Class 9 History Chapter 2 French Revolution

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Class 9 History Chapter 2 French Revolution

Also, you can read the SCERT book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per SCERT (CBSE) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of SCERT All Subject Solutions. Here we have given Assam Board Class 9 History Chapter 2 French Revolution Solutions for All Subject, You can practice these here…

Essay type questions

  1. Briefly discuss the causes of French Revolution.

Ans : The French Revolution is considered to be one of the major landmark events of world history. It let loose certain vital principles which are at work even today. The concepts of liberty, equality and fraternity are indeed the legacies of French Revolution. The ideas of constitutional monarchy, individual rights, right to vote , right to property, equality before law, separation of powers, etc. Effectively tested in France during this revolution and their success and failures during have been important lessons for other nations to imitate. Several factors led to the outbreak of this great revolution. 

These factors are as follows : 

(i) Political causes :- Royal absolutism as witnessed during the glorious epoch of Louis XVI came to an end with his death in 1715. His successor, Louis XV neither had the capacity nor the ability to govern the country effectively. He devoted himself to a life of ease and self-indulgence. He allowed his mistress and favourites to rule him. He wasted millions in personal pleasures and more millions in wasteful foreign wars. King Louis XVI, grandson of Louis XIV was a well disposed man. 

But France needed in her king firmness and strength of will to reduce the extravagance of the countries and the privileged class. For such a task King Louis XVI was totally misfit. He was totally under his wife, Marie Antoinette who was despised by the French people for her scandalous living. She was surrounded by unworthy favourites who wasted much of the state exchequer. People’s tolerance of the royalty had reached a breaking-point.

(ii) Social causes :- The social organisation of the French society was far from satisfactory. Privileges, concession, exemption, inequality, etc. was the basis of social organisation. It only created distrust, suspicion, discontent and social hatred. Classes were divided against classes, group against group and not one was satisfied. Each maintained itself in great isolation as possible distrusting the class above and despising the class below. There were three groups or estates in France at this time. The First Estate of the clergy while the nobles constituted of the second estate. The third Estate consisted of the ordinary people, businessmen and the middle class. 

The first two were the privileged classes who paid no taxes. The common masses had to bear the burden of the taxes. He had to pay up feudal services to the nobles, tithes to the clergy and taxes to the king. The result was the utter poverty of the common masses. It is said that “In France 9/10 of the population died of hunger and 1/10 of indigestion”. The prevailing inequality,. injustice, exploitation prepared the ground for the Revolution.

(iii) Financial bankruptcy :- Financial causes lay at the root of the revolution. Between 1733 and 1783 France waged four wars and as a result the state treasury became nearly empty. Har support to the American colonists during the American war of independence cost her dearly and once again huge amount had. to spend  for transporting men and materials to America against the British. Six percent of the total revenue went to the upkeep of the king and the nobles. It was due to the financial burden that compelled King Louis XVI to summon the Estates General which lit the fire of revolution.

(iv) Philosophical and intellectual causes :- The political revolution of the 1789 was preceded by a revolution in the realm of ideas. The works of Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau aroused the French to fight for their rights. Voltaire attacked the church and the privileged class exposing their hollowness and tyranny. Montesquieu .proposed the concept of constitutional monarchy and the separation of powers in his famous work’ The Spirit of Laws’. 

Probably the greatest French philosopher of the time was jean Jacques Rousseau. In this book ‘Social Contract’he advocated the concept of popular sovereignty , right to revolution, and right right to fréedom. He said,. “Man was born free but everywhere he is in chains”. Thus, these philosophers awakened the sleeping masses and aroused them to fight for their rights. The contributions of Encyclopaedists such as Diderat, Alembert, Helvetius and Baron Hallbak etc. in this respect cannot be forgotten. Similarly, the physiocrates headed by Quesnay also played a major role in bringing about national awakening in the country.

(v)  Corrupt Administration :- The administration system of france was in shambles in 1789. Various units of administration, possessed ill-defined and overlapping jurisdictions. The legal system of the country was chaotic and in a mess. There were about four hundred different types of laws in the country. The privileged section of society could imprison any individual without any judicial enquiry. By the royal code of imprisonment known as ‘letters de cachet’ any individual could be imprisoned without justice for an indefinite period. The defective administration alienated the people and they waited for an opportunity to pull down such inefficient and corrupted government.

(vi) Influence of American and English revolution :-  The revolutions of England and America had a profound effect on the minds of the French people. The example of the British in dethroning Stuart king james ll by a bloodless revolution in 1688 was an example to the French. The French volunteers who had gone to America to help the colonists against England imbibed the spirit of the American revolutionaries and sowed it in France. Lafayette one of the front-line leaders of the French revolution had participated in the American war of Independence.

