FC: The French Revolution Through My Eyes | By: Tyler Carpenter
1: France back in my day was made up of three estates. Two of the states had all of the privileges. While the third e state, , which unfortunately my family and i are a part of. The third estate were called peasants. We made up 97% of France.The life for a peasant wasn't the best. We had very little money almost to the point where my family and I become bankrupt. Money was hard to get, food was hard to find, times were terrible. Something had to be done about it. I cant afford to have me and my family living like this any longer, for all i know they could die from starvation right now! On top of our terrible lifestyle we have the weather to deal with which makes harder for us to grow our own. We are running out of options here and i wont stand for it any longer!
2: Forces of change in the Revolution The third estate and i came across new ideas called enlightenment ideas. We had new views about power and authority in government, and these ideas were rapidly spreading throughout the my estate. The third estate. I guess people were inspired on how well the American revolution worked out. All i knew is that I wanted wanted equal liberties, equality, and democracy. I am tired of being treated like trash... about 1780, My country soon came into an economic crisis. I was very scared at this point because it affected my job because i was a merchant. It was very hard for me to live and I didn't know how i was going to put the food on the table. On top of all this the bad weather caused a lack in grain and crop failures. and on top of that we had an unneeded amount of taxes! I'm completely against our current government i wish we could all just be equal. We have two leaders that are knuckleheads that put us in this economic crisis anyway. They decided that it was a good idea to spend all the money of France on themselves and put the country and themselves in debt.
3: Something had to be done about the leadership in France, it is weak. Louis XVI is running this country into the ground along with his queen Marie Antoinette. People of France gave her the nickname "Madame Deficit". Only because she spent a lot of the countries money on gowns, jewels, gambling, and gifts.
4: Our country was very messed up, something had to be done about this. King Louis XVI decided to solve the country's problem by giving the nobility taxes, Which i did not have a problem with at all. The nobility deserved a little tax after what people like me have been through. The second estate ended up forcing the king to call a meeting of the Estates General, which was an assembly of representatives from all three estates. They all had to come together to approve of this new tax. I overheard my neighbor babbling about how this would be the first meeting in 175 years. I was astonished on the amount of time it has been. This proves that this problem is a big deal. The problem with this meeting is that even though each estate had one vote that the two upper estates could always outvote us.
5: Our estate delegates were made up of people who had been shaped by the enlightenment ideas that sparked all of this. They were eager to make changes in the government but so was I. Unfortunately i cant take part, I can only observe. Our idea was that each delegate got a vote. This would give us an advantage because we have many more delegates than those other two estates. We would surely win. But this idea didn't work because, like always the king sided with the nobles and told our estate that we had to follow th medieval rules. The government and politics we have is just extremely frustrating and its nearly impossible to change. He ended up suggesting that we name ourselves the national assembly and pass laws and reforms for the people of France. After this long debate our delegates agreed and it was the beginning of representative government. This was the first deliberate act of the revolution.
6: Three days we decided to completely change our view. The delegates of the third estate were locked out of their meeting room, they broke in, pledged that to stay in there until a new government was made. people of the other states later joined because they wanted to reform. The king decided to act against this by putting guards all around Versailles like he is a scared man. Rumors got out that Louis was trying to use military forces to try and dismiss the national assembly. Also I heard that foreign troops were going to come to Paris to massacre the citizens of France. So me and a huge group of people took action. We gathered weapons and stormed Bastille on July 14th I believe. We stormed it and completely demolished the place.
7: More Rumors spread through France scaring people in October of 1789. The rumor now was that the nobles hired outlaws to terrorize the peasants. Everyone panicked, This was called the Great Fear. Everyone ended up becoming an out law and everyone went nuts. A group of women decided to go after the king and queen, they ended up killing some guards. They caused the king and queen to leave the city of Versailles forever, never returning. After this incident a bunch of reforms happened like the rights of man which was a document that said men are born and remain free and equal in rights. These right it talked about were liberty, equality, and fraternity. The other reform was that the catholic church was now state-controlled. After these reforms king Louis felt like he was in danger because his power was slowly slipping away and he decided to try and escape Europe. Him and his family got so close but were caught, this event just about sealed hi fate.
