Important questions for exams of French revolution Class 9 Notes | EduRev

Class 9 : Important questions for exams of French revolution Class 9 Notes | EduRev

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1. Describe the storming of the prison Bastille in France.
Ans.
a. On the morning of 14 July 1789, the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. The king had
commanded troops to move into the city. Rumours spread that he would soon order
the army to open fire upon the citizens who rose in protest due to shortage of bread.
b. Some 7,000 men and women gathered in front of the town hall and decided to form a
peoples. militia. They broke into a number of government buildings in search of
arms. Finally, a group of several hundred people marched towards the eastern part of
the city and stormed the fortress-prison, the Bastille, where they hoped to find
hoarded ammunition.
c. In the armed fight that followed, the commander of the Bastille was killed and the
prisoners released . though there were only seven of them. Yet the Bastille was hated
by all, because it stood for the despotic power of the king. The fortress was
demolished and its stone fragments were sold in the markets to all those who wished
to keep a souvenir of its destruction.
2. Describe the political and economic condition of France during the 18th century.
Ans.
a. In 1774, Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of France. He
was 20 years old and married to the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette.
b. Upon his accession the new king found an empty treasury. Long years of war had
drained the financial resources of France. The cost of maintaining an extravagant
court at Versailles was very high.
c. Under Louis XVI, France helped the thirteen American colonies to gain their
independence from the common enemy, Britain. The war added more than a billion
livres (currency) to a debt that had already risen to more than 2 billion livres.
d. Lenders who gave the state credit, now began to charge 10 per cent interest on loans.
So the French government was obliged to spend an increasing percentage of itsbudget on interest payments alone. To meet its regular expenses, such as the cost of
maintaining an army, the court, running government offices or universities, the state
was forced to increase taxes. (Under what circumstances did the King of France
decide to increase the tax?
(point 3 & 4 above)
3. Describe the social condition of France during the 18th century. OR How was the French
society organised?
Ans.
a. French society in the eighteenth century was divided into three estates, viz. The First
Estate, Second Estate and the Third Estate. The First Estate consisted of the Clergy and
the Second Estate consisted of Nobility.
b. The members of the first two estates, that is, the clergy and the nobility, enjoyed
certain privileges by birth. The most important of these was exemption from paying
taxes to the state. The nobles further enjoyed feudal privileges. These included feudal
dues, which they extracted from the peasants.
c. The Third Estate consisted of three categories of people. Big businessmen, merchants,
court officials, lawyers etc come in the top layer. Peasants and artisans come in the
middle and small peasants, landless labourers and servants come under the lowest
category of people.
d. Peasants made up of 90 per cent of the population. However, only a small number of
them owned the land they cultivated. About 60 per cent of the land was owned by
nobles, the Church and other richer members of the third estate.
e. Peasants were obliged to render services to the lord to work in his house and fields, to
serve in the army or to participate in building roads. The burden of financing
activities of the state through taxes was borne by the third estate alone.
4. What was the ‘subsistence crisis’ in France? How did it arise?
Ans.
a. The population of France rose from about 23 million in 1715 to 28 million in 1789.
This led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains. Production of grains could
not keep pace with the demand. So the price of bread which was the staple diet of the
majority rose rapidly.
b. Most workers were employed as labourers in workshops whose owner fixed their
wages. But wages did not keep pace with the rise in prices. So the gap between thepoor and the rich widened.
c. Things became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest. Shortage of food
grains led to price rise, riots and death. It is called subsistence crisis, something that
occurred frequently in France during the Old Regime.
5. Who were the groups of people who protested rising taxes and food scarcity in
France? What was the result? How did the emergence of the middle class help
French society?
