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HIST303: The Age of Revolutions in the Atlantic World, 1776–1848

Unit 3: The French Revolution   The French Revolution was the primary catalyst for spreading revolutionary ideas throughout Europe.  The Ancient Regime had divided the society into three estates: the clergy (first estate), the nobility (second estate), and the townspeople and peasantry (third estate).  The Revolution broke out when the third estate rebelled against the king as well as the first two estates and proclaimed themselves the true representative of the French people.  The French Revolution overthrew the monarchy as well as the estate system and introduced new radical ideas of government and what the nation meant.
 
In this unit, you will examine the causes of the French Revolution: famine, poverty, the Enlightenment, and the outdated and oppressive nature of the Ancient Regime.  You will also study the different phases of the Revolution and the spread of revolutionary ideas.

Unit 3 Time Advisory
Time Advisory: This unit should take you approximately 17.75 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 3.1: 1.75 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2: 7.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.1: 1.25 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2.3: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2.4: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 3.2.5: 0.75 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2.6: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 3.2.7: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3: 4.5 hours


☐    
Introduction: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3.1: 0.25 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3.2: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 3.3.3: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 3.3.4: 0.75 hour

☐    Subunit 3.4: 3.5 hours

☐    Unit 3 Assessment: 0.5 hour

Unit3 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- identify and describe the many stages of the French Revolution, including the end of absolutist monarchy, the implementation of constitutional monarchy, and the rise of the Jacobin Republic; - compare and contrast the Declaration of the Rights of Man and other major statements of the Revolutionary period and Enlightenment thinking; and - describe the long-term impact of the French Revolution of European and World History.

3.1 The Old Regime   3.1.1 Society and Government   - Reading: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “The People before the Revolution” Link: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “The People before the Revolution” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this text.  The author, Peter Kropotkin,
was an early 20<sup>th</sup> century Russian philosopher, renowned
for his anarcho-communist ideas. In his text, Kropotkin, an
authority in French history, describes the conditions of the French
peasantry before the revolution.  Pay special attention to how his
anarcho-communist beliefs are reflected in this very subjective
document.  
    
 Reading this text should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Lecture: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution – Part 1” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution – Part 1” (YouTube)

    Instructions: Please watch this video lecture.  The French Revolution began in May 1789 with the meeting of the Estates-General – a general assembly representing the three French estates of the realm: the nobility, the church, and the common people.  Summoned by King Louis XVI to propose solutions to his government’s financial problems, the Estates-General sat for several weeks in May and June 1789 but came to an impasse as the three estates clashed over their respective powers.  It was brought to an end when many members of the Third Estate formed themselves into a National Assembly, signaling the outbreak of the Revolution.  On July 14th of that same year, the Bastille – a medieval fortress and prison which represented royal authority in the center of Paris – was stormed by a mob that demanded the arms and ammunition stored there.

    Note that this video will also cover the topics outlined in subunits 3.1.2, 3.1.3, 3.2.1, 3.2.2, and 3.2.3.

    Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take approximately 45 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to the Khan Academy.

3.1.2 Breakdown of the Old Regime   Note: The reading and video lecture assigned under subunit 3.1.1 cover this topic.

3.1.3 The Estates General   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.1.1 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Ashland University: Professor J. Moser’s “The Opening of the Estates General (1789)” Link: Ashland University: Professor J. Moser’s “The Opening of the Estates General (1789)” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this text.  Remember that the Estates-General was a legislative assembly that represented three social classes: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners.
     
    Reading this text should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: ThinkQuest: “The Estates” Link: ThinkQuest: “The Estates” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this text.  This reading provides an overview of the composition and powers of the Estates-General.

    As you read, consider the following study question: Would you describe the social structure of 18th century France as closed or open? Explain your reasoning.

    Reading this text and answering the question above should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2 The Revolution   3.2.1 The National Assembly   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.1.1 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Ashland University: Professor J. Moser’s “Excerpts from an Address of the National Assembly to the French People (1790)” Link: Ashland University: Professor J. Moser’s “Excerpts from an Address of the National Assembly to the French People (1790)” (HTML) 

    Instructions: Please read these excerpts from the National Assembly’s address to the French People in 1790. This reading also covers the topics outlined in subunits 3.2.2 and 3.2.4.
     
    As you read, consider the following study question: Did the Assembly still recognize royal authority?

    Reading this text and answering the question above should take approximately 45 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: Khan Academy’s “The French Revolution – Part 2” Link: Khan Academy’s “The French Revolution – Part 2” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  This lecture discusses the second stage of the French Revolution.  After Louis XV and his wife tried to escape Paris in 1791, the French revolutionary wars began soon thereafter; however, fighting soon went badly and prices rose sky-high.  In August 1792, a mob assaulted the Royal Palace in Paris and arrested the King. In September, the Assembly abolished the monarchy and declared a republic.  This lecture also covers the topic outlined in subunit 3.2.4.
     
    Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to the Khan Academy.

3.2.2 The Storming of the Bastille   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.1.1 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “Chapter XII: The Taking of the Bastille” Link: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “Chapter XII: The Taking of the Bastille” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this text.  Anarcho-communist author, Peter Kropotkin, uses this text to reflect his ideas on the State as undesirable and harmful.  In this document, the Bastille represents the State, while the garrison represents those who work for it.  Although, most anarchists oppose all forms of aggression, Kropotkin justifies the use of violence, in this case, as a form of self-defense by the masses against an oppressive force.
     
    Reading this text should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.3 Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.1.1 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “Chapter XIX: The Declaration of the Rights of Man” Link: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “Chapter XIX: The Declaration of the Rights of Man”(HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this text.  Kropotkin uses this text on the French Revolution to demonstrate the benefits of using liberal methods instead of authoritarian (as per the Russian Bolsheviks).  Pay special attention to his references to the United States’ Declaration of Independence.

    Reading this text should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library’s The Avalon Project: “Declaration of the Rights of Man – 1789” Link: Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman Law Library’s The Avalon Project: “Declaration of the Rights of Man – 1789” (HTML)

    Instructions: Read this text.  Remember that this document was greatly influenced by the philosophy of the Enlightenment and is based on natural law.

    Reading this text should take you approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.4 The Flight to Varennes   Note: The video lecture assigned below subunit 3.2.1 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Madame Royale, Duchess of Angouleme’s “Narrative of the Journey to Varennes” Link: Madame Royale, Duchess of Angouleme’s “Narrative of the Journey to Varennes” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this narrative.  This text narrates the failed attempt by Louis XVI of France and his family to escape from Paris in the hope of starting a counter-revolution with foreign aid.
     
    Reading this text should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

    Terms of Use: This text is in the public domain.

3.2.5 The Constitution   - Reading: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “Financial Difficulties – Sale of Church Property” Link: Peter Kropotkin’s The Great French Revolution: “Financial Difficulties – Sale of Church Property” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this text.  Anarcho-communist author,
Peter Kropotkin, uses this text to support the destruction of what
he believes to be the two main authoritarian institutions, the State
and Church. Kropotkin believed the Church in particular to be an
impediment for the intellectual development of humankind.  
    
 Reading this text should take approximately 45 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.6 Jewish Emancipation   - Reading: Virginia Tech: Mitchell Abidor’s Translation of “Address on the Granting of Civil Rights to Jews” Link: Virginia Tech: Mitchell Abidor’s Translation of “Address on the Granting of Civil Rights to Jews” (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this address from the French Revolution
in 1790.  This Declaration was a response to a petition of the
French Jews presented to the National Assembly in January 28, 1790.
 In their petition, the Jews asked to be granted the same rights as
the other citizens of France.  Remember that the National Assembly
would not grant them full political rights until nearly two years
later in September 1791.  
    
 Reading this text should take approximately 30 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.2.7 Declaration of Rights of Women   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Olympia de Gouge’s “Declaration of the Rights of Women, 1791” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Olympia de Gouge’s “Declaration of the Rights of Women, 1791” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the this text.  In this document, political activist Olympe de Gouges exposes the failure of the French Revolution to address the issue of women’s rights.  Remember that the first article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 read: “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.”
 
Reading this text should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3 The Jacobin Republic and the Terror   - Lecture: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution – Part 3: Reign of Terror” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution – Part 3: Reign of Terror” (YouTube)

 Instructions: Watch this video on the Reign of Terror, a period of
violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution,
incited by conflict between rival political factions and marked by
mass executions of enemies of the revolution.  The death toll ranged
in the tens of thousands, with 16,594 executed by guillotine and
another 25,000 in summary executions across France.  Note that this
video lecture also covers subunits 3.3.2 and 3.3.3.  

 Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Khan Academy.

3.3.1 The Execution of the King and Queen   - Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Edmund Burke’s “The Death of Marie Antoinette” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Edmund Burke’s “The Death of Marie Antoinette” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this text.  In this excerpt, Irish intellectual Edmund Burke describes the death of the Queen of France, Marie Antoinette.  Keep in mind that Burke was one of the first political figures to attack the principles of the French Revolution.  Note that this topic is covered in greater detail in subunits 3.3.2 and 3.3.3.

 As you read, consider the following study question: How does Burke
describe this event?  What is the tone of the reading?  
    
