THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: Independence and Democracy

Britain's Policy: Toward the American Thirteen Colonies

1. Neglect: Prior to 1763

a. The colonies enjoyed considerable self government.

b. Disregarded British mercantilist laws, the Navigation Acts.

Purpose of the Acts: to restrict colonial industry and discourage trade with all countries except Britain.

2. Effect of the French Indian War: 1754-1763

a. The British government considered the aid received from the American colonies as inadequate.

b. King George III and the Tory Party decided:

1.) To re-establish control over the colonies.

2.) To force the colonies to bear part of the war's cost.

3. Strict Control: After 1763

a. Enforced the Navigation Acts.

b. Attempted to control Colonial Smugglers.

1.) Authorized the use of Writs of Assistance, legal documents permitting unlimited search of private buildings.

2.) Denied accused smugglers of a jury trial.

c. Subject colonists to an import tax, especially on tea and sugar.

* a stamp tax was imposed on printed material.

d. Prohibited westward migration beyond the Allegheny Mountains, and stationed British troops in the colonies.


1. Economic:

a. Colonial manufacturers and merchants were angered at Mercantilist Restrictions.

b. Plantation owners and frontier settlers disliked the prohibition against westward expansion.

c. Opposition to the Stamp Act and import taxes.

2. Political:

a. Colonists maintained they could only be taxed by their own legislatures.

* Parliament's Taxes: taxation without representation.

b. Quartering of British soldiers, writs of assistance, denial of jury trial were violations of their "rights as Englishmen".

3. Social:

a. Colonists of English ancestry now considered themselves Americans not English.

b. Non-English Colonists (Irish, Dutch, and French) were traditionally hostile to Great Britain.


1. Smuggled goods to evade import taxes.

2. Boycotted British goods.

3. Demonstrated against British soldiers.

4. Organized committees to coordinate anti-British efforts.

5. Spoke and wrote against Britain's colonial policy.


1. The Boston Tea Party: in 1733 Massachusetts colonists dumped British tea in Boston Harbor protesting the import tax.

2. The British Response: Intolerable Acts - four laws -- to punish Massachusetts (1774).

a. One closed the Port of Boston to all shipping, and another canceled the Massachusetts Charter.

b. Situation Worsens: The Quebec Act

* It protected the rights of French Catholics, and extended the Canadian boundaries to the Ohio River and westward to the Mississippi River.

3. The First Continental Congress: Fall 1774

a. Representatives of all the colonies except Georgia met in Philadelphia.

b. They asserted their "rights of Englishmen".

4. 1775: Colonial Minutemen fired upon British troops marching from Boston to seize military supplies and leaders at Lexington and Concord.

(ie. The beginning of the American Revolution.)


1776 - The Second Continental Congress decided that the colonies were fighting for complete

independence from Britain.

1. Complaints of brutal British military behavior.

2. Considered independence as a logical goal.

Thomas Paine - Common Sense

3. Hoped a Declaration of Independence might bring foreign allies, especially France.


1. Written chiefly by Thomas Jefferson reflecting his thinking based on John Locke.

a. "All men are created equal" and "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

b. To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, "deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed".

c. "Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government.

d. However, "government long established should not be changed for light and transient causes."

2. Jefferson went on to list grievances against George III, and concluded that the Colonies had the right to independence.


1. One third were organized Patriots who favored independence.

2. One third were undecided or Neutral.

3. One third were unorganized loyalists or Tories who remained loyal to Britain.

a. Prominent Tories were wealthy landowners and governmental officials.

b. Many Tories fled to Canada and Britain and their property was seized and sold.


1. Americans - fighting on their own soil.

2. Experienced wilderness fighters.

3. Courageous leadership - George Washington.

4. Capable foreign volunteers, such as Lafayette.

5. Foreign Aid from France in 1778 and later from Spain and Holland.

THE TREATY OF PARIS - 1783: Recognized American Independence from Britain.

1. Articles of Confederation - Weak Federal Government (1781-89)

a. No executive branch.

b. No taxing power.

c. Defense: only could ask states for volunteers.

d. No federal court system.

e. One House Legislature: needing a unanimous vote for passage.

2. 1789: The Constitution established the present government of the United States.

a. Created a federal republic headed by an elected president.

b. It stated the powers and limitations upon the government.

c. It provided for Separation of Power.

3. 1791: THE BILL OF RIGHTS - First ten amendments to the Constitution.

a. Guaranteed freedom of speech, press, and religion; the right to assemble, petition the government, and receive a speedy impartial jury trial.

b. Prohibited unreasonable searches, excessive fines, cruel and unusual punishment, forcing a person to be a witness against himself, and quartering of troops in homes during peace time.

4. Influenced the French Revolution and Latin American revolutions in the 19th Century.

5. Influenced Britain to change its Colonial Policy.


The Old Regime: Political, social, and economic conditions of 18th Century Europe prior to

the French Revolution - feudal conditions.

