Class 9 Social Science French Revolution Exam Notes

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Class 9 Social Science French Revolution Exam Notes. Please refer to the examination notes which you can use for preparing and revising for exams. These notes will help you to revise the concepts quickly and get good marks.

Introduction

The later part of the eighteenth century saw one of the greatest revolutions which played an important role in the making of the modern world.

The Renaissance in Europe had brought about intellectual freedom and also gave birth to a chain of revolutions, especially in Europe, which destroyed the age-old feudal order and prepared the ground for the development of an industrial society. It gave to the world the ideas of liberty, equality and opened fraternity and opened the flood-gates for the development of an open society.

The Ancient Regime And Its Crisis

The term 'Old Regime' is usually used to describe the society and inhibition of France before 1789. 'The French Revolution had been building up for many years. The peasant worked from dawn to dusk on land owned by their local lords. Taxes were very high because of wars that France had fought in the 17th and 18th centuries, and because of the extravagance of Louis XIV and Louis XV.

Economic Crisis : The seven Years war was fought from 1756 to 1763. The War was fought between Austria, Sweden, Russia and Spain on one side and Prussia, Britain and Honover on the other side. The war had a deep impact on the economy of France. There was no alternative for the king except leaving heavy taxes.

Excessive Taxation :

(i) Before the Revolution, the common people were groaning under the burden of heavy taxes.

(ii) The system of taxation was unjust and unreasonable. The upper class which consisted of the nobles and the church-fathers were exempted from all sorts of taxes. The burden of taxation was passed on to the masses whose life was one of misery, starvation and humiliation.

(iii) The expenditure of the government was ever increasing on account of useless wars and extravagance rulers

(iv) With every increase in the demand for money, fresh taxes were imposed on the common people.

(v) People were forced to pay all kinds of taxes. There was the land tax, the road tax, the toll tax, the church tax, the salt tax and the tariff duties charged for moving goods from one province to another, up or down. or across a river and so on. Sometimes four fifths of the total income of a farmer would go towards the payment of taxes.

(vi) Taxes were taille, the direct land tax, salt tax known as Gabelle, feudal dues or payments were taken by nobility and taxes known as tithe was taken the church.
 
3. Social Disparity : In the 17th century the French society was divided into three groups called estates :
 
(i) The First Estate : It consisted of the clergymen and church-fathers who were the custodians of religion and conscience of man and the most venerated persons in society.
 
(ii) The Second Estate : It consisted of landlords, men of noble birth and aristocrats.
 
(iii) The Third Estate : It consisted of the vast majority of the common masses which included the landless peasants, petty peasant proprietors, artisans, masons, craftsman, manufactures, traders, merchants and other businessmen.
 
 Class 9 Social Science French Revolution Exam Notes
Out of the total population the First and the Second estate had a share of 2%. The remaining 98% of the people belonged to the Third Estate. Although the upper two classes made up only a small fraction of the total population, they were the people who controlled the political and economic system of the nation. They enjoyed all the rights and privileges. The entire machinery of the government was designed to protect their interests and privileges. They owned two fifths of the total lands. The nobles and the upper clergy occupied all important positions in the king’s court and drew heavy salaries and pensions. The people belonging to the Third estate did not enjoy any political rights. They were even denied the right to protection of life. The gulf between the rich and the poor was so wide that a handful of the nobles and clergy got all the money while the poor masses did all the work.
 
4. The Rise of the Middle Class :
 
(i) The spread of industrial revolution led to the emergence of the middle class. It was the class of businessman, traders, bankers, manufactures, scholars etc.
 
(ii) The Middle Class people become the leaders of the Revolution.
 
(iii) They came forward with the slogan of liberty, equality and fraternity.
 
(iv) They were now determined to get rid of the feudal system. They realized that so long as the feudal system prevails the French society had no chance of moving forward on the road to prosperity and plenty as the feudal barriers were a serious obstruction to the growth of industrial capitalism.
 
