Ques 1: Discuss the fall of Bastille.
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.Fig: Fall of Bastille
Rumours spread that he would soon order the army to open fire upon the citizens. Some 7,000 men and women gathered in front of the town hall and decided to form a people’s 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. In the armed fight that followed, the commander of the Bastille was killed and the prisoners were released.
Ques 2: Why was the prison of Bastille hated by all?
Ans: The Bastille was hated by all because it stood for the despotic power of the king.
Ques 3: Why were the people protesting in Paris?
Ans: Most people were protesting against the high price of bread.
Ques 4: When did Louis XVI ascend the throne of France?
Ans: In 1774, Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of France. He was 20 years old.
Ques 5: Whom did Louis XVI marry?
Louis XVI married to the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette.Fig: Marie Antoinette
Ques 6: What did the new king find upon his ascension?
Ans: Upon his accession the new king found an empty treasury. Long years of war had drained the financial resources of France. Added to this was the cost of maintaining an extravagant court at the immense palace of Versailles.
Ques 7: Who was common enemy of France and America?
Ans: Britain was common enemy of France and America.
Ques 8: Why was France forced to increase the taxes?
Ans: 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 to a debt that had already risen to more than 2 billion livres.
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 its budget 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.
Ques 9: During the eighteenth century, France was divided into how many classes?
Ans: French society in the eighteenth century was divided into three estates, and only members of the third estate paid taxes.
Ques 10: What did the first estate comprise of?
Ans: The first estate comprised of clergy.
Ques 11: What did the second estate consist of?
Ans: The second estate consisted of nobility.
Ques 12: Who was included in the third estate?
Ans: Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers, peasants and artisans etc. were included in the third estate.
Ques 13: Which term is usually used to describe the society and institutions of France before 1789?
Ans: The society of estates was part of the feudal system that dated back to the middle ages. The term Old Regime is usually used to describe the society and institutions of France before 1789.
Ques 14: Who owned the lands in French society?
Ans: Peasants made up about 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.
Ques 15: Which privileges was enjoyed by the first two estates?
Ans: 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. 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.
Ques 16: What was the tax collected by Church known as?
Ans: The Church too extracted its share of taxes called tithes from the peasants.
Ques 17: The burden of financing the state’s activities fell on the third estate. Explain.
Ans: All members of the third estate had to pay taxes to the state as well as the Church. These included a direct tax, called taille, and a number of indirect taxes which were levied on articles of everyday consumption like salt or tobacco. The burden of financing activities of the state through taxes was borne by the third estate alone.
Ques 18: What is Livre?
Livre was unit of currency in France, it was discontinued in 1794.Fig: Livre
Ques 19: What is meant by Subsistence crisis?
Ans: Subsistence crisis is an extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered.
Ques 20: Discuss the situation that led to subsistence crisis.
Ans: 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.
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 the poor and the rich widened. Things became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest. This led to a subsistence crisis
Ques 21: Discuss the rise of middle class in France.
Ans: The eighteenth century witnessed the emergence of social groups, termed the middle class, who earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as woollen and silk textiles that were either exported or bought by the richer members of society.
In addition to merchants and manufacturers, the third estate included professions such as lawyers or administrative officials.
Ques 22: What was the belief of the educated middle class?
Ans: The newly formed middle class were educated and believed that no group in society should be privileged by birth. Rather, a person.s social position must depend on his merit. These ideas envisaging 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.
Ques 23: Which thought was put forward by John Locke in his book Two Treatises of Government?
Ans: In his Two Treatises of Government Locke sought to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the monarch. Rousseau carried the idea forward, proposing a form of government based on a social contract between people and their representatives.
Ques 24: Which thought was put forward by Montesquieu?
In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.Fig: Montesquieu
Ques 25: How did political thinkers in France influence USA?
Ans: 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. The American constitution and its guarantee of individual rights was an important example for political thinkers in France.
Ques 26: How was ideas of the philosophers spread among people?
Ans: 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.
Ques 27: What was the cause of anger and protest against the system of privileges?
Ans: 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.
Ques 28: Why French monarch had to call the meeting of the Estates General?
Ans: In France of the Old Regime the monarch did not have the power to impose taxes according to his will alone. Rather he had to call a meeting of the Estates General which would then pass his proposals for new taxes. The Estates General was a political body to which the three estates sent their representatives. However, the monarch alone could decide when to call a meeting of this body.
