France was drained by [[UsefulNotes/WarOfTheSpanishSuccession three]] [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar major]] [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution world]] wars in the last hundred years, and lots of smaller ones besides. There were these expensive-to-make-and-keep royal palaces, a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country, a nobility that did not want to pay exorbitant taxes even if they had money and didn't use it at all, with the emerging middle and lower-classes being asked to foot an exorbitant bill. A feudal nation held in an obsolete Absolute Monarchy that missed the reforms that modernized England in the last hundred years, leaving France with a rigid social system more or less akin to castes. Over and above, there was the escalating famine, where bread is too expensive for the average person in the Parisian Basin to buy. The famous cahiers de doléances ([[LongList list of grievances]]) petitioned in 1789 outlined the frustration people across France felt towards the government and society, complaining about hunting rights, pointless taxes, poor infrastructure, corrupt nobles, corrupt priests and general frustration. Alexis de Tocqueville later noted that the cahiers essentially called for "the simultaneous and systematic abolition of all the laws and and all the customs obtaining throughout the kingdom." The King himself shared some of this frustration, and he and his various finance ministers (Turgot, Necker, and Callonne) spent the better part of the 1780s trying to figure out a way to reform the royal finances and thus avert financial catastrophe.

They had a number of good ideas (and a large number of not-so-good ones), but that didn't really matter because in order for any royal decree to come into effect as law, it had to be registered by the ''parlements''[[note]] Local judicial and quasi-legislative assemblies of jurists across France that held an important role in France's legislative process (you thought the King's word was law? He wished!) As it so happened, the ''parlements'' were made up of people who to the last man would be adversely affected by any serious reform, and they used every trick in the book to prevent or at least delay registration of any reform laws--and very effectively, since they were all lawyers.[[/note]] Thus in late 1786, the King called an "Assembly of Notables"--an appointed body of high-ranking and prominent men called in to advise the King, not called since 1620, in the hope that that would pressure the ''parlements'' to register the laws. No such luck--when the Notables met in 1787, they were mostly from the same class as the members of the ''parlements'', and uniformly the response of the Assembly was "We can't help you. The only way to get around the ''parlements'' is to call the Estates-General." Calling an Estates-General was exactly what UsefulNotes/LouisXVI was trying to avoid. The Estates-General was an ancient body, going back to the truly feudal era, and largely similar to the old structure of the English/British Parliament: an assembly of clergy (the "First Estate"), an assembly of nobles (the "Second Estate"),[[note]]Of course, these first two are merged in the English system to become the House of Lords[[/note]] and of everyone else (the "Third Estate"). Each "estate" chose its representatives, who would then meet and discuss and advise the King on important matters of state--particularly matters of finance (as France's patchwork tax system was often structured in a way that made it hard to change without an Estates-General). Louis knew that if he called an Estates-General, he could probably force through the needed financial reforms, but he also knew that the same Estates-General might attempt to conduct reforms and make demands that went beyond the royal finances, possibly even holding the financial reforms hostage to gain concessions[[note]]Despite being a little dim, Louis was well aware that this is more or less exactly what had happened to [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfStuart Charles I of England]] about [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar 150 years previously]]. There was a ''reason'' that none of the French monarchs had seen fit to call one since 1614--an Estates-General was a powerful tool because of the immense legitimacy it had to make big changes, but that same legitimacy made it extremely ''dangerous''. Better, Louis thought, to try to make do with what was possible without the Estates.[[/note]] But the Assembly of Notables was his last chance, and they told him in no uncertain terms that he had no options. So in May 1789, King Louis XVI called a meeting of the Estates-General at Versailles.

to:

The era in French History known for UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] saying "Let Them Eat Cake" for which the people responded, by storming the Bastille, then Versailles, until the found her and her husband and guillotined them, and a few other nobles for good measure. Everyone in this time period wore pastel-colored satin, big fancy wigs[[note]]Wigs in fact went out of style during the Revolution itself, only recalcitrant dandies like Robespierre were still wearing them by 1794[[/note]], fake beauty marks, and snorted snuff like it was cocaine. Unless they were poor, in which case they wore trousers ''sans culottes'' with tricolor badges and sang "String the aristocrats from the lamp posts!" whilst [[TorchesAndPitchforks waving their pitchforks]] and gnashing their rotting teeth while shouting about ''l'Ancien Régime''. It promised Liberty, Equality, Fraternity but [[MeetTheNewBoss led to the rise of]] UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. He marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality. That's TheThemeParkVersion. The real history of the French Revolution was even more of [[GambitPileup a wild ride]]. \n\n Start with a series of nations (Britanny, Gascogne, etc. etc.) that have little in common with each other but are bound by King and Church. France was drained by [[UsefulNotes/WarOfTheSpanishSuccession three]] [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar major]] [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution world]] wars in the last hundred years, and lots of smaller ones besides. There were these expensive-to-make-and-keep royal palaces, a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country, a nobility that did not want to pay exorbitant taxes even if they had money and didn't use it at all, with the emerging middle and lower-classes being asked to foot an exorbitant bill. A feudal nation held in with an obsolete Absolute Monarchy form of government that had missed the reforms that [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar that]] [[UsefulNotes/HanoverStuartWars modernized England England]] in the last intervening hundred years, leaving France with a rigid social system more or less akin to castes.years. Over and above, there was the escalating famine, where bread is too expensive for the average person in the Parisian Basin to buy. The famous cahiers de doléances ([[LongList list of grievances]]) petitioned in 1789 outlined the frustration people across France felt towards the government and society, complaining about hunting rights, pointless taxes, poor infrastructure, corrupt nobles, corrupt priests and general frustration. Alexis de Tocqueville later noted that the cahiers essentially called for "the ''the simultaneous and systematic abolition of all the laws and and all the customs obtaining throughout the kingdom." ''

The King himself shared some of this frustration, and he and his various finance ministers (Turgot, Necker, and Callonne) spent the better part of the 1780s trying to figure out a way to reform the royal finances and thus avert financial catastrophe.

