Class 9 History Chapter 1: ‘The French Revolution’ is the most talked about and the most famous revolution because of the changes it brought about in France and the way it impacted the other European Countries. Here are given some questions based on and as per the text matter given in the NCERT book ‘India and the contemporary World-I’. These questions will help in understanding and comprehending the chapter and its content.
The French Revolution Class IX SST History: Important Questions
1. Who was Louis XVI?
Louis XVI was the King of France. He was from Bourbon family. He ascended throne in 1774. He married, the Austrian princess Marie Antoinette, at the age of 20 years.
2. Why was the treasury of France empty and what were the reasons that led to the need of increasing taxes?
The following points explain why the treasury was empty and the king was going to propose increase in the tax resources.
- The treasury was empty because of the long-drawn wars in which France was helping the 13 colonies to gain independence from Britain.
- Another big reason was the extravagant expenditure incurred to maintain the functioning of the court at the palace of Versailles.
- The debt due to the war had risen to more than 2 billion livres and the lenders had started charging 10% percent interest on state credit.
- The other regular expenses included the cost of maintaining an army, the court, running government offices or universities.
3. What was old regime?
The rule of Monarchy before the French revolution is called old regime.
4. Describe the structure of the French society during old regime.
4. The structure of the French society before the French revolution is given below:
|The clergy which were related to the church and its activities
|Nobility which was related to the noble families like the feudal lords of the manor.
|The unprivileged common masses other than the clergy and the nobility.
|Richer section of the 3rd estate:
businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers etc
|Richer peasants and artisans
|Small peasants, landless labour, servants
5. Mention the different types of taxes during the old regime.
The system of taxation was highly unjust and impractical at the mode of collecting revenue, watch expensive and corrupt. The nobility and clergy who purchased 40% of the national wealth. The minimum and the main burden of the Texas and fell on the unprivileged classes – the third estate. The following two main types of taxes were paid.
- Taille -The direct taxes were paid to the state. There were other various indirect taxes levied on commodities of daily conjunction like salt, tobacco, etc.
- Tithe – such taxes were expected by the church and it comprised 1/10 of the agricultural produce.
- Feudal dues – the nobles had feudal privileges whereby agents were obliged to render services to the Lord – to work in his house in fields – to serve in the army or to participate in building roads.
6. What do you understand by the ‘Subsistence Crisis’?
The gap between the poor and the rich widened as France was under grave influence of inflation on the eve of the outbreak of the French Revolution. It resulted in the struggle to survive. The following points explain the reasons behind the subsistence crisis.
- The population of France rose from about 23 million 1715 to 28 million in 1789 and it led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains. The production of grains could not keep pace with the rising demand.
- The price of bread, the staple diet of the majority, rose rapidly the workers employed as labourers had their wages fixed and were not able to keep pace with the rising prices of the bread.
- There were frequent drought or hail that reduced harvest adding to the subsistence crisis that occurred frequently in France during the Old Regime.
7. What was the vision of the growing middle class in France?
- A middle class was growing from among the third estate that was educated. They were prosperous as they had earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as wool and silk textiles that were either exported or bored by the original members of society.
- Besides merchants and manufacturers, the third estate included professions such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, and administrative officials etc.
- They were educated and receptive to new ideas and were liberal in their thoughts’ favoured privileges and social positions based on merit and not primarily on birth. They had the vision of a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all.
8. Which philosophers inspired the French Revolution?
It is said that an idea can cause a revolution or the pen has the power to change and transform the society or the thinking of the people. This also applies to the French Revolution which was influenced by the great philosophers. The contribution of some philosophers is listed below.
John Locke – he was a British philosopher who refuted in his “Two Treatises of Government” the doctrine of the divine and absolute rights of the monarch. He emphasised that no group in the society should be privileged by birth. It must be the basis of a person’s social position. For his liberal views is also called the father of liberalism.
Jean Jacques Rousseau – He was born in Switzerland. In his book “social contract” propose the idea of form of government based on social contract between people and their representatives. He said that the king remained on the throne under no obligation to go with the contract. If he failed in his duty, the contract was broken and it would be deposed by the general i.e. the will of the people.
Montesquieu – He was born in French. In his book ‘speed of laws’ he openly attacked the absolute monarchy of France he advocated the constitutional monarchy and proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, executive and the judiciary. This model was an exercise in the USA after the 13 colonies achieved independence from Britain.