Characterized By:

1. Divine Right Monarchy.

2. Society in France divided into three estates (classes).

The First Estate:

1. The clergy - less than 1% of the population.

2. They were exempted from taxes and could only be tried in Church Courts.

3. The Church owned about one tenth (1/10) of the land in France.

* They received large revenues from rents, taxes, and feudal fees.

4. The Higher Clergy: (mostly from the nobility) - controlled most of the wealth -- neglected spiritual matters.

5. The Lower Clergy: (parish priests - peasant background) poorly paid and over worked.

The Second Estate

1. The Nobility - less than 2% of the population.

2. Exempted from most taxation.

3. Collected feudal dues from peasants.

4. Held the highest positions in the army and government --- chosen on the basis of birth and not ability.

Concerned: more for themselves than the welfare of France.

The Third Estate

1. Diverse Group - 97% of the population.

2. The Bourgeoisie: The Middle Class

a. Merchants, manufacturers, and professionals.

b. People of wealth and education.

* Resented their lack of representation in the government.

3. Manual Workers:

a. Low wages.

b. Poor housing in the cities.

4. Peasants and Serfs: most numerous group.

a. Peasants were freemen - serfs were few in number.

b. Peasants owed feudal dues and services to landowners.

5. Economic: Third Estate - almost the entire tax burden.

a. Peasants:

1.) Taille: land use tax.

2.) Corvee: forced labor on roads and bridges.

3.) Gabelle: tax on compulsory salt purchases.

4.) Tithe: Church tax.

5.) Feudal Dues: payment to the nobility (in most cases, these taxes made up half of their wages).

b. Bourgeoise: most influential.

1.) There were Provincial tariffs on trade within France restricting trade.

2.) Resentment over Guild restrictions on manufacturing and Governmental mercantile restrictions on trade.

3.) Supported - Laissez Faire, removal of governmental restrictions on trading and manufacturing.

Wealth of Nations: (1776) by Adam Smith stating that laissez faire would further the interest of the Bourgeoisie and increase national wealth.


1. Divine Right Monarchy

a. Only worked well when there was a king of ability.

b. The King: made and enforced laws, conducted foreign policy, dispensed justice, levied taxes, and spent public funds.

c. Censored speech and the press: to control what were considered to be "dangerous ideas".

d. lettre de cachet: "letter under seal" - the king could imprison enemies without a charge or trial.

Judges: appointed and removed by the king.

Trials: held in secret and without a jury.

2. Chief Causes

a. Bourgeois Unrest.

b. Financial Difficulties.

3. The Bourgeoisie:

a. Owned nearly all the productive wealth in France except land.

ie. trade, manufacturing, and banking.

b. Political and Social position not equal to their wealth.

c. Opposed to Mercantilism:

1.) Regulations on wages, prices, and foreign trade.

2.) Granting of monopolies by the government.

d. Influenced by the Enlightenment: Voltaire, Rousseau, and Montesquieu.

4. Influence of Other Revolutions:

a. English: 17th Century

1.) Geographically close.

2.) Royalists and Parliamentarians both took refuge in France.

3.) French philosophers praised the English Parliamentary System.

b. American: 18th Century

1.) Lafayette and other French citizens fought in it and spread liberal ideas in France on their return.

2.) Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were popular envoys to Paris and inspired French thought.

5. Economic Problems:

a. Wars of Louis XIV had left France nearly bankrupt in 1715.

b. French aid to the American Revolution.

c. Continued cost of the French Court at Versailles.

d. Revenue was too low to meet expenses.

e. Problem: the unwillingness of the wealthy to pay taxes.

f. Louis XV continued to borrow heavily from bankers.

"It will last my time, and after me --- the deluge."

Reforms of Louis XVI

1. Louis XVI became king in 1774, he was the grandson of Louis XV.

a. He was an indecisive and weak ruler.

b. Marie Antoinette, Louis' wife, and the nobility encourage him to resist reforms.

c. Aid to the Americans and heavy expenses at Versailles when France could least afford it.

2. Turgot and Necker: appointed two middle class financial experts to propose reforms.

a. Greater freedom for French industry.

b. Taxing the nobility and clergy.

c. Less spending at the court in Versailles.


3. 1787: Bankers refused to lend the government any more money.

4. 1788: The harvest failed causing severe inflation. France was in a state of bankruptcy.

5. Louis XVI was forced to call the Estates General into session - it was scheduled to convene in May of 1789.

The Estates General - 1789

1. Significance:

a. It had not been called into session for 175 years, not since 1614.

b. It was an admission that the king could not solve the financial problems facing France.

2. Procedures - Many Questions:

a. Was it to advise the king or enact laws?

b. Method of Voting - by individual or estate?

c. The practice had been for each estate to meet separately with each casting one vote.


First Estate - 300

Second Estate - 300


Third Estate - 600


3. The Cahiers: list of grievances.

a. Pledged loyalty to the king.

b. Yet, demanded reforms to end Old Regime abuses.