 Reading this text and answering the question above should take
approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.2 The Terror   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.3.1 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Fordham University: Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Maximilien Robespierre’s “Justification of the Use of Terror” Link: Fordham University: Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Maximilien Robespierre’s “Justification of the Use of Terror” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read this text.  In this reading, Robespierre argues that terror was necessary and inevitable to defend France from internal upheavals and foreign intervention.

    As you read, consider the following study questions: In this text, Robespierre mentions virtue several times.  From his point of view could terror be pure and virtuous if used to defend France and the Revolution?  Why, or why not?
     
    Reading this text and answering the questions above should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.3 Thermidorian Reaction   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.3.1 covers this topic.

  • Lecture: Yale University: Professor John Merriman’s “Lecture 6: Maximillian Robespierre and the French Revolution” Link: Yale University: Professor John Merriman’s “Lecture 6: Maximillian Robespierre and the French Revolution”
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash, and QuickTime
     
    Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  In this lecture, Professor John Merriman provides an exploration on the life of revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre.
     
    As you view the lecture, consider the following study question: Was Robespierre a revolutionary martyr or the first modern dictator?  Explain your reasoning.
     
    Watching this lecture, pausing to take notes, and answering the question above should take approximately 2 hours.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.3.4 The Directory   - Lecture: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution – Part 4: The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte” Link: Khan Academy’s “French Revolution – Part 4: The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Please watch this video lecture, which discusses the last stages of the French Revolution and how Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate.  Napoleon rose to power under the French First Republic, which formed at the end of the French Revolution.  He proclaimed himself dictator and, eventually, emperor under the First French Empire in 1804.  Note that this lecture will also cover the topics outlined in subunits 3.4.1–3.4.3.

 Watching this video and pausing to take notes should take
approximately 45 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a [Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
License](http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).  It is
attributed to the Khan Academy.

3.4 Impact   3.4.1 The Radical Phase   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.3.4 covers this topic.

  • Reading: The Saylor Foundation’s “Abolition of Existing Institutions” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Abolition of Existing Institutions” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Please read this article.  Historians calculate that at the time of the Revolution, the first state, the Church, was the largest landowner in France, owning about 10% of all the land.  The second state, the nobility, owned about 5% of the land.
     
    Reading this text should take approximately 30 minutes.

3.4.2 European War and the Levee en Masse   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.3.4 covers this topic.

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “The Levee en Masse” Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: “The Levee en Masse” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this text.  Remember that the Committee of Public Safety raised this army not only to defend France but also to suppress any internal uprisings.
     
    As you read, consider the following study question: Was this mass conscription the first step toward the Reign of Terror?
     
    Reading this text and answering the question above should take approximately 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.3 The Rise of Napolean   Note: The video lecture assigned under subunit 3.3.4 covers this topic.

  • Lecture: YouTube: Yale University: Professor John Merriman’s “Lecture 7: Napoleon” Link: YouTube: Yale University: Professor John Merriman’s “Lecture 7: Napoleon” (YouTube)
     
    Also available in:
    HTML, MP3, Adobe Flash and QuickTime
     
    Instructions: Please watch this lecture.  In this lecture, Professor John Merriman offers a remarkable analysis of the life and actions of one of modern history’s most famous general and statesman.
     
    Watching this lecture and pausing to take notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

3.4.4 The Spread of the Revolution   - Reading: he Saylor Foundation’s “Radicalism and Danger” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Radicalism and Danger” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Read “Radicalism and Danger.”  Remember that during 1679 to 1832 a whig was a member of a British political party who held liberal principles.  The Whig Party was later called the Liberal Party.  During the French Revolution, the Whig Party divided in two factions: those who were sympathetic to the French Revolution, led by Charles Grey, and those who opposed it, led by Edmund Burke.
 
Reading this text should take approximately 15 minutes.

3.4.5 France after Napoleon   - Reading: Sir Augustus Oakes’ The Great European Treaties of the 19th Century: “Chapter II: The Restoration of Europe” Link: Sir Augustus Oakes’ The Great European Treaties of the 19th Century: “Chapter II: The Restoration of Europe” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this text.  As you read, consider the following study question: How did the Congress of Vienna achieve the unachievable with widespread peace in Europe for nearly 100 years?
 
Reading this text and answering the question above should take approximately 1 hour.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 3 Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 3 Assessment”

Link: The Saylor Foundation’s [“Unit 3
Assessment”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST303-Unit-3-Assessment.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF)  

 Instructions: Please complete this assessment.  You can check your
answers against The Saylor Foundation’s [“Unit 3 Answer
Key”](https://resources.saylor.org/wwwresources/archived/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/HIST303-Unit-3-Answer-Key.FINAL_.pdf)
(PDF).  

 Completing this assessment should take approximately 30 minutes.