catastrophe. They had a number of good ideas (and a large number of not-so-good ones), but that didn't really matter because in order for any royal decree to come into effect as law, it had to be registered by the ''parlements''[[note]] Local judicial and quasi-legislative assemblies of jurists across France that held an important role in France's legislative process (you thought the King's word was law? He wished!) As it so happened, the ''parlements'' were made up of people who to the last man would be adversely affected by any serious reform, and they used every trick in the book to prevent or at least delay registration of any reform laws--and very effectively, since they were all lawyers.[[/note]] Thus in late 1786, the King called an "Assembly of Notables"--an appointed body of high-ranking and prominent men called in to advise the King, not called since 1620, in the hope that that would pressure the ''parlements'' to register the laws. No such luck--when the Notables met in 1787, they were mostly from the same class as the members of the ''parlements'', and uniformly the response of the Assembly was "We can't help you. The only way to get around the ''parlements'' is to call the Estates-General." Calling an Estates-General was exactly what UsefulNotes/LouisXVI was trying to avoid. The Estates-General was an ancient body, going back to the truly feudal era, and largely similar to the old structure of the English/British Parliament: an assembly of clergy (the "First Estate"), an assembly of nobles (the "Second Estate"),[[note]]Of course, these first two are merged in the English system to become the House of Lords[[/note]] and of everyone else (the "Third Estate"). Each "estate" chose its representatives, who would then meet and discuss and advise the King on important matters of state--particularly matters of finance (as France's patchwork tax system was often structured in a way that made it hard to change without an Estates-General). Louis knew that if he called an Estates-General, he could probably force through the needed financial reforms, but he also knew that the same Estates-General might attempt to conduct reforms and make demands that went beyond the royal finances, possibly even holding the financial reforms hostage to gain concessions[[note]]Despite being a little dim, Louis was well aware that this is more or less exactly what had happened to [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfStuart Charles I of England]] about [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar 150 years previously]]. There was a ''reason'' that none of the French monarchs had seen fit to call one since 1614--an Estates-General was a powerful tool because of the immense legitimacy it had to make big changes, but that same legitimacy made it extremely ''dangerous''. Better, Louis thought, to try to make do with what was possible without the Estates.[[/note]] But the Assembly of Notables was his last chance, and they told him in no uncertain terms that he had no options. So in May 1789, King Louis XVI called a meeting of the Estates-General at Versailles.



After this, the Revolution faced a series of problems, all of them revolving on debates that began during UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment. Obviously old-fashioned autocratic Kingdom, DivineRightOfKings, class distinctions and religious control on social levers was getting [[DeaderThanDisco increasingly unacceptable]]. If the King and Church was removed, what could take its place? The suggestion put forth was "the Nation" revolving around a conception of French identity that individuals of all classes, all beliefs in all regions could share and accept. Problem was, most of France, outside of the Paris Basin, don't really feel this unified 'French' identity, and nobody's sure how, if at all, this idea of the "nation" can really replace traditions of feudal monarchy backed by the Church that was more than a millennia old. A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States and the ancient world, which covered a smaller area, and the only other precedent they had was England's constitutional monarchy. The question of separating Church and State, provided a different set of problems and tools than that available to the leaders of the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution[[note]]Who enjoyed the presence of a pre-established dissenting tradition since many American protestant sects originated as exiles or emigrants from Europe, fleeing the Anglican Church so they were already opposed to one denomination of Christianity enforced from above which made them easier to accept a state that no other sect, and by extension no other religion, could interfere with in exchange for the state not interfering or presenting any official position on religion. This made them amenable to the First Amendment[[/note]]. France was "the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church" and a pillar of the Counter-Reformation, and the Church was its largest land owner; heavily involved in culture, society and rituals, placing them in the firing range to many measures to reform finance, fix the economy and establish nationalism. They had support from reformist priests and bishops[[note]]Many of them joined the Church out of career, position, education opportunities and had no real religious belief. This includes Abbe Emmanuel Sieyes, the Bishop Talleyrand. Only Henri Gregoire, the most revolutionary and progressive of this group, displayed authentic religious belief[[/note]] but not a complete consensus. The result was the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It demanded that priests across France swear an oath to the Republic above the Pope, accept wages from the government and devolve to the status of civil servants and accept nationalization and confiscation of Church property.[[/note]] This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in the Paris Basin, but it failed in the Western regions, known today as the Vendee, where the local nobles and priests were well liked and respected by the people and the confiscation of property led to the destruction of local catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants but in the Vendee, it was bought up by local merchant-elites, and thanks to LoopholeAbuse in the "abolition of seigneural dues" and weak implementation of the same, these merchants continued to extort taxes among the people who had limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution opposed changes and loss of privileges on general principle, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional peasants]], especially after it was condemned by the Pope.

to:

After this, the Revolution faced a series of problems, all of them revolving on debates that began during UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment. Obviously old-fashioned autocratic Kingdom, DivineRightOfKings, feudal class distinctions and religious control on social levers was getting [[DeaderThanDisco increasingly unacceptable]]. If the King and Church was removed, what could take its place? The suggestion put forth was "the Nation" revolving around a conception of French identity that individuals of all classes, all beliefs in all regions could share and accept. Problem was, most of France, outside of the Paris Basin, don't really feel this unified 'French' identity, and nobody's sure how, if at all, this idea of the "nation" can really replace traditions of feudal monarchy backed by the Church that was more than a millennia old. A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States and the ancient world, which covered a smaller area, and the only other precedent they had was England's constitutional monarchy. The question of separating Church and State, provided a different set of problems and tools than that available to the leaders of the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution[[note]]Who enjoyed the presence of a pre-established dissenting tradition since many American protestant sects originated as exiles or emigrants from Europe, fleeing the Anglican Church so they were already opposed to one denomination of Christianity enforced from above which made them easier to accept a state that no other sect, and by extension no other religion, could interfere with in exchange for the state not interfering or presenting any official position on religion. This made them amenable to the First Amendment[[/note]]. France was "the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church" and a pillar of the Counter-Reformation, and the Church was its largest land owner; heavily involved in culture, society and rituals, placing them in the firing range to many measures to reform finance, fix the economy and establish nationalism. They had support from reformist priests and bishops[[note]]Many of them joined the Church out of career, position, education opportunities and had no real religious belief. This includes Abbe Emmanuel Sieyes, the Bishop Talleyrand. Only Henri Gregoire, the most revolutionary and progressive of this group, displayed authentic religious belief[[/note]] but not a complete consensus. The result was the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It demanded that priests across France swear an oath to the Republic above the Pope, accept wages from the government and devolve to the status of civil servants and accept nationalization and confiscation of Church property.[[/note]] This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in the Paris Basin, but it failed in the Western regions, known today as the Vendee, where the local nobles and priests were well liked and respected by the people and the confiscation of property led to the destruction of local catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants but in the Vendee, it was bought up by local merchant-elites, and thanks to LoopholeAbuse in the "abolition of seigneural dues" and weak implementation of the same, these merchants continued to extort taxes among the people who had limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution opposed changes and loss of privileges on general principle, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional peasants]], especially after it was condemned by the Pope.