4. Assembled May 5, 1789

a. The King instructed the members to follow the old custom of voting by estate.

b. The Third Estate claimed the Estates General represented the French People and not three classes.

c. Louis XVI failed to take action and on June 17, 1789 the Third Estate proclaimed itself a National Assembly.

d. Members of the First and Second Estates were invited to join the National Assembly.

e. June 20th: the Third Estate was locked out of their meeting place.

1.) They marched to a near by Tennis Court to meet.

2.) The Tennis Court Oath: all members pledged to continue to meet until a constitution had been written and adopted for France.

5. The King: finally ordered the three estates to meet together (June 27th).

a. He secretly brought troops to Paris and Versailles.

b. Fear: the troops would be used to halt the National Assembly - Riots broke out in Paris.

The Bastille, July 14th: A symbol of the Old Regime. It had been a prison that held political prisoners.

The Bastille was captured by a Paris mob to obtain arms and prevent a possible revolution by the nobility.

c. Lafayette formed a new government in Paris to restore order.

d. "The Great Feat" --- peasants attacked nobles' homes and estates destroying feudal records containing rents, dues, and other obligations.

Importance of the Violence:

1.) Showing support of the National Assembly.

2.) Warning to the King and the nobility not to resist reforms.

The National Assembly: 1789-1791

1. Law of the Fourth of August

a. Serfdom and Feudal obligations were abolished.

b. The Church Tithe was abolished.

c. Tax exemptions for the clergy and nobility came to an end.

d. class distinctions were removed.

e. Guild restrictions on manufacturing were also removed.

2. August 27, 1789: Declaration of the Rights of Man

a. Men are born with equal rights before the law.

b. All citizens have a voice in making the nation's laws.

c. Guaranteed freedom of speech, press, and religion.

d. "liberty, equality, and fraternity" became the symbolic expression of the Revolution.

3. "emigres" --- French nobles who had fled from France and were plotting the overthrow of the Revolution.

4. Louis XVI

a. He was urged by nobles to use force to restore the old order.

b. Troops were again called to Versailles ---- A Paris mob marched on the Palace and forced the king to return to Paris with them.

Governmental Reform: The National Assembly

1. From 1789-1791: more than 2,000 laws were passed.

2. The Administration of France:

a. Provinces: They had held many special privileges which were now abolished.

b. Departments: France was divided into 83 uniform districts in which officials were to be elected.

3. All Church Land was confiscated.

a. Assignats: Currency issued on the value of the land --- it lost value since more was issued than there was land (ie. inflation).

b. The land was sold mostly to peasants who had been renting it.

France: The nation was transformed into a nation of small independent landowners.

4. Religious Measures: Civil Constitution of the Clergy

a. It created a National Church independent of the Pope.

b. Priests and Bishops were to be elected by the people.

c. The Clergy were to be subject to the government and paid by the government.

d. Non Juring Clergy: Clergymen who refused to swear allegiance to this constitution.

e. The Pope: Forbade the clergy to accept the new law, and it was opposed by the majority of French clergy.

The Constitution of 1791

1. It established a limited monarchy with separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.

2. The King: reduced powers

a. Could not proclaim laws.

b. Could not veto any action of the legislature.

3. Legislative Assembly

a. One house legislature elected by tax payers (October 1791).

b. No member of the National Assembly could be elected.

c. Property qualification to hold office - it violated the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

d. It was controlled by the Middle Class.

4. Louis XVI

a. He continued to encourage emigres who were plotting in foreign countries.

b. He (the king) was urged to flee and personally seek help from friendly nations.

5. Supporters of the Constitution of 1791

a. Middle Class - Constitutional Monarchists

b. Many Farming Peasants

* These two groups were satisfied and wanted an end to change.

c. This attitude proved impossible with pressures from the rest of French society.

6. Opponents of the Constitution of 1791

a. Girondists - moderates: wanted a middle class Republic like the United States.

b. Jacobins - radicals: city workers who paid no taxes.

1.) This group had not yet benefited from the revolution. They wanted further change.

2.) Opposed the king and the middle class.

3.) Leaders: Marat, Danton, and Robespierre

7. Opponents favoring the Old Regime: "the emigres"

8. The King: Attempted Flight

a. Louis XVI attempted to flee from France into the Austrian Netherlands.

b. The king was recognized and arrested at the town of Verennes near the Northern border.

c. Resentment: Louis XVI had left behind a statement calling upon loyal Frenchmen to restore the Old Regime.

d. In accepting a revised Constitution, the king's popularity revived.

The Legislative Assembly and War:

1. The new government went into effect in September 1791 and lasted less than a year.

2. It was difficult to gain agreement on Domestic Issues among the different groups in the Assembly.

3. Foreign Threat

a. Nobles (emigres) urged foreign monarches to invade France -- fear that the revolution might spread.

b. August 1791: Leopold II of Austria and Frederick Wilhelm II of Prussia declared European rulers should restore an absolute monarchy to France.

c. April 1792: Louis XVI was forced to declare war on Austria.

d. Austrian and Prussian troops then invade France.

