French Revolution Part II.

GV Rama Rao By GV Rama Rao, 31st Oct 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

During the initial stages of the French Revolution the Constitutional Monarchy was adopted.

Estates General.

Unlike the general perception, the French Revolution constituted a series of events. The significant events are described in brief below.
The Estates General.
This comprised the three estates and last met in 1614 before the revolution. The Third Estate, which had asserted the sovereignty of the people, demanded elections and won the approval of the king. Accordingly, elections were held, and 291 nobles, 300 clergy and 610 members of the Third Estate were elected.

Tennis Court Oath.

The National Assembly in which the Third Estate asserted itself and decided to conduct the affairs of the nation met on 10th June 1789. When Louis XIV closed the meeting hall for repairs, the delegates met in the adjacent indoor tennis court and took the Tennis Court Oath to give France a new constitution.

King’s actions.

A series of actions taken by Louis XIV and his court against his financial advisor annoyed the National Assembly and caused widespread unrest. Soon Paris had seen some worst cases of riots, chaos and looting.

Storming of Bastille.

On the 14th July 1789, the insurgents stormed the fortress of Bastille perceived as a symbol of Royal power and everything hated about the old regime. They also believed it housed a large cache of arms and ammunition. The rampaging mob released the prisoners, beheaded the governor and paraded his head mounted on a spike amidst a mob that shouted, “Vive la France (long live France).” Although there were only seven prisoners, their release signified defiance of authority.

Flight of the nobility.

The nobility fled to the neighboring countries and with the support of the local nobility, formed counter-revolutionary groups.

4th Aug 1789.
On this historic day, the National Constituent Assembly abolished Feudalism. In the course of a few hours, the nobles, clergy, towns, provinces and companies lost all their privileges.

Declaration of the Rights of Man.

The Rights of Man and Citizen were codified first time in history on 26th Aug 1789. It stated some basic principles but did not include a constitution.

Role of women.

The harsh economic conditions and lack of bread forced the women to strident protests and action. Though men were reluctant to share their political rights with women, many women activists and anonymous women shaped the course of the revolution during its earliest years. In October 1789, a group of seven thousand women marched to the Parisian markets with cannons and a variety of weapons. They succeeded in bringing the King and his family back to Paris, where he agreed to accept his position as an executive in a constitutional monarchy. Immediately, women as revolutionaries became a potent symbol of the power of the Revolution

Constitutional Monarchy.

The first constitution drawn by the Constituent Assembly, surprisingly, pledged fidelity to the nation, law and the king .While the assembly worked, several units of the army mutinied against their officers principally drawn from the nobility. Louis XIV, the king, egged on by his wife rejected the revolution and refused the politically treacherous aid of other monarchs. The crowds shouted slogans “vive la nation and vive le Roi (long live the nation and the king)

Flight of the Monarch.

A frightened Louis XIV and his entourage left the court in the middle of a night dressed as servants and the servants as nobility, but they were recognized the next day and arrested at Versailles. Even at this stage the constituent assembly favored a Constitutional Monarchy.

Outside threats.

The kings and monarchs of other countries fearing similar revolutions in their respective countries acted against the revolution. The King of Prussia issued a threat of war. Meanwhile, Louis XIV accepted the newly drawn constitution and pledged it in writing. On 14th July 1790, the country celebrated the establishment of a Constitutional Monarchy.

The role of the Church.

The Catholic Church, the First Estate and largest land owner in the country, enjoyed the privilege of not paying taxes. It also received 10% tax on income as tithe, and in close alliance with the nobility played a crucial role in the affairs of the country. Its privileges were abolished by the National Assembly on 4th Aug 89, and on 13th Feb 1790 all church orders were closed, and the Third Estate assumed responsibility for the poor and orphaned.

The country functioned as a Constitutional Monarchy for a short period up to 1792. The Legislative Assembly called the shots and the king had the power of veto.

More in my next post. Read my earlier post The French Revolution Part I.
If you have any interesting pieces of writing, there is no site better than Wikinut to post them.


Ammunition, Assembly, Assembly Elections, Church, Constitution, Declaration, Elections, Feudalism, Flight, French, French Revolution, Monarchy, Nobility, Privileges, Rights, Sovereignty, Tennis Court Oath, Threats, Weapons, Women, Womens Rights

Meet the author

author avatar GV Rama Rao
I am a retired naval officer and a published author with three books to my credit. I am a winner of nanowrimo competition for 2008,9, &10. I like humor best..

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author avatar Buzz
31st Oct 2012 (#)

Sequel as great as the first. Thanks for sharing, GV.

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
2nd Nov 2012 (#)

Thanks Buzz for the compliment.

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author avatar Tanushree S
1st Nov 2012 (#)

Excellent article. Thanks for the nice read!!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
2nd Nov 2012 (#)

My dear Tanushree Saha,
Welcome to my pages and thanks for your appreciation.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
3rd Nov 2012 (#)

Interesting period of history worth recalling. History repeats itself when we ignore the lessons. Good to know "Arab Spring" was not of recent orgin; it started in Europe centuries ago! A great share, dear GVR - siva

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
4th Nov 2012 (#)

Thanks Siva for your comment.

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
4th Nov 2012 (#)

Nice reviewing of history.. Thank you.

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