Ans.
a. In the past, peasants and workers had participated in revolts against increasing taxes
and food scarcity. But they lacked the means and programmes to carry out full-scale
measures that would bring about a change in the social and economic order. This was
left to the middle class.
b. The middle class became prosperous and had access to education and new ideas. The
merchants earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the
manufacture of goods.
c. In addition to merchants and manufacturers, the third estate included professionals
such as lawyers or administrative officials. All of these wer educated and believed
that no group in society should be privileged by birth. Rather, a person’s social
position must depend on his merit.
d. These were the groups of people who protested rising taxes and food scarcity in
France. These ideas of a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities
for all, were put forward by philosophers too. How did the middle class become
important in French society? Points 2, 3 and 4 above
6. What role did philosophers play in bringing about the French Revolution?
Ans.
a. ​These ideas of a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all,
were put forward by philosophers such as John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. In
his Two Treatises of Government, Locke sought to disprove the doctrine of the divine
and absolute right of the monarch.
b. Rousseau carried the idea forward, proposing a form of government based on a social
contract between people and their representatives.
c. In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the
government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. This model of 
government was put into force in the USA, after the thirteen colonies declared their
independence from Britain.
d. The American constitution and its guarantee of individual rights influenced political
thinkers in France. The ideas of these philosophers were discussed intensively in
salons and coffee-houses and spread among people through books and newspapers.
e. These were frequently read aloud in groups for the benefit of those who could not
read and write. The news that Louis XVI planned to impose further taxes to be able to
meet the expenses of the state generated anger and protest against the system of
privileges.
7. Examine the factors that led to the French Revolution.
Ans.
a. ​The war with Britain : France supported American colonies in their war with the
Great Britain for their independence. This war led to an increasing debt on the French
monarchy. This necessitated imposition of new taxes on the public.
b. Privilege based on birth: French society in the eighteenth century was divided into
three estates, viz. The First Estate, Second Estate and the Third Estate. The First Estate
consisted of the Clergy and the Second Estate consisted of Nobility. The members of
the first two estates, that is, the clergy and the nobility, enjoyed certain privileges by
birth. The most important of these was exemption from paying taxes to the state.
c. Subsistence Crisis: The high population led to a rapid increase in the demand for food
grains. Production of grains could not keep pace with the demand. So the price of
bread which was the staple diet of the majority rose rapidly. Wages did not keep pace
with rising prices. It led to the subsistence crisis.
d. Growing Middle Class: A new class emerged in France because of increased overseas
trade. This class was wealthy not because of birth but because of its ability to utilize
opportunities. People of the middle class started raising their voice for an end to
privileges based on birth.
e. Role of philosophers: The ideas of a society based on freedom and equal laws and
opportunities for all, were put forward by philosophers such as John Locke and Jean
Jacques Rousseau. They spread awareness through various media. Some from the
privileged classes also advocated a switch to democracy. So, finally there was
revolution in France.
8. Examine the incidents preceding the outbreak of the French Revolution.
Ans.
a. ​Louis XVI, the King of France had to increase taxes for many reasons. He called a
meeting of the Estates General which would pass his proposals for new taxes.
b. Voting in the Estates General in the past had been conducted according to the
principle that each estate had one vote. 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.
c. When the king rejected this proposal, members of the third estate walked out of the
assembly in protest. 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.
d. While the National Assembly was busy at Versailles drafting a constitution, riot
spread across the country. A severe winter had meant a bad harvest; the price of
bread rose, often bakers exploited the situation and hoarded supplies.
e. After spending hours in long queues at the bakery, crowds of angry women stormed
into the shops. At the same time, the king ordered troops to move into Paris. On 14
July, the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed the Bastille.
f. In the countryside rumours spread from village to village that the lords of the manor
had hired bands of brigands who were on their way to destroy the ripe crops. Angry
peasants in several districts seized hoes and pitchforks and attacked chateaux
(residence of lords)
g. They looted hoarded grain and burnt down documents containing records of
manorial dues.
9. What were the immediate results of the outbreak of the French Revolution?
Ans.
a. A large number of nobles fled from their homes, many of them migrating to
neighbouring countries.
b. Faced with the power of his revolting subjects, Louis XVI finally accorded recognition
to the National Assembly and accepted the principle that his powers would from now
on be checked by a constitution.
c. On the night of 4 August 1789, the Assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal
system of obligations and taxes. Members of the clergy too were forced to give up their privileges. Tithes (tax imposed by the Church) were abolished and lands owned
by the Church were confiscated. As a result, the government acquired assets worth at
least 2 billion livres.