End of the Monarchy

1. The Austrian and Prussian invasion caused mass uprisings and riots.

2. The Commune: a new city government in Paris was set up by the Jacobins (radicals).

a. It threatened the Legislative Assembly unless it abolished the monarchy.

b. While 1/3 of the members were present (August 10, 1792), the Assembly voted to suspend the office of king.

c. Louis XVI and his family were imprisoned.

3. Election for delegates to a National Convention was set.

Purpose: to write another Constitution for France.

4. Lafayette: commander of the army.

a. He was forced to give up his command and flee to the Austrian Netherlands.

b. He had supported Louis XVI and the limited monarchy.

c. He was arrested as a revolutionary and held in Austrian prisons for five years.

5. Election of the National Convention

a. Election was by Universal Manhood Suffrage: seven million men qualified.

b. Only 10% of the voters cast their ballots.

c. Threats were used to force individuals to cast ballots for those who opposed the monarchy.

France and the National Convention: 1792-1795

1. September 1792: The Convention held its first meeting.

2. Three Groups:

a. Girondists: wanting a middle class republic.

b. Jacobins: (radicals) mostly middle class leaders.

ie. Danton and Robespierre

c. A middle group: no set position but eventually supported the Jacobins.

d. Extreme Radicals: wanted a republic representing all the people and not just the middle class (led by Jean Paul Marat -- a Parisian doctor).

3. The Convention ruled France for three years by dictatorial methods --- it proclaimed the end of the monarchy and the beginning of the First French Republic.

4. Louis XVI:

a. He was tried for plotting against the security of the nation.

b. He was found guilty by a small majority and sentenced to death.

January 21, 1793: he was beheaded by the guillotine.

October 16, 1793: Louis' wife, Marie Antoinette, also was executed at the guillotine.

Exporting the Revolution:

1. Charles Francois Dumoriez was the new commander of the French Army.

2. Dumoriez defeated the Austrian and Prussian forces and stopped the invasion.

3. France then invaded the Austrian Netherlands and captured Brussels.

The National Convention declared French armies would liberate European peoples from autocratic rulers.

4. The First Coalition: Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, the Dutch Netherlands, Spain and the Kingdom of Sardinia.

* A military alliance formed against the Revolutionary Government of France.

5. Early 1793:

a. Dumoriez deserted to the Austrians after several defeats.

b. French forces were driven out of the Austrian Netherlands and France was again invaded.

France: 1793 (State of Crisis)

1. Committee of Public Safety

a. Directed the army against the foreign invaders.

b. Revolutionary Tribunal: its purpose was to seek out and try enemies to the Revolution.

2. Conscription was adopted: all men between 18 and 45 were liable for military service.

3. The Army:

a. It was placed under the command of Lazare Nicolas Carnot.

b. Organizer of Victory: an army of ability and of all classes.

4. Jacobins controlled the National Convention.

a. Many Girondists either were arrested or fled from Paris.

b. Marat was murdered by a woman from Normandy who had been influenced by Girondist propaganda.

The Reign of Terror

1. It lasted from September 1793 - July 1794.

Purpose: to suppress all opposition within France.

2. Many were executed at the guillotine which became the symbol of the times.

Antoine Lavoisier: was executed during this period.

3. Danton and Robespierre: directed this Persecution.


a. Moderate members of the Convention.

b. Radicals wanting a Republic representing all the people.

c. As many bourgeoisie as nobles and clergy combined lost their lives.

d. Nearly three times as many peasants and laborers as people from the other classes.

4. Spring 1794:

a. Danton felt the Reign of Terror had accomplished its purpose.

b. Robespierre accused Danton of disloyalty - Danton and his followers were executed.

c. 100 days of terror and suppression followed until Robespierre's actions aroused fear among his own followers.

5. July 1794:

a. Robespierre was arrested and executed.

b. The Reign of Terror had ended and the government was controlled by moderates.

Work of the National Convention

1. It adopted a Uniform Law Code for France.

2. It established a national system of Public Education.

3. It abolished slavery in French Colonies.

4. It abolished the practice of Primogeniture.

5. By 1795: Under Carnot

a. Invaders had been drive from France.

b. Conquered territory as far as the Rhine River.

6. The First Coalition was breaking up.

a. Spain, Prussia, and the Dutch Netherlands withdrew.

b. Great Britain, Austria, and Sardinia were on the defensive.

7. Militarism had developed in France.

a. October 1795: there was an uprising in Paris.

b. It was suppressed by a young artillery officer, Napoleon Bonaparte.

8. The Constitution of 1795 had been adopted.

The Directory

1. Voting was restricted to property owners.

* It was a middle class controlled government.

2. Legislature:

a. Two Houses.

b. The Executive was chosen by the Legislature.

* It was made up of five men called Directors.

3. It lasted for Four Years:

a. Conservatives and Radicals were opposed to it.

b. Weak and Indecisive government: the Directors could not agree on solutions.

France: a desire for order and stable government.

4. In November of 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte will carry out a successful Coup d' etat seizing control of the government.