Ever since the Revolution took place, it has been one of the most debated and contested of all historical events, if not, ''the'' most contested and debated event. Conservatives disapproved of such radical social transformation on basic principle, reactionaries argued that the whole event was arranged by a small minority of the Freemasons and TheIlluminati and had zero popular support[[note]][[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer No, seriously]]. The illuminati conspiracy originated in response to the Revolution[[/note]]. Moderate 19th Century liberals argued that everything was going fine but was derailed by radicals who were greedy for voting rights they didn't merit, rather than trusting in their carefully voted-in elites. Radical revolutionaries unsurprisingly took inspiration from the Terror and saw it as means for bringing about [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans utopian changes to society]] and believed the events failed because its leaders were ''too'' moderate. Unsurprisingly, these interpretations usually say more about later political developments than they are accurate reflections of the real events. UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies of the 19th and 20th Century, and the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]], to this very day, is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived).[[note]]The French Revolution also affected American politics. Many political clubs developed in America in imitation of the French, much to President Washington's displeasure. The pro-Revolution camp was called "Democrat" by Citizen Genet (a Girondin ambassador who got stranded in America when the ReignOfTerror was unleashed).[[/note]] The Revolution also [[TropeMaker made]] and [[TropeCodifier codified tropes]] associated with nationalism, such as national flags[[note]]The French tricoleur comprised of the colours of Paris (red and blue) sandwiching the royal white. It's no coincidence that the national flags of many countries in the 19th and 20th Century follow the tri-colour pattern[[/note]], national festivals, national holidays on significant anniversaries, monuments open to the public, museums and institutions for public education. It was once described as the beginning of the modern age, and while later postmodernist historians questioned the idea of "modern" and its exclusivity to a single event, it is still considered a seminal moment in European and world history.

to:

Ever since the Revolution took place, it has been one of the most debated and contested of all historical events, if not, ''the'' most contested and debated event. Conservatives disapproved of such radical social transformation on basic principle, reactionaries argued that the whole event was arranged by a small minority of the Freemasons and TheIlluminati and had zero popular support[[note]][[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer No, seriously]]. The illuminati conspiracy originated in response to the Revolution[[/note]]. Moderate 19th Century liberals argued that everything was going fine but was derailed by radicals who were greedy for voting rights they didn't merit, rather than trusting in their carefully voted-in elites. Radical revolutionaries unsurprisingly took inspiration from the Terror and saw it as means for bringing about [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans utopian changes to society]] and believed the events failed because its leaders were ''too'' moderate. Unsurprisingly, these interpretations usually say more about later political developments than they are accurate reflections of do about the real actual events. UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies of the 19th and 20th Century, and the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]], to this very day, is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived).[[note]]The French Revolution also affected influenced American politics. Many political clubs developed in America in imitation of the French, much to President Washington's displeasure. The pro-Revolution camp was called "Democrat" by Citizen Genet (a Girondin ambassador who got stranded in America when the ReignOfTerror was unleashed).[[/note]] The Revolution also [[TropeMaker made]] and [[TropeCodifier codified tropes]] associated with nationalism, such as national flags[[note]]The French tricoleur comprised of the colours of Paris (red and blue) sandwiching the royal white. It's no coincidence that the national flags of many countries in the 19th and 20th Century follow the tri-colour pattern[[/note]], flags, national festivals, national holidays on significant anniversaries, monuments open to the public, museums and institutions for public education. It was once described as the beginning of the modern age, and while later postmodernist historians questioned the idea of "modern" and its exclusivity to a single event, it is still considered a seminal moment in European and world history.
education.
25th Sep '16 10:08:23 PM JulianLapostat
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The election of the 1789 Estates General brought people from across France to the government. Several of them being quite young and very few of them having direct experience in handling politics. Almost immediately it became clear that the Third Estate, whose representatives were from the middle classes, professionals and guild members, were in effect a separate ruling body on their own and that they represented France better than the first two estates. This realization that the fading aristocracy would have little voice and role in a more modern state brought about reactions in the government that only made their opponents bolder. This created the tensions of the Revolution, the proposals of changes were met by reactions which spurred even more radical proposals for changes [[SerialEscalation that provoked even more reactions and so on and so forth]]. Meanwhile, the people of France, emboldened by the initiative of the National Assembly (the ci-devant Third Estate) and responding to rumors (some of it was true) that troops were marching to shut down the Third Estate and the city of Paris, stormed the Bastille in search of arms. This marked the start of the Revolution, with a peasant revolt breaking out in the countryside as peasants attacked castles and noble mansions and literally set fire to records containing list of dues they owe to their seigneur. Feudalism was itself abolished in the following month with changes happening quickly and rapidly. Finally, in October, the King and Queen were dragged from Versailles to Tuileries by the Women of Paris. By which point, NothingIsTheSameAnymore.

to:

The election of the 1789 Estates General brought people from across France to the government. Several of them being quite young and very few of them having direct experience in handling politics. Almost immediately it became clear that the Third Estate, whose representatives were from the middle classes, professionals and guild members, were in effect a separate ruling body on their own and that they represented France better than the first two estates. This realization that the fading aristocracy would have little voice and role in a more modern state brought about reactions in the government that only made their opponents bolder. This created the tensions of the Revolution, the proposals of changes were met by reactions which spurred even more radical proposals for changes [[SerialEscalation that provoked even more reactions and so on and so forth]]. Meanwhile, the people citizens of France, Paris, emboldened by the initiative of the National Assembly (the ci-devant Third Estate) and responding to rumors (some of it was true) that troops were marching to shut down the Third Estate and the city of Paris, Estate, stormed the Bastille in search of arms. This marked the start of the Revolution, with a peasant revolt breaking out in the countryside as peasants attacked castles and noble mansions and literally set fire to records containing list of dues they owe to their seigneur. Feudalism was itself abolished in the following month with changes happening quickly and rapidly.master. Finally, in October, the King and Queen were dragged from Versailles to Tuileries by the Women of Paris. By which point, NothingIsTheSameAnymore.
25th Sep '16 10:07:09 PM JulianLapostat
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After this, the Revolution faced a series of problems, all of them revolving on debates that began during UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment. Obviously old-fashioned autocratic Kingdom, DivineRightOfKings, class distinctions and religious control on social levers was getting [[DeaderThanDisco increasingly unacceptable]]. If the King and Church was removed, what could take its place? The suggestion put forth was "the Nation" revolving around a conception of French identity that individuals of all classes, all beliefs in all regions could share and accept. Problem was, most of France, outside of the Paris Basin, don't really feel this unified 'French' identity, and nobody's sure how, if at all, this idea of the "nation" can really replace traditions of feudal monarchy backed by the Church that was more than a millennia old. A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States and the ancient world, which covered a smaller area. Even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the intellectual spirit behind the Revolution, was skeptical about the idea of a republican nation state[[note]]When the UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth asked Rousseau for suggestions on how to make reforms, Rousseau despite his later idealist reputation was quite moderate, skeptical and reasonable, telling the Commonwealth to go carefully since the Commonwealth's large area of land federal arrangement made a consensus for nation-building quite difficult on a wide expanse of land, especially given the Commonwealth's multi-ethnic dimension[[/note]].