5. Influence of the Philosophers and Writers : There were many French Philosophers and thinkers like Montesquieu, Rousseu, Voltaire and Mirabue who exposed the evils prevailing in the system. They infused people with the ideal of liberty, equality and fraternity.
 
1. Charles Monstesquieu : A nobleman by birth, he become a lawyer and a judge. In his book, “The Spirit of Laws”, he criticised autocracy and praised the democratic republic.
 
2. Francis Aronet Voltaire : Voltaire was another out standing philosopher of the Revolution. He wanted the people to think about their material life on earth and forget about heaven. He condemned the Church which supported the privileged class and ignored the poor.
 
3. Jean, Jacques Rousseau : Rousseau is regarded as the architect of the French Revolution. He gave the slogan “Man was born Free yet he is everywhere in chains”. In the famous book, “The Social Contract”, he proved that the government was the result of a social contract between the people on the one hand and ruler on the other. So if the ruler did not fulfill the contract, the people had the right to withdraw their loyalty to him and bring down the tyranny of the ruler by revolting.
 
6. Political Causes :
(i) The political structure of the French state was highly unpopular with the people who were burdened with heavy taxes and insecure conditions of life and property.
 
(ii) Divine rights of the Kings, despotism and tyranny of the French monarchs topped by the extravagance and inefficiency of the Bourbon kings.
 
(iii) Louis XV indulged in a life of ease and pleasure, was not interested in administrative reforms or the welfare of the people.
 
(iv) Louis XVI through good natured was completely under the influence of incompetent and corrupt ministers and a domineering queen, Marie Antoinette.
 
(v) Absence of any representative body to voice the needs of the people. Local bodies called Parliament were courts of justice rather than voice of people.
 
→ THE COURSE OF THE REVOLUTION
In 1789 the French government found itself in the grip of huge financial crisis. The King Louis XVI, summoned a meeting of the ‘Estates General’ to get their consent to impose new taxes. During that period there were three estates. The First and the Second estate consisted of the upper class and the Third estate was of the commoners. The commoners (Third Estate) was in majority. They demanded that the matters before the Assembly should be decided by a majority of votes but other two estates were against this.

(a) The Tennis Court Oath : Voting in the Estates General in the past had been conducted according to the principle that each estate had one vote. 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 on June 20, 1789 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. While the National Assembly was busy at Versailles, the rest of France seethed with turmoil, on 14 July the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed the Bastille.
 
(b) Storming of the Bastille : On the morning of July 14, 1789 the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. A severe winter had meant a bad harvest, the price of bread rose. Bakers exploited the situation and hoarded supplies. Crowds of angry women stormed into the shops.
The army was ordered by the king to move into the city. It was rumored that the army would be ordered to open fire upon the citizens. Thousands of persons gathered and decided to form a people's militia. They broke into a number of government buildings in search of arms. Bastille was a dreaded fortress-prison. It was hated by all because it stood for the despotic power of the king. Protestors stormed into the Bastille in search of arms. The commander of Bastille was killed. the prisoners were released. the fortress was demolished. Louis XVI finally accorded recognition to the National Assembly and accepted the principle that his powers would from now on the checked by a constitution. On the night of 4 August 1789, the Assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes.
 
(c) France becomes a Constitutional Monarchy :
 
(i) The National Assembly completed the drafting of the constitution in 1791. Power was now separated and assigned to different institutions, the legislature, executive and judiciary making France a constitutional monarchy.
 
(ii) The constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly, which was indirectly elected.
 
(iii) The constitution began with a declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Rights such as the Right of life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law were established as 'natural and inalienable' rights.
 
IMPACT OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
 
The French Revolution is one of the most important events in the world history. After revolution the Republic of France was established and Liberty, Fraternity and Equality became its guiding principles. With the fall of the Bastille, The National Assembly became the supreme power in France. The serfs were set free. The system of forced labour was stopped. Every citizen was given the political and economic rights. The Church was taken over by the State.
 
