History UsefulNotes / TheFrenchRevolution

1st Apr '17 10:16:14 PM karstovich2
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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:

Louis knew that if he called an Estates-General, he could probably force through the needed financial reforms, but he reforms. The Estates-General, being an assembly of all major groups of French society, would have the unquestioned legitimate authority to make whatever changes it wanted to the kingdom's revenue and financial systems. However, Louis also knew that the same Estates-General might legitimacy would allow it to 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.
25th Mar '17 5:46:55 AM Morgenthaler
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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 they 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 {{Literature/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.

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 they 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 {{Literature/Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace [[Literature/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.
23rd Mar '17 8:45:12 PM LeGurdah
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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 {{Literature/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.

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 they 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 {{Literature/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.
20th Mar '17 2:16:42 AM Jhonny
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* The third season of ''Podcast/{{Revolutions}}'' by Creator/MikeDuncan is a history of the French Revolution. It is engrossing and highly detailed for a non-academic history, and by far the longest season of the podcast, clocking in at 54 approximately half-hour episodes, plus a few supplemental episodes, for what is about ''27 hours'' of material on the subject. The next-longest (Season 5, on UsefulNotes/SimonBolivar and the South American wars of independence) only had 27 episodes plus supplementals, and none of the other seasons exceed 20 episodes (though the upcoming Season 7, on the Revolutions of 1848, promises to be about as epic).

to:

* The third season of ''Podcast/{{Revolutions}}'' by Creator/MikeDuncan is a history of the French Revolution. It is engrossing and highly detailed for a non-academic history, and by far the longest season of the podcast, clocking in at 54 approximately half-hour episodes, plus a few supplemental episodes, for what is about ''27 hours'' of material on the subject. The next-longest (Season 5, on UsefulNotes/SimonBolivar and the South American wars of independence) only had 27 episodes plus supplementals, and none of the other seasons exceed 20 episodes (though the upcoming Season 7, on the Revolutions of 1848, promises to be about as epic).
epic). The French Revolution is also discussed in Season 4 when Duncan deals with the Haitian Revolution (Haiti starting out as a French colony with the vast majority of its population slaves) and the early episodes of Season 5 naturally mention how events in Europe (mostly France and Spain) influenced Spanish America.
19th Mar '17 3:50:09 PM karstovich2
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* The third season of ''Podcast/{{Revolutions}}'' by Creator/MikeDuncan is a history of the French Revolution. It is engrossing and highly detailed for a non-academic history, and by far the longest season of the podcast (clocking in at 54 approximately half-hour episodes, plus a few supplemental episodes, for what is about ''27 hours'' of material on the subject--none of the others have gone beyond 19 episodes plus supplementals).

to:

* The third season of ''Podcast/{{Revolutions}}'' by Creator/MikeDuncan is a history of the French Revolution. It is engrossing and highly detailed for a non-academic history, and by far the longest season of the podcast (clocking podcast, clocking in at 54 approximately half-hour episodes, plus a few supplemental episodes, for what is about ''27 hours'' of material on the subject--none of subject. The next-longest (Season 5, on UsefulNotes/SimonBolivar and the others have gone beyond 19 South American wars of independence) only had 27 episodes plus supplementals).
supplementals, and none of the other seasons exceed 20 episodes (though the upcoming Season 7, on the Revolutions of 1848, promises to be about as epic).
19th Mar '17 3:41:13 PM karstovich2
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The result was the French Revolution's original sin: the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. This legislation 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. This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, including the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity. In relatively urbanized areas under close royal supervision, like the Paris Basin, people largely went along with the plan, even if there was some grumbling by the particularly devout (like, again, the King). By contrast, the Civil Constitution failed utterly in the Western regions, particularly in the region known as the Vendée, 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 Vendée, 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 a limited security net. This seriously undermined popular support for revolutionary aims. The aristocratic counterrevolutionaries opposed the Revolution's changes on general principle (as well as outrage for losing ancient privileges they felt entitled to), but their numbers were few and their political attitude could be best described as "utterly demoralized." By contrast, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero alienated poor but devout peasants]], who might have gone along with some of the Revolution's policies (after all, what kind of peasant doesn't want more land and lower taxes?), but turned permanently against the Revolution when it turned on their beloved Church--especially after the Civil Constitution was condemned by the Pope.

