In April , the joint session of Congress met, however, the border states were not interested and did not make any response to Lincoln or any Congressional emancipation proposal. Lincoln planned to free the Southern slaves in the Emancipation Proclamation and he was concerned that freedmen would not be well treated in the United States by whites in both the North and South.
Although Lincoln gave assurances that the United States government would support and protect any colonies that were established for former slaves, the leaders declined the offer of colonization. Many free blacks had been opposed to colonization plans in the past because they wanted to remain in the United States. President Lincoln persisted in his colonization plan in the belief that emancipation and colonization were both part of the same program.
By April Lincoln was successful in sending black colonists to Haiti as well as to Chiriqui in Central America; however, none of the colonies were able to remain self-sufficient. Frederick Douglass , a prominent 19th-century American civil rights activist, criticized Lincoln by stating that he was "showing all his inconsistencies, his pride of race and blood, his contempt for Negroes and his canting hypocrisy".
African Americans , according to Douglass, wanted citizenship and civil rights rather than colonies. Historians are unsure if Lincoln gave up on the idea of African-American colonization at the end of or if he actually planned to continue this policy up until Starting in March , in an effort to forestall Reconstruction by the Radicals in Congress, President Lincoln installed military governors in certain rebellious states under Union military control. Stanly resigned almost a year later when he angered Lincoln by closing two schools for black children in New Bern. Sheply as Military Governor of Louisiana in May , Sheply sent two anti-slavery representatives, Benjamin Flanders and Michael Hahn , elected in December , to the House which capitulated and voted to seat them.
Phelps as Military Governor of Arkansas, though he resigned soon after due to poor health. In July , President Lincoln became convinced that "a military necessity" was needed to strike at slavery in order to win the Civil War for the Union. The Confiscation Acts were only having a minimal effect to end slavery. On July 22, he wrote a first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves in states in rebellion.
After he showed his cabinet the document, slight alterations were made in the wording. Lincoln decided that the defeat of the Confederate invasion of the North at Sharpsburg was enough of a battlefield victory to enable him to release the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation that gave the rebels days to return to the Union or the actual Proclamation would be issued. On January 1, , the actual Emancipation Proclamation was issued, specifically naming ten states in which slaves would be "forever free".
The proclamation did not name the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware, and specifically excluded numerous counties in some other states. Eventually, as the Union Armies advanced into the Confederacy millions of slaves were set free. Many of these freedmen joined the Union army and fought in battles against the Confederate forces.
Freed slaves suffered from smallpox, yellow fever, and malnutrition. President Abraham Lincoln was concerned to effect a speedy restoration of the Confederate states to the Union after the Civil War. In , President Lincoln proposed a moderate plan for the Reconstruction of the captured Confederate State of Louisiana. The plan granted amnesty to Rebels who took an oath of loyalty to the Union. The state was required to abolish slavery in its new constitution. Identical Reconstruction plans would be adopted in Arkansas and Tennessee.
By December , the Lincoln plan of Reconstruction had been enacted in Louisiana and the legislature sent two Senators and five Representatives to take their seats in Washington. However, Congress refused to count any of the votes from Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee, in essence rejecting Lincoln's moderate Reconstruction plan. Congress, at this time controlled by the Radicals, proposed the Wade—Davis Bill that required a majority of the state electorates to take the oath of loyalty to be admitted to Congress.
Lincoln pocket-vetoed the bill and the rift widened between the moderates, who wanted to save the Union and win the war, and the Radicals, who wanted to effect a more complete change within Southern society. Before , slave marriages had not been recognized legally; emancipation did not affect them. Before emancipation, slaves could not enter into contracts, including the marriage contract. Not all free people formalized their unions.
Some continued to have common-law marriages or community-recognized relationships. On March 3, the Freedmen's Bureau Bill became law, sponsored by the Republicans to aid freedmen and white refugees. A federal Bureau was created to provide food, clothing, fuel, and advice on negotiating labor contracts. It attempted to oversee new relations between freedmen and their former masters in a free labor market. The Bureau was to expire one year after the termination of the War.
Lincoln was assassinated before he could appoint a commissioner of the Bureau. A popular myth was that the Act offered 40 acres and a mule , or that slaves had been promised this.
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With the help of the Bureau, the recently freed slaves began voting, forming political parties, and assuming the control of labor in many areas. The Bureau helped to start a change of power in the South that drew national attention from the Republicans in the North to the conservative Democrats in the South. This is especially evident in the election between Grant and Seymour Johnson did not get the Democratic nomination , where almost , black voters voted and swayed the election , votes in Grant's favor. Even with the benefits that it gave to the freedmen, the Freedmen's Bureau was unable to operate effectively in certain areas.
Terrorizing freedmen for trying to vote, hold a political office, or own land, the Ku Klux Klan was the antithesis to the Freedmen's Bureau. Other legislation was signed that broadened equality and rights for African Americans. Lincoln outlawed discrimination on account of color, in carrying U.
Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with three southern representatives to discuss the peaceful reconstruction of the Union and the Confederacy on February 3, in Hampton Roads , Virginia. The southern delegation included Confederate vice-president, Alexander H. Stephens , John A. Campbell , and Robert M. The southerners proposed the Union recognition of the Confederacy, a joint Union-Confederate attack on Mexico to oust dictator Maximillian , and an alternative subordinate status of servitude for blacks rather than slavery. Lincoln flatly rejected recognition of the Confederacy, and said that the slaves covered by his Emancipation Proclamation would not be re-enslaved.
He said that the Union States were about to pass the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery. Lincoln urged the governor of Georgia to remove Confederate troops and "ratify this Constitutional Amendment prospectively , so as to take effect—say in five years Slavery is doomed. Although the meeting was cordial, the parties did not settle on agreements.
Lincoln continued to advocate his Louisiana Plan as a model for all states up until his assassination on April 14, The plan successfully started the Reconstruction process of ratifying the Thirteenth Amendment in all states. Lincoln is typically portrayed as taking the moderate position and fighting the Radical positions. There is considerable debate on how well Lincoln, had he lived, would have handled Congress during the Reconstruction process that took place after the Civil War ended. One historical camp argues that Lincoln's flexibility, pragmatism, and superior political skills with Congress would have solved Reconstruction with far less difficulty.
The other camp believes the Radicals would have attempted to impeach Lincoln, just as they did to his successor, Andrew Johnson, in Northern anger over the assassination of Lincoln and the immense human cost of the war led to demands for punitive policies. Vice President Andrew Johnson had taken a hard line and spoke of hanging rebel Confederates, but when he succeeded Lincoln as President, Johnson took a much softer position, pardoning many Confederate leaders and former Confederates. There were no treason trials.
Only one person—Captain Henry Wirz , the commandant of the prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia —was executed for war crimes. Andrew Johnson's conservative view of Reconstruction did not include blacks or former slaves involvement in government and he refused to heed Northern concerns when southern state legislatures implemented Black Codes that set the status of the freedmen much lower than that of citizens. Smith argues that, "Johnson attempted to carry forward what he considered to be Lincoln's plans for Reconstruction. It is likely that had he lived, Lincoln would have followed a policy similar to Johnson's, that he would have clashed with congressional Radicals, that he would have produced a better result for the freedmen than occurred, and that his political skills would have helped him avoid Johnson's mistakes.
Historians agree that President Johnson was an inept politician who lost all his advantages by his clumsy moves. He broke with Congress in early and then became defiant and tried to block enforcement of Reconstruction laws passed by the U. He was in constant conflict constitutionally with the Radicals in Congress over the status of freedmen and whites in the defeated South. In the words of Benjamin F. Perry , President Johnson's choice as the provisional governor of South Carolina: "First, the Negro is to be invested with all political power, and then the antagonism of interest between capital and labor is to work out the result.
However, the fears of the mostly conservative planter elite and other leading white citizens were partly assuaged by the actions of President Johnson, who ensured that a wholesale land redistribution from the planters to the freedman did not occur. President Johnson ordered that confiscated or abandoned lands administered by the Freedmen's Bureau would not be redistributed to the freedmen but be returned to pardoned owners. Land was returned that would have been forfeited under the Confiscation Acts passed by Congress in and Southern state governments quickly enacted the restrictive " black codes ".
However, they were abolished in and seldom had effect, because the Freedmen's Bureau not the local courts handled the legal affairs of freedmen. The Black Codes indicated the plans of the southern whites for the former slaves. They could not own firearms, serve on a jury in a lawsuit involving whites or move about without employment.
They were overthrown by the Civil Rights Act of that gave the freedmen full legal equality except for the right to vote. The freedmen, with the strong backing of the Freedmen's Bureau, rejected gang-labor work patterns that had been used in slavery. Instead of gang labor, freedpeople preferred family-based labor groups.
Such bargaining soon led to the establishment of the system of sharecropping, which gave the freedmen greater economic independence and social autonomy than gang labor. However, because they lacked capital and the planters continued to own the means of production tools, draft animals and land , the freedmen were forced into producing cash crops mainly cotton for the land-owners and merchants, and they entered into a crop-lien system.
Widespread poverty, disruption to an agricultural economy too dependent on cotton, and the falling price of cotton, led within decades to the routine indebtedness of the majority of the freedmen, and poverty by many planters. Northern officials gave varying reports on conditions for the freedmen in the South. One harsh assessment came from Carl Schurz , who reported on the situation in the states along the Gulf Coast. His report documented dozens of extra-judicial killings and claimed that hundreds or thousands more African Americans were killed.
The number of murders and assaults perpetrated upon Negroes is very great; we can form only an approximative estimate of what is going on in those parts of the South which are not closely garrisoned, and from which no regular reports are received, by what occurs under the very eyes of our military authorities. As to my personal experience, I will only mention that during my two days sojourn at Atlanta, one Negro was stabbed with fatal effect on the street, and three were poisoned, one of whom died.
While I was at Montgomery, one negro was cut across the throat evidently with intent to kill, and another was shot, but both escaped with their lives. Several papers attached to this report give an account of the number of capital cases that occurred at certain places during a certain period of time. It is a sad fact that the perpetration of those acts is not confined to that class of people which might be called the rabble. The report included sworn testimony from soldiers and officials of the Freedmen's Bureau. In Selma, Alabama , Major J. Houston noted that whites who killed twelve African Americans in his district never came to trial.
