JAC Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

JAC Board Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

  • The French Revolution started on 14th July, 1789 with the storming of the fortress prison- the Bastille, hated by everybody, because it stood for the despotic power of the King. The fortress was demolished.
  • The beginning of chain of events started by the middle-class affected and shook the lower class and led to the execution of king in France followed by a revolt against monarchy.

→ Introduction

  • The French revolution is a landmark in the history of European continent and the world.
  • This revolution ended the monarchical system in France.
  • The slogan of French Revolution “liberty, equality and fraternity” became important ideas of the new era.

→ French Society During the Late Eighteenth Century

  • In 1774, Louis XVI of Bourbon family became the king of France.
  • Due to long years of war and maintenance of an extravagant court of the palace of Versailles, he got an empty treasury.
  • King Louis also helped thirteen American colonies to gain their indendence from Britain.
  • This war added more than 1 billion livres (unit of currency in France) to the already
    existing debt of more than 2 billion livres. .
  • To meet the expenses like maintaining army, court, running government offices or universities etc., the Franch government was forced to increase the taxes.
  • French society in the 18th century was divided into three estates and only members of the third estate paid taxes.
  • The three estates of France at that time were First Estate (the clergy), Second estate
    (the nobility), Third Estate (businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers, peasants, artisans, ladies, labour, servants etc.).

JAC Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

→ The Struggle to Survive

  • During 1715-1789, the population of France increased rapidly which led to rapid increase in demand for foodgrains.
  • Insufficient production increased the price of bread. But the wages of the workers did not keep pace with the rise in prices.
  • Situation became worse when bad weather conditions reduced the harvest. This condition created subsistence crisis.

→ Emergence of Middle Class

  • In the 18th century, a new social group emerged which was known as the middle class. They had become rich by expansion of overseas trade and manufacturing goods.
  • This group believed that no group of society should be privileged by birth.
  • Philosophers like John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu considered that the middle class was solely responsible for the revolution.
  • They spread the ideas of freedom, equal laws and opportunities for all.

→ The Outbreak of the Revolution

  • On 5th May, 1789 Louis XVI called for an assembly of the Estates General to pass the proposals for new taxes.
  • First, second and third estates sent their representatives.
  • Peasants, artisans and women were denied entry to the assembly but they sent their demands and grievances through their representatives.
  • The members of the third estate demanded that voting should be conducted by taking assembly as a whole. But King Louis XVI rejected this proposal and members of the third estate walked out of the assembly in protest.
  • On 20th June, 1789, the representatives of the third estate assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in Versailles.
  • They declared themselves a National Assembly.
  • They also swore to draft a new constitution for France that would limit the powers of the monarch.
  • The representatives of the third estate were led by Mirabeau and Abbe Sieyes.
  • Due to severe winter, harvest was severely affected in France, which led to the increase in prices of essential commodities.
  • After spending many hours in long queues at the bakery, crowds of angry women raided the shops.
  • On 14th July, 1789, an agitated craud stormed and destroyeed the Bastille.
  • Seeing the power of the revolt, King Louis XVI recognised the proposal of National Assembly that his powers would be checked by a constitution.
  • On the night of 4th August, 1789. France passed the law for abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes.

→ France Becomes a Constitutional Monarchy

  • The National Assembly completed the draft of the constitution in 1791. Its main objective was to limit the powers of the monarch.
  • Under the new constitution, the laws were to be made by the National Assembly.
  • The constitution began with a declaration of the right of man and citizen.

→  France Abolishes Moranchy and Becomes a Republic

  • The National Assembly declared war against Prussia and Austria in April, 1792.
  • While men were busy fighting at the front, women had to earn a living and look after their families.
  • A large segment of the population was convinced to carry the revolution further, as the constitution of 1791 gave political rights only to the richer section.
  • On 10th August, 1792, the Jacobins attacked the palace of the Tuileries with a large number of Parisians.
  • They killed the King’s guards and held the king himself as hostage for several hours.
  • New election were held and all the men above 21 years of age were allowed to vote.
  • The newly elected assembly, the Convention, abolished monarchy on 21st September, 1792 and declared France as a‘Republic’.
  • King Louis XVI was sentenced to death by a court on the charge of treason.

→ The Reign of Terror

  • The period from 1793 to 1794 is reffered to as the ‘Reign of Terror’ in France.
  • Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment.
  • Due to his harsh policies, his supporters left him in the end. He was finally convicted by a court and guillotined in July 1794.

→ A Directory Rules France

  • After the fall of the Jacobin government, the wealthier middle classes seized power.
  • The new constitution was introduced which denied the right to vote to non-propertied society.
  • It provided for two elected legislative councils. These councils appointed a Directory, an executive made up of five members.
  • The political in stability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator- Napoleon Bonaparte.

→  Did Women have a Revolution?