In keeping with the slogan of the Revolution, “Liberty, equality, fraternity,” the National Assembly made its famous ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen’. Some of the rights mentioned were.
 
(a) All men were born free and have equal rights.
 
(b) All men would have freedom of speech and expression.
 
(c) Nobody should be punished without a fair and proper trail in a court of law.
 
(d) The Government would be responsible to the people for all its actions. The Revolution brought following major changes in the France.
 
(i) It brought end of absolute monarchy
 
(ii) It spread the spirit of nationalism and democracy.
 
(iii) All were given equal rights without discrimination.
 
A new constitution of Revolutionary France was framed. It was based on the Principles of democracy. The king was reduced to the position of a nominal head of the State. Out of fear, the king and the Queen tried to escape from France in disguise but they were arrested and brought back as prisoners. The Old National Assembly was replaced by a new one. The king and the Queen were tried and executed in 1793.
 
(A) The Reign of Terror : The period in between 1793-94 is referred as the 'Reign of terror'
 
(i) During this period Robespierre, who was the head of the government of France followed a policy of severe control and punishment.
 
(ii) Ex-nobles and clergy, even members of his own party who did not agree with his methods were arrested, imprisoned and then guillotined.
 
(iii) France witnessed the guillotine of thousands of nobles and innocent men who supported monarchy (iv) Robespierre issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on prices. Churches were shut down.
 
(v) Finally Robespierre was guillotined in July 1794.
 
(B) A Directory Rules France : The reign of terror ended in 1794. The Jacobin government fell, and a new constitution was prepared by an elected convention providing for a republican form a government with a legislature and an executive body called the Directory. Directory was an executive made up of five members. 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.
 
♦ Reorganisation of the Church :
It led to the nationalisation of Church property. The Assembly confiscated all the endowment lands to the Church. The Church was reorganized.
 
 Reorganisation of the Administration :
France followed the principal of decentralisation of powers. Administration was reorganized into department. The Old provinces were abolished. Each department was divided into Districts, Cantons and Communes. Thus France was unified and given a certain amount of local self government
 
→ The Abolition of slavery -
(i) Slavery was rampant in the European colonies of the Caribbean and the Americans. The slaves were mostly used on sugar, coffee, indigo and tobacco plantations. Their demand was because of their availability and low costs.
 
(ii) In a debate in the Constituent Assembly in October 1790, to safeguard commercial interests of planter's two parties holding opposite views emerged. The group that safeguarded planters interests but pledged to maintain order in the colonies came up around the Massaic Club founded in August 1789 and their adversaries were the Society of the Friends of the Blacks founded in 1783. The outcome of the debate was that it served the purpose of drawing attention to the condition of slaves and sowed seeds of future political divisions.
 
(iii) On February 4, 1794 the convention (National Assembly) ended slavery in the French colonies. Napoleon Bonaparte revoked the decree in 1802, slavery was finally abolished from the French colonies in 1848.
 
→  RISE OF NAPOLEON BONAPARTE
The rise of Napoleon Bonaparte was also an indirect result of the French Revolution. As often happens in revolutions there was political and economic instability in France and there was a struggle for power.
Napoleon took advantage of the situation and become a dictator with the help of the army. In 1804 be declared himself the Emperor of France. He was a brilliant general and used his armies to conquer and dominate all the neighboring countries except Britain and Russia. However, his successes were short-lived.
 
Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia jointly defeated him at Leipzig and again at Waterloo in 1815. He was captured and sent as a prisoner to the island of St. Helena where he died in 1821.
 
 Impact on World :

The French Revolution had a far reaching impact not only on France but on the whole world.
 
1. It marked the end of feudalism and brought in a new era of industrial capitalism.
 
2. Slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity found an echo in every part of Europe during the 19th century and there was a chain of revolutions one after another.
 