(vii) Immediate cause :- With a view to tackle the financial problem, Louis XVI summoned in 1787 an Assembly of Notables with the hope that they would consent to the taxation of the privilege class. But the nobles were not prepared to oblige the king tried new loans but the parliament of Paris refused to grant further loans and taxes. The latter drafted a  declaration of rights and contented that the subsidies could be granted only by the Estates General the highest Legislative body of France. The Government took action against the parliament. They were huge and cry and the soldiers refused to arrest the members of Paris Parliament. They were huge and cry the soldiers refused to arrest the members of Paris Parliament. Crowds demanded the convocation of the Estates General. Under these circumstances, the king was forced to give way and ordered elections to the Estates General after a gap of 175 General  on 5th May, 1789 the first shots of revolution was fired.

(viii) In conclusion :- we may say “An unjust social order, 

a rotten political system, an unfair system of taxation, financial breakdown, the personal characters of Louis XVI and his queen Marie Antoinette coupled with the French Revolution”. 

(b)  How did the writings of Philosophers and intellectuals inspire  the French revolutionaries against the autocracy of the king ?

Ans : Perhaps, one of the major factors that prepared the ground for French Revolution was the philosophical cause. The political revolution of 1789 was preceded by a revolution in the realm of ideas. France produced a number of Philosophers and thinkers who actually prepared the ground. For the revolution. 

Their writings gave expression to the discontentment and the indignation which lay at the heart of the French people. These writers aroused the French consciousness to fight for their rights. The work of Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau are significant in this context.

For twenty-five years Voltaire, ‘intellectuals God of Europe’, flooded France with his literary writing which aroused people’s mind against the existing social disorders. His real name was Francis Marie Arouet. His chief target was the Catholic Church and privileged classes. He attacked tyranny, oppression, inequality and exploitation . To him the best form of government was the one where the king thought for the welfare of his subjects. He was a strong advocate of individual freedom. 

He opposed all kinds of oppression, exploitation, blind belief and evil practices. While Voltaire wanted enlightened despotism Montesquieu proposed a constitutional monarchy in France. He summed up his ideas of such a government in his important work ‘The Spirit of Laws’ through which he popularized the idea of the separation of powers. He recommended constitutional monarchy, the type of government that was established in England as a result of the Glorious Revolution which occurred in England in 1688.

Probably  the greatest French philosophers of the age was Jean Jacques Rousseau. 

In his famous work ‘Social Contract’, and therefore if the kind did not rule according to 5ge general will of the people, the people had the right to overthrow him. Rousseau advocated the theory of popular sovereignty. He said, ” Man was born free but everywhere he is in chains”. “Sweep  away  therefore the fabric of society. level its inequalities, repudiate its learning’s, break its principles of liberty, equality and fraternity as inalienable rights of man. 

A group of encyclopaedists such as Diderat, Alembert, Helvetius and Baron Hallbak etc. also contributed much for the awakening of the French society. By criticizing the existing governments in their work they opened the eyes of the people. The Physiocrates headed by Quesnay too joined the encyclopaedists in their attempt to bring enlightenment to the French masses.

The philosophers of France did not cause the revolution. It was caused by the conditions and evils of national life prevalent then in France in 1789. Nevertheless, the writers were a factor in the revolution. They exposed the evils and disorders of the time, brilliantly focused attention upon them, compelled discussion and aroused passion.

Sl. No.Contents
Chapter 1American War Of Independence
Chapter 2French Revolution
Chapter 3Industrial Revolution
Chapter 4Russian Revolution
Chapter 5The Revolt Of 1857
Chapter 6Moanariya Rebellion

(c)  Briefly mention about the functions of National Assembly.

Ans : The French Revolution commenced with the famous Oath of Tennis Court on 20th June , 1789 by the members of the Third Estate which had been summoned by King Louis  XVI in May, 1789 under financial problems. Soon the Third estate converted itself into a National Constituent Assembly determined to make a new constitution for France. Seeing the revolutionary trends of the members of the Third Estate and the people of Paris on June , 27th, king ordered the first and second Estates namely the clergy and the nobles respectively to join with the Third Estate in forming a single National Constituent Assembly. The National Assembly thus started its work in June 1789 and completed its task by September 1791. Its chief tasks or functions were the following: 

(i) Abolition of the Old order :- The first major task of the National Assembly was to abolish the remnants of the Old Order and the pillars of the ancient regime . On the night of 4th August, 1789 the Assembly passed a series of acts numbering about thirty abolishing serfdom, feudal jurisdiction, manorial rents, tithes , saleable offices, clerical fees, unequal taxation, and all types of class privileges, etc. All class distinctions and social bars were removed.

