- 1774 : Louis XVI becomes King of France.
- 1789 : Third Estate forms National Assembly. The Bastille is stormed., Session of Estates General
- 1791 : A constitution is framed to limit the powers of the monarch.
- 1792-93 : France becomes a republic. The king is executed. Directory rules France.
- 1804 : Napoleon becomes emperor of France.
- 1815 : Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo.
- 1848 : Slavery was abolished in all French colonies.
- 1946 : French women got the right to vote.
Answer: Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
Q3: Important Terms to remember.
- First Estate: French society was divided into classes called Estates, The First Estate consisted of the Clergy which held vast land, wealth and were exempted from taxes.
- Second Estate: It consisted of the aristocracy and controlled all the top positions in the government. parliament and in the army and navy. They were also exempted from taxation and led an extravagant life.
- Third Estate: This comprised everyone who was neither nobility nor clergy and constituted almost 97% of the population. The wealthy upper middle class (merchants, bankers, doctors. lawyers), lower middle class, shopkeepers, craftsmen. and peasants comprised the Third Estate. This class lacked political power, social status and was heavily taxed.
- The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen: In 1789. the French National Assembly adopted a set of basic principles called the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Proposed by Lafayette and based on the ideas of Locke, Montesquieu and Jefferson, this document stated that “men are born and remain free and equal in rights” and that the “source of power resides in the people”. It guaranteed all Frenchmen the basic rights of liberty, security, equal justice, fair taxes, religion, fair speech, and thought.
- Livre: Unit of currency used in France till 1794.
- Clergy: Group of persons invested with special functions in the Church.
- Tithe: A tax levied by the Church equal to one-tenth of the agricultural produce.
Answer: The term 'Reign of terror' referred to policy of severe control and punishment. This policy was adopted by Robespierre during his reign from 1793 to 1794. During this period, all of those whom he considered being enemies of the republic (e.g. nobles, clergy, members of other political parties) were arrested. They were tried by a revolutionary tribunal and eventually
more then 15,000 person including Queen of France were guillotined or executed. Meat and bread
were rationed. Peasants were forced to sell their grains at the prices fixed by the government. All citizens were forced to eat the equality bread i.e., a loaf made of whole wheat. Churches
were shutdown and their buildings were converted into barracks or offices.
Q5: What role did women of France of third Estate play in French revolution?
Answer: Women of third estate of France played an crucial role in the revolution:
- During Revolutionary years, women started their own political clubs and newspapers. They set up about sixty women clubs in different cities of France.
- The most famous among them was the Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women.
- They also demanded to enjoy the same political rights as men, i.e., right to vote, to be elected to the Assembly and to hold political office.
Q6: In context of France the volunteers from Marseilles sang the Marseillaise a patriotic song when they marched into Paris. Who composed this song ?
(a) Maximilian Robespierre
(b) Marie Antoinette
(c) Roget de L'lsle
Answer: (c) Roget de L'lsle
Q7: What did the Red Cap worn by Sans Culottes in France symbolize?
Answer: (a) Liberty
Q8: What was the legacy of the French Revolution?
- It led to the decade of political changes in Europe.
- Three founding words of the French revolution i.e. 'liberty, equality and fraternity' reflected the coming of new democratic and social order in Europe and rest of the world.
- It inspired the Germans, Italians and Austrians to overthrow their oppressive regimes.
- It inspired struggling nations of Asia and Africa. E.g. India's struggle for Independence was inspired by the thoughts of french philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau.
- French revolution put into the practice the idea that sovereignty comes from the people from below not from the above.
- It marked the beginning for the first time in history about active and institutionalized mass participation in the government. It inculcated the spirit of nationalism among the people.
Q9: Which of the following refers to the political body representing the three estates of pre-revoluitonary France?
(a) Parliament of France
(b) National Assembly
(c) Estates General
(d) Estates Committee
Answer: (c) Estates General
Q10: The word 'Guillotine' during French revolution era refers to
(a) Beheading a person
(b) Awarding a person
(c) Taxing a person
(d) Threatening a person
Answer: (a) Beheading a person
Q11: What is the importance of the document 'Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen'?