Many more killings never became official cases. Captain Poillon described white patrols in southwestern Alabama. The bewildered and terrified freedmen know not what to do—to leave is death; to remain is to suffer the increased burden imposed upon them by the cruel taskmaster, whose only interest is their labor, wrung from them by every device an inhuman ingenuity can devise; hence the lash and murder is resorted to intimidate those whom fear of an awful death alone cause to remain, while patrols, Negro dogs and spies, disguised as Yankees, keep constant guard over these unfortunate people.
Much of the violence that was perpetrated against African Americans was shaped by gendered prejudices regarding African Americans. Black women were in a particularly vulnerable situation. To convict a white man of sexually assaulting black women in this period was exceedingly difficult. Trials were discouraged and attorneys for black misdemeanor defendants were difficult to find. The goal of county courts was a fast, uncomplicated trial with a resulting conviction. Most blacks were unable to pay their fines or bail, and "the most common penalty was nine months to a year in a slave mine or lumber camp.
Black women were socially constructed as sexually avaricious and since they were portrayed as having little virtue, society held that they could not be raped. Sexual assaults on African-American women were so pervasive, particularly on the part of their white employers, that black men sought to reduce the contact between white males and black females by having the women in their family avoid doing work that was closely overseen by whites.
During fall , out of response to the Black codes and worrisome signs of Southern recalcitrance, the Radical Republicans blocked the readmission of the former rebellious states to the Congress. Johnson, however, was content with allowing former Confederate states into the Union as long as their state governments adopted the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.
By December 6, , the amendment was ratified and Johnson considered Reconstruction over. Johnson was following the moderate Lincoln Presidential Reconstruction policy to get the states readmitted as soon as possible. Congress, however, controlled by the Radicals, had other plans. Congress, on December 4, , rejected Johnson's moderate Presidential Reconstruction, and organized the Joint Committee on Reconstruction , a member panel to devise reconstruction requirements for the Southern states to be restored to the Union.
Although Johnson had sympathies for the plights of the freedmen, he was against federal assistance. An attempt to override the veto failed on February 20, This veto shocked the Congressional Radicals.
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In response, both the Senate and House passed a joint resolution not to allow any Senator or Representative seat admittance until Congress decided when Reconstruction was finished. Senator Lyman Trumbull of Illinois , leader of the moderate Republicans, took affront at the black codes. He proposed the first Civil Rights Law , because the abolition of slavery was empty if. A law that does not allow a colored person to go from one county to another, and one that does not allow him to hold property, to teach, to preach, are certainly laws in violation of the rights of a freeman The purpose of this bill is to destroy all these discriminations.
All persons born in the United States The bill did not give Freedmen the right to vote. Congress quickly passed the Civil Rights bill; the Senate on February 2 voted 33—12; the House on March 13 voted — Although strongly urged by moderates in Congress to sign the Civil Rights bill, Johnson broke decisively with them by vetoing it on March 27, His veto message objected to the measure because it conferred citizenship on the freedmen at a time when eleven out of thirty-six states were unrepresented and attempted to fix by Federal law "a perfect equality of the white and black races in every State of the Union".
Johnson said it was an invasion by Federal authority of the rights of the States; it had no warrant in the Constitution and was contrary to all precedents. It was a "stride toward centralization and the concentration of all legislative power in the national government". The Democratic Party, proclaiming itself the party of white men, north and south, supported Johnson. Congress also passed a toned-down Freedmen's Bureau Bill; Johnson quickly vetoed as he had done to the previous bill. Once again, however, Congress had enough support and overrode Johnson's veto.
The last moderate proposal was the Fourteenth Amendment , whose principal drafter was Representative John Bingham. It was designed to put the key provisions of the Civil Rights Act into the Constitution, but it went much further. It extended citizenship to everyone born in the United States except visitors and Indians on reservations , penalized states that did not give the vote to freedmen, and most importantly, created new federal civil rights that could be protected by federal courts.
It guaranteed the Federal war debt would be paid and promised the Confederate debt would never be paid. Johnson used his influence to block the amendment in the states since three-fourths of the states were required for ratification the amendment was later ratified. The moderate effort to compromise with Johnson had failed, and a political fight broke out between the Republicans both Radical and moderate on one side, and on the other side, Johnson and his allies in the Democratic Party in the North, and the conservative groupings which used different names in each southern state.
Concerned that President Johnson viewed Congress as an "illegal body" and wanted to overthrow the government, Republicans in Congress took control of Reconstruction policies after the election of Radical Republicans in Congress, led by Stevens and Sumner, opened the way to suffrage for male freedmen. They were generally in control, although they had to compromise with the moderate Republicans the Democrats in Congress had almost no power. Historians refer to this period as "Radical Reconstruction" or "Congressional Reconstruction". Analysis of 34 major business newspapers showed that 12 discussed politics, and only one, Iron Age, supported radicalism.
The other 11 opposed a "harsh" Reconstruction policy, favored the speedy return of the Southern States to congressional representation, opposed legislation designed to protect the Freedmen, and deplored the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. The South's white leaders, who held power in the immediate postwar era before the vote was granted to the freedmen, renounced secession and slavery, but not white supremacy. People who had previously held power were angered in when new elections were held. New Republican lawmakers were elected by a coalition of white Unionists, freedmen and northerners who had settled in the South.
Some leaders in the South tried to accommodate to new conditions. Three Constitutional amendments, known as the Reconstruction Amendments, were adopted. The 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was ratified in The 14th Amendment was proposed in and ratified in , guaranteeing United States citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States and granting them federal civil rights.
The 15th Amendment, proposed in late February and passed in early February , decreed that the right to vote could not be denied because of "race, color, or previous condition of servitude". The amendment did not declare the vote an unconditional right; it prohibited these types of discrimination. States would still determine voter registration and electoral laws. The amendments were directed at ending slavery and providing full citizenship to freedmen.
Northern Congressmen believed that providing black men with the right to vote would be the most rapid means of political education and training. Many blacks took an active part in voting and political life, and rapidly continued to build churches and community organizations. Following Reconstruction, white Democrats and insurgent groups used force to regain power in the state legislatures, and pass laws that effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites in the South.
From to , Southern states passed new constitutions that completed the disfranchisement of blacks. Supreme Court rulings on these provisions upheld many of these new Southern constitutions and laws, and most blacks were prevented from voting in the South until the s. Full federal enforcement of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments did not reoccur until after passage of legislation in the mids as a result of the Civil Rights Movement.
The Reconstruction Acts as originally passed, were initially called "An act to provide for the more efficient Government of the Rebel States" the legislation was enacted by the 39th Congress, on March 2, It was vetoed by President Johnson, and the veto overridden by two-thirds majority, in both the House and the Senate, the same day. Congress also clarified the scope of the federal writ of habeas corpus to allow federal courts to vacate unlawful state court convictions or sentences in 28 U.
The first Reconstruction Act, authored by Oregon Sen. George H. Williams , a Radical Republican , placed 10 of the former Confederate states—all but Tennessee—under military control, grouping them into five military districts: . The four border states that had not joined the Confederacy were not subject to military Reconstruction. West Virginia, which had seceded from Virginia in , and Tennessee, which had already been re-admitted in , were not included in the military districts.
The ten Southern state governments were re-constituted under the direct control of the United States Army. One major purpose was to recognize and protect the right of African Americans to vote. Randolph Campbell describes what happened in Texas: . The first critical step The Reconstruction Acts called for registering all adult males, white and black, except those who had ever sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and then engaged in rebellion Sheridan interpreted these restrictions stringently, barring from registration not only all pre officials of state and local governments who had supported the Confederacy but also all city officeholders and even minor functionaries such as sextons of cemeteries.
In May Griffin In every county where practicable a freedman served as one of the three registrars Final registration amounted to approximately 59, whites and 49, blacks. It is impossible to say how many whites were rejected or refused to register estimates vary from 7, to 12, , but blacks, who constituted only about 30 percent of the state's population, were significantly overrepresented at 45 percent of all voters. The eleven Southern states held constitutional conventions giving black men the right to vote. Until , most former Confederate or prewar Southern office holders were disqualified from voting or holding office; all but top Confederate leaders were pardoned by the Amnesty Act of It appealed to the Scalawag element.
For example, in Tennessee had disfranchised 80, ex-Confederates. In Virginia, an effort was made to disqualify for public office every man who had served in the Confederate Army even as a private, and any civilian farmer who sold food to the Confederate army. Strong measures that were called for in order to forestall a return to the defunct Confederacy increasingly seemed out of place, and the role of the United States Army and controlling politics in the state was troublesome. Increasingly, historian Mark Summers states, "the disfranchisers had to fall back on the contention that denial of the vote was meant as punishment, and a lifelong punishment at that Month by month, the unrepublican character of the regime looked more glaring.
During the Civil War, many in the North believed that fighting for the Union was a noble cause — for the preservation of the Union and the end of slavery. After the war ended, with the North victorious, the fear among Radicals was that President Johnson too quickly assumed that slavery and Confederate nationalism were dead and that the southern states could return.
The Radicals sought out a candidate for President who represented their viewpoint. In , the Republicans unanimously chose Ulysses S. Grant as their Presidential candidate. As early as , during the Civil War, Grant had appointed the Ohio military chaplain John Eaton to protect and gradually incorporate refugee slaves in west Tennessee and northern Mississippi into the Union War effort and pay them for their labor. It was the beginning of his vision for the Freedmen's Bureau. Immediately upon Inauguration in , Grant bolstered Reconstruction by prodding Congress to readmit Virginia , Mississippi , and Texas into the Union, while ensuring their constitutions protected every citizen's voting rights.
In Grant's two terms he strengthened Washington's legal capabilities to directly intervene to protect citizenship rights even if the states ignored the problem. Congress passed three powerful Enforcement Acts in — These were criminal codes which protected the Freedmen's right to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, and receive equal protection of laws.