to:

The result was the French Revolution's original sin: the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. This legislation 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. This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, including the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity. In relatively urbanized areas under close royal supervision, like the Paris Basin, people largely went along with the plan, even if there was some grumbling by the particularly devout (like, again, the King). By contrast, the Civil Constitution failed utterly in the Western more rural regions, traditionally far away from royal influence. This was particularly true in the western region known as the Vendée, 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 Vendée, 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 a limited security net.

This seriously undermined popular support for revolutionary aims. The aristocratic counterrevolutionaries opposed the Revolution's changes on general principle (as well as outrage for losing ancient privileges they felt entitled to), but their numbers were few and their political attitude could be best described as "utterly demoralized." By contrast, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero alienated poor but devout peasants]], who might have gone along with some of the Revolution's policies (after all, what kind of peasant doesn't want more land and lower taxes?), but turned permanently against the Revolution when it turned on their beloved Church--especially after the Civil Constitution was condemned by the Pope. \n This led to a long-running counterrevolutionary revolt/insurgency in the Vendée (occasionally spreading to surrounding regions like Brittany). The insurgency became a constant, festering ulcer for the Revolution, often distracting from other policy priorities and threats (including foreign wars) at critical moments.
19th Mar '17 3:36:12 PM karstovich2
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Louis was not pleased at this response, because (1) he knew that (the point of the Assembly was not to get ''around'' the ''parlements'', but to encourage/pressure the ''parlements'' to do what the King wanted), and (2) calling the Estates-General was exactly what he and the royal ministry had 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 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.

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 citizens of 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, 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 master. Finally, in October, the King and Queen were dragged from Versailles to Tuileries by the Women of 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, 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.

Then there's the issue of who gets to vote. About the only thing everyone (Royalist-Centrist-Leftist) agreed on was that [[StayInTheKitchen only men can vote]], [[ValuesDissonance on this they agreed with the American Founding Fathers and the English Parliamentarians]]. But after that, the disagreements began. Initially there was suffrage censitatire -- distinctions between active and passive citizenship, where active citizens (wealthy tax paying property owners) could vote but passive citizens could not. This struck many as [[FullCircleRevolution a revival of feudal caste distinctions]], but the historical precedent at the time was that no Republic or Democracy in the classical world 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]]

to:

Louis was not pleased at this response, because (1) he knew that (the point of the Assembly was not to get ''around'' the ''parlements'', but to encourage/pressure the ''parlements'' to do what the King wanted), and (2) calling the Estates-General was exactly what he and the royal ministry had 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 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.

The election of the 1789 Estates General brought people from across France to the government. Several Many of them being the representatives were quite young and very few of them having had 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 became was public when, the Third Estate, upon finding out one day that their meeting hall was locked for some reason, chose to meet on their own in a tennis court--joined by some of the First Estate members representing the poor parish priests (who largely had concerns closer to those of the Third Estate than that of higher-ranking prelates) and a few liberal nobles. They took an oath not to disband, and eventually declared themselves the "National Assembly," inviting the First and Second Estates to sit with them. It quickly became impossible for the rest of the Estates to do anything without the "National Assembly's" approval. This made it most apparent that the fading aristocracy would have little voice and role in a more modern state brought about reactions in the government that only made government, both sides became bolder in their opponents bolder. positions. This created the tensions of the Revolution, the as 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]]. forth]].

Meanwhile, the citizens of 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, 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 master. Finally, in October, the King and Queen were dragged from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace in the city by the Women women of 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, 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. millennium old.

