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The French Revolution Crash Course World History 29
Hi, my name is John Green, this is Crash CourseWorld History, and today we're going to talk about The French Revolution. Admittedly,this wasn't the French flag until 1794, but we just felt like he looked good in stripes.As does this guy. Huhé So, while the American Revolution is considereda pretty good thing, the French Revolution is often seen as a bloody, anarchic mess,which. Mr. Green, Mr. Green! I bet, like always,it's way more complicated than that. Actually no. It was pretty terrible. Also,like a lot of revolutions, in the end it exchanged an authoritarian regime for an authoritarianregime. But even if the revolution was a mess,
its ideas changed human history far more,I will argue, than the American Revolution. theme music Right, so France in the 18th century was arich and populous country, but it had a systemic problem collecting taxes because of the wayits society was structured. They had a system with kings and nobles we now call the AncienRégime. Thank you, three years of high school French. And for most French people, it sucked, becausethe people with the money the nobles and the clergy never paid taxes. So by 1789,France was deeply in debt thanks to their funding the American Revolution thank you,France; we will get you back in World Wars
I and II. And King Louis XVI was spendinghalf of his national budget to service the federal debt. Louis tried to reform this system under variousfinance ministers. He even called for democracy on a local level, but all attempts to fixit failed and soon France basically declared bankruptcy. This nicely coincided with hailstormsthat ruined a year's harvest, thereby raising food prices and causing widespread hunger, which really madethe people of France angry, because they love to eat. Meanwhile, the King certainly did not lookbroke, as evidenced by his wellfed physique and fancy footwear. He and his wife MarieAntoinette also got to live in the very nice Palace at Versailles thanks to God's mandate,but Enlightenment thinkers like Kant were
challenging the whole idea of religion, writingthings like: â€œThe main point of enlightenment is of man's release from his selfcausedimmaturity, primarily in matters of religion.â€� So basically the peasants were hungry, theintellectuals were beginning to wonder whether God could or should save the King, and thenobility were dithering about, eating foie gras and songbirds, failing to make meaningfulfinancial reform. In response to the crisis, Louis XVI calleda meeting of the Estates General, the closest thing that France had to a national parliament,which hadn't met since 1614. The Estates General was like a super parliament made upof representatives from the First Estate,
the nobles, the Second Estate, the clergy,and the Third Estate, everyone else. The Third Estate showed up with about 600representatives, the First and Second Estates both had about 300, and after several votes,everything was deadlocked, and then the Third Estate was like, â€œYou know whaté Forgetyou guys. We're gonna leave and we're gonna become our own National Assembly.â€� This did not please King Louis XVI. So whenthe new National Assembly left the room for a break, he locked the doors, and he was like,quot;Sorry, guys, you can't go in there. And if you can't assemble, how you gonna be a NationalAssemblyéquot;
Shockingly, the Third Estate representativeswere able to find a different room in France, this time an indoor tennis court where theyswore the famous Tennis Court Oath. And they agreed not to give up until a French constitutionwas established. So then Louis XVI responded by sending troopsto Paris primarily to quell uprisings over food shortages, but the revolutionaries sawthis as a provocation, so they responded by seizing the Bastille Prison on July 14th,which, coincidentally, is also Bastille Day. The Bastille was stormed ostensibly to freeprisoners although there were only seven in jail at the time but mostly to get guns.