The question of separating Church and State, provided a different set of problems and tools than that available to the leaders of the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution[[note]]Who enjoyed the presence of a pre-established dissenting tradition since many American protestant sects originated as exiles or emigrants from Europe, fleeing the Anglican Church so they were already opposed to one denomination of Christianity enforced from above which made them easier to accept a state that no other sect, and by extension no other religion, could interfere with in exchange for the state not interfering or presenting any official position on religion. This made them amenable to the First Amendment[[/note]]. France was "the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church" and a pillar of the Counter-Reformation, and the Church was its largest land owner; heavily involved in culture, society and rituals, placing them in the firing range to many measures to reform finance, fix the economy and establish nationalism. They had support from reformist priests and bishops[[note]]Many of them joined the Church out of career, position, education opportunities and had no real religious belief. This includes Abbe Emmanuel Sieyes, the Bishop Talleyrand. Only Henri Gregoire, the most revolutionary and progressive of this group, displayed authentic religious belief[[/note]] but not a complete consensus. The result was the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It demanded that priests across France swear an oath to the Republic above the Pope, accept wages from the government and devolve to the status of civil servants and accept nationalization and confiscation of Church property.[[/note]] This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in the Paris Basin, but it failed in the Western regions, known today as the Vendee, where the local nobles and priests were well liked and respected by the people and the confiscation of property led to the destruction of local catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants but in the Vendee, it was bought up by local merchant-elites, and thanks to LoopholeAbuse in the "abolition of seigneural dues" and weak implementation of the same, these merchants continued to extort taxes among the people who had limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution opposed changes and loss of privileges on general principle, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional peasants]], especially after it was condemned by the Pope.

to:

After this, the Revolution faced a series of problems, all of them revolving on debates that began during UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment. Obviously old-fashioned autocratic Kingdom, DivineRightOfKings, class distinctions and religious control on social levers was getting [[DeaderThanDisco increasingly unacceptable]]. If the King and Church was removed, what could take its place? The suggestion put forth was "the Nation" revolving around a conception of French identity that individuals of all classes, all beliefs in all regions could share and accept. Problem was, most of France, outside of the Paris Basin, don't really feel this unified 'French' identity, and nobody's sure how, if at all, this idea of the "nation" can really replace traditions of feudal monarchy backed by the Church that was more than a millennia old. A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States and the ancient world, which covered a smaller area. Even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, area, and the intellectual spirit behind the Revolution, only other precedent they had was skeptical about the idea of a republican nation state[[note]]When the UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth asked Rousseau for suggestions on how to make reforms, Rousseau despite his later idealist reputation was quite moderate, skeptical and reasonable, telling the Commonwealth to go carefully since the Commonwealth's large area of land federal arrangement made a consensus for nation-building quite difficult on a wide expanse of land, especially given the Commonwealth's multi-ethnic dimension[[/note]].

England's constitutional monarchy. The question of separating Church and State, provided a different set of problems and tools than that available to the leaders of the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution[[note]]Who enjoyed the presence of a pre-established dissenting tradition since many American protestant sects originated as exiles or emigrants from Europe, fleeing the Anglican Church so they were already opposed to one denomination of Christianity enforced from above which made them easier to accept a state that no other sect, and by extension no other religion, could interfere with in exchange for the state not interfering or presenting any official position on religion. This made them amenable to the First Amendment[[/note]]. France was "the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church" and a pillar of the Counter-Reformation, and the Church was its largest land owner; heavily involved in culture, society and rituals, placing them in the firing range to many measures to reform finance, fix the economy and establish nationalism. They had support from reformist priests and bishops[[note]]Many of them joined the Church out of career, position, education opportunities and had no real religious belief. This includes Abbe Emmanuel Sieyes, the Bishop Talleyrand. Only Henri Gregoire, the most revolutionary and progressive of this group, displayed authentic religious belief[[/note]] but not a complete consensus. The result was the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It demanded that priests across France swear an oath to the Republic above the Pope, accept wages from the government and devolve to the status of civil servants and accept nationalization and confiscation of Church property.[[/note]] This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in the Paris Basin, but it failed in the Western regions, known today as the Vendee, where the local nobles and priests were well liked and respected by the people and the confiscation of property led to the destruction of local catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants but in the Vendee, it was bought up by local merchant-elites, and thanks to LoopholeAbuse in the "abolition of seigneural dues" and weak implementation of the same, these merchants continued to extort taxes among the people who had limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution opposed changes and loss of privileges on general principle, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional peasants]], especially after it was condemned by the Pope.
25th Sep '16 10:05:46 PM JulianLapostat
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The era in French History known for UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] giving her subjects dietary advice. They responded by storming the Bastille and putting her and her husband Louis XVI to death by the guillotine. Everyone in this time period wore pastel-colored satin, big fancy wigs, fake beauty marks, and snorted snuff like it was cocaine. Unless they were poor, in which case they wore trousers with tricolor badges and sang "String the aristocrats from the lamp posts!" whilst [[TorchesAndPitchforks waving their pitchforks]] and gnashing their rotting teeth. Don't forget about taking down ''l'Ancien Régime'', a word invented during the Revolution to describe what they were fighting against. It promised Liberty, Equality, Fraternity but [[MeetTheNewBoss led to the rise of]] UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. He marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality.

That's TheThemeParkVersion. The real history of the French Revolution was even more of a wild ride.

Start with a series of nations (Britanny, Gascogne, etc. etc.) that kind of hate and yet have to share a realm with each other, bound, if at all, by King and Church. There was also the fact that France was drained by three major world wars in the last hundred years, and lots of smaller ones besides (UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution in particular, which basically boiled down to Britain vs France [[note]]The Revolutionary War had fronts in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and India [[/note]] to get back for [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar the last one]]). In addition, there are these expensive-to-make-and-keep royal palaces, a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country, a nobility that did not want to pay exorbitant taxes even if they had money and didn't use it at all, with the emerging middle and lower-classes being asked to foot an exorbitant bill. A feudal nation held in an obsolete Absolute Monarchy that missed the reforms that modernized England in the last hundred years, leaving France with a rigid social system more or less akin to castes. Over and above, there was the escalating famine, where bread is too expensive for the average person in the Parisian Basin to buy. What the great Mirabeau said about the elite of France's slave-run colony in Haiti applies equally to the metropole, "They were sleeping on the slopes of Vesuvius."

Even the King realized this, and his various finance ministers (Turgot, Necker, and Callonne) spent the better part of the 1780s trying to figure out a way to reform the royal finances and thus avert financial catastrophe. They had a number of good ideas (and a large number of not-so-good ones), but that didn't really matter because in order for any royal decree to come into effect as law, it had to be registered by the ''parlements''[[note]] Local judicial and quasi-legislative assemblies of jurists across France that held an important role in France's legislative process (you thought the King's word was law? He wished!) As it so happened, the ''parlements'' were made up of people who to the last man would be adversely affected by any serious reform, and they used every trick in the book to prevent or at least delay registration of any reform laws--and very effectively, since they were all lawyers.[[/note]] Thus in late 1786, the King called an "Assembly of Notables"--an appointed body of high-ranking and prominent men called in to advise the King, not called since 1620, in the hope that that would pressure the ''parlements'' to register the laws. No such luck--when the Notables met in 1787, they were mostly from the same class as the members of the ''parlements'', and uniformly the response of the Assembly was "We can't help you. The only way to get around the ''parlements'' is to call the Estates-General."