Why 'Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen' is considered as a revolutionary document in french revolution?
Answer: Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen is regarded as a revolutionary document because:
- It abolished the privileges and power given to the French feudal classes i.e. First Estate and Second Estate.
- It provided equal distribution of the burdens of taxation and rights to public property among all citizens.
- The Declaration emphasized equality before law and freedom of speech and press.Every citizen has right to speak, print and express.
Q12 (CBSE 2010): Explain how did the freedom of speech and expression under the revolutionary government in France promote the ideals of Liberty and Equality into everyday practice.
- The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen emphasized that freedom of speech and expression be established as established as ‘natural and inalienable’ right.
- The ideas of these philosophers were discussed intensively in salons and coffee-houses and spread among people through books and newspapers.
- Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed pictures flooded the towns of France from where they traveled rapidly into the countryside.
- Freedom of the press also meant that opposing views of events could be expressed.
- Plays, songs and festive processions attracted large numbers of illiterate people to help them grasp and identify with ideas such as liberty or justice that political philosophers wrote about.
Answer: After the fall of Jacobin government, the two elected legislative Council appointed an executive of five members called Directory. The main objective of the directory was to work as a safeguard against the concentration of power in a one-man executive as under the Jacobins.
However, the Directors often clashed with the legislative councils, who then sought to dismiss them. The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Q14: Who authored the book 'The Spirit of the Laws'? What was proposed in this book?
Answer: Montesquieu was the author of The Spirit of the Laws. In the book he proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.
Q15: Which cities became prosperous because of slave trade?
Answer: Port cities like Bordeaux and Nantes prospered due to the flourishing slave trade.
Q16: What impact did French Revolution have on slave trade?
- During and after revolution, there was little criticism of slavery in France.
- It was totally ironical that National assembly held long debates about the rights of men but did not pass any laws to abolish slavery.
- In 1794, a convention was passed to free all slaves in French overseas possessions. However it turned out to be a short term measure. Napoleon reintroduced slavery after 10 years of ban.
- Slavery was finally abolished in French colonies in 1848.
Answer: The 18th century witnessed the emergence of revolutionary thinkers such as John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau and Montesquieu. They didn't play any active role in the events of the revolution but their ideas inspired the revolutionary movement. Their revolutionary ideas encouraged people to fight for their rights.
- The idea of a society based on freedom, equal laws and opportunities for all were put forward by philosophers such as John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. In his book Two Treatises of Government, Locke sought to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the monarch.
- Rousseau carried his radical ideas forward by proposing a form of government based on social contract between people and their representatives.
- Montesquieu, in his book, The Spirit of the Laws proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.
- Voltaire's ideas revolved around individual liberties. He believed that people should have freedom of expression.
Q18: The French revolution took place on _________
(a) July 14, 1789
(b) July 14, 1788
(c) July 14, 1786
(d) July 14, 1785
Answer: (a) July 14, 1789 (Storming of the Bastille)
Q19: On what charges was Louis XVI guillotined?
(c) Absolute Role
Answer: (b) Treason
Q20: The tax called tithe was collected from French Peasants by
(a) The Church
(b) The emperor
(c) The Nobles
(d) Chief of the Army
Answer: (a) The Church
Q21: Why was the subsistence crisis caused in France?
(a) The wages of the people were low
(b) There was widespread unemployment
(c) Increase in population led to rapid increase in the demand of food grains.
(d) The government imposed various taxes.
Answer: (c) Increase in population led to rapid increase in the demand of food grains.
Note: A ‘subsistence crisis’ is defined as an economic crisis which threatens the food supplies or, more precisely, the survival prospects of larger population.
Q22: The Bastille was hated by all in France because:
(a) it stood for the despotic power of the king.
(b) it was a fortress prison
(c) Prison In charge tortured the inmates.
(d) it housed dreaded criminals.