Most important, they authorized the federal government to intervene when states did not act. Grant's new Justice Department prosecuted thousands of Klansmen under the tough new laws. Grant sent federal troops to nine South Carolina counties to suppress Klan violence in Grant supported passage of the Fifteenth Amendment stating that no state could deny a man the right to vote on the basis of race. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of giving people access to public facilities regardless of race.
To counter vote fraud in the Democratic stronghold of New York City , Grant sent in tens of thousands of armed, uniformed federal marshals and other election officials to regulate the and subsequent elections. Democrats across the North then mobilized to defend their base and attacked Grant's entire set of policies. Grant's support from Congress and the nation declined due to scandals within his administration and the political resurgence of the Democrats in the North and South. By , most Republicans felt the war goals had been achieved, and they turned their attention to other issues such as economic policies.
On April 20, , the U. Congressional members on the committee included Rep. Benjamin Butler , Sen. Zachariah Chandler , and Sen. Francis P. Subcommittee members traveled into the South to interview the people living in their respective states. James L. Orr , and Nathan B. Forrest , a former Confederate general and prominent Ku Klux Klan leader Forrest denied in his Congressional testimony being a member.
Other southerners interviewed included farmers, doctors, merchants, teachers, and clergymen. The committee heard numerous reports of white violence against blacks, while many whites denied Klan membership or knowledge of violent activities. The majority report by Republicans concluded that the government would not tolerate any Southern "conspiracy" to resist violently the Congressional Reconstruction.
The committee completed its volume report in February While Grant had been able to suppress the KKK through the Enforcement Acts, other paramilitary insurgents organized, including the White League in , active in Louisiana; and the Red Shirts , with chapters active in Mississippi and the Carolinas. They used intimidation and outright attacks to run Republicans out of office and repress voting by blacks, leading to white Democrats regaining power by the elections of the mid-to-late s.
Republicans took control of all Southern state governorships and state legislatures, except for Virginia. At the beginning of , no African American in the South held political office, but within three or four years "about 15 percent of the officeholders in the South were black—a larger proportion than in About black officeholders had lived outside the South before the Civil War.
Some who had escaped from slavery to the North and had become educated returned to help the South advance in the postwar era. Others were free blacks before the war, who had achieved education and positions of leadership elsewhere. Other African-American men elected to office were already leaders in their communities, including a number of preachers.
As happened in white communities, not all leadership depended upon wealth and literacy. There were few African Americans elected or appointed to national office. African Americans voted for both white and black candidates. The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteed only that voting could not be restricted on the basis of race, color or previous condition of servitude. From on, campaigns and elections were surrounded by violence as white insurgents and paramilitary tried to suppress the black vote, and fraud was rampant.
Many Congressional elections in the South were contested. Even states with majority African-American population often elected only one or two African-American representatives to Congress. Freedmen were very active in forming their own churches, mostly Baptist or Methodist, and giving their ministers both moral and political leadership roles. In a process of self-segregation, practically all blacks left white churches so that few racially integrated congregations remained apart from some Catholic churches in Louisiana.
They started many new black Baptist churches and soon, new black state associations. Four main groups competed with each other across the South to form new Methodist churches composed of freedmen. The Methodist Church had split before the war due to disagreements about slavery. Blacks in the South made up a core element of the Republican Party. Their ministers had powerful political roles that were distinctive since they did not depend on white support, in contrast to teachers, politicians, businessmen, and tenant farmers.
Pearce , an AME minister in Florida: "A man in this State cannot do his whole duty as a minister except he looks out for the political interests of his people," more than black ministers were elected to state legislatures during Reconstruction, as well as several to Congress and one, Hiram Revels , to the U. In a highly controversial action during the war, the Northern Methodists used the Army to seize control of Methodist churches in large cities, over the vehement protests of the Southern Methodists. Historian Ralph Morrow reports:. A War Department order of November, , applicable to the Southwestern states of the Confederacy, authorized the Northern Methodists to occupy "all houses of worship belonging to the Methodist Episcopal Church South in which a loyal minister, appointed by a loyal bishop of said church, does not officiate".
Across the North most evangelical denominations, especially the Methodists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians, as well as the Quakers, strongly supported Radical policies. The focus on social problems paved the way for the Social Gospel movement. Matthew Simpson , a Methodist bishop, played a leading role in mobilizing the Northern Methodists for the cause.
His biographer calls him the "High Priest of the Radical Republicans". Resolved, That no terms should be made with traitors, no compromise with rebels That we hold the National authority bound by the most solemn obligation to God and man to bring all the civil and military leaders of the rebellion to trial by due course of law, and when they are clearly convicted, to execute them.
The denominations all sent missionaries, teachers and activists to the South to help the freedmen. Only the Methodists made many converts, however. Many Americans interpreted great events in religious terms. White Baptists expressed the view that:. God had chastised them and given them a special mission — to maintain orthodoxy, strict biblicism, personal piety, and traditional race relations. Slavery, they insisted, had not been sinful. Rather, emancipation was a historical tragedy and the end of Reconstruction was a clear sign of God's favor. God's gift of freedom.
They appreciated opportunities to exercise their independence, to worship in their own way, to affirm their worth and dignity, and to proclaim the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Most of all, they could form their own churches, associations, and conventions. These institutions offered self-help and racial uplift, and provided places where the gospel of liberation could be proclaimed. As a result, black preachers continued to insist that God would protect and help him; God would be their rock in a stormy land. Historian James D. Anderson argues that the freed slaves were the first Southerners "to campaign for universal, state-supported public education".
Some slaves had learned to read from white playmates or colleagues before formal education was allowed by law; African Americans started "native schools" before the end of the war; Sabbath schools were another widespread means that freedmen developed to teach literacy.
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The Republicans created a system of public schools, which were segregated by race everywhere except New Orleans. Generally, elementary and a few secondary schools were built in most cities, and occasionally in the countryside, but the South had few cities. The rural areas faced many difficulties opening and maintaining public schools. In the country, the public school was often a one-room affair that attracted about half the younger children.
The teachers were poorly paid, and their pay was often in arrears. They had no vision of a better future for their residents. One historian found that the schools were less effective than they might have been because "poverty, the inability of the states to collect taxes, and inefficiency and corruption in many places prevented successful operation of the schools.
After the war, northern missionaries founded numerous private academies and colleges for freedmen across the South. In addition, every state founded state colleges for freedmen, such as Alcorn State University in Mississippi. The normal schools and state colleges produced generations of teachers who were integral to the education of African-American children under the segregated system. By the end of the century, the majority of African Americans were literate.
In the late 19th century, the federal government established land grant legislation to provide funding for higher education across the United States. Learning that blacks were excluded from land grant colleges in the South, in the federal government insisted that southern states establish black state institutions as land grant colleges to provide for black higher education, in order to continue to receive funds for their already established white schools.
Some states classified their black state colleges as land grant institutions. Former Congressman John Roy Lynch wrote, "there are very many liberal, fair-minded and influential Democrats in the State [Mississippi] who are strongly in favor of having the State provide for the liberal education of both races. Every Southern state subsidized railroads, which modernizers believed could haul the South out of isolation and poverty. Millions of dollars in bonds and subsidies were fraudulently pocketed. Instead of building new track, however, it used the funds to speculate in bonds, reward friends with extravagant fees, and enjoy lavish trips to Europe.
There were complaints among taxpayers because taxes had historically been low, as the planter elite was not committed to public infrastructure or public education. Taxes historically had been much lower in the South than in the North, reflecting the lack of government investment by the communities. The lines were owned and directed overwhelmingly by Northerners. Railroads helped create a mechanically skilled group of craftsmen and broke the isolation of much of the region. Passengers were few, however, and apart from hauling the cotton crop when it was harvested, there was little freight traffic.
Reconstruction changed the means of taxation in the South. In the U. In the South, wealthy landowners were allowed to self-assess the value of their own land. These fraudulent assessments were almost valueless, and pre-war property tax collections were lacking due to property value misrepresentation. State revenues came from fees and from sales taxes on slave auctions. Some revenue also came from poll taxes. These taxes were more than poor people could pay, with the designed and inevitable consequence that they did not vote.
During Reconstruction, the state legislature mobilized to provide for public need more than had previous governments: establishing public schools and investing in infrastructure, as well as charitable institutions such as hospitals and asylums. They needed to increase taxes which were abnormally low. The planters had provided privately for their own needs. There was some fraudulent spending in the postwar years; a collapse in state credit because of huge deficits, forced the states to increase property tax rates. In places, the rate went up to ten times higher—despite the poverty of the region.
The planters had not invested in infrastructure and much had been destroyed during the war. In part, the new tax system was designed to force owners of large plantations with huge tracts of uncultivated land either to sell or to have it confiscated for failure to pay taxes. The following table shows property tax rates for South Carolina and Mississippi. Note that many local town and county assessments effectively doubled the tax rates reported in the table. These taxes were still levied upon the landowners' own sworn testimony as to the value of their land, which remained the dubious and exploitable system used by wealthy landholders in the South well into the 20th century.
Called upon to pay taxes on their property, essentially for the first time, angry plantation owners revolted. The conservatives shifted their focus away from race to taxes. Lynch , a black Republican leader from Mississippi, later wrote,. The argument made by the taxpayers, however, was plausible and it may be conceded that, upon the whole, they were about right; for no doubt it would have been much easier upon the taxpayers to have increased at that time the interest-bearing debt of the State than to have increased the tax rate. The latter course, however, had been adopted and could not then be changed unless of course they wanted to change them.
While the "Scalawag" element of Republican whites supported measures for black civil rights, the conservative whites typically opposed these measures. Some supported armed attacks to suppress black power. They self-consciously defended their own actions within the framework of an Anglo-American discourse of resistance against tyrannical government, and they broadly succeeded in convincing many fellow white citizens says Steedman. The opponents of Reconstruction formed state political parties, affiliated with the national Democratic party and often named the "Conservative party".