3. The Declaration of Right of Man is the most famous charter of liberty in the whole world. It laid the foundation of a new social order based on liberty, equality and fraternity (brotherhood of man). It became the guiding star of future revolution in almost al the countries of Europe.
 
4. The French Revolution also acted as guiding force for the people of colonies like that of India.
 
GLOSSARY
 
1. Nation. People who share a language, culture, customs and history, a group united into a large political, economic and social unit which recognises no law or authority above its own, i.e., it is sovereign in nature.
 
2. Nationalism. A feeling of intense loyalty and devotion to one’s country.
 
3. Revolution. The term means a recognised momentous change in any situation. A revolution can result in the sudden overthrow of an established government or system by force and bloodshed, e.g. The French Revolution. It can also be a great change that comes slowly and peacefully, e.g., Industrial Revolution.
 
4. First Estate. French society was divided into classes called Estates. The First Estate consisted of the Clergy which held a vast land, wealth and was exempt from taxation.
 
5. 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 exempt from taxation and led an extravagant life.
 
6. Third Estate. This comprised everyone who was neither nobility nor clergy and constituted 98% of the population. Town dwellers, the wealthy upper middle class (merchants, bankers, doctors, lawyers), lower middle class, craftsmen, shopkeepers and peasants comprised the Third Estate. This class lacked political power, social position and was heavily taxed though there were many differences in their wealth and style of living.
 
7. 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, speech, religion and thought.
 
8. Physiocrats. the French economists were called physiocrats. They believed that taxes should be imposed only with the consent of those on whom they are levied. Their beliefs undermined the feudal rights and privileges of the upper classes.
 
9. Livre. Unit of currency used in France till 1794.
 
10. Clergy. Group of persons invested with special functions in the Church.
 
11. Tithe. A tax levied by the Church equal to one-tenth of the agricultural produce.
 
12. Taille. Tax paid directly to the state.
 
13. Chateau. Castle belonging to a king or nobleman.
 
14. Manor. An estate consisting of the Lord’s lands and his mansion.
 
15. Sceptre. Symbol of royal power.
 
16. Negroes. A term used for the indigenous people of Africa, south of the Sahara. A derogatory term not now commonly used.
 
Important Dates :

1774 : Louis XVI becomes King of France.
 
1789 : Third Estate forms National Assembly. The Bastille is stormed.
 
1791 : A constitution is framed to limit the powers of the king and to guarantee the basic rights to all the human beings
 
1792-93 : France becomes a republic. The king is executed. Over throw of the Jacobin Republic, a 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.
 
Important Personalities :
 
1. Maximilian Robespierre : Leader of the Jacobin club whose policies led to the Reign of Terror. In 1794, he was convicted and sent to the guillotine.

2. Napoleon Bonaparte : The military dictator of France who conquered many European countries. He was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.
 
3. Olympe de Gouges : One of the most important politically active women revolutionary France. In 1791, she wrote a Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen. Critical of the Jacobin government, she was charged with treason and executed.
 
4. Louis XVI : The King of France when the revolution occurred was a man of average intelligence who disliked any kind of brain work. He staunchly believed in the Divine Right of Kings and was completely unaware of the new
ideas that were sweeping across his country and oblivious to the needs and fears of his subjects. He was obsessed with his beautiful wife and wasted money on festivities. He drove France into useless wars bringing the country to the verge of bankruptcy.
 
5. Montesquieu : A French thinker and author of the book ‘Spirit of Laws’. He believed that executive, legislative and judicial powers should not be concentrated in one person as it led to tyrannical rule. He stressed on the principle of separation of powers and individual liberty.
 
6. Jean Jacques Rousseau : His writings played a significant role in bringing about the French Revolution and encouraged people to fight for their rights. He believed that government should be based on the consent of the governed. His most famous work ‘The Social Contract’ talks of a contract between the ruler and ruled where by the former would guarantee the freedom and happiness of his subjects. Implied in his writings was the belief that men had a right to change their government if they were not satisfied.
 