Ques 29: Why did Louis XVI call of an assembly of the Estates General on May 05, 1789?
Ans: On 5 May 1789, Louis XVI called together an assembly of the Estates General to pass proposals for new taxes.
Ques 30: How many delegates were present in an assembly called by Louis XVI to increase taxes?
Ans: The first and second estates sent 300 representatives each, who were seated in rows facing each other on two sides, while the 600 members of the third estate had to stand at the back. The third estate was represented by its more prosperous and educated members.
Peasants, artisans and women were denied entry to the assembly. However, their grievances and demands were listed in some 40,000 letters which the representatives had brought with them.
Ques 31: Why did members of the third estate walked out of the assembly in protest?
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.
This was one of the democratic principles put forward by philosophers like Rousseau in his book The Social Contract. When the king rejected this proposal, members of the third estate walked out of the assembly in protest.
Ques 32: Why did representatives of the third estate declare themselves as National Assembly?
Ans: 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.
Ques 33: Who led third estate as National Assembly?
The representatives of the third estate were led by Mirabeau and Abbé Sieyès.Fig: Mirabeau Ques 34: Who was Mirabeau?
Ans: Mirabeau was born in a noble family but was convinced of the need to do away with a society of feudal privilege. He brought out a journal and delivered powerful speeches to the crowds assembled at Versailles.
Ques 35: Who wrote an influential pamphlet called “What is the Third Estate”?
Ans: Abbé Sieyès, originally a priest, wrote an influential pamphlet called .What is the Third Estate.?
Ques 36: What led to uprising in Paris?
Ans: While the National Assembly was busy at Versailles drafting a constitution, the rest of France seethed with turmoil. A severe winter had meant a bad harvest; the price of bread rose, often bakers exploited the situation and hoarded supplies.
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.
Ques 37: Why did peasants in several districts seized hoes and attacked chateaux?
Ans: 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. 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.
Ques 38: Define Chateau.
Chateau means castle or stately residence belonging to a king or a nobleman.Fig: Chateau
Ques 39: Why did Louis XVI finally accorded recognition to the National Assembly?
Ans: 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.
Ques 40: When was feudal system abolished in France?
Ans: 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 were abolished and lands owned by the Church were confiscated.
Ques 41: When was the draft of constitution completed by National Assembly?
Ans: The National Assembly completed the draft of the constitution in 1791. Its main object was to limit the powers of the monarch.
Ques 42: How did France become a constitutional monarchy?
Ans: The powers of the monarch was curtailed, instead of being concentrated in the hands of one person, were now separated and assigned to different institutions like The legislature, executive and judiciary. This made France a constitutional monarchy.
Ques 43:Who was given the power to make laws in the National Assembly?
Ans: 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.
Ques 44: What qualifications were needed to become a voter in France?
Ans: 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. To qualify as an elector and then as a member of the Assembly, a man had to belong to the highest bracket of taxpayers.
Ques 45: Which rights were established as .natural and inalienable rights?
Ans: 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.
Ques 46: How were important ideas communicated to the people?
Ans: The majority of men and women in the eighteenth century could not read or write. So images and symbols were frequently used instead of printed words to communicate important ideas.
Ques 47: Why did the National Assembly declare war against Prussia and Austria?
Ans: The situation in France continued to be tense during the following years. 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. Before this could happen, the National Assembly voted in April 1792 to declare war against Prussia and Austria.
Ques 48: Which is the national anthem of France?
The Marseillaise is now the national anthem of France.Fig: Marseillaise Ques 49: How did revolutionary wars brought losses and economic difficulties to the people?
Ans: The revolutionary wars brought losses and economic difficulties to the people. While the men were away fighting at the front, women were left to cope with the tasks of earning a living and looking after their families. Large sections of the population were convinced that the revolution had to be carried further, as the Constitution of 1791 gave political rights only to the richer sections of society. Political clubs became an important rallying point for people who wished to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action.
Ques 50: Which was the most successful political club?
Ans: The most successful of these clubs was that of the Jacobins, which got its name from the former convent of St Jacob in Paris.
Ques 51: Who were members of the Jacobin club?
Ans: The members of the Jacobin club belonged mainly to the less prosperous sections of society. They included small shopkeepers, artisans such as shoemakers, pastry cooks, watch-makers, printers, as well as servants and daily-wage workers. Their leader was Maximilian Robespierre.
Ques 52: Why Jacobins came to be known as the sans-culottes?