1. Democratic Ideals: The French Revolution proclaimed individual democratic rights in its slogan liberte', egalite, fraternite.

a. Liberty meant freedom for all persons (1) from despotism, especially absolute rule and unjust imprisonment, (2) from unnecessary and unfair economic restrictions, (3) to influence and change the government, and (4) of speech, press, religion and other basic civil liberties.

b. Equality meant equal treatment for all persons (1) before the law and (2) in business, society, and politics.

c. Fraternity meant the brotherhood of all persons working together to make a better world.

2. Emphasis on Nationalism: The French Revolution intensified the spirit of nationalism, and loyalty to the nation permeated all classes and influenced every aspect of life.

a. War became the concern of the entire nation, as conscript citizen armies rose to defend --- not their province or city, nor their feudal lord or king --- but their country.

b. The Marsellaise, a patriotic song by Rouget de Lisle, was adopted as the national anthem.

c. July 14th, Bastille Day, was proclaimed a national holiday.

d. State - controlled education began to serve as major agency for preserving the nation's ideals.

3. Worldwide Influence: The French Revolution, with its ideals of democracy and nationalism, has tremendously influenced peoples throughout the world: first in Western Europe, then in Latin America, and later in Asia and Africa. To this day, peoples everywhere who seek democratic government and national independence reflect the influence of the French Revolution.

HISTORICAL ANALYSIS: (The Pattern of Revolution) - Citing the French Revolution of 1789 as the primary example but also referring to the English Puritan Revolution of 1640 and , to a lesser extent, the American Revolution of 1776, a number of historians have attempted to discern a pattern for revolutions professing democratic goals. These historians acknowledge that each revolution may have individual characteristics considerably different from any other revolution, yet they affirm that democratic revolutions exhibit significant similarities --- a logical pattern of events.

Some of these are:

1. On the eve of the revolution, the government had failed to meet the needs of the people, and had denied political power to new and powerful social or economic groups, and lost the support of intellectuals.

2. The revolution began with a dramatic act that demonstrated the inability of government to control the course of events.

3. Moderates in the revolutionary movement seize power and attempt a program of moderate reform.

4. The moderate reform program arouses opposition and violence --- by counterrevolutionary forces within the country and by fearful foreign countries.

5. To preserve the revolution in the "crisis stage", the extremists of the Revolutionary movement seize control and employ force and terror against enemies of the revolution.

Crane Brinton, in his book the Anatomy of Revolution, summarizes these developments as "tendency for power to go from the conservatives of the old regime to the moderates to the radicals or extremists."

6. With the crisis surmounted and the public sick of the bloodletting, the terror comes to an end.

7. In the ensuing period of political instability, a powerful leader emerges, seized power, and rules as a dictator.

Crane Brinton states that "dictatorship and revolution are inevitably closely associated because revolutions to a certain extent break down, or at least weaken laws, customs, habits, beliefs which bind men together in society."

8. The public acceptance of the dictator is based on the belief that he will preserve some of the revolution while at the same time providing political stability and social cohesion.


Napoleon Bonaprte: Rise to Power

1. 1769: born in Corsica, the son of an Italian nobleman.

2. 1779 - 1784: he attended various military academies.

a. He graduated 42nd out of a class of 58 students.

b. He became a lieutenant in the artillery.

3. Napoleon welcomed the Revolution as an avenue to advance himself. He eventually rose to the rank of general by the age of 24.

4. Easter 1792 and Spring 1793:

a. He attempted to seize his hometown in Corsica in the name of the Revolution.

b. 1793: Napoleon and his entire family were forced to flee to France.

5. He became associated with the Jacobin Government of Robespierre.

a. October 1795: Napoleon was suspended from the army and put under arrest.

b. He helped to put down a coup in Paris and established the authority of The Directory.

6. Late October 1795: he was appointed commander-in-chief of the Army of the Interior.

7. The Italian Campaign: 1796-1797

a. October 1797: Napoleon forced the Austrians in Italy to sign the Treaty of Campo Formio.

b. Revenues from his victories helped to keep the Directory in power.

c. Napoleon paid his troops from these revenues. His troops were the best paid in the French Army.

ie. directly loyal to their commander.

8. The Egyptian Campaign: 1798-1799

a. The Directors feared Napoleon's growing popularity.

b. Purpose: a campaign to use Egypt as a base to destroy the British trade route to the Middle East and India.

The Directors: approved the plan so Napoleon would be removed from Paris.

c. The French captured the British controlled island of Malta.

d. July 1, 1798: Napoleon landed in Egypt and on the following day French troops took Alexandria.

e. Cairo fell to the French by the end of the month.

f. August 1, 1799: Battle of the Nile --- the British Admiral Horatio Nelson nearly destroyed the entire French fleet east of Alexandria.

g. The French army was cut off from France.

h. Late August 1799: Napoleon secretly returned to France.

9. The Second Coalition

a. Organized by Britain including Austria and Russia.

b. French armies had been driven out of Italy.

c. The Directory was in danger of collapse.

10. French Attitude: 1799

a. Wanted a stable government.

b. Wanted an end to foreign wars.