(ii) Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen :- On Aug 26, 1789 the Assembly passed a charter of liberties known as the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizens’. This document reflected the spirit of Rousseau’s philosophy and incorporated some of the finer elements of the English bill of Rights and the American declaration of independence. It asserted that: 

(a) All men are born equal in rights.

(b) Sovereignty resides with the people.

(c)Laws must be expression of the General will of the people.

(d) None should be punished unless for violation of the laws of the land.

(e) No person shall suffer on the account of his opinion, provided that the expression of such opinion did not imperil the peace of the community.

(f) All taxes should be raised only with consent of the people. The document is considered as a ‘Magna Carta’ of individual rights and liberties and has been widely recognised as a ‘Gospel of modern times’. 

(iii) Confiscation of the Church properties :- The treasury was practically empty. The economy of the country was in shambles. Therefore the Assembly took certain drastic steps to settle this problem. In November, 1778 it ordered the confiscation of all church properties without any compensation. Since these properties could not be sold quickly they issued interest- bearing security bonds named Assignats to the public to raise the money. The step greatly improved the financial situation of the country.

(iv) Civil constitution of the clergy :– The confiscation of the church properties brought forth a lot of problems. As all church properties became state properties many clergy found themselves penniless with no means to support themselves. This led to the farming of ‘Civil Constitution of the Clergy’ which sought to regulate the relation of the state with the church. The clergy were to be paid by the state and thus reduced them to the status of paid servants of the state. All secular clergy were to be chosen by popular election requiring no papal sanction. They were all required to take an oath of adherence to the new constitution. This brought a division in the clergy. Some of them refused to take the oath. They were called ‘Non- Juring Clergy’, while those who took the oath came to be known as the ‘Juring Clergy’.

(v) New Administrative system :- The Constituent Assembly introduced a new uniform system of administration in place of the old system of government by intendants, governors and Parliament. The country was divided into eighty-three departments of uniform size and population.  The Department in turn were further divided into cantons and communes. Their Administration was entrusted with the elected local body sweet replaced the old go government official appointed by the monarchy. 

The assembly also provided a new judicial system. A national court established to try political offenders. The system off trial by Jury was introduced. The judges were to be elected by the people and were to hold Office for 2 or 4 years and we’re to be given government salaries.  A uniform system of law was introduced all over France in lieu of the variety of laws which existed then.

(vi) The Constitution of 1791 :-  The most significant achievement of the National Assembly was the framing of the new Constitution. It completed the tasks by September,1791 and the new Constitution was formally accepted by King Louis XVI in1791 becoming law of the land. It was the first written Constitution of France and was based on the twin principles of the sovereignty of the people and separation of powers. The new Constitution established a constitutional monarchy  whereby the king’s power was totally curbed. Monarchy was to be hereditary . Ministers were to be appointed by the king. The Legislative Assembly was to be unicameral consisting of 745 members elected on high property franchise. The system of electing all judges and trial by jury in criminal cases were also introduced by the new constitution.

In conclusion, we can say that the National Constituent Assembly did achieve certain marvellous results. The Assembly abolished the inequalities and injustices of the ancient regime. It abolished feudalism, serfdom, aristocracy and all class privileges. The fundamental right to be free and independent was accepted and laid down in black and white. Equality before law, personal dignity of the common man and his political rights were assured and granted. It attempted to create a new France but somehow it failed short of that aim.

(d)  Discuss the results of the French Revolution.

Ans : The French Revolution is considered to be one of the most significant events of world history which has influenced almost all countries in the world. The principles let loose by this great revolution are at work even today in many parts of the world. It is one of the most influencing events of world history.

1. Begins a new dawn in Europe :- French Revolution heralded a new era in the history of France. It destroyed absolute monarchism with its foundations of autocracy and feudal privileges. Age old social privileges. Age old social privileges were swept away. Economic inequalities were levelled . Rotten political systems of France were thrown asunder. A new France was created. 

2. Abolition of Feudalism: One of the significant results of the French Revolution was that it helped the liquidation of feudalism and its accompanying evil called serfdom. Feudalism of France was swept away overnight . Her example was soon followed by many other European nations.

3. Rise of Nationalism :- The French Revolution helped the rise of Nationalism in the world. The French slogan of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity ‘ became the demand of the suppressed nationalities all over the world. The freedom struggle movements in later years  in different parts were greatly influenced by this great revolution.