They supported or tolerated violent paramilitary groups, such as the White League in Louisiana and the Red Shirts in Mississippi and the Carolinas, that assassinated and intimidated both black and white Republican leaders at election time. Historian George C. Rable called such groups the "military arm of the Democratic Party".
By the mids, the Conservatives and Democrats had aligned with the national Democratic Party, which enthusiastically supported their cause even as the national Republican Party was losing interest in Southern affairs. Historian Walter Lynwood Fleming , associated with the early 20th-century Dunning School , describes the mounting anger of Southern whites:.
The Negro troops, even at their best, were everywhere considered offensive by the native whites The Negro soldier, impudent by reason of his new freedom, his new uniform, and his new gun, was more than Southern temper could tranquilly bear, and race conflicts were frequent. Often, these white Southerners identified as the "Conservative Party" or the "Democratic and Conservative Party" in order to distinguish themselves from the national Democratic Party and to obtain support from former Whigs.
These parties sent delegates to the Democratic National Convention and abandoned their separate names by or Democrats nominated some blacks for political office and tried to steal other blacks from the Republican side. When these attempts to combine with the blacks failed, the planters joined the common farmers in simply trying to displace the Republican governments. The planters and their business allies dominated the self-styled "conservative" coalition that finally took control in the South. They were paternalistic toward the blacks but feared they would use power to raise taxes and slow business development.
Fleming described the first results of the insurgent movement as "good," and the later ones as "both good and bad". According to Fleming , the KKK "quieted the Negroes, made life and property safer, gave protection to women, stopped burnings, forced the Radical leaders to be more moderate, made the Negroes work better, drove the worst of the Radical leaders from the country and started the whites on the way to gain political supremacy".
The lynchings were used for intimidation and social control, with a frequency associated with economic stresses and the settlement of sharecropper accounts at the end of the season, than for any other reason. Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer a northern scholar in explained:. Outrages upon the former slaves in the South there were in plenty. Their sufferings were many. But white men, too, were victims of lawless violence, and in all portions of the North and the late "rebel" states. Not a political campaign passed without the exchange of bullets, the breaking of skulls with sticks and stones, the firing of rival club-houses.
Republican clubs marched the streets of Philadelphia, amid revolver shots and brickbats, to save the negroes from the "rebel" savages in Alabama The project to make voters out of black men was not so much for their social elevation as for the further punishment of the Southern white people—for the capture of offices for Radical scamps and the entrenchment of the Radical party in power for a long time to come in the South and in the country at large.
As Reconstruction continued, whites accompanied elections with increased violence in an attempt to run Republicans out of office and suppress black voting. The victims of this violence were overwhelmingly African American, as in the Colfax Massacre of After federal suppression of the Klan in the early s, white insurgent groups tried to avoid open conflict with federal forces.
In in the Battle of Liberty Place , the White League entered New Orleans with 5, members and defeated the police and militia, to occupy federal offices for three days in an attempt to overturn the disputed government of William Kellogg , but retreated before federal troops reached the city. None were prosecuted. Their election-time tactics included violent intimidation of African-American and Republican voters prior to elections, while avoiding conflict with the U.
Army or the state militias, and then withdrawing completely on election day. Conservative reaction continued in both the north and south; the "white liners" movement to elect candidates dedicated to white supremacy reached as far as Ohio in The so-called "Redeemers" were the Southern wing of the Bourbon Democrats , the conservative, pro-business faction in the Democratic Party.
They sought to regain political power, reestablish white supremacy , and oust the Radical Republicans. Led by rich former planters, businessmen, and professionals, they dominated Southern politics in most areas from the s to Chase , a leading Radical during the war, concluded that:. Congress was right in not limiting, by its reconstruction acts, the right of suffrage to whites; but wrong in the exclusion from suffrage of certain classes of citizens and all unable to take its prescribed retrospective oath, and wrong also in the establishment of despotic military governments for the States and in authorizing military commissions for the trial of civilians in time of peace.
There should have been as little military government as possible; no military commissions; no classes excluded from suffrage; and no oath except one of faithful obedience and support to the Constitution and laws, and of sincere attachment to the constitutional Government of the United States. By , President Ulysses S. Grant had alienated large numbers of leading Republicans, including many Radicals, by the corruption of his administration and his use of federal soldiers to prop up Radical state regimes in the South.
The opponents, called "Liberal Republicans" , included founders of the party who expressed dismay that the party had succumbed to corruption. They were further wearied by the continued insurgent violence of whites against blacks in the South, especially around every election cycle, which demonstrated the war was not over and changes were fragile. Leaders included editors of some of the nation's most powerful newspapers.
Charles Sumner, embittered by the corruption of the Grant administration, joined the new party, which nominated editor Horace Greeley. The badly organized Democratic party also supported Greeley. Grant made up for the defections by new gains among Union veterans and by strong support from the " Stalwart " faction of his party which depended on his patronage , and the Southern Republican parties. Grant won with The Liberal Republican party vanished and many former supporters—even former abolitionists—abandoned the cause of Reconstruction.
In the South, political—racial tensions built up inside the Republican party as they were attacked by the Democrats. In , Georgia Democrats, with support from some Republicans, expelled all 28 black Republican members from the state house, arguing blacks were eligible to vote but not to hold office.
In most states, the more conservative scalawags fought for control with the more radical carpetbaggers and their black allies. Most of the Republican newspapers in the South were edited by scalawags — only 20 percent were edited by carpetbaggers. White businessmen generally boycotted Republican papers, which survived through government patronage. In Mississippi, the conservative faction led by scalawag James Lusk Alcorn was decisively defeated by the radical faction led by carpetbagger Adelbert Ames.
The party lost support steadily as many scalawags left it; few recruits were acquired. The most bitter contest took place inside the Republican Party in Arkansas, where the two sides armed their forces and confronted each other in the streets; no actual combat took place in the Brooks—Baxter War. The carpetbagger faction led by Elisha Baxter finally prevailed when the White House intervened, but both sides were badly weakened, and the Democrats soon came to power. Meanwhile, in state after state the freedmen were demanding a bigger share of the offices and patronage, squeezing out carpetbagger allies but never commanding the numbers equivalent to their population proportion.
By the mids, "The hard realities of Southern political life had taught the lesson that black constituents needed to be represented by black officials. Finally, some of the more prosperous freedmen were joining the Democrats, as they were angered at the failure of the Republicans to help them acquire land. The South was "sparsely settled"; only ten percent of Louisiana was cultivated, and ninety percent of Mississippi bottomland were undeveloped in areas away from the riverfronts, but freedmen often did not have the stake to get started.
They hoped government would help them acquire land which they would work. Only South Carolina created any land redistribution, establishing a land commission and resettling about 14, freedmen families and some poor whites on land purchased by the state. Although historians such as W.
Du Bois celebrated a cross-racial coalition of poor whites and blacks, such coalitions rarely formed in these years. Writing in , former Congressman Lynch, recalling his experience as a black leader in Mississippi, explained that,. While the colored men did not look with favor upon a political alliance with the poor whites, it must be admitted that, with very few exceptions, that class of whites did not seek, and did not seem to desire such an alliance. Lynch reported that poor whites resented the job competition from freedmen. Furthermore, the poor whites.
As a rule, therefore, the whites that came into the leadership of the Republican party between and were representatives of the most substantial families of the land. By , the Democratic—Conservative leadership across the South decided it had to end its opposition to Reconstruction and black suffrage to survive and move on to new issues. The Grant administration had proven by its crackdown on the Ku Klux Klan that it would use as much federal power as necessary to suppress open anti-black violence.
A new Republican Calendar was established in , with day weeks that made it very difficult for Catholics to remember Sundays and saints' days. Workers complained it reduced the number of first-day-of-the-week holidays from 52 to During the Reign of Terror , extreme efforts of de-Christianisation ensued, including the imprisonment and massacre of priests and destruction of churches and religious images throughout France. An effort was made to replace the Catholic Church altogether, with civic festivals replacing religious ones.
The establishment of the Cult of Reason was the final step of radical de-Christianisation. These events led to a widespread disillusionment with the Revolution and to counter-rebellions across France. Locals often resisted de-Christianisation by attacking revolutionary agents and hiding members of the clergy who were being hunted. Eventually, Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety were forced to denounce the campaign,  replacing the Cult of Reason with the deist but still non-Christian Cult of the Supreme Being.
The Concordat of between Napoleon and the Church ended the de-Christianisation period and established the rules for a relationship between the Catholic Church and the French State that lasted until it was abrogated by the Third Republic via the separation of church and state on 11 December Historians Lynn Hunt and Jack Censer argue that some French Protestants, the Huguenots , wanted an anti-Catholic regime, and that Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire helped fuel this resentment.
Factions within the Assembly began to clarify. The "Royalist democrats" or monarchiens , allied with Necker , inclined towards organising France along lines similar to the British constitutional model; they included Jean Joseph Mounier , the Comte de Lally-Tollendal , the comte de Clermont-Tonnerre , and Pierre Victor Malouet, comte de Virieu. Almost alone in his radicalism on the left was the Arras lawyer Maximilien Robespierre. In Paris, various committees, the mayor, the assembly of representatives, and the individual districts each claimed authority independent of the others.
The increasingly middle-class National Guard under Lafayette also slowly emerged as a power in its own right, as did other self-generated assemblies. The electors had originally chosen the members of the Estates-General to serve for a single year. However, by the terms of the Tennis Court Oath , the communes had bound themselves to meet continuously until France had a constitution. Right-wing elements now argued for a new election, but Mirabeau prevailed, asserting that the status of the assembly had fundamentally changed, and that no new election should take place before completing the constitution.
In late the French army was in considerable disarray. The military officer corps was largely composed of noblemen, who found it increasingly difficult to maintain order within the ranks. In some cases, soldiers drawn from the lower classes had turned against their aristocratic commanders and attacked them. This and other such incidents spurred a mass desertion as more and more officers defected to other countries, leaving a dearth of experienced leadership within the army. This period also saw the rise of the political "clubs" in French politics.
Foremost among these was the Jacobin Club ; members had affiliated with the Jacobins by 10 August The Jacobin Society began as a broad, general organisation for political debate, but as it grew in members, various factions developed with widely differing views. Several of these factions broke off to form their own clubs, such as the Club of ' Meanwhile, the Assembly continued to work on developing a constitution.