7. Voltaire : A famous and influential French writer, he stressed religious toleration and freedom of speech. He is credited with the famous statement on free speech ‘I do not agree with a word you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’. He savagely attacked all things he considered sham or superstition and was a vehement critic of the Catholic Church.
 
EXERCISE

A. VERY SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
 
Q.1 What do you understand by the word ‘Revolution’ ? For what kind of situations can the term Revolution be used ?
 
Q.2 Mention two activities of the French monarchy which hastened the Revolution.
 
Q.3 Name the three main social classes in 18th Century France.
 
Q.4 What were the conditions of the third estate ?
 
Q.5 Who was Rousseau ? Name the famous work by Rousseau which lays down the main principles of democracy.
 
Q.6 Describe the incident which sparked the Revolution.
 
Q.7 Describe the main ideas contained in the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen.
 
Q.8 Who were the Sans-Cullotes ?
 
Q.9 What was the main aim of the National Assembly ?
 
Q.10 What were the meanings of the following symbols – The broken chain, scepter, bluewhite- red, bundle of rods or fasces.
 
Q.11 What was the National Anthem of France? Who composed it ?
 
Q.12 Which was the popular political club of France? What was its leader ?
 
Q.13 What is a guillotine ? Who invented it ?
 
Q.14 What work did women of the third estate do ?
Q.15 State any two laws passed by Napoleon.
 
Q.16 How would you explain the rise of Napoleon ?
 
Q.17 Which section of the French society paid most of the taxes before the revolution ? Name any three taxes paid by that section.
 
Q.18 What was the Bastille ?
 
Q.19 What was Directory ?
 
Q.20 Name any two women club of France. What was the main motive of these clubs ?
 
Q.21 Who wrote the 'Two Treatises of Government' ?
 
Q.22 What was the slogan of the French revolutionaries ?
 
Q.23 When was the National Anthem of France sung for the first time?
 
Q.24 Who were Jacobins ? Who was their leader ?
 
Q.25 Name the three continents which wereinvolved in triangle slave trade.
 
Q.26 Why was slave trade very important for theimperialist countries ?
 
Q.27 When was the slave trade abolished inFrench colonies ?
 
B. SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTION
 
Q.1 How did the teaching of Rousseau lay thefoundations of democracy?
 
Q.2 What was the impact of the French Revolution on France?
 
Q.3 List the accomplishments of the national assembly of France from 1789 to 1791.
 
Q.4 Write short note on.
 
(A) French slave trade
 
(B) Fall of Napoleon
 
Q.5 Explain the condition of women in France before and after the revolution.
 
Q.6 Compare the political, economic, and social condition of France before and after the revolution.
 
Q.7 Explain the role of thinkers and philosophers in the French Revolution.
 
Q.8 Why were the representatives of the Third Estate disappointed with the pattern of voting in the 'Estates General' ?
 
Q.9 How was slavery abolished in France ?
 
Q.10 Describe the circumstances leading to the outbreak of revolutionary protest in France.
 
C. LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
 
Q.1 Analyse the causes of the French Revolution
 
Q.2 What role did the philosophers play in bringing about the French Revolution ?
 
Q3 Why is the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen regarded as a revolutionary document ?
 
Q.4 What role did Louis XVI play in bringing about the revolution ?
 
Q.5 Give an estimate of Napoleon Bonaparte as the First Consul.
 
Q.6 What was the impact of the French Revolution on the world ?
 
Q.7 Which groups of French society benefited from the revolution ? Which groups were forced to reliquish power ? Which sections of society would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution ?
 
Q.8 Draw up a list of democratic rights we enjoy today whose origins could be traced to the French Revolution.
 
Q.9 How was French society organised ? What privileges did certain sections of society enjoy ?
 