11. Coup d' etat: November 9-10, 1799

a. Napoleon was believed to be the only man who could restore order.

(Belief of some of the Directors)

b. Excuse Used: to prevent Jacobins from taking control of the government.

c. The Paris garrison surrounded the two legislative assemblies.

d. Three of the Directors resigned, and the other two were arrested.

e. The Assembly: voted all power to Napoleon and two of his fellow conspirators (former directors).

The Consulate

1. December 24, 1799: a new constitution was completed.

a. A Plebiscite was held to obtain popular approval.

b. It was approved by a vote of three million to 1,562.

2. The Executive: All power was placed in the hands of three Consuls.

3. The First Consul: Napoleon

a. Each consul did not have equal power - real power was in Napoleon's hands.

b. He was commander of the army and navy.

c. He had the right to appoint and dismiss all officials.

d. He had the right to propose all new laws.

4. Local elected officials and assemblies only had advisory power.

5. All governmental functions were carried out by officials appointed by the central government and responsible to it.

6. December 1799: First Proclamation to the French People

a. "Citizens, the Revolution is established on the principles which began it! It is ended."

b. Napoleon assured the Bourgeoise and peasant landowners that the changes in land ownership would remain.

7. Statesman:

a. The Napoleonic Law Code: dealt with criminal and commercial law - it was not completed until 1810.

b. He established the Bank of France.

c. He established a system of Public Education planned by the National Convention.

8. Concordat of 1801:

a. It ended the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

b. It recognized the authority of the Pope and gave the Church a favored position in France.

c. Purpose: to end Catholic opposition in France.

9. By 1802 - Napoleon had brought peace to France ending the Second Coalition.

a. 1799: Russia was convinced to make peace and desert the Second Coalition.

b. 1801: Austria also made peace with France.

c. 1802: Britain tired of fighting also signed a peace treaty with France.

10. May 1802:

a. Napoleon created the Legion of Honor (recognition of service to the state).

b. Noble titles had been abolished in 1790.

Napoleon did not restore these, but created a new nobility loyal to him.

c. A new constitution by a Plebiscite made Napoleon Consul for life.

11. 1804: Another Constitution

a. Another Plebiscite was held recognizing Napoleon as Emperor Napoleon I of "First French Empire".

b. Coronation: Napoleon was crowned in the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

The Pope was present - Napoleon took the crown from the Pope and crowned himself.

Importance: he owned his authority to no one -- it came only from himself.

12. Preparation for War:

a. Conscription: troops were raised and trained.

b. It was believed Napoleon intended to invade Great Britain.

c. 1800: Spain had been forced to give the Louisiana Territory to France.

d. 1803: The Louisiana Purchase

1.) It was sold to the United States for $15 million (negotiated by Thomas Jefferson).

2.) Much of the money was used for military preparations.

War and the Third Coalition

1. French expansion had disrupted the "balance of power" in Europe.

2. 1794: France had gained control of the Austrian Netherlands.

a. Viewed as a base from which Britain could be invaded.

b. Britain believed Napoleon to be a threat to their commerce and control of the seas.

3. 1803: Britain declared war on Napoleon.

4. 1805: Britain organized the Third Coalition (Austria, Russia, and Sweden allied to Britain -- later Prussia joined).

5. French Battle Plan:

a. Defeat the British navy and then invade Britain itself.

b. Crisis: The Battle of Trafalgar - 1805

1.) Off the Southern coast of Spain.

2.) Horatio Nelson defeated a combined Spanish and French Fleet. Nelson was killed during the battle.

6. The Continental System:

a. Purpose: defeat Britain economically - Napoleon believed Britain to be nothing but a nation of shopkeepers.

b. The Berlin and Milan Decrees: countries under Napoleon's control or allied to France were forbidden to trade with Britain.

7. The British Response:

a. Orders in Council: neutral nations could not trade with France or countries controlled by France.

b. Napoleon decreed he would seize any ship which obeyed the British order - Britain would likewise seize ships bound for France.

c. The United States depended on trade with Europe, and conflict over trade would lead to the War of 1812.

8. Effect of the Blockade: The British were more effective because of their control of the seas. Yet, they wanted a complete military victory over Napoleon.

9. French Victory: December 1805

a. Napoleon defeated a combined army of Austria and Prussia at Austerlitz.

b. Austria, Russia and soon afterwards Prussia were forced to sign treaties with France.

c. The Third Coalition broke up.

The Fourth Coalition Founded in 1806:

1. Under Prussian leadership including Russia and Sweden.

2. Prussia was defeated at Jena in 1806.

3. Russia was defeated at Friedland in 1807.

4. By 1808, Napoleon dominated and was in complete control of Europe.

Europe: 1808

1. Austria and Prussia had been forced to sign peace treaties.

2. Russia was now allied to France.

3. Denmark and the Papal States were also forced into an alliance with France.

4. Napoleon Ruled: The Austrian and Dutch Netherlands and Spain.

5. The Grand Duchy of Warsaw:

a. Formed from Polish land which had been taken from Prussia.

b. It was given to Napoleon's ally, the King of Saxony.