  • Women played a very significant role in the French Revolution.
  • Women in France were disappointed with the constitution of 1791, as it reduced them to passive citizens who had no
    political rights.
  • They demanded political rights, viz., right to vote to be elected to the Assembly and to hold political office.
  • Finally in 1946, French women won the right to vote.

→ The Abolition of Slavery

  • The most important social reform made by the Jacobin government was to abolish slavery in French colonies.
  • After long debates, the National Convention passed a law in 1794. It declared slavery illegal and freed all the slaves in French overseas colonies.
  • After two years, Napoleon reintroduced slavery.
  • Finally, slavery was abolished in the French colonies in 1848.

→ The Revolution arid Everyday Life

  • After 1789, many changes took place in the lives of man, woman, and children in France.
  • One important law that come into effect after the storming of the Bastille in the sum¬mer of 1789 was the abolition of censorship.
  • With the abolition of censorship and the Declaration of the Right of man and citizen, freedom of speech and expression became a natural right of people.

JAC Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

→ Conclusion

  • In 1804, Nepoleon Bonaparte crowned himself as the Emperor of France.
  • He conquered the neighbouring European countries, dispossed dynasties and created kingdoms where he placed members of his family.
  • He introduced many laws such as the protection of private property and a uniform system of weights and measures provided by the decimal system.
  • Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.
  • The ideas of liberty and democratic rights were the most important legacy of the French Revolution.
  • Tipu Sultan and Raja Ram Mohan Roy are the two examples of Indian individuals who were inspired by the ideas of the French Revolution.

→ Important Dates and Related Events

  • 1774: Louis XVI of the Bourbon family ascended the throne of France and faced empty treasury and growing discontent within the society of the Old Regime.
  • 1789: Convocation of Estates General, Third Estate formed National Assembly, the Bastille was demolished, peasants revolted in the countryside, Assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes.
  • 1719: Constitution framed to limit the powers of the king and to guarantee basic rights to all human beings.
  • 1792- 93: France became a republic nation. Overthrow of the Jdcobin republic, a Directory which ruled France.
  • 1804: Napoleon became the emperor of France, annexed a large part of Europe.
  • 1815: Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo.
  • 1848: Abolition of slavery in French colonies.
  • 1945: Women in France won the right to vote.

JAC Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

→ Revolution: As a historial process, revolution refers to a movement, often violent, to overthrow an old regime and effect complete change in the fundamental institution of society.

→ Livre: Unit of currency in France, discontinued in 1794.

→ Feudal System: This system existed in the Middle Ages in Europe In this system, people received land and protection from a Lord for which they worked and fought.

→ Clergy: Group of persons invested with special functions in the Church.

→ Tithe: A tax levied by the Church, comprising one-tenth of the agricultural produce.

→ Taille: Tax to be paid directly to the state by the members of the Third Instate.

→ Subsistence Crisis: An extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered.

→ Anonymous: One whose name remains unknown.

→ Manor: An estate consisting of the Lord’s lands and his mansion.

→ Chateau: Castle or stately residence belonging to a king or a nobleman.

→ Marseillaise: The National Anthem of France.

→ Convent: Building belonging to a community devoted to a religious life.

JAC Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

→ Sans-culottes: Jacobins came to be known as the Sans-culottes, literally meaning ‘those without knee breeches’. Sans-culottes men wore in addition the red cap that symbolised liberty.

→ Convention: The newly elected assembly of France in 1792 was called the convention.

→ Republic: A form of government in which the people elect the government including the head of the government.

→ Aristocracy: The highest class in some societies.

→ Guillotine: A machine or a device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person is beheaded. It was named after Dr. Guillotin who invented it.

→ Directory: It was an executive made up of five members.

→ Treason: Betrayal of one’s country or government.

→ Negroes: A term used for the indigenous people of Africa, south of the Sahara. It is a derogatory term, not in common use any longer.

→ Emancipation: The act of freeing.

→ Militia: An organization that operates like an army but whose members are not professional soldiers.

→ Bastille: A fort in the eastern part of Paris, used as a state prison.

→ Despot: Someone, such as a ruler, who uses power in a cruel and unfair way.

JAC Class 9th Social Science Notes History Chapter 1 The French Revolution

→ Sous: Subordinate (a French prefix).

→ Souvenir: A thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place or event.

→ Jacobin: A political club of people which was formed to discuss the government policies and plan their own forms of action.

→ Louis XVI: He ascended the throne of France in 1774 and ruled over France during the French Revolution.

→ Rousseau: He was a great philosopher and writer of the book ‘The Social Contract’.

→ Montesquieu: A great philosopher. He wrote the book ‘The Spirit of the Laws’.

→ Abbe Sieyes: He was a priest who led National Assembly which was created in 1789. He wrote an influential pamphlet named “What is the Third Estate”.

→ Mirabeau: He also led the National Assembly. He was born in a noble family. He brought out a journal and delivered powerful speeches.

→ Maximilien Robespierre: Political leader of Jacobins who ruled over France from 1793 to 1794.

JAC Class 9 Social Science Notes

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