Louis wasn't too pleased at this, since (1) he knew that (the Assembly of Notables, after all, existed to ''go through'' the ''parlements'' by making them succumb to pressure), and (2) calling an Estates-General was exactly what he'd been trying to avoid. The Estates-General was an ancient body, going back to the truly feudal era, and largely similar to the old structure of the English/British Parliament: an assembly of clergy (the "First Estate"), an assembly of nobles (the "Second Estate"),[[note]]Of course, these first two are merged in the English system, but let's forget that[[/note]] and of everyone else (the "Third Estate"); each "estate" chose its representatives, who would then meet and discuss and advise the King on important matters of state--particularly matters of finance (as France's patchwork tax system was often structured in a way that made it hard to change without an Estates-General). Louis knew that if he called an Estates-General, he could probably force through the needed financial reforms, but he also knew that the same Estates-General might attempt to conduct reforms and make demands that went beyond the royal finances, possibly even holding the financial reforms hostage to gain concessions[[note]]Despite being a little dim, Louis was well aware that this is more or less exactly what had happened to [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfStuart Charles I of England]] about [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar 150 years previously]]. There was a ''reason'' that none of the French monarchs had seen fit to call one since 1614--an Estates-General was a powerful tool because of the immense legitimacy it had to make big changes, but that same legitimacy made it extremely ''dangerous''. Better, Louis thought, to try to make do with what was possible without the Estates.[[/note]] But the Assembly of Notables was his last chance, and they told him in no uncertain terms that he had no options. So in May 1789, King Louis XVI called a meeting of the Estates-General at Versailles.

The election of the 1789 Estates General brought people from across France to the government. Several of them being quite young and very few of them having direct experience in handling politics. Almost immediately it became clear that the Third Estate, whose representatives were from the middle classes, professionals and guild members, were in effect a separate ruling body on their own and that they represented France better than the first two estates. This realization that the fading aristocracy would have little voice and role in a more modern state brought about reactions in the government that only made their opponents bolder. This created the tensions of the Revolution, the proposals of changes were met by reactions which spurred even more radical proposals for changes [[SerialEscalation that provoked even more reactions and so on and so forth]]. Meanwhile, the people of France, especially in Paris were skeptical of changes happening slowly, and that the Third Estate while having wider representation than the First Two, was still not wide a representation as people expected. So they decided to take up arms. First the Bastille fell, then the King and Queen were dragged from Versailles to Tuileries by the Women of Paris and NothingIsTheSameAnymore.

After this, the Revolution faced a series of problems, all of them revolving on debates that began during UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment. Obviously old-fashioned autocratic Kingdom, DivineRightOfKings, class distinctions and religious control on social levers was getting [[DeaderThanDisco increasingly unacceptable]]. But aside from that, nobody was sure how how far they should go. If the King and Church was removed, what could take its place? The suggestion put forth was "the Nation" revolving around an ideal of a French identity that individuals of all classes, all beliefs in all regions could share with each other. Problem was, most of France, outside of the Paris Basin, don't really feel this unified 'French' identity, and nobody's sure how, if at all, this idea of the "nation" can really replace traditions of feudal monarchy backed by the Church that was more than a millennia old. A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States and the ancient world, which covered a smaller area. Even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the intellectual spirit behind the Revolution, was skeptical of a Republic governing a large area of land, and his idea of the social contract revolved around smaller communities and urban centers[[note]]When the UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth asked Rousseau for suggestions on how to make reforms, Rousseau despite his later idealist reputation was quite moderate, skeptical and reasonable, telling the Commonwealth to go carefully since the Commonwealth's large area of land federal arrangement made a consensus for nation-building quite difficult on a wide expanse of land, especially given the Commonwealth's multi-ethnic dimension[[/note]].

Their approach to separating church and state faced greater huddles than that faced during the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution since they lacked a pre-established dissenting tradition[[note]]Many American protestant sects originated as exiles or emigrants from Europe, fleeing the Anglican Church so they were already opposed to one denomination of Christianity enforced from above. This made them amenable to the First Amendment[[/note]]. France was "the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church" and a fortress during the Counter-Reformation, and the Church was the largest land owner in France, and heavily involved in culture, society and rituals, which put the Church in opposition to all measures to reform finances, fix the economic crisis and establish nationalism. They had support from reformist priests and bishops[[note]]Many of them joined the Church out of career, position, education opportunities and had no real religious belief. This includes Abbe Emmanuel Sieyes, the Bishop Talleyrand. Only Henri Gregoire, the most revolutionary and progressive of this group, displayed authentic religious belief[[/note]] but not a complete consensus. The policy put in by the Revolutionaries was the well-intentioned mess of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It demanded that priests across France swear an oath to the Republic above the Pope, accept wages from the government and devolve to the status of civil servants and accept nationalization and confiscation of Church property.[[/note]] This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in the Paris Basin, but it failed in the Western regions, known today as the Vendee, where the local nobles and priests were well liked and respected by the people and the confiscation of property led to the destruction of local catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants but in the Vendee, it was bought up by local merchant-elites, and thanks to LoopholeAbuse in the "abolition of seigneural dues" and weak implementation of the same, these merchants continued to extort taxes among the people who had limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution opposed changes and loss of privileges on general principle, the Civil Constitutional became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional peasants, especially after it was condemned by the Pope.

The other major issue was who gets to vote. The only thing everyone (Constitutional-Royalist-Girondin-Feuillant-Jacobin) agreed on was that [[StayInTheKitchen only men can vote]], [[FairForItsDay on this they agreed with the American Founding Fathers and the English Parliamentarians. But on other issues they disagreed.]] The National Assembly instituted a distinction between active and passive citizenship (suffrage censitaire) where active citizens[[note]]Wealthy tax paying property owners[[/note]] could vote but passive citizens could not. This struck many as [[FullCircleRevolution a revival of feudal caste distinctions]] and was opposed by the likes of UsefulNotes/MaximilienRobespierre who pushed for universal adult male suffrage without property and class distinctions. But the historical precedent at the time was that no Republic or Democracy in the classical world, medieval world and for that matter America, ever had universal suffrage[[note]]The classical tradition beloved by all politicians were schooled in the philosophy and ideas of the Optimate Republicans of Ancient Rome such as Cato and Cicero who had vociferously and repeatedly agitated against expanding suffrage, ideas which were taken up by populares such as the Gracchi, Marius, Caesar and historically associated, [[AristocratsAreEvil in the conservative imaginary]], with authoritarianism and majoritarianism[[/note]]. The people of Paris and other parts of France, gathering in a variety of political clubs[[note]]Membership was expensive and open only to men who could pay, but the club assemblies were open to public and free. They also distributed political pamphlets, and introduced for the first time in the political lexicon, a word borrowed from the Catholic Church for distributing information to prospective converts, ''propaganda''[[/note]] obviously resented these distinctions between passive and active citizens [[DudeWheresMyRespect and felt miffed about having no voice]] after all the public support they gave to [[UngratefulBastard the Third Estate and Assembly]]. Repeated dismissals of these gatherings as a mob, also made them partial to the idea of "direct democracy"; where the assemblies of people in the Paris Commune, clubs and other parts of the nation were no less legitimate than the actions and goings on of the National Assembly. After all the Assembly claimed their legitimacy from popular sovereignty, and how could representatives compete with actual popular gatherings.[[note]]Some of the popular revolutionaries actually believed sovereignty to be an inversion of royal power. When the King had decreed an act, it was absolute and irrevocable. Now that the republic was based on popular sovereignty that meant people were sovereign just like the King was. These assemblies likewise believed that they were the people, they were sovereign, so what ''they'' say goes. When the King called for death, no one could argue otherwise, so when they call for death...well too bad for you[[/note]]