6. Treaties sin 1795:

a. Napoleon had the right to intervene in the German States.

b. The Confederation of the Rhine: important states of Western Germany with Napoleon as protector.

c. Napoleon had abolished the Holy Roman Empire.

d. The Kingdom of Italy: formed out of Italian states in Northern Italy.

Europe vs. France:

1. French armies were first viewed as liberators.

2. Eventually they took on the role of foreign invaders.

a. Taxes went up in conquered lands to pay for war costs and occupation.

b. Troops were quartered in private homes.

c. Nationalism: conquered lands wanted to rule themselves.

3. The Continental System:

a. Decline in trade and a need for markets increasingly became more of a problem.

b. This also increased business failures and unemployment.

c. there were shortages of cloth, machinery, and foodstuffs.

4. French Manpower:

a. Manpower had declined because of constant warfare.

b. Napoleon was forced to draft men in conquered lands.

c. The patriotic and nationalistic spirit of the French Army had disappeared.

5. British and Prussian armies had been greatly improved.

6. (Louis Bonaparte) made the Netherlands a part of the French Empire.

The Peninsular War: 1808 - 1814

1. There had been continued resistance to the Continental System in Portugal.

2. 1808: Napoleon forced the Bourbon King of Spain to abdicate and replaced him with his brother Joseph Bonaparte.

a. A force of 120,000 French soldiers were sent to support Joseph Bonaparte.

b. The Spanish revolted using Guerrilla Tactics against the French.

c. The Spanish Revolt became a steady drain of French manpower.

3. 1809: Napoleon was distracted from Spain because of a Fifth Coalition begun by Austria.

4. Britain sent a force under Sir Arthur Wellesley (future Duke of Wellington) to aid the Portuguese and Spanish.

5. 1812: The Spanish with British aid took Madrid and forced Joseph Bonaparte to flee.

6. 1814: The French were completely driven out of Spain.

7. Reform: New Spanish Constitution

a. Limited Monarchy with a one house legislature.

b. Abolished the "inquisition".

c. Restricted the right of the Church to own land.

Invasion of Russia: 1812

1. Czar Alexander I viewed Napoleon as a possible invader of Russia.

2. The Grand Duchy of Warsaw - could be used by Napoleon as a base to invade Russia.

3. The Continental System:

a. Britain could be a market for Russian grain and raw materials.

b. Britain, in return, could be source of manufactured goods for Russia.

4. 1812: Beginning of the year Russia resumed trade with Britain breaking their alliance with Napoleon.

5. The Grand Army:

a. 600,000 men drafted from all over the empire.

b. Less than half of the soldiers were French.

c. Majority: Danes, Germans, Dutch, Italians, and Poles (all were conscripts).

6. May 1812: Napoleon began his march eastward into Russia.

7. The Russian Strategy:

a. Continued to retreat forcing the French to extend their supply lines.

b. Scorched Earth Policy: to destroy anything that could be of use to the French Army.

c. Guerrilla Tactics: hit and run attacks.

8. Napoleon: entered and captured Moscow on September 14, 1812.

a. The city had been stripped of supplies.

b. Large portions of the city had been set on fire.

c. There was not enough winter quarters for the French troops, and Napoleon was forced to retreat.

9. Disaster: The Russian Winter

a. Lack of supplies and severe winter weather.

b. Constant Guerrilla attacks by the Russians.

c. Discipline broke down causing many desertions.

d. Napoleon lost 500,000 men.

10. The Russians pursued Napoleon and were joined by Prussia for an invasion of the French Empire.

The Sixth Coalition: Sweden, Russia, Britain, Prussia, and Austria.

France: After 1812

1. A Rumor: The emperor had been killed - this led to an attempted Coup in France.

2. Napoleon was forced to hurry back to Paris - he easily regained control of the government.

3. Political Situation: Early 1813

a. Foreign Minister, Talleyrand: "Now is the time to overthrow Napoleon."

b. Minister of Police, Fouche': he was discovered conspiring with British agents.

c. Many individuals were hoping for a royalist restoration of the Bourbons.

4. Other Liabilities:

a. Holland, Italy, Naples, Spain, Westphalia: Napoleon had appointed friends and family members to rule in these areas. They were loyal but their rule was weak and inefficient.

b. The Army:

1.) Weakened by conscripts from conquered lands.

2.) The Officer Corps: many had either been killed or had left his service (some deserted to the Allies).

5. October 1813: Napoleon met the Sixth Coalition at Leipzing in Saxony, at the Battle of Nations.

a. Napoleon had suffered his first decisive military defeat.

b. The French Army was now fighting to defend French soil.

6. Allied troops marched into Paris on March 30, 1814.

a. April 2nd: The French Senate deposed Napoleon as emperor.

b. Four days later Napoleon announced his abdication.

7. The Treaty of Fontainebleau: April 13th

a. Napoleon: gave up claims to the French throne for himself and his family.

b. He was exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.

c. A Sovereign Ruler:

1.) One ship - a domain of a few thousand square miles and a few hundred people.