Q.10 What measures were taken by Robespierre’s government ?
 
Q.11 What role did women play during the revolutionary years ?
 
Q.12 What laws were passed by the revolutionary government for the benefit of women ?
 
Q.13 How did the revolutionary governments translate the ideals of liberty and equality into everyday practice ?
 
Q.14 What is subsistence crisis ? Mention any two factors responsible for this in France.
 
Q.15 Which period in France history is known as the reign of terror ? Given reasons.
 
Q.16 'Social disparity was one of the major causes of the French Revolution'. Justify by giving examples.
 
Q.17 Discuss the impact of abolition of censorship in France.
 
Q.18 Write three main features of the French Constitution of 1791.
 
Q.19 Describe the importance of the Declaration of the Rights of Man in France.
 
Q.20 What was the significance of 'The Tennis Court Oath' in the French Revolution ?
 
D. MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
 
Q.1 Who was Rousseau ?
(A) French philosopher(B) Army general
(C) Estate general (D) King of France
 
Q.2 Who were sans-culottes ?
(A) Common people of India
(B) Common people of Paris
(C) Common people of Washington
(D) None of these
 
Q.3 What was the National Anthem of France ?
(A) Marseillaise (B) Jan-Gan Man
(C) Guillotine (D) None of these
 
Q.4 Which was the popular political club of France ?
(A) Womens club (B) Voltaire club
(C) Jacobins (D) All of these
 
Q.5 Who was the Author of the book ‘Spirit of Law’ ?
(A) Rousseau (B) Montesquieu
(C) Voltaire (D) St. Jacob
 
Q.6 When was the Napoleon defeated at Waterloo ?
(A) 1810 (B) 1811
(C) 1812 (D) 1815
 
Q.7 When did France become a republic -
(A) 1789-90 (B) 1790-91
(C) 1792-93 (D) 1794-95
 
Q.8 A tax paid directly to the state in France isc alled -
(A) Tithe (B) Taille
(C) Monar (D) Livere
 
Q.9 Unit a currency used in France till 1794 is called -
(A) Clergy (B) Chatean
(C) Livere (D) Tithe
 
Q.10 When did Louis XVI become the king of France ?
(A) 1770 (B) 1774
(C) 1776 (D) 1778
 
Q.11 French society was divided in classes called -
(A) Castes (B) Community
(C) Estate (D) All of these
 
Q.12 When did French women get the Right to vote ?
(A) 1940 (B) 1946
(C) 1948 (D) 1950
 
Q.13 Who wrote, 'The Social Contract' ?
(A) John Locke 
(B) Jacques Rousseau
(C) Voltaire 
(D) George Danton
 
Q.14 The National Assembly was led by-
(A) Mirabeau and Abbe Sieyes
(B) Louis XVI and Mirabeau
(C) Mirabeau and Rousseau
(D) Rousseau and Louis XVI
 
Q.15 The national anthem of France, 'Marseilles' was written by-
(A) John Locke 
(B) Jacques Rousseau
(C) Voltaire 
(D) Roget de L'Isle
 
Q.16 Who was the leader of the Jacobin Club ?
(A) John Locke
(B) Jacques Rousseau
(C) Maximilian Robespierre
(D) Roget de L'Isle
 
Q.17 Which period in the history of France is known as Reign of Terror ?
(A) 1793 to 1798 
(B) 1793 to 1799
(C) 1793 to 1794 
(D) 1793 to 1799
 
Q.18 When was slavery abolished in French colonies ?
(A) 1848 (B) 1849
(C) 1850 (D) 1851
 
Q.19 What did the red cap worn by Sans Culottes in France symbolise ?
(A) Liberty 
(B) Brotherhood
(C) Love 
(D) Equality
 
Q.20 In the context of France what was "the Convention" ?
(A) A French school
(B) The newly elected assembly
(C) The club
(D) A women organisation

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