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\nThe era in French History known for UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] giving her subjects dietary advice. They responded saying "Let Them Eat Cake" for which the people responded, by storming the Bastille and putting Bastille, then Versailles, until the found her and her husband Louis XVI to death by the guillotine. and guillotined them, and a few other nobles for good measure. Everyone in this time period wore pastel-colored satin, big fancy wigs, wigs[[note]]Wigs in fact went out of style during the Revolution itself, only recalcitrant dandies like Robespierre were still wearing them by 1794[[/note]], fake beauty marks, and snorted snuff like it was cocaine. Unless they were poor, in which case they wore trousers ''sans culottes'' with tricolor badges and sang "String the aristocrats from the lamp posts!" whilst [[TorchesAndPitchforks waving their pitchforks]] and gnashing their rotting teeth. Don't forget teeth while shouting about taking down ''l'Ancien Régime'', a word invented during the Revolution to describe what they were fighting against.Régime''. It promised Liberty, Equality, Fraternity but [[MeetTheNewBoss led to the rise of]] UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. He marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality.

nationality. That's TheThemeParkVersion. The real history of the French Revolution was even more of [[GambitPileup a wild ride.ride]].

Start with a series of nations (Britanny, Gascogne, etc. etc.) that kind of hate and yet have to share a realm little in common with each other, bound, if at all, other but are bound by King and Church. There was also the fact that France was drained by three major world [[UsefulNotes/WarOfTheSpanishSuccession three]] [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar major]] [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution world]] wars in the last hundred years, and lots of smaller ones besides (UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution in particular, which basically boiled down to Britain vs France [[note]]The Revolutionary War had fronts in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and India [[/note]] to get back for [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar the last one]]). In addition, there are besides. There were these expensive-to-make-and-keep royal palaces, a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country, a nobility that did not want to pay exorbitant taxes even if they had money and didn't use it at all, with the emerging middle and lower-classes being asked to foot an exorbitant bill. A feudal nation held in an obsolete Absolute Monarchy that missed the reforms that modernized England in the last hundred years, leaving France with a rigid social system more or less akin to castes. Over and above, there was the escalating famine, where bread is too expensive for the average person in the Parisian Basin to buy. What The famous cahiers de doléances ([[LongList list of grievances]]) petitioned in 1789 outlined the great Mirabeau said frustration people across France felt towards the government and society, complaining about hunting rights, pointless taxes, poor infrastructure, corrupt nobles, corrupt priests and general frustration. Alexis de Tocqueville later noted that the elite cahiers essentially called for "the simultaneous and systematic abolition of France's slave-run colony in Haiti applies equally to all the metropole, "They were sleeping on laws and and all the slopes of Vesuvius."

Even
customs obtaining throughout the kingdom." The King realized this, himself shared some of this frustration, and he and his various finance ministers (Turgot, Necker, and Callonne) spent the better part of the 1780s trying to figure out a way to reform the royal finances and thus avert financial catastrophe. catastrophe.

They had a number of good ideas (and a large number of not-so-good ones), but that didn't really matter because in order for any royal decree to come into effect as law, it had to be registered by the ''parlements''[[note]] Local judicial and quasi-legislative assemblies of jurists across France that held an important role in France's legislative process (you thought the King's word was law? He wished!) As it so happened, the ''parlements'' were made up of people who to the last man would be adversely affected by any serious reform, and they used every trick in the book to prevent or at least delay registration of any reform laws--and very effectively, since they were all lawyers.[[/note]] Thus in late 1786, the King called an "Assembly of Notables"--an appointed body of high-ranking and prominent men called in to advise the King, not called since 1620, in the hope that that would pressure the ''parlements'' to register the laws. No such luck--when the Notables met in 1787, they were mostly from the same class as the members of the ''parlements'', and uniformly the response of the Assembly was "We can't help you. The only way to get around the ''parlements'' is to call the Estates-General."

Louis wasn't too pleased at this, since (1) he knew that (the Assembly of Notables, after all, existed to ''go through'' the ''parlements'' by making them succumb to pressure), and (2) calling
" Calling an Estates-General was exactly what he'd been UsefulNotes/LouisXVI was trying to avoid. The Estates-General was an ancient body, going back to the truly feudal era, and largely similar to the old structure of the English/British Parliament: an assembly of clergy (the "First Estate"), an assembly of nobles (the "Second Estate"),[[note]]Of course, these first two are merged in the English system, but let's forget that[[/note]] system to become the House of Lords[[/note]] and of everyone else (the "Third Estate"); each Estate"). Each "estate" chose its representatives, who would then meet and discuss and advise the King on important matters of state--particularly matters of finance (as France's patchwork tax system was often structured in a way that made it hard to change without an Estates-General). Louis knew that if he called an Estates-General, he could probably force through the needed financial reforms, but he also knew that the same Estates-General might attempt to conduct reforms and make demands that went beyond the royal finances, possibly even holding the financial reforms hostage to gain concessions[[note]]Despite being a little dim, Louis was well aware that this is more or less exactly what had happened to [[UsefulNotes/TheHouseOfStuart Charles I of England]] about [[UsefulNotes/EnglishCivilWar 150 years previously]]. There was a ''reason'' that none of the French monarchs had seen fit to call one since 1614--an Estates-General was a powerful tool because of the immense legitimacy it had to make big changes, but that same legitimacy made it extremely ''dangerous''. Better, Louis thought, to try to make do with what was possible without the Estates.[[/note]] But the Assembly of Notables was his last chance, and they told him in no uncertain terms that he had no options. So in May 1789, King Louis XVI called a meeting of the Estates-General at Versailles.

The election of the 1789 Estates General brought people from across France to the government. Several of them being quite young and very few of them having direct experience in handling politics. Almost immediately it became clear that the Third Estate, whose representatives were from the middle classes, professionals and guild members, were in effect a separate ruling body on their own and that they represented France better than the first two estates. This realization that the fading aristocracy would have little voice and role in a more modern state brought about reactions in the government that only made their opponents bolder. This created the tensions of the Revolution, the proposals of changes were met by reactions which spurred even more radical proposals for changes [[SerialEscalation that provoked even more reactions and so on and so forth]]. Meanwhile, the people of France, especially in Paris emboldened by the initiative of the National Assembly (the ci-devant Third Estate) and responding to rumors (some of it was true) that troops were skeptical marching to shut down the Third Estate and the city of Paris, stormed the Bastille in search of arms. This marked the start of the Revolution, with a peasant revolt breaking out in the countryside as peasants attacked castles and noble mansions and literally set fire to records containing list of dues they owe to their seigneur. Feudalism was itself abolished in the following month with changes happening slowly, quickly and that the Third Estate while having wider representation than the First Two, was still not wide a representation as people expected. So they decided to take up arms. First the Bastille fell, then rapidly. Finally, in October, the King and Queen were dragged from Versailles to Tuileries by the Women of Paris and Paris. By which point, NothingIsTheSameAnymore.