2.) He was granted an Annual Pension: Napoleon agreed to live out his life there.

d. Restored the Bourbon Monarchy in the person of Louis XVIII, the younger brother of Louis XVI.

e. Restored the boundaries of France to what they had been in 1792.

The Hundred Days

1. March 1, 1815: Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed in France.

2. The French Army and Peasants had always been very loyal to Napoleon.

3. Troops were sent against Napoleon by Louis XVIII.

a. These troops deserted and joined Napoleon.

b. Louis XVIII was forced to flee the country.

4. Napoleon entered Paris on March 20th.

5. Napoleon granted a new liberal constitution to France.

a. Responsible Ministers.

b. Freedom of the Press.

c. Extended the right to vote.

6. Napoleon announced his intention to maintain peace, and hoped the allies would not oppose his return to power.

7. Allied Declaration: It publicly outlawed Napoleon as "an enemy and disturber of the tranquility of the world".

8. The Seventh Coalition:

a. A combined British, Prussian, and Dutch army began to march toward France.

b. Allied Commanders: The Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal Bulcher.

c. Waterloo: June, 18, 1815

1.) Located in the Austrian Netherlands.

2.) Napoleon was again decisively defeated.

9. Napoleon asked for refuge in England and it was refused.

10. Napoleon was sent under constant guard to Saint Helena in the South Atlantic where he died in 1821.


Did Napoleon destroy or preserve the French Revolution?

Napoleon exercised the powers of an absolute monarch. He made the laws, decided on war and peace, censored speech and press, ordered arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, and utilized a secret police. Nevertheless, he claimed to be "Son of the Revolution". He provided efficient government, furthered the Revolutionary principle of equality and accomplished noteworthy reforms.

1. Centralization of Local Government: Napoleon placed local government under national authority. He appointed local governors (prefects), mayors, judges, and police heads thereby strengthening his control over the country. To this day, France retains a highly centralized, or unitary, government.

2. Furtherance of Public Education: Napoleon organized a system of state controlled education under the University of France.

* This was a government agency, not an institution of higher learning.

a. It controlled all levels of education from primary education to college.

b. It built new schools.

c. Improved educational standards and made them uniform throughout France.

d. It prepared courses of study to extol Napoleon and stimulate French nationalism. As a result, public education progressed in France at the expense of Church Schools.

3. Settlement of Religious Matters: Napoleon restored friendly relations between France and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Concordat of 1801

a. The state would pay the salaries of French Clergy.

b. The Church surrendered claims to lands confiscated during the Revolution.

c. Bishops would be nominated by the Sate but confirmed by the Pope. By this agreement Napoleon protected the peasant owners of former Church landsand pleased the French people. although Napoleon later annexed the Papal Statesand was excommunicated by the Pope, the Concordat remained in effect.Napoleon also gained the support of non-Catholics. He guaranteed religiousfreedom and gave financial aid to Protestant and Jewish Faiths.

4. Legal Reform: To establish uniform and just laws throughout France, Napoleon revised the legal system, emphasizing the Revolutionary principle of equality.

The Napoleonic Law Code ( Napoleon)

a. It provided for equal treatment before the law.

b. It abolished what remained of serfdom and feudalism.

c. It guaranteed religious toleration and trial by jury.

* To this day, the Code Napoleon is the basis of law in France, most of Western Europe, parts of Asia and Latin America, and the state of Louisiana.

5. Legion of Honor: for public recognition of distinguished military and civilian service to France, Napoleon created a society, the Legion of Honor. In accordance with the principle of equality, membership in the society was open to all persons regardless of social status. The Legion of Honor still exists.

6. Improvement of Finances: By collecting taxes fairly and efficiently, paying the debt of the government promptly, and creating the Bank of France, Napoleon restored the government to financial health. The Bank of France, the government's financial agent, maintained sound currency and promoted economic prosperity. Napoleon's financial measures pleased the bourgeoisie and encouraged business enterprise. To this day, the Bank of France heads France's banking system.

7. Public Works: Napoleon instituted extensive public works: building roads, bridges, and canals, dredging harbors, and beautifying Paris.


1. Map Changes: Of Napoleon's many map changes, two survived his downfall.

a. The abolition of the Austrian - dominated Holy Roman Empire.

b. The reduction in the number of German states which aided German unification.

2. The Legacy of the Revolution: Throughout Europe Napoleon and his armies:

a. Spread French Revolutionary doctrines, especially equality.

b. The end of Old Regime abuses of feudalism and serfdom.

c. Introduced the Code Napoleon, and encouraged state - controlled education.

3. The Legacy of War and Empire: Napoleon, through his armies and puppet governments.

a. Promoted the growth of militarism.

b. Aroused a spirit of intolerant nationalism among conquered peoples.

c. Caused widespread destruction and terrible loss of lives.

d. Dislocated Europe's economy, and placed a heavy tax burden on conquered peoples.

e. Set an example of despotic rule - Napoleon is considered to be the FIRST MODERN DICTATOR.