A large group among the Jacobins decided to start wearing long striped trousers similar to those worn by dock workers. This was to set themselves apart from the fashionable sections of society, especially nobles, who wore knee breeches.Fig: Sans culottes
It was a way of proclaiming the end of the power wielded by the wearers of knee breeches. These Jacobins came to be known as the sans-culottes, literally meaning .those without knee breeches. Sans Culottes men wore in addition the red cap that symbolised liberty.
Ques 53: When did men of 21 years and above, regardless of wealth, got the right to vote in France?
Ans: In the summer of 1792 the Jacobins planned an insurrection of a large number of Parisians who were angered by the short supplies and high prices of food. 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. From now on all men of 21 years and above, regardless of wealth, got the right to vote.
Ques 54: What was newly elected assembly called?
Ans: The newly elected assembly was called the Convention.
Ques 55: When was France declared as republic?
Ans: On 21 September 1792 the newly elected assembly abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.
Ques 56: Why was Louis XVI executed?
Louis XVI was sentenced to death by a court on the charge of treason. On 21 January 1793 he was executed publicly at the Place de la Concorde. The queen Marie Antoinette met with the same fate shortly after.Fig: Louis XVIQues 57: Why is the period from 1793 to 1794 is referred to as the Reign of Terror?
Ans: The period from 1793 to 1794 is referred to as the Reign of Terror. Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment. All those whom he saw as being .enemies of the
Republic i.e. ex-nobles and clergy, members of other political parties, even members of his own party who did not agree with his methods were arrested, imprisoned and then tried by a revolutionary tribunal. If the court found them guilty they were guillotined.
Ques 58: What is the guillotine?
Ans: The guillotine is a device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person is beheaded. It was named after Dr Guillotin who invented it.
Ques 59: Discuss in detail Robespierre’s policy.
Ans: Robespierre’s government issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on wages and prices. Meat and bread were rationed. Peasants were forced to transport their grain to the cities and sell it at prices fixed by the government. The use of more expensive white flour was forbidden; all citizens were required to eat the pain d.égalité (equality bread), a loaf made of wholewheat.
Equality was also sought to be practised through forms of speech and address. Instead of the traditional Monsieur and Madame all French men and women were addressed as Citoyen and Citoyenne meaning Citizen. Churches were shut down and their buildings converted into barracks or offices.
Ques 60: Why was Robespierre executed?
Ans: Robespierre pursued his policies so relentlessly that even his supporters began to demand moderation. Finally, he was convicted by a court in July 1794, arrested and on the next day sent to the guillotine.
Ques 61: Why was new constitution introduced in France?
Ans: The fall of the Jacobin government allowed the wealthier middle classes to seize power. A new constitution was introduced which denied the vote to non-propertied sections of society. It provided for two elected legislative councils.
Ques 62: What was a Directory?
Ans: A Directory was an executive made up of five members. This was meant as a safeguard against the concentration of power in a one-man executive as under the Jacobins.
Ques 63: What paved the way for the rise of a military dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte?
Ans: 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.
Ques 64: Which was the most famous women’s club?
The Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women was the most famous women’s club.Fig: The Society of Revolutionary and Republican WomenQues 65: Why did women start their own political clubs and newspapers?
Ans: In order to discuss and voice their interests women started their own political clubs and newspapers. About sixty women’s clubs came up in different French cities. One of their main demands was that women enjoy the same political rights as men. Women were disappointed that the Constitution of 1791 reduced them to passive citizens. They demanded the right to vote, to be elected to the Assembly and to hold political office. Only then, they felt, would their interests be represented in the new government.
Ques 66: Which laws were introduced by the revolutionary government to improve the condition of women in France?
Ans: In the early years, the revolutionary government did introduce 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. 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.
Ques 67: When did women in France won the right to vote?
Ans: It was finally in 1946 that women in France won the right to vote.
Ques 68: Which was the most revolutionary social reforms of the Jacobin regime?
Ans: One of the most revolutionary social reforms of the Jacobin regime was the abolition of slavery in the French colonies.
Ques 69: Write a note on a triangular slave trade.
Ans: The colonies in the Caribbean, Martinique, Guadeloupe and San Domingo were important suppliers of commodities such as tobacco, indigo, sugar and coffee. But the reluctance of Europeans to go and work in distant and unfamiliar lands meant a shortage of labour on the plantations. So this was met by a triangular slave trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Ques 70: When did Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France?
Ans: Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of France in 1804