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By the morning after, some of the deputies were having second thoughts.

Table of contents

The final text of the decree required most feudal rights to be bought out rather than flatly abolished. Abolition without compensation was eventually decreed by the Jacobin Convention in July On 5 October some six or seven thousand women, followed by 20, men of the National Guard, marched from Paris to Versailles.

French Revolution

They forced Louis to ratify the decrees and to come to Paris. Versailles would never again be a royal palace. In Paris, the Assembly continued to redesign society according to the ideas current among the more enlightened of the wealthy classes. It decreed free trade in grain August and made loans at interest legal October It declared equal rights for Protestants December and for Jews January It abolished titles June , and guilds and monopolies March It adopted a Constitution September , with voting limited by money qualifications. It also banned trade unions June The Assembly also had to tackle the money crisis which had ruined the old regime.

This is did by confiscating Church lands and selling them November If Church property was confiscated, how were the priests to be supported? The Assembly adopted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy July , making priests salaried state officials.

It was the first step towards confrontation between the Revolution and the majority of France's priests, supported by millions of pious peasants. The bishops stalled.

Les Miserables and France's many revolutions - Enlightenment and Revolution - Khan Academy

On 27 November the Assembly adopted a demand that all priests swear loyalty to the constitution. In May and August measures were adopted providing for deportation of priests who refused to swear loyalty. The leaders of the Assembly, Lafayette and Mirabeau, wanted compromise and stabilisation. But both revolution and counter-revolution were gathering force.

The reforming ideas discussed among the wealthy few before were setting fire to millions; more and more nobles were emigrating and mobilising support from the aristocratic and royal families of other countries. Factions "right" and "left" formed in the Assembly. The press expanded hugely, from 60 papers in all France to in Paris alone. General people's assemblies met frequently in the 60 districts, and then, after May , the 48 sections, of Paris.

The position of Lafayette and Mirabeau, the constitutional monarchist leaders, became precarious. On 20 June the king, increasingly frustrated, tried to escape from Paris and link up with counter-revolutionary troops on the frontier. He was intercepted and brought back to Paris. A demonstration in Paris on 17 July demanding a republic was dispersed by the National Guard, who shot dead 50 people.

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The Counter-Revolution in France 1787–1830

On 1 October the Legislative Assembly, elected according to the new Constitution with a money qualification for voting, convened. The dominant faction in it were the Feuillants, liberal monarchists who had split from the Jacobins in July Agitation for war was launched by a section of the Jacobins round Brissot later called Girondins, because many of them came from the Gironde, the area round the great port of Bordeaux.

A section of the left, round Robespierre and Marat, opposed war; people would not like "missionaries with bayonets", and the war could lead to a military dictatorship in France. But on 20 April France declared war on Austria. The war would radicalise and harshen the Revolution, bringing first the Girondins and then Robespierre to power; but it would also vindicate Robespierre's warnings. Louis XVI appointed a Girondin ministry. The war went badly. The Girondin leaders said aristocrats were secretly plotting for an Austrian victory and indeed the Court was.

On 12 June Louis sacked the Girondin ministers and replaced them by Feuillants. Tension grew.

Lafayette tried to get the National Guard to suppress the Jacobins. The Paris sections went into permanent session. Citizens without the money qualification for voting were allowed into section meetings and into the National Guard. The armies opposed to France issued a manifesto threatening "exemplary vengeance" and "military execution".

On 10 August a revolutionary committee, based on the sections, took over the city administration of Paris. The National Guard and volunteer troops from Marseilles stormed the king's palace. The Girondin ministers were restored, and the Assembly decided that a Convention would be elected by universal male suffrage. Lafayette, having failed to get his troops to march on Paris, gave himself up to the Austrians on 19 August. On 21 September the Convention met and declared France a Republic.


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On September armed crowds rampaged through the city's prisons and massacred the prisoners, not just the counter-revolutionaries but also common criminals. This atrocity, however, was not typical of the great uprisings which set the course of the Revolution: 14 July , 5 October , 10 August Those uprisings were far from modern working-class methods of struggle like strikes and factory occupations.

But they were not wild riots. Apart from 14 July , they all relied on organisation, through the clubs, the sections, and the National Guard; their political aims were set by hours and hours of debate in the sections beforehand. They were based on the working petty bourgeoisie sans-culottes rather than the very poorest people of the city. Of Parisians active on 10 August whose occupations are known, 95 were shopkeepers, small traders, craft workers or journeymen. The members of the revolutionary Convention were mostly from the next layer up of the middle class.

French Revolution - Wikiwand

Of members of the Convention, fully were lawyers, were other professionals, and 83 were merchants, manufacturers, or bankers. The Convention was further to the left than the Legislative Assembly. The Girondins, who had split away from the Jacobin Club, had a majority. But now they, like others before, would be ruined by their efforts to keep the Revolution within limits acceptable to the wealthy.

They voted to condemn Louis XVI but tried to avoid the death penalty; he was guillotined on 21 January. Obstinately sticking to free trade, they rejected growing popular demands, from late , for price controls on bread; the Jacobins did not like those demands either, but were more willing to bend to them.

On 31 May and 2 June a committee which had been set up by 33 of the 48 Paris sections organised a new uprising which forced the Convention to expel 29 Girondin leaders.

About this book

The Jacobins came to power. The new Jacobin regime decreed the final abolition without compensation of all feudal rights. It adopted a new Constitution on 24 June which, while insisting on the bourgeois rights of property, proclaimed many of the principles of the modern parliamentary welfare state: universal male suffrage, the right to work or maintenance, public education for all.

The Constitution was quickly overwhelmed by the emergencies of war and counter-revolution. The Girondins launched armed revolts in the provinces. The counter-revolutionaries scored victories in the Vendee. On 26 July the Convention declared the death penalty for hoarders.

Protestants, including legitimists, were advocates of liberty of conscience

On 5 September the Paris Commune organised a new uprising, forcing the Convention decision on "revolutionary armies" to requisition grain and to promise a "General Maximum" - general price controls on food, legislated on 9 September. This uprising started as a demonstration of building and other workers for bread and higher wages on 4 September; the petty-bourgeois Commune first tried to disperse this demonstration by military force, then co-opted it, asking employers, too, to close their workshops on the 5th and march on the Convention.

On 22 October the Committee of Public Safety set up a special committee with sweeping powers to control production and trade and to requisition supplies. At the same time the Jacobins moved to secure themselves against the left. Militant sans-culotte leaders were arrested. The sections were restricted to two meetings a week.