A new judicial organisation made all magistracies temporary and independent of the throne. The legislators abolished hereditary offices, except for the monarchy itself. Jury trials started for criminal cases. The King would have the unique power to propose war, with the legislature then deciding whether to declare war. The Assembly abolished all internal trade barriers and suppressed guilds, masterships, and workers' organisations: any individual gained the right to practise a trade through the purchase of a license; strikes became illegal.
Louis XVI was increasingly dismayed by the direction of the revolution. Eventually, fearing for his own safety and that of his family, he decided to flee Paris to the Austrian border, having been assured of the loyalty of the border garrisons. On the night of 20 June the royal family fled the Tuileries Palace dressed as servants, while their servants dressed as nobles.
However, late the next day, the King was recognised and arrested at Varennes and returned to Paris. The Assembly provisionally suspended the King. He and Queen Marie Antoinette remained held under guard. As most of the Assembly still favoured a constitutional monarchy rather than a republic, the various groups reached a compromise which left Louis XVI as little more than a figurehead: he was forced to swear an oath to the constitution, and a decree declared that retracting the oath, heading an army for the purpose of making war upon the nation, or permitting anyone to do so in his name would amount to abdication.
An immense crowd gathered in the Champ de Mars to sign the petition. Georges Danton and Camille Desmoulins gave fiery speeches. The Assembly called for the municipal authorities to "preserve public order". The National Guard under Lafayette's command confronted the crowd. The soldiers responded to a barrage of stones by firing into the crowd, killing between 13 and 50 people. In the wake of the massacre the authorities closed many of the patriotic clubs, as well as radical newspapers such as Jean-Paul Marat 's L'Ami du Peuple.
Danton fled to England; Desmoulins and Marat went into hiding. Meanwhile, in August , a new threat arose from abroad: the King's brother-in-law Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II , King Frederick William II of Prussia , and the King's brother Charles-Philippe, comte d'Artois , issued the Declaration of Pillnitz , declaring their intention to bring the French king in the position "to consolidate the basis of a monarchical government" and that they were preparing their own troops for action,  hinting at an invasion of France on the King's behalf.
The French people expressed no respect for the dictates of foreign monarchs, and the threat of force merely hastened their militarisation. Even before the Flight to Varennes, the Assembly members had determined to debar themselves from the legislature that would succeed them, the Legislative Assembly. They now gathered the various constitutional laws they had passed into a single constitution, and submitted it to the recently restored Louis XVI, who accepted it, writing "I engage to maintain it at home, to defend it from all attacks from abroad, and to cause its execution by all the means it places at my disposal".
The King addressed the Assembly and received enthusiastic applause from members and spectators. With this capstone, the National Constituent Assembly adjourned in a final session on 30 September The Legislative Assembly first met on 1 October , elected by those 4 million men — out of a population of 25 million — who paid a certain minimum amount of taxes.
The King had to share power with the elected Legislative Assembly, but he retained his royal veto and the ability to select ministers. Over the course of a year, such disagreements would lead to a constitutional crisis. Late in , a group of Assembly members who propagated war against Austria and Prussia was, after some remark of politician Maximilien Robespierre , henceforth indicated as the ' Girondins ', although not all of them really came from the southern province of Gironde. In response to the threat of war of August from Austria and Prussia , leaders of the Assembly saw such a war as a means to strengthen support for their revolutionary government, and the French people as well as the Assembly thought that they would win a war against Austria and Prussia.
On 20 April , France declared war on Austria. The Legislative Assembly degenerated into chaos before October Francis Charles Montague concluded in , "In the attempt to govern, the Assembly failed altogether. It left behind an empty treasury, an undisciplined army and navy, and a people debauched by safe and successful riot. Lyons argues that the Constituent Assembly had liberal, rational, and individualistic goals that seem to have been largely achieved by However, it failed to consolidate the gains of the Revolution, which continued with increasing momentum and escalating radicalism until Lyons identifies six reasons for this escalation.
First, the king did not accept the limitations on his powers, and mobilised support from foreign monarchs to reverse it. Second, the effort to overthrow the Roman Catholic Church, sell off its lands, close its monasteries and its charitable operations, and replace it with an unpopular makeshift system caused deep consternation among the pious and the peasants. Third, the economy was badly hurt by the issuance of ever increasing amounts of paper money assignats , which caused more and more inflation; the rising prices hurt the urban poor who spent most of their income on food.
Fourth, the rural peasants demanded liberation from the heavy system of taxes and dues owed to local landowners. Finally, foreign powers threatened to overthrow the Revolution, which responded with extremism and systematic violence in its own defence. In the summer of , all of Paris was against the king, and hoped that the Assembly would depose the king, but the Assembly hesitated. On 26 August, the Assembly decreed the deportation of refractory priests in the west of France, as "causes of danger to the fatherland", to destinations like French Guiana.
With enemy troops advancing, the Commune looked for potential traitors in Paris. On 2, 3 and 4 September , hundreds of Parisians, supporters of the revolution, infuriated by Verdun being captured by the Prussian enemy , the uprisings in the west of France, and rumours that the incarcerated prisoners in Paris were conspiring with the foreign enemy, raided the Parisian prisons and murdered between 1, and 1, prisoners , many of them Catholic priests but also common criminals.
Jean-Paul Marat , a political ally of Robespierre, in an open letter on 3 September incited the rest of France to follow the Parisian example; Robespierre kept a low profile in regard to the murder orgy. The Commune then sent a circular letter to the other cities of France inviting them to follow this example, and many cities launched their own massacres of prisoners and priests in the "September massacres".
The Assembly could offer only feeble resistance. In October, however, there was a counterattack accusing the instigators, especially Marat, of being terrorists. This led to a political contest between the more moderate Girondists and the more radical Montagnards inside the Convention, with rumour used as a weapon by both sides. The Girondists lost ground when they seemed too conciliatory. But the pendulum swung again and after Thermidor, the men who had endorsed the massacres were denounced as terrorists. Chaos persisted until the Convention , elected by universal male suffrage and charged with writing a new constitution, met on 20 September and became the new de facto government of France.
The next day it abolished the monarchy and declared a republic. The following day — 22 September , the first morning of the new Republic — was later retroactively adopted as the beginning of Year One of the French Republican Calendar. From to France was engaged almost continuously with two short breaks in wars with Britain and a changing coalition of other major powers. The many French successes led to the spread of the French revolutionary ideals into neighbouring countries, and indeed across much of Europe.
However, the final defeat of Napoleon in and brought a reaction that reversed some — but not all — of the revolutionary achievements in France and Europe. The politics of the period inevitably drove France towards war with Austria and its allies. The King, many of the Feuillants, and the Girondins specifically wanted to wage war. The King and many Feuillants with him expected war would increase his personal popularity; he also foresaw an opportunity to exploit any defeat: either result would make him stronger. The Girondins wanted to export the Revolution throughout Europe and, by extension, to defend the Revolution within France.
The forces opposing war were much weaker. Barnave and his supporters among the Feuillants feared a war they thought France had little chance to win and which they feared might lead to greater radicalisation of the revolution. On the other end of the political spectrum Robespierre opposed a war on two grounds , fearing that it would strengthen the monarchy and military at the expense of the revolution, and that it would incur the anger of ordinary people in Austria and elsewhere. The invading Prussian army faced little resistance until it was checked at the Battle of Valmy 20 September and forced to withdraw.
The new-born Republic followed up on this success with a series of victories in Belgium and the Rhineland in the fall of The French armies defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Jemappes on 6 November, and had soon taken over most of the Austrian Netherlands. This brought them into conflict with Britain and the Dutch Republic , which wished to preserve the independence of the southern Netherlands from France. After the French king's execution in January , these powers, along with Spain and most other European states, joined the war against France.
Almost immediately, French forces suffered defeats on many fronts, and were driven out of their newly conquered territories in the spring of At the same time, the republican regime was forced to deal with rebellions against its authority in much of western and southern France. But the allies failed to take advantage of French disunity, and by the autumn of the republican regime had defeated most of the internal rebellions and halted the allied advance into France itself.
This stalemate ended in the summer of with dramatic French victories. The French defeated the allied army at the Battle of Fleurus , leading to a full Allied withdrawal from the Austrian Netherlands. They pushed the allies to the east bank of the Rhine, allowing France, by the beginning of , to conquer the Dutch Republic itself. These victories led to the collapse of the anti-French coalition. Prussia, having effectively abandoned the coalition in the fall of , made peace with revolutionary France at Basel in April , and soon thereafter Spain also made peace with France.
Britain and Austria were the only major powers to remain at war with France. Although the French Revolution had a dramatic impact in numerous areas of Europe, the French colonies felt a particular influence. Late in August , elections were held, now under male universal suffrage , for the new National Convention ,  which replaced the Legislative Assembly on 20 September From the start the Convention suffered from the bitter division between a group around Robespierre, Danton and Marat, referred to as ' Montagnards ' or ' Jacobins ' or the 'left', and a group referred to as ' Girondins ' or the 'right'.
But the majority of the representatives, referred to as ' la Plaine ', were member of neither of those two antagonistic groups and managed to preserve some speed in the Convention's debates. In the Brunswick Manifesto , the Imperial and Prussian armies threatened retaliation on the French population if it were to resist their advance or the reinstatement of the monarchy. This among other things made Louis appear to be conspiring with the enemies of France.
On 17 January Louis was condemned to death for "conspiracy against the public liberty and the general safety" by a close majority in Convention: voted to execute the king, voted against, and another 72 voted to execute him subject to a variety of delaying conditions. This encouraged the Jacobins to seize power through a parliamentary coup , backed up by force effected by mobilising public support against the Girondist faction, and by utilising the mob power of the Parisian sans-culottes.
An alliance of Jacobin and sans-culottes elements thus became the effective centre of the new government. Policy became considerably more radical, as "The Law of the Maximum" set food prices and led to executions of offenders. The price control policy was coeval with the rise to power of the Committee of Public Safety and the Reign of Terror. The Committee first attempted to set the price for only a limited number of grain products, but by September it expanded the "maximum" to cover all foodstuffs and a long list of other goods.