8: Later on a few moths later in September of 1791, the National Assembly completed its new constitution that i am very excited about. It created a limited constitutional monarchy and a new legislative Assembly! This had the power to create laws and to approve or reject declarations of war. I'm starting to like how this new government is playing out. Its the start of a new, fresh start. But wait, older problems , such as food shortages and debt still infect France. These problems caused the legislative assembly to split into three groups. Radicals, moderates, and conservatives. They upheld the idea of a limited monarchy and they wanted only a few changes in their new and improved government.
9: In April 1792, France decides that the want to go to war because Austria and Prussia tried to urge the legislative assembly to make Louis XVI in the position of an absolute monarch. It doesn't start off good for us either, the Prussia forces were advancing to Paris. Later on in the war, in 1791 France set aside the constitution and the National convention took office. It made changes such as male citizens were granted the right to vote and hold office, and they abolished the monarchy and decided to declare us as a republic... The Jacobin's were the radical political organization were the ones who made all of these governmental changes in September 1792. They took Louis XVI as a prisoner and they said he was guilty of treason. They sentenced him to death. He had to walk on that platform and be beheaded by the guillotine and i was a witness.
10: After Louis XVI died a man by the name of Maximilien Robespierre gained power. He became the leader of the Committee of Public Safety, which was the opposite. When he was in power we called it the Reign of Terror. The task of this committee was to keep the revolution from its enemies. They killed anyone who was a little suspicious if they were a traitor. Thousands of people were put to the guillotine and killed. I watched my mother die right in front of my eyes because they suspected that she was a spy, a traitor... This bad time was put to an end because Robespierre was murdered, thank heavens. That man was getting out of hand. But look here, there is a new leader in town. His name is Napoleon Bonaparte.
11: Napoleon looked like he was a great hero by the looks of his stories that I have heard. This man was admired by all the people of France as a great leader. Later on in 1800 he rules France. But he isn't done he built an empire out of France. He made it better, he was expanding the land. He was making France a huge empire. He conquered land with his great army... In his drive for a even bigger empire he was defeated in a naval battle by the British in the Battle of Trafalgar.I couldn't believe that he had lost. He was frustrated that he couldn't defeat Britain. Which led to his own undoing... Napoleon gets the French empire so big that it is unstable, he kept it for five good years (1807-1812). But about 1812 it fell to pieces.
12: Napoleon made three big mistakes that in my head were the worst mistakes a leader can make. First he set up a blockade closing the ports which blocked trade with everybody. He called this the continental system because it was supposed to make continental Europe more self-sufficient.THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. His second was he went to war and lost 300,000 men it- called the Peninsula War. And lastly he tried to strike fear in peoples eyes by using the scorched- earth policy.Burning crops and killing their livestock.. He ends up getting defeated and manages to create another army. With that he gives one last shot called the Hundred days. In my opinion he just needs to stop, stop while you are ahead. He became the emperor of France again and then attacked the village of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. He gets defeated by Great Britain once again. They have Napoleon sent off to St. Helena and then he ended up dying of a stomach problem... As my life goes on seeing all of this just go by, I am very lucky to have lived to age 59, still going strong.
13: The last thing I can remember about the French Revolution is the Congress of Vienna. This was what was best for France. It set up a balance of power and the principle of legitimacy. This man named Klemens von Metternich was in charge of all this and he wanted to make France better. IN 1815 rulers made a holy alliance and a concert of Europe saying that they will base their relations with other nations on Christian principles in order to combat the forces of revolution. The concert said that they will help each other out if another revolution happens. This led to a stable Europe and the legacy should continue on after my death.
15: Sources | "French Revolution." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.