Answer: (a) it stood for the despotic power of the king.
Note: A despot is a ruler or other person who holds absolute power, typically exercising it cruelly.
Q23: What were the different political groups operating in the Legislative Assembly during French revolution?
Answer: Following political groups were active within the Legislative Assembly during French Revolution:
- The Girondins: It was the largest group who wanted war against all despots.
- The Jacobins: The most influential and ruthless group who were responsible for the reign of terror. They did not favour war.
- The Feuillants: They proposed constitutional monarchy.
Q24: What was the impact of the French Revolution in France?
Answer: The impact of the French Revolution in France can be summarized as:
- End of Monarchy: It marked the end of absolute monarchy and paved way for a republic government.
- Laid foundation of Democratic Principles: It upheld the theory of sovereignty and laid foundation of the democratic principles i.e. government decisions should be based on the consent of her citizens.
- Ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity: The slogans of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity became the founding milestones for a democratic nations.
- Declaration of Rights and Equality: The declaration provided equality among the citizens for all public offices, freedom of speech and expression was granted and freedom from arrest without a proven cause was implemented.
- Abolition of Censorship: Mass media was allowed Freedom of press was granted.
- Taxes to be paid by all: Taxes would be borne by all the people irrespective of their status.
- Religious Freedom: It guaranteed free exercise of religious worship and abolished the taxes collected by the churches.
- Reforms and New Initiatives: New initiatives and reforms were carried out in education, administration and judiciary domain.
- Only men above 25 years of age and those who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourers wage were given the status of active citizens. And they were entitled to vote.
- The remaining men and women were classified as passive citizens and were not allowed to vote.
- To qualify as an elector and then as a member of the assembly, a man had to belong to the highest bracket of tax payers.
Answer: Rousseau, a thinkers, is regarded as an inspiration behind the French Revolution.
- According to him, the society creates a Political state for a stable life.
- The state is not a divine creation but is the outcome of a sort of unwritten social contract.
- If the state failed to abide by the terms of the contract, people have natural and moral rights to overthrow the state authority.
Answer: George Washington became the first president of USA at that time.
Q28: Arrange the following events of French Revolution in chronological order (what happened next).
(i) Louis XVI is guillotined.
(ii) the Oath of the Tennis Court
(iii) The Bastille falls
(iv) French Republic is declared.
(v) The Great Fear
Answer: The correct sequence is (ii) - (iii) - (v) - (iv) - (i)
Q29: What was The Great Fear in French revolution?
Answer: After the storming of the Bastille, the National Assembly was busy at Versailles drafting a
constitution, the rest of France seethed with turmoil.
- In the countryside rumours spread from village to village that the royalists of the manor had hired bands of brigands who were on their way to destroy the ripe crops.
- Rumours also spread that Kings men were planning to kill National assembly representatives.
- Caught in a frenzy of fear, peasants in several districts seized hoes and pitchforks and attacked chateaux. They looted hoarded grain and burnt down documents containing records of manorial dues.
- A large number of nobles fled from their homes, many of them migrating to neighbouring countries.
Q30: When did the Assembly pass a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes?
Answer: 4 August 1789
Q31: Who among the following proposed a division of power within the government?
(a) John Locke
(b) Jean Jacque Rousseau
Answer: (d) Montesquieu
Q32: When did Louis XVI called for The Estates General? When was it convened last time?
Answer: Louis XVI called for The Estates General on May 5, 1789. It was called after a gap of 175 years since 1614
Q33: From where Jacobin's club got its name? Who was the leader of Jacobin's club?
Answer: It got its name from the former convent of St Jacob in Paris.Maximillian Robespierre was the leader of Jacobins.
Q34: What was the outcome of Battle of Waterloo? When did this battle occur?
Answer: The Battle of Waterloo was fought on 1815 between Napolean Forces and allied army of Prussia, UK and Netherlands. In this battle Napolean was defeated.
Nice and Detailed Presentation on French Revolution (posted by Grieffel on Slideshare)