The Committee reacted by sending dragoons into the countryside to arrest farmers and seize crops. This temporarily solved the problem in Paris, but the rest of the country suffered. By the spring of , forced collection of food was not sufficient to feed even Paris, and the days of the Committee were numbered. When Robespierre went to the guillotine in July , the crowd jeered, "There goes the dirty maximum! According to archival records, at least 16, people died under the guillotine or otherwise after accusations of counter-revolutionary activities.
Following these arrests, the Jacobins gained control of the Committee of Public Safety on 10 June, installing the revolutionary dictatorship. On 24 June, the Convention adopted the first republican constitution of France, variously referred to as the French Constitution of or Constitution of the Year I.
It was progressive and radical in several respects, in particular by establishing universal male suffrage. It was ratified by public referendum, but normal legal processes were suspended before it could take effect. Georges Danton , the leader of the August uprising against the king , undermined by several political reversals, was removed from the Committee and Robespierre, "the Incorruptible", became its most influential member as it moved to take radical measures against the Revolution's domestic and foreign enemies. The Reign of Terror ultimately weakened the revolutionary government, while temporarily ending internal opposition.
The Jacobins expanded the size of the army, and Carnot replaced many aristocratic officers with soldiers who had demonstrated their patriotism, if not their ability. At the end of , the army began to prevail and revolts were defeated with ease. However, this policy was never fully implemented. Three approaches attempt to explain the Reign of Terror imposed by the Jacobins in — The older Marxist interpretation argued the Terror was a necessary response to outside threats in terms of other countries going to war with France and internal threats of traitors inside France threatening to frustrate the Revolution.
In this interpretation, as expressed by the Marxist historian Albert Soboul , Robespierre and the sans-culottes were heroes for defending the revolution from its enemies. Soboul's Marxist interpretation has been largely abandoned by most historians since the s. Hanson takes a middle position, recognising the importance of the foreign enemies, and sees the terror as a contingency that was caused by the interaction of a series of complex events and the foreign threat. Hanson says the terror was not inherent in the ideology of the Revolution, but that circumstances made it necessary.
North of the Loire , similar revolts were started by the so-called Chouans royalist rebels. In April , the Girondins indicted Jean-Paul Marat before the Revolutionary Tribunal for 'attempting to destroy the sovereignty of the people' and 'preaching plunder and massacre', referring to his behaviour during the September Paris massacres. Marat was quickly acquitted but the incident further exacerbated the ' Girondins ' versus ' Montagnards ' party strife in the Convention. While that committee consisted only of members from la Plaine and the Girondins , the anger of the sans-culottes was directed towards the Girondins.
On 2 June , the Convention's session in Tuileries Palace degenerated into chaos and pandemonium. Crowds of people swarmed in and around the palace. Incessant screaming from the public galleries suggested that all of Paris was against the Girondins. Petitions circulated, indicting and condemning 22 Girondins. Late that night after much more tumultuous debate, dozens of Girondins had resigned and left the Convention.
By the summer of , most French departments in one way or another opposed the central Paris government. Girondins who fled from Paris after 2 June led those revolts. In August—September , militants urged the Convention to do more to quell the counter-revolution. A delegation of the Commune Paris city council suggested to form revolutionary armies to arrest hoarders and conspirators. Criteria for bringing someone before the Revolutionary Tribunal , created March , had always been vast and vague. Meanwhile, the instalment of the Republican Calendar on 24 October caused an anti-clerical uprising.
The climax was reached with the celebration of the flame of Reason in Notre Dame Cathedral on 10 November. Because of the extremely brutal forms that the Republican repression took in many places, historians such as Reynald Secher have called the event a "genocide". The guillotine became the tool for a string of executions. The Revolutionary Tribunal summarily condemned thousands of people to death by the guillotine, while mobs beat other victims to death. In the rebellious provinces, the government representatives had unlimited authority and some engaged in extreme repressions and abuses.
For example, Jean-Baptiste Carrier became notorious for the Noyades "drownings" he organised in Nantes ;  his conduct was judged unacceptable even by the Jacobin government and he was recalled. On 5 April, again at the instigation of Robespierre, Danton , a moderate Montagnard , and 13 associated politicians, charged with counter-revolutionary activities,  were executed.
The end of Reconstruction
This hushed the Convention deputies: if henceforth they disagreed with Robespierre they hardly dared to speak out. On 7 June , Robespierre advocated a new state religion and recommended the Convention acknowledge the existence of the "Supreme Being". The frequency of guillotine executions in Paris now rose from on average three a day to an average of 29 a day. Meanwhile, France's external wars were going well, with victories over Austrian and British troops in May and June opening up Belgium for French conquest.
On 29 June , three colleagues of Robespierre at 'the Committee' called him a dictator in his face — Robespierre baffled left the meeting. This encouraged other Convention members to also defy Robespierre. On 26 July, a long and vague speech of Robespierre wasn't met with thunderous applause as usual but with hostility; some deputies yelled that Robespierre should have the courage to say which deputies he deemed necessary to be killed next, what Robespierre refused to do.
Finally, even Robespierre's own voice failed on him: it faltered at his last attempt to beg permission to speak. A decree was adopted to arrest Robespierre , Saint-Just and Couthon. Subsequently, the Law of 22 Prairial 10 June was repealed, and the ' Girondins ' expelled from the Convention in June , if not dead yet, were reinstated as Convention deputies.
After July , most civilians henceforth ignored the Republican calendar and returned to the traditional seven-day weeks. The government in a law of 21 February set steps of return to freedom of religion and reconciliation with the since refractory Catholic priests, but any religious signs outside churches or private homes, such as crosses, clerical garb, bell ringing, remained prohibited.
When the people's enthusiasm for attending church grew to unexpected levels the government backed out and in October again, like in , required all priests to swear oaths on the Republic. In the very cold winter of —95, with the French army demanding more and more bread, same was getting scarce in Paris as was wood to keep houses warm, and in an echo of the October March on Versailles , on 1 April 12 Germinal III a mostly female crowd marched on the Convention calling for bread.
But no Convention member sympathized, they just told the women to return home. Again in May a crowd of 20, men and 40, women invaded the Convention and even killed a deputy in the halls, but again they failed to make the Convention take notice of the needs of the lower classes. Instead, the Convention banned women from all political assemblies, and deputies who had solidarized with this insurrection were sentenced to death: such allegiance between parliament and street fighting was no longer tolerated.
Late , France conquered present-day Belgium. A French plebiscite ratified the document, with about 1,, votes for the constitution and 49, against. The first chamber was called the ' Council of ' initiating the laws, the second the ' Council of Elders ' reviewing and approving or not the passed laws. Each year, one-third of the chambers was to be renewed.
The executive power was in the hands of the five members directors of the Directory with a five-year mandate. The early directors did not much understand the nation they were governing; they especially had an innate inability to see Catholicism as anything else than counter-revolutionary and royalist. The Directory denounced the arbitrary executions of the Reign of Terror, but itself engaged in large scale illegal repressions, as well as large-scale massacres of civilians in the Vendee uprising.
The economy continued in bad condition, with the poor especially hurt by the high cost of food. State finances were in total disarray; the government could only cover its expenses through the plunder and the tribute of foreign countries. If peace were made, the armies would return home and the directors would have to face the exasperation of the rank-and-file who had lost their livelihood, as well as the ambition of generals who could, in a moment, brush them aside.
Barras and Rewbell were notoriously corrupt themselves and screened corruption in others. The patronage of the directors was ill-bestowed, and the general maladministration heightened their unpopularity. The directors baffled all such endeavours. On the other hand, the socialist conspiracy of Babeuf was easily quelled. Little was done to improve the finances, and the assignats continued to fall in value until each note was worth less than the paper it was printed on; debtors easily paid off their debts. Although committed to Republicanism, the Directory distrusted democracy.
It never had a strong base of popular support; when elections were held, most of its candidates were defeated. Its achievements were minor. The election system was complex and designed to insulate the government from grass roots democracy. The parliament consisted of two houses: the Conseil des Cinq-Cents Council of the Five Hundred with representatives, and the Conseil des Anciens Council of Elders with senators.
Executive power went to five "directors," named annually by the Conseil des Anciens from a list submitted by the Conseil des Cinq-Cents. The universal male suffrage of was replaced by limited suffrage based on property. The voters had only a limited choice because the electoral rules required two-thirds of the seats go to members of the old Convention, no matter how few popular votes they received. Citizens of the war-weary nation wanted stability, peace, and an end to conditions that at times bordered on chaos.
Nevertheless, those on the right who wished to restore the monarchy by putting Louis XVIII on the throne, and those on the left who would have renewed the Reign of Terror, tried but failed to overthrow the Directory.
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The earlier atrocities had made confidence or goodwill between parties impossible. The army suppressed riots and counter-revolutionary activities. In this way the army and in particular Napoleon gained total power. Parliamentary elections in the spring of , for one-third of the seats in Parliament, resulted in considerable gains for the royalists,  who seemed poised to take control of the Directory in the next elections. This frightened the republican directors and they reacted, in the Coup of 18 Fructidor V 4 September , by purging all the winners banishing 57 leaders to certain death in Guiana, removing two supposedly pro-royalist directors, and closing 42 newspapers.
Not only citizens opposed and even mocked such decrees, also local government officials refused to enforce such laws. When the elections of were again carried by the opposition, the Directory used the army to imprison and exile the opposition leaders and close their newspapers. In , when the French armies abroad experienced some setbacks , the newly chosen director Sieyes considered a new overhaul necessary for the Directory's form of government because in his opinion it needed a stronger executive.
The Army at first was quite successful. It conquered Belgium and turned it into a province of France; conquered the Netherlands and made it a puppet state; and conquered Switzerland and most of Italy, setting up a series of puppet states. The result was glory for France and an infusion of much needed money from the conquered lands, which also provided direct support to the French Army. The allies scored a series of victories that rolled back French successes, retaking Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands and ending the flow of payments from the conquered areas to France.
