Topic outline

    • The French Revolution

      Q62. Give the reason for the walk out from the Assembly of Estate General by the members of Third Estate on 5th May 1789. What were the two steps taken by the members of Third Estate after walk out?

      Ans. Voting in the Estates General in the past had been conducted according to the principle that each estate had one vote. This time too Louis XVI was determined to continue the same practice. But members of the third estate demanded that voting now be conducted by the assembly as a whole, where each member would have one vote. When the king rejected this proposal, members of the third estate walked out of the assembly in protest.

      The representatives of the third estate viewed themselves as spokesmen for the whole French nation. On 20 June they assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of Versailles. They declared themselves a National Assembly and swore not to disperse till they had drafted a constitution for France that would limit the powers of the monarch.


      Q63. How did philosophers influence the thinking of the people of France?
      What role did philosophers play in bringing about the French Revolution?
      Describe the contribution of the French philosophers in the outbreak of the Revolution of 1789.
      Explain the role of philosophers in the French Revolution.
      Describe the ideology of any three philosophers who influenced the French Revolution.
      Name any two philosophers who inspired the educated people of Third Estate. Also mention the ideas forth by them. 

      Ans. Role of philosophers in French Revolution

                               i.        In his Two Treatises of Government, Locke sought to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the monarch.

                             ii.        Rousseau carried the idea forward, proposing a form of government based on a social contract between people and their representatives.

                            iii.        In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.

                            iv.        The ideas of these philosophers were discussed intensively in salons and coffee-houses and spread among people through books and newspapers. These were frequently read aloud in groups for the benefit of those who could not read and write.


      Q64. Who were entitled to vote in France as per Constitution of 1791, framed by National Assembly? State any three rights given to the people by this constitution.

      Ans. Only men above 25 years of age who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourers wage were given the status of active citizens, that is, they were entitled to vote. The remaining men and all women were classed as passive citizens. To qualify as an elector and then as a member of the Assembly, a man had to belong to the highest bracket of taxpayers.

      The Constitution began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law, were established as natural and inalienable rights, that is, they belonged to each human being by birth and could not be taken away. It was the duty of the state to protect each citizens natural rights.


      Q65. How would you explain the rise of Napoleon?
      Describe the rise of Napoleon.
      Who was Napoleon? Describe the rise of Napoleon.
      What reforms did Napoleon introduced in France?

      Ans. Rise of Napoleon

      1. The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.

      2. In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France. He set out to conquer neighbouring European countries, dispossessing dynasties and creating kingdoms where he placed members of his family. Napoleon saw his role as a moderniser of Europe.

      3. He introduced many laws such as the protection of private property and a uniform system of weights and measures provided by the decimal system.

      4. Initially, many saw Napoleon as a liberator who would bring freedom for the people. But soon the Napoleonic armies came to be viewed everywhere as an invading force.


      Q66. Evaluate the importance of the following years in concern with French Revolution, 1774, 1789, 1791, 1792-93, 1804 and 1815.

      Ans. Some important dates

      1774 - Louis XVI becomes king of France, faces empty treasury and growing discontent within society of the Old Regime.

      1789 - Convocation of Estates General, Third Estate forms National Assembly, the Bastille is stormed, peasant revolts in the countryside.

      1791 - A constitution is framed to limit the powers of the king and to guarantee basic rights to all human beings.

      1792-93 - France becomes a republic, the king is beheaded. Overthrow of the Jacobin republic, a Directory rules France.

      1804 - Napoleon becomes emperor of France, annexes large parts of Europe.

      1815 - Napoleon defeated at Waterloo.


      Q67. Describe how abolition of slavery became possible in France.
      How did abolition of slavery become possible in France? Explain.

      Ans. Abolition of slavery

                               i.        Throughout the eighteenth century there was little criticism of slavery in France.

                              ii.        The National Assembly held long debates about whether the rights of man should be extended to all French subjects including those in the colonies.

                             iii.        It was finally the Convention which in 1794 legislated to free all slaves in the French overseas possessions.

                             iv.        This, however, turned out to be a short-term measure: ten years later, Napoleon reintroduced slavery.

                             v.        Slavery was finally abolished in French colonies in 1848.

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