After this, the Revolution faced a series of problems, all of them revolving on debates that began during UsefulNotes/TheEnlightenment. Obviously old-fashioned autocratic Kingdom, DivineRightOfKings, class distinctions and religious control on social levers was getting [[DeaderThanDisco increasingly unacceptable]]. But aside from that, nobody was sure how how far they should go. If the King and Church was removed, what could take its place? The suggestion put forth was "the Nation" revolving around an ideal a conception of a French identity that individuals of all classes, all beliefs in all regions could share with each other.and accept. Problem was, most of France, outside of the Paris Basin, don't really feel this unified 'French' identity, and nobody's sure how, if at all, this idea of the "nation" can really replace traditions of feudal monarchy backed by the Church that was more than a millennia old. A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States and the ancient world, which covered a smaller area. Even Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the intellectual spirit behind the Revolution, was skeptical of a Republic governing a large area of land, and his about the idea of the social contract revolved around smaller communities and urban centers[[note]]When a republican nation state[[note]]When the UsefulNotes/PolishLithuanianCommonwealth asked Rousseau for suggestions on how to make reforms, Rousseau despite his later idealist reputation was quite moderate, skeptical and reasonable, telling the Commonwealth to go carefully since the Commonwealth's large area of land federal arrangement made a consensus for nation-building quite difficult on a wide expanse of land, especially given the Commonwealth's multi-ethnic dimension[[/note]].

Their approach to The question of separating church Church and state faced greater huddles State, provided a different set of problems and tools than that faced during available to the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution since they lacked leaders of the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution[[note]]Who enjoyed the presence of a pre-established dissenting tradition[[note]]Many tradition since many American protestant sects originated as exiles or emigrants from Europe, fleeing the Anglican Church so they were already opposed to one denomination of Christianity enforced from above.above which made them easier to accept a state that no other sect, and by extension no other religion, could interfere with in exchange for the state not interfering or presenting any official position on religion. This made them amenable to the First Amendment[[/note]]. France was "the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church" and a fortress during pillar of the Counter-Reformation, and the Church was the its largest land owner in France, and owner; heavily involved in culture, society and rituals, which put placing them in the Church in opposition firing range to all many measures to reform finances, finance, fix the economic crisis economy and establish nationalism. They had support from reformist priests and bishops[[note]]Many of them joined the Church out of career, position, education opportunities and had no real religious belief. This includes Abbe Emmanuel Sieyes, the Bishop Talleyrand. Only Henri Gregoire, the most revolutionary and progressive of this group, displayed authentic religious belief[[/note]] but not a complete consensus. The policy put in by the Revolutionaries result was the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It demanded that priests across France swear an oath to the Republic above the Pope, accept wages from the government and devolve to the status of civil servants and accept nationalization and confiscation of Church property.[[/note]] This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in the Paris Basin, but it failed in the Western regions, known today as the Vendee, where the local nobles and priests were well liked and respected by the people and the confiscation of property led to the destruction of local catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants but in the Vendee, it was bought up by local merchant-elites, and thanks to LoopholeAbuse in the "abolition of seigneural dues" and weak implementation of the same, these merchants continued to extort taxes among the people who had limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution opposed changes and loss of privileges on general principle, the Civil Constitutional Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional peasants, peasants]], especially after it was condemned by the Pope.

The other major Then there's the issue was of who gets to vote. The About the only thing everyone (Constitutional-Royalist-Girondin-Feuillant-Jacobin) (Royalist-Centrist-Leftist) agreed on was that [[StayInTheKitchen only men can vote]], [[FairForItsDay [[ValuesDissonance on this they agreed with the American Founding Fathers and the English Parliamentarians. Parliamentarians]]. But on other issues they disagreed.]] The National Assembly instituted a distinction after that, the disagreements began. Initially there was suffrage censitatire -- distinctions between active and passive citizenship (suffrage censitaire) citizenship, where active citizens[[note]]Wealthy citizens (wealthy tax paying property owners[[/note]] owners) could vote but passive citizens could not. This struck many as [[FullCircleRevolution a revival of feudal caste distinctions]] and was opposed by the likes of UsefulNotes/MaximilienRobespierre who pushed for universal adult male suffrage without property and class distinctions. But distinctions]], but the historical precedent at the time was that no Republic or Democracy in the classical world, medieval world and for that matter America, ever had universal suffrage[[note]]The classical tradition beloved by all politicians were schooled in the philosophy and ideas of the Optimate Republicans of Ancient Rome such as Cato and Cicero who had vociferously and repeatedly agitated against expanding suffrage, ideas which were taken up by populares such as the Gracchi, Marius, Caesar and historically associated, [[AristocratsAreEvil in the conservative imaginary]], with authoritarianism and majoritarianism[[/note]]. The people of Paris and other parts of France, gathering in a variety of political clubs[[note]]Membership was expensive and open only to men who could pay, but the club assemblies were open to public and free. They also distributed political pamphlets, and introduced for the first time in the political lexicon, a word borrowed from the Catholic Church for distributing information to prospective converts, ''propaganda''[[/note]] obviously resented these distinctions between passive and active citizens [[DudeWheresMyRespect and felt miffed about having no voice]] after all the public support they gave to [[UngratefulBastard the Third Estate and Assembly]]. Repeated dismissals of these gatherings as a mob, also made them partial to the idea of "direct democracy"; where the assemblies of people in the Paris Commune, clubs and other parts of the nation were no less legitimate than the actions and goings on of the National Assembly. After all the Assembly claimed their legitimacy from popular sovereignty, and how could representatives compete with actual popular gatherings.[[note]]Some of the popular revolutionaries actually believed sovereignty to be an inversion of royal power. When the King had decreed an act, it was absolute and irrevocable. Now that the republic was based on popular sovereignty that meant people were sovereign just like the King was. These assemblies likewise believed that they were the people, they were sovereign, so what ''they'' say goes. When the King called for death, no one could argue otherwise, so when they call for death...well too bad for you[[/note]]



The Revolution's liberal and progressive achievements was enshrined in The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. Several basic rights were first outlined here. In a radical idea at the time, divorce was legalized and so was, surprisingly, homosexual sex. Guilds were abolished, allowing more people to enter professions that had previously placed stringent requirements meant to protect its members from competition. It also expanded equal rights of citizenship to minorities such as Jews and Protestants, and later free men of colour and mulattos. The more radical measures from the later parts of the revolution would be reversed by the time of Napoleon's arrival, or even before it, but these measures still proved important for the later development of democracy. This includes the first general election of elected representatives by universal male suffrage in the history of the world. This took place in 1792 after the August 10 Insurrection and the establishment of the First French Republic[[note]]Actual voter turnout given the chaos, and primitive means of communication, was low. The presence and activity of the political clubs and their ability to mobilize voters and suggest who best represented them would today smack of political machinery, while the repression of royalists falls short of multi-party plurality. But [[FairForItsDay this was still a huge radical measure and a great advance for modern democracy]][[/note]]. The other radical measure is the first general abolition of slavery in the Western World, without pre-conditions or compensation for slaveowners. This took place in February 1794, in response to the Revolution in Haiti[[note]]Initial attempts by Mirabeau to get his colleagues to support total abolition fell on deaf years, and the Assembly largely followed a moderate line of expanding rights to mulattos and freedmen in France's Caribbean colonies but made no calls for total abolition since [[OlderThanTheyThink the slaveowning lobby of Club Massiac]] was quite active and influential in stifling these calls. The Committee of Public Safety dispatched Victor Hugues to enforce abolition in France's colonies and in Guadaloupe, Hugues commanded a desegregated army of Frenchmen, Freedmen and rebellious slaves to repel an alliance of slaveowners and Englishmen. But after Thermidor, the Republic was less interested in enforcing the decree, backsliding on enforcing it in the island of Reunion, before Napoleon halted and reversed the decree, appointing the same Victor Hugues to re-enslave manumitted slaves and send them back to their owners[[/note]].