A few voices even suggested doing away with the King and declaring a Republic, republic, but most are still skeptical that a Republic republic can govern a large nation since it had hitherto only been observed in Italian City-States 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 French Revolution's original sin: the [[WellIntentionedExtremist well-intentioned mess]] of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy[[note]]It Clergy. This legislation 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]] property. This was truly divisive and controversial to say the least, since it offended the beliefs of many devout Catholics, namely including the King. The plan was also implemented without full understanding of regional diversity[[note]]It largely worked in diversity. In relatively urbanized areas under close royal supervision, like the Paris Basin, but it people largely went along with the plan, even if there was some grumbling by the particularly devout (like, again, the King). By contrast, the Civil Constitution failed utterly in the Western regions, particularly in the region known today as the Vendee, Vendée, 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 Catholic charities that catered to the poor. The Church property was also supposed to have been distributed among peasants peasants, but in the Vendee, Vendée, 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 a limited security net[[/note]] and while the Counter-Revolution net. This seriously undermined popular support for revolutionary aims. The aristocratic counterrevolutionaries opposed the Revolution's changes and loss of on general principle (as well as outrage for losing ancient privileges on general principle, they felt entitled to), but their numbers were few and their political attitude could be best described as "utterly demoralized." By contrast, the Civil Constitution [[NiceJobBreakingItHero became the rallying cry for their support among more traditional alienated poor but devout peasants]], especially who might have gone along with some of the Revolution's policies (after all, what kind of peasant doesn't want more land and lower taxes?), but turned permanently against the Revolution when it turned on their beloved Church--especially after it the Civil Constitution was condemned by the Pope.

Then there's the issue of who gets to vote. About the only thing everyone (Royalist-Centrist-Leftist) agreed on was that [[StayInTheKitchen only men can vote]], [[ValuesDissonance on this they agreed with the American Founding Fathers and the English Parliamentarians]]. But after that, the disagreements began. Initially there was suffrage censitatire -- distinctions censitatire--distinctions between active "active" and passive "passive" citizenship, where active citizens (wealthy tax paying property owners) could vote but passive citizens could not. This struck many as [[FullCircleRevolution a revival of feudal caste distinctions]], but the historical precedent at the time was that no Republic republic or Democracy democracy in the classical world ever had universal suffrage[[note]]The 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]]. 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 "passive" and active "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 masters[[/note]].

to:

The Revolution's liberal and progressive achievements was were 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 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, 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 masters[[/note]].
16th Mar '17 8:07:26 PM Serpensium
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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.

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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}} {{Literature/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.
11th Jan '17 6:05:17 PM nombretomado
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* ''LookToTheWest'' features an AlternateHistory version.

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* ''LookToTheWest'' ''Literature/LookToTheWest'' features an AlternateHistory version.
5th Dec '16 7:36:48 PM Xtifr
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** On the side of the counter-revolution, during the Restoration a number of myths were formed to glorify Jean Chouan as a martyr for the rebellion in Mayenne and Brittany. The real Chouan was called Jean Cottereau and he was a smuggler and suspected murderer who rose against the Republic because they were clamping down on his illegal businesses. The restoration transformed him into a ReactionaryFantasy of a Robin Hood who rose against an "unlawful" republic while living in the forest with his merry men.[[note]]In general a lot of the myths of the Chouannerie and Vendeean rebellion, until very recently, drew from oral histories and tall tales than actual research though the latter is compounded by the fact that very little first-hand records exist about the Civil War.[[/note]]

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** On the side of the counter-revolution, during the Restoration a number of myths were formed to glorify Jean Chouan as a martyr for the rebellion in Mayenne and Brittany. The real Chouan was called Jean Cottereau and he was a smuggler and suspected murderer who rose against the Republic because they were clamping down on his illegal businesses. The restoration transformed him into a ReactionaryFantasy reactionary fantasy of a Robin Hood who rose against an "unlawful" republic while living in the forest with his merry men.[[note]]In general a lot of the myths of the Chouannerie and Vendeean rebellion, until very recently, drew from oral histories and tall tales than actual research though the latter is compounded by the fact that very little first-hand records exist about the Civil War.[[/note]]
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