4. Rise of individual rights: The French Revolution began a new era in the fight for the basic rights of man. The ‘Declaration of the rights of  Man and Citizen’ wherein individual’s fundamental and inalienable rights were set forth became the ‘gospel of modern democracy’  and the ‘Manna of human liberties’ . Practically almost all the countries of Europe and Asia were affected and influenced by these noble ideals laid down in this document.

5. Popular Sovereignty :- The greatest contribution of French Revolution or the most notable legacy of French revolution  was that it for the first time introduced the principle of popular sovereignty. It brought into the forefront of the concept that the ultimate power and authority rests with the people alone and not in the kings or in their aristocracy.

6. Caused similar revolutions :- The French example had a lasting impact on the people of Europe. Those who were suffering under the tyranny of foreign rulers derived their inspiration from the French.Europe during the 19th and early part of the 20th century was convulsed by many revolutions based on the principles outlined by the French Revolution.

7. Spread of the ideas of liberty :- equality and fraternity: Ever since the fall of Bastille on 14th july, 1789 the noble concept of liberty, equality and fraternity as propagated by the French philosophers resounded all over Europe . These ideals became ‘the gospel of modern  times’ and a universal slogan.

8. Demand for parliamentary reform :- The effect and consequences of the French Revolution were felt all over Europe. Monarchy was threatened. Kings saw the need to change and pacify the new emerging democratic trends. Following the French example many countries of the world witnessed a period of parliamentary reforms.

9. Beginning of Constitutional reforms :-  Beginning with rise of parliamentary reforms, the first step towards constitutional reforms also began to take shape. The idea of written constitution, the separation of powers between the various organs of government, constitutional monarchy, limited monarchy and notion of  republic, etc were some of the concepts which emerged  as a result of the French Revolution and soon most of these concepts began to echo and re-echo all over Europe compelling certain constitutional reforms.

Perhaps no other event has had so much influenced and impact on human history as the French revolution. 

It brought into prominence certain new concepts such as sovereignty of the people , separation of powers , constitutional monarchy, right to revolution, the right of man to be free and independent, etc. It fostered the spirit of democracy and democratic ideals. In whatever way we may look at the French Revolution it is a undoubtedly one of the breath-taking and landmark events of our history.

(e)  Write briefly how did Napoleon capture power in France.

Ans : Napoleon was born in the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean in 1769. This island belonged to Italy but had been captured by France in 1768 a year before Napoleon’s birth. Soon after his initial studies he joined the French army. He was a sub-lieutenant when the French broke out in 1789. By dint of his military capability good luck , Napoleon became an important officer in the French army. In 1793, he was able to defeat the British and capture the town of Toulouse from them. As a result of his incredible action against the British he made the commander of the French army in Italy. On his return to France, he made himself famous by suppressing the rebellion of the revolutionaries on Oct. 5, 1795 against the National Convention. The Directory which pleased with this action of Napoleon appointed him as the commander-in-chief of the French forces in Italy in 1796. 

He then undertook the second Italian campaign. Within a year in 1797, he was able to give a crushing defeat to the Austrian forces at Ravioli and made the treaty of Camping Formio by which Austrians from Italy during 1786-1797 campaign made him famous all over France. With the permission of directory he decided to attack the British in Egypt. He mobilised Army off 35000 man and in invaded Egypt in 1798. But the French forces were thoroughly defeated in the battle of Nile in 1793 by theBritish forces led by Amoral Lord Nelson. Soon after this Napoleon invaded Syria and then came back to France.

Meanwhile, the directory had  become and unpopular. The directors quarrelled among themselves and we’re totally inefficient to bring peace and order in the country. On the other hand, the French had a very high opinion of Napoleon and they thought that only he could save their country from the internal and external dangers. Sensing the public mood and support, on Nov. 9, 1799 he overthrew the Directory and captured power. The dismissal of the directory and the starting of a new system of administration known as consulate came to be called 18th Brumaire . Soon after this a new Constitution named constitution was adopted in1800 i.e.,   eight after the establishment of Republic in 1792, it came to be called Eight year Constitution.The new system of administration established by Napoleon was known as consulate. Under this arrangement, the country was to be ruled by three consuls for a period of 10 years. Napoleon made himself the first consul with all executive power. Very soon he dropped the other two consuls and assumed the powers of a dictator.  In this manner he ruled France from 1799 to 1804 and was able to save France from disorders and foreign threats. He introduced several praiseworthy reforms in all spheres of life. He became the emperor of France in 1804 and ruled the country until his defeat in the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

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