10. Why did the Third Estate walk out from the Estate General called by the King Louis
XVI in France?
Ans.
a. 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. (This was one of the democratic principles put forward by philosophers like
Rousseau in his book The Social Contract.)
b. 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. ( Which demand of the third estate was
rejected by the King )
11. How did France Become a Constitutional Monarchy?
Ans.
a. Faced with the power of his revolting subjects, Louis XVI finally accorded recognition
to the National Assembly and accepted the principle that his powers would from now
on be checked by a constitution.
b. On the night of 4 August 1789, the Assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal
system of obligations and taxes. Members of the clergy too were forced to give up
their privileges. Tithes (tax imposed by the Church) were abolished and lands owned
by the Church were confiscated.
c. The National Assembly completed the draft of the Constitution in 1791. Its main object
was to limit the powers of the monarch. These powers instead of being concentrated
in the hands of one person, were now separated and assigned to different institutions,
the legislature, executive and judiciary. This made France a constitutional monarchy.
12. Write a short note on the Constitution of 1791 in France.
Ans.
a. The Constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly,
which was indirectly elected. That is, citizens voted for a group of electors, who in turn chose the Assembly.
b. Not all citizens, however, had the right to vote. Only men above 25 years of age who
paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage were given the status of active
citizens, that is, they were entitled to vote.
c. 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.
d. 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 citizen’s natural rights.
What were the important democratic rights guaranteed in the French Constitution?
(Write the last point of the previous answer)
13. Why were the women disappointed by the Constitution of 1791 in France? What laws
did the revolutionary government introduce to improve the lives of women?
Ans.
a. The Constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly,
which was indirectly elected. That is, citizens voted for a group of electors, who in
turn chose the Assembly.
b. Not all citizens, however, had the right to vote. Only men above 25 years of age who
paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s 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. Therefore women were disappointed by Constitution of
1791 in France.
c. In the early years, the revolutionary government introduced laws that helped
improve the lives of women. Together with the creation of state schools, schooling
was made compulsory for all girls. Their fathers could no longer force them into
marriage against their will. Marriage was made into a contract entered into freely
and registered under civil law.
d. Divorce was made legal, and could be applied for by both women and men. Women
could now train for jobs, could become artists or run small businesses. Women’s
struggle for equal political rights, however, continued.
14. Why is Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen regarded as a revolutionary
document?
Ans.
a. 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 citizen’s natural rights.
b. Now the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaimed freedom of speech
and expression to be a natural right. Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed
pictures flooded the towns of France from where they traveled rapidly into the
countryside. They all described and discussed the events and changes taking place in
France.
c. Freedom of the press also meant that opposing views of events could be expressed.
Each side sought to convince the others of its position through the medium of print.
Plays, songs and festive processions attracted large numbers of people. This was one
way they could grasp and identify with ideas such as liberty or justice that political
philosophers wrote about at length in text which only a handful of educated people
could read.
d. In a country where people were classified and discriminated, where laws did not
protect the public, where the upper class enjoyed privileges, Rights of Man and Citizen
regarded as a revolutionary document.
15. How did France become a Republic?
Ans.
a. Although Louis XVI had signed the Constitution, he entered into secret negotiations
with the King of Prussia. Rulers of other neighbouring countries too were worried by
the developments in France and made plans to send troops to put down the events
that had been taking place there since the summer of 1789.
b. Before this could happen, the National Assembly voted in April 1792 to declare war
against Prussia and Austria. Thousands of volunteers joined the army. They saw this
as a war of the people against kings and aristocracies all over Europe.
c. Political clubs like the Jacobins became an important rallying point for people who
wished to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action. Their
leader was Maximilian Robespierre.
d. In the summer of 1792 the Jacobins planned an uprising of a large number of
Parisians who were angered by the short supplies and high prices of food.
e. On the morning of August 10 they stormed the Palace of the Tuileries, massacred the
king’s guards and held the king himself as hostage for several hours. Later the
Assembly voted to imprison the royal family. Elections were held.
f. From now on all men of 21 years and above, regardless of wealth, got the right to
vote. The newly elected assembly was called the Convention. On 21 September 1792 it
abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.

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