Ever since the Revolution took place, it has been one of the most debated and contested of all historical events, if not, ''the'' most contested and debated event. Conservatives disapproved of the radical transformation from a feudal society, reactionaries argued that the whole event was arranged by a small minority of the Freemasons and TheIlluminati and had zero popular support[[note]][[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer No, seriously]]. The illuminati conspiracy originated in response to the Revolution[[/note]]. Moderate 19th Century liberals argued that everything was going fine but was derailed by radicals who were greedy for voting rights they didn't merit, rather than trusting in their carefully voted-in elites. Radical revolutionaries unsurprisingly took inspiration from the Terror and saw it as either the birth of true socialism, or a tool by which socialism could be introduced and believed the events failed because its leaders were ''too'' moderate. Unsurprisingly, these "interpretations" of the events of the period usually say much more about later political developments than they are accurate reflections of the conditions and tensions of the real events. UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies of the 19th and 20th Century, and the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]], to this very day, is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived). Indeed, the French Revolution also affected American politics.[[note]] Many political clubs developed in America in imitation of the French, much to President Washington's displeasure. The pro-Revolution camp was called "Democrat" by Citizen Genet (a Girondin ambassador who got stranded in America when the ReignOfTerror was unleashed).[[/note]] The Revolution also codified tropes associated with nationalism, such as national flags[[note]]The French tricoleur comprised of the colours of Paris (red and blue) sandwiching the royal white. It's no coincidence that the national flags of many countries in the 19th and 20th Century follow the tri-colour pattern[[/note]], national festivals, holidays, monuments open to the public, museums and institutions for public education.

An example of the variety of viewpoints is: in England "Jacobin" means "Jacobin", in America "Jacobin" means "fanatic", in Austria "Jacobin" means people like Alexander I of Russia, and in France "Jacobin" means "anti-federalists". To this day, the
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The Revolution's liberal and progressive achievements was enshrined in The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. Several basic rights were first outlined here. In a radical idea at the time, divorce was legalized and so was, surprisingly, homosexual sex. Guilds were abolished, allowing more people to enter professions that had previously placed stringent requirements meant to protect its members from competition. It also expanded equal rights of citizenship to minorities such as Jews and Protestants, and later free men of colour and mulattos. The more radical measures from the later parts of the revolution would be reversed by the time of Napoleon's arrival, or even before it, but these measures still proved important for the later development of democracy. This includes the first general election of elected representatives by universal male suffrage in the history of the world. This took place in 1792 after the August 10 Insurrection and the establishment of the First French Republic[[note]]Actual voter turnout given the chaos, and primitive means of communication, was low. The presence and activity of the political clubs and their ability to mobilize voters and suggest who best represented them would today smack of political machinery, while the repression of royalists falls short of multi-party plurality. But [[FairForItsDay this was still a huge radical measure and a great advance for modern democracy]][[/note]]. The other radical measure is the first general abolition of slavery in the Western World, without pre-conditions or compensation for slaveowners. This took place in February 1794, in response to the Revolution in Haiti[[note]]Initial attempts by Mirabeau to get his colleagues to support total abolition fell on deaf years, and the Assembly largely followed a moderate line of expanding rights to mulattos and freedmen in France's Caribbean colonies but made no calls for total abolition since [[OlderThanTheyThink the slaveowning lobby of Club Massiac]] was quite active and influential in stifling these calls. The Committee of Public Safety dispatched Victor Hugues to enforce abolition in France's colonies and in Guadaloupe, Hugues commanded a desegregated army of Frenchmen, Freedmen and rebellious slaves to repel an alliance of slaveowners and Englishmen. But after Thermidor, the Republic was less interested in enforcing the decree, backsliding on enforcing it in the island of Reunion, before Napoleon halted and reversed the decree, appointing the same Victor Hugues to re-enslave manumitted slaves and send them back to their owners[[/note]].masters[[/note]].

Ever since the Revolution took place, it has been one of the most debated and contested of all historical events, if not, ''the'' most contested and debated event. Conservatives disapproved of the such radical social transformation from a feudal society, on basic principle, reactionaries argued that the whole event was arranged by a small minority of the Freemasons and TheIlluminati and had zero popular support[[note]][[NotMakingThisUpDisclaimer No, seriously]]. The illuminati conspiracy originated in response to the Revolution[[/note]]. Moderate 19th Century liberals argued that everything was going fine but was derailed by radicals who were greedy for voting rights they didn't merit, rather than trusting in their carefully voted-in elites. Radical revolutionaries unsurprisingly took inspiration from the Terror and saw it as either the birth of true socialism, or a tool by which socialism could be introduced means for bringing about [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans utopian changes to society]] and believed the events failed because its leaders were ''too'' moderate. Unsurprisingly, these "interpretations" of the events of the period interpretations usually say much more about later political developments than they are accurate reflections of the conditions and tensions of the real events. UsefulNotes/PoliticalIdeologies of the 19th and 20th Century, and the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]], to this very day, is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived). Indeed, the [[note]]The French Revolution also affected American politics.[[note]] politics. Many political clubs developed in America in imitation of the French, much to President Washington's displeasure. The pro-Revolution camp was called "Democrat" by Citizen Genet (a Girondin ambassador who got stranded in America when the ReignOfTerror was unleashed).[[/note]] The Revolution also [[TropeMaker made]] and [[TropeCodifier codified tropes tropes]] associated with nationalism, such as national flags[[note]]The French tricoleur comprised of the colours of Paris (red and blue) sandwiching the royal white. It's no coincidence that the national flags of many countries in the 19th and 20th Century follow the tri-colour pattern[[/note]], national festivals, holidays, national holidays on significant anniversaries, monuments open to the public, museums and institutions for public education.

An example
education. It was once described as the beginning of the variety of viewpoints is: in England "Jacobin" means "Jacobin", in America "Jacobin" means "fanatic", in Austria "Jacobin" means people like Alexander I of Russia, modern age, and while later postmodernist historians questioned the idea of "modern" and its exclusivity to a single event, it is still considered a seminal moment in France "Jacobin" means "anti-federalists". To this day, the
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