The treasury was empty. Despite his publicity claiming many glorious victories, Napoleon's army was trapped in Egypt after the British sank the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. Napoleon escaped by himself, returned to Paris and overthrew the Directory in November Napoleon conquered most of Italy in the name of the French Revolution in — He consolidated old units and split up Austria's holdings. He set up a series of new republics, complete with new codes of law and abolition of old feudal privileges.
Napoleon's Cisalpine Republic was centred on Milan. Genoa the city became a republic while its hinterland became the Ligurian Republic. The Roman Republic was formed out of the papal holdings and the pope was sent to France. The Neapolitan Republic was formed around Naples, but it lasted only five months before the enemy forces of the Coalition recaptured it. In Napoleon formed the Kingdom of Italy , with himself as king and his stepson as viceroy. All these new countries were satellites of France and had to pay large subsidies to Paris, as well as provide military support for Napoleon's wars.
Their political and administrative systems were modernised, the metric system introduced, and trade barriers reduced. Jewish ghettos were abolished. Belgium and Piedmont became integral parts of France. Most of the new nations were abolished and returned to prewar owners in However, Artz emphasises the benefits the Italians gained from the French Revolution:. For nearly two decades the Italians had the excellent codes of law, a fair system of taxation, a better economic situation, and more religious and intellectual toleration than they had known for centuries Everywhere old physical, economic, and intellectual barriers had been thrown down and the Italians had begun to be aware of a common nationality.
In the Old regime there were a small number of heavily censored newspapers that needed a royal licence to operate. Newspapers and pamphlets played a central role in stimulating and defining the Revolution. The meetings of the Estates-General in created an enormous demand for news, and over newspapers appeared by the end of the year.
The next decade saw 2, newspapers founded, with in Paris alone. Most lasted only a matter of weeks. Together they became the main communication medium, combined with the very large pamphlet literature. The press saw its lofty role to be the advancement of civic republicanism based on public service, and downplayed the liberal, individualistic goal of making a profit. Symbolism was a device to distinguish the main features of the Revolution and ensure public identification and support.
In order to effectively illustrate the differences between the new Republic and the old regime, the leaders needed to implement a new set of symbols to be celebrated instead of the old religious and monarchical symbolism. To this end, symbols were borrowed from historic cultures and redefined, while those of the old regime were either destroyed or reattributed acceptable characteristics.
These revised symbols were used to instil in the public a new sense of tradition and reverence for the Enlightenment and the Republic. It acquired its nickname after being sung in Paris by volunteers from Marseille marching on the capital. The song is the first example of the "European march" anthemic style.
The anthem's evocative melody and lyrics have led to its widespread use as a song of revolution and its incorporation into many pieces of classical and popular music. Cerulo says, "the design of "La Marseillaise" is credited to General Strasburg of France, who is said to have directed de Lisle, the composer of the anthem, to 'produce one of those hymns which conveys to the soul of the people the enthusiasm which it the music suggests. Hanson notes, "The guillotine stands as the principal symbol of the Terror in the French Revolution. It was celebrated on the left as the people's avenger and cursed as the symbol of the Reign of Terror by the right.
Vendors sold programmes listing the names of those scheduled to die. Many people came day after day and vied for the best locations from which to observe the proceedings; knitting women tricoteuses formed a cadre of hardcore regulars, inciting the crowd. Parents often brought their children. By the end of the Terror, the crowds had thinned drastically. Repetition had staled even this most grisly of entertainments, and audiences grew bored. Cockades were widely worn by revolutionaries beginning in The tricolour flag is derived from the cockades used in the s.
These were circular rosette-like emblems attached to the hat. Camille Desmoulins asked his followers to wear green cockades on 12 July The Paris militia, formed on 13 July, adopted a blue and red cockade. Blue and red are the traditional colours of Paris, and they are used on the city's coat of arms. Cockades with various colour schemes were used during the storming of the Bastille on 14 July.
Lafayette argued for the addition of a white stripe to "nationalise" the design. Well after the revolution, by the French Third Republic had authorised the form of the tricolore cockade for use on its military aircraft by the Aeronautique Militaire as a national insignia ,  the first-ever in use worldwide — it is still in use by the current Armee de l'Air of France, and directly inspired the use of similar roundel insignia by the United Kingdom and many other nations worldwide. Fasces are Roman in origin and suggest Roman Republicanism.
Fasces are a bundle of birch rods containing an axe. The French Republic continued this Roman symbol to represent state power, justice, and unity. The Liberty cap, also known as the Phrygian cap , or pileus , is a brimless, felt cap that is conical in shape with the tip pulled forward. It reflects Roman republicanism and liberty, alluding to the Roman ritual of manumission of slaves, in which a freed slave receives the bonnet as a symbol of his newfound liberty. Historians since the late 20th century have debated how women shared in the French Revolution and what long-term impact it had on French women.
Women had no political rights in pre-Revolutionary France; they were considered "passive" citizens; forced to rely on men to determine what was best for them. That changed dramatically in theory as there seemingly were great advances in feminism. Feminism emerged in Paris as part of a broad demand for social and political reform.
The women demanded equality for women and then moved on to a demand for the end of male domination. Their chief vehicle for agitation were pamphlets and women's clubs; for example, a small group called the Cercle Social Social Circle campaigned for women's rights, noting that "the laws favor men at the expense of women, because everywhere power is in your hands. The movement was crushed. Devance explains the decision in terms of the emphasis on masculinity in a wartime situation, Marie Antoinette's bad reputation for feminine interference in state affairs, and traditional male supremacy.
When the Revolution opened, groups of women acted forcefully, making use of the volatile political climate. Women forced their way into the political sphere. They swore oaths of loyalty, "solemn declarations of patriotic allegiance, [and] affirmations of the political responsibilities of citizenship. The March to Versailles is but one example of feminist militant activism during the French Revolution.
On 20 June a number of armed women took part in a procession that "passed through the halls of the Legislative Assembly, into the Tuileries Gardens, and then through the King's residence. As part of the funeral procession, they carried the bathtub in which Marat had been murdered by a counter-revolutionary woman as well as a shirt stained with Marat's blood. The Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, a militant group on the far left, demanded a law in that would compel all women to wear the tricolour cockade to demonstrate their loyalty to the Republic.
They also demanded vigorous price controls to keep bread — the major food of the poor people — from becoming too expensive. After the Convention passage law in September , the Revolutionary Republican Women demanded vigorous enforcement, but were counted by market women, former servants, and religious women who adamantly opposed price controls which would drive them out of business and resented attacks on the aristocracy and on religion. Fist fights broke out in the streets between the two factions of women.
Meanwhile, the men who controlled the Jacobins rejected the Revolutionary Republican Women as dangerous rabble-rousers. At this point the Jacobins controlled the government; they dissolved the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, and decreed that all women's clubs and associations were illegal. They sternly reminded women to stay home and tend to their families by leaving public affairs to the men. Organised women were permanently shut out of the French Revolution after 30 October Olympe de Gouges wrote a number of plays, short stories, and novels.
Her publications emphasised that women and men are different, but this shouldn't stop them from equality under the law. In her "Declaration on the Rights of Woman" she insisted that women deserved rights, especially in areas concerning them directly, such as divorce and recognition of illegitimate children. Madame Roland a. Manon or Marie Roland was another important female activist.
Her political focus was not specifically on women or their liberation. She focused on other aspects of the government, but was a feminist by virtue of the fact that she was a woman working to influence the world. Her personal letters to leaders of the Revolution influenced policy; in addition, she often hosted political gatherings of the Brissotins, a political group which allowed women to join.
As she was led to the scaffold, Madame Roland shouted "O liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name! Most of these activists were punished for their actions. Many of the women of the Revolution were even publicly executed for "conspiring against the unity and the indivisibility of the Republic". A major aspect of the French Revolution was the dechristianisation movement, a movement strongly rejected by many devout people. Especially for women living in rural areas of France, the closing of the churches meant a loss of normalcy.
When these revolutionary changes to the Church were implemented, it sparked a counter-revolutionary movement among women. Although some of these women embraced the political and social amendments of the Revolution, they opposed the dissolution of the Catholic Church and the formation of revolutionary cults like the Cult of the Supreme Being. Counter-revolutionary women resisted what they saw as the intrusion of the state into their lives. By far the most important issue to counter-revolutionary women was the passage and the enforcement of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in In response to this measure, women in many areas began circulating anti-oath pamphlets and refused to attend masses held by priests who had sworn oaths of loyalty to the Republic.
These women continued to adhere to traditional practices such as Christian burials and naming their children after saints in spite of revolutionary decrees to the contrary. The French Revolution abolished many of the constraints on the economy that had slowed growth during the ancien regime. It abolished tithes owed to local churches as well as feudal dues owed to local landlords. The result hurt the tenants, who paid both higher rents and higher taxes.
It planned to use these seized lands to finance the government by issuing assignats. It abolished the guild system as a worthless remnant of feudalism. The government seized the foundations that had been set up starting in the 13th century to provide an annual stream of revenue for hospitals, poor relief, and education. The state sold the lands but typically local authorities did not replace the funding and so most of the nation's charitable and school systems were massively disrupted.
The economy did poorly in —96 as industrial and agricultural output dropped, foreign trade plunged, and prices soared. The government decided not to repudiate the old debts. Instead it issued more and more paper money called "assignat" that supposedly were grounded seized lands. The result was escalating inflation. The government imposed price controls and persecuted speculators and traders in the black market.
The assignats were withdrawn in but the replacements also fuelled inflation. The inflation was finally ended by Napoleon in with the franc as the new currency. Napoleon after paid for his expensive wars by multiple means, starting with the modernisation of the rickety financial system. The French Revolution had a major impact on Europe and the New World , decisively changing the course of human history.
Otto Dann and John Dinwiddy report, "It has long been almost a truism of European history that the French Revolution gave a great stimulus to the growth of modern nationalism. Hayes as a major result of the French Revolution across Europe. The impact on French nationalism was profound. For example, Napoleon became such a heroic symbol of the nation that the glory was easily picked up by his nephew, who was overwhelmingly elected president and later became Emperor Napoleon III.
The changes in France were enormous; some were widely accepted and others were bitterly contested into the late 20th century. The kings had so thoroughly centralised the system that most nobles spent their time at Versailles, and thus played only a small direct role in their home districts. Thompson says that the kings had "ruled by virtue of their personal wealth, their patronage of the nobility, their disposal of ecclesiastical offices, their provincial governors intendants their control over the judges and magistrates, and their command of the Army.
After the first year of revolution, the power of the king had been stripped away, he was left a mere figurehead, the nobility had lost all their titles and most of their land, the Church lost its monasteries and farmlands, bishops, judges and magistrates were elected by the people, and the army was almost helpless, with military power in the hands of the new revolutionary National Guard.
The central elements of were the slogan "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" and " The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen ", which Lefebvre calls "the incarnation of the Revolution as a whole. The long-term impact on France was profound, shaping politics, society, religion and ideas, and polarising politics for more than a century.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not merely national, for it aimed at benefiting all humanity. The most heated controversy was over the status of the Catholic Church. The movement to dechristianise France not only failed but aroused a furious reaction among the pious. Priests and bishops were given salaries as part of a department of government controlled by Paris, not Rome. Protestants and Jews gained equal rights. They raged into the 20th century.
By the 21st century, angry debates exploded over the presence of any Muslim religious symbols in schools, such as the headscarves for which Muslim girls could be expelled. Christopher Soper and Joel S. Fetzer explicitly link the conflict over religious symbols in public to the French Revolution, when the target was Catholic rituals and symbols. The revolutionary government seized the charitable foundations that had been set up starting in the 13th century to provide an annual stream of revenue for hospitals, poor relief, and education. In the ancien regime, new opportunities for nuns as charitable practitioners were created by devout nobles on their own estates.
The nuns provided comprehensive care for the sick poor on their patrons' estates, not only acting as nurses, but taking on expanded roles as physicians, surgeons, and apothecaries. During the Revolution, most of the orders of nuns were shut down and there was no organised nursing care to replace them. They were tolerated by officials because they had widespread support and were the link between elite male physicians and distrustful peasants who needed help. Two thirds of France was employed in agriculture, which was transformed by the Revolution.
Enlightenment (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
With the breakup of large estates controlled by the Church and the nobility and worked by hired hands, rural France became more a land of small independent farms. Harvest taxes were ended, such as the tithe and seigneurial dues, much to the relief of the peasants. Primogeniture was ended both for nobles and peasants, thereby weakening the family patriarch.
Because all the children had a share in the family's property, there was a declining birth rate. In the cities, entrepreneurship on a small scale flourished, as restrictive monopolies, privileges, barriers, rules, taxes and guilds gave way. However, the British blockade virtually ended overseas and colonial trade, hurting the port cities and their supply chains.
Overall, the Revolution did not greatly change the French business system, and probably helped freeze in place the horizons of the small business owner. The typical businessman owned a small store, mill or shop, with family help and a few paid employees; large-scale industry was less common than in other industrialising nations. A National Bureau of Economic Research paper found that the emigration of more than , individuals predominantly supporters of the Old Regime during the Revolution had a significant negative impact on income per capita in the 19th century due to the fragmentation of agricultural holdings but became positive in the second half of the 20th century onward because it facilitated the rise in human capital investments.
The Revolution meant an end to arbitrary royal rule and held out the promise of rule by law under a constitutional order, but it did not rule out a monarch. Napoleon as emperor set up a constitutional system although he remained in full control , and the restored Bourbons were forced to go along with one. After the abdication of Napoleon III in , the monarchists probably had a voting majority, but they were so factionalised they could not agree on who should be king, and instead the French Third Republic was launched with a deep commitment to upholding the ideals of the Revolution.
Vichy denied the principle of equality and tried to replace the Revolutionary watchwords "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" with "Work, Family, and Fatherland. France permanently became a society of equals under the law. The Jacobin cause was picked up by Marxists in the midth century and became an element of communist thought around the world. In the Soviet Union , "Gracchus" Babeuf was regarded as a hero. Robinson the French Revolution had long-term effects in Europe. They suggest that "areas that were occupied by the French and that underwent radical institutional reform experienced more rapid urbanization and economic growth, especially after There is no evidence of a negative effect of French invasion.
A study in the European Economic Review found that the areas of Germany that were occupied by France in the 19th century and in which the Code Napoleon was applied have higher levels of trust and cooperation today. From this moment we may consider France as a free country, the King a very limited monarch, and the nobility as reduced to a level with the rest of the nation.
Britain led and funded the series of coalitions that fought France from to , and then restored the Bourbons. Philosophically and politically, Britain was in debate over the rights and wrongs of revolution, in the abstract and in practicalities. The Revolution Controversy was a " pamphlet war " set off by the publication of A Discourse on the Love of Our Country , a speech given by Richard Price to the Revolution Society on 4 November , supporting the French Revolution as he had the American Revolution , and saying that patriotism actually centers around loving the people and principles of a nation, not its ruling class.
Edmund Burke responded in November with his own pamphlet, Reflections on the Revolution in France , attacking the French Revolution as a threat to the aristocracy of all countries. Conversely, two seminal political pieces of political history were written in Price's favor, supporting the general right of the French people to replace their State.
One of the first of these " pamphlets " into print was A Vindication of the Rights of Men by Mary Wollstonecraft better known for her later treatise, sometimes described as the first feminist text, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman ; Wollstonecraft's title was echoed by Thomas Paine 's Rights of Man , published a few months later.
In Christopher Wyvill published Defence of Dr. Price and the Reformers of England , a plea for reform and moderation. This exchange of ideas has been described as "one of the great political debates in British history". In Ireland, the effect was to transform what had been an attempt by Protestant settlers to gain some autonomy into a mass movement led by the Society of United Irishmen involving Catholics and Protestants.
It stimulated the demand for further reform throughout Ireland, especially in Ulster. The upshot was a revolt in , led by Wolfe Tone , that was crushed by Britain. German reaction to the Revolution swung from favourable to antagonistic. At first it brought liberal and democratic ideas, the end of gilds, serfdom and the Jewish ghetto. It brought economic freedoms and agrarian and legal reform. Above all the antagonism helped stimulate and shape German nationalism. The French invaded Switzerland and turned it into an ally known as the " Helvetic Republic " — The interference with localism and traditional liberties was deeply resented, although some modernising reforms took place.
Both territories experienced revolutions in Both failed to attract international support. During the Revolutionary Wars, the French invaded and occupied the region between and , a time known as the French period. The new government enforced new reforms, incorporating the region into France itself. New rulers were sent in by Paris. Belgian men were drafted into the French wars and heavily taxed. Nearly everyone was Catholic, but the Church was repressed. Resistance was strong in every sector, as Belgian nationalism emerged to oppose French rule. The French legal system, however, was adopted, with its equal legal rights, and abolition of class distinctions.
Belgium now had a government bureaucracy selected by merit. Antwerp regained access to the sea and grew quickly as a major port and business centre. France promoted commerce and capitalism, paving the way for the ascent of the bourgeoisie and the rapid growth of manufacturing and mining. In economics, therefore, the nobility declined while the middle class Belgian entrepreneurs flourished because of their inclusion in a large market, paving the way for Belgium's leadership role after in the Industrial Revolution on the Continent.
The Kingdom of Denmark adopted liberalising reforms in line with those of the French Revolution, with no direct contact. Reform was gradual and the regime itself carried out agrarian reforms that had the effect of weakening absolutism by creating a class of independent peasant freeholders. Much of the initiative came from well-organised liberals who directed political change in the first half of the 19th century.
The Revolution deeply polarised American politics, and this polarisation led to the creation of the First Party System. In , as war broke out in Europe, the Republican Party led by Thomas Jefferson favoured France and pointed to the treaty that was still in effect. George Washington and his unanimous cabinet, including Jefferson, decided that the treaty did not bind the United States to enter the war.
Washington proclaimed neutrality instead. Jefferson became president in , but was hostile to Napoleon as a dictator and emperor. However, the two entered negotiations over the Louisiana Territory and agreed to the Louisiana Purchase in , an acquisition that substantially increased the size of the United States. The French Revolution has received enormous amounts of historical attention, both from the general public and from scholars and academics.
The views of historians, in particular, have been characterised as falling along ideological lines, with disagreement over the significance and the major developments of the Revolution. Historians until the late 20th century emphasised class conflicts from a largely Marxist perspective as the fundamental driving cause of the Revolution. By the year many historians were saying that the field of the French Revolution was in intellectual disarray.
The old model or paradigm focusing on class conflict has been discredited, and no new explanatory model had gained widespread support. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in history. It marks the end of the early modern period , which started around and is often seen as marking the "dawn of the modern era ". After the collapse of the First Empire in , the French public lost the rights and privileges earned since the Revolution, but they remembered the participatory politics that characterised the period, with one historian commenting: "Thousands of men and even many women gained firsthand experience in the political arena: they talked, read, and listened in new ways; they voted; they joined new organisations; and they marched for their political goals.
Revolution became a tradition, and republicanism an enduring option. Some historians argue that the French people underwent a fundamental transformation in self-identity, evidenced by the elimination of privileges and their replacement by rights as well as the growing decline in social deference that highlighted the principle of equality throughout the Revolution. This, combined with the egalitarian values introduced by the revolution, gave rise to a classless and co-operative model for society called " socialism " which profoundly influenced future revolutions in France and around the world.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see French Revolution disambiguation. Revolution in France, to The Storming of the Bastille , 14 July Part of a series on the. Early Middle Ages. Middle Ages. Direct Capetians — Valois — Early modern. Long 19th century. Main article: Causes of the French Revolution. Main article: Estates General of in France. Main article: National Assembly French Revolution. Main article: National Constituent Assembly France.
Main article: Storming of the Bastille. Main article: Abolition of feudalism in France. Main article: Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Main article: French Constitution of Main article: Women's March on Versailles. Main article: Flight to Varennes.