Voltaire – He was a French philosopher who was a crusader and exposed the corruption and the evils prevailing in the church and attacked the superstitions, tyranny and injustices. He criticised the government and society and bitterly condemned the maladies afflicting them. He advocated the freedom of speech, freedom of religion and separation of church and the state.
9. How was the National Assembly formed in France before the French Revolution of 1789?
- The king had called a meeting of the Estates General to propose new taxes and the Third Estate had also sent its 600 most prosperous and educated members as representative to convey the grievances of the people contained in around 40,000 letters.
- The Third Estate members asked to consider the Three Estates as a single assembly for individual voting on democratic to replace the traditional voting system based on one vote for each Estate.
- The king rejected the proposal of new voting procedures demanded by the Third Estate.
- The members of the Third Estate walked out of the assembly. They viewed themselves as the spokesmen of the whole French nation.
- On 20 June, they met in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of the Versailles.
- They declared themselves as National Assembly and took oath not to disperse till they had drafted a constitution for France to limit the powers of the King.
- The National Assembly lasted from 17 June 1789 to 30 September 1789.
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10. What were the important achievements of the National Assembly (1789-1791)
The Third Estate took a revolutionary decision when it declared itself as the National Assembly on 17 June 1789 as they viewed themselves as the spokesmen of the whole nation. The following points estimate the works of the National Assembly.
- Rights of the Privileged Classes abolished – On 4 August, 1789 passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes. the nobles voluntarily surrendered their feudal rights and privileges like rights of hunting, fishing and collecting taxes. Tithes were abolished and lands owned by the Church were confiscated.
- Declaration of the rights of man and citizen – it was one of the most important works of the National Assembly that declared some fundamental rights to its citizen in August 1789. It was signed by the king on October 5, 1789.
- France becomes a constitutional monarchy – the constituent assembly completed the Constitution in 1791 with the main objective to curtail the powers of the monarch. The law-making powers were distributed to legislative Assembly which was indirectly elected.
Thus, we can say that the constituent assembly abolished feudalism, serfdom and privileges of the elite. It ended the era of absolutist monarchy and class-based society class-based society It laid the foundations for modern society based on individual rights.
11. Explain the role of National Convention’ (Oct. 1792-Oct. 1793) and its achievements.
- The National assembly was replaced by an elected ‘National Convention’. It started its work on September 21, 1792.
- The national Convention ended monarchy and declared France a Republic on 22 September 1792.
- Emperor Louis XVI was tried for treason and executed on Jan 21, 1793 followed by his queen Marie Antoinette in Oct 1793.
12. What was the ‘Reign of Terror’ that lasted from 1793 to 1794?
Perhaps it was the most terrible time during the revolutionary period in France as Maximilian Robespierre had adopted the policy of civil control and punishment to punish the enemies of Republic in the name of saving France from the forces opposing the Democratic and public system in France.
- All those local team work considered as a means of Republic. They were arrested, imprisoned and tried by Revolutionary Tribunal.
- If the Revolutionary Tribunal found the accused guilty, they were guillotined.
- The reign of terror became intolerable and even his own party men started demanding moderation in policies.
- The reign of terror ended with the execution of Robespierre. He was arrested on the 27 July 1794 and was executed the very next day.
13. What were the achievements of Robespierre government?
- Laws were issued placing the maximum ceiling on wages and prices.
- Peasants were forced to transport your Grange to the cities and sell it at fixed prices.
- Consumption of more expensive white floor was restricted and also regions were asked to eat the equality bread made of whole wheat.
- Meat and bread were rationed.
- Equality norms were introduced in modes of speech and address. The traditional Mosieur (Sir) was replaced by Citoyen and the term Madame (Madam) by Citoyenne i.e citizens.
- Churches were shut down and converted into barracks or offices.
14. Write a short note on the formation and the rule of the ‘Directory’ in Frances.
- The reign of terror came to an end with the execution of Robespierre in July 1794. The new constitution was drafted in October 1795. The new constitution provided for two legislative assemblies who appointed five members to form an executive called Directory. This system was adopted as a safeguard against the concentration of power in one-man executive.
- The role of the Directory was marred with instability as the members of the directory and the legislative assemblies clashed with each other and it became unpopular among the French people.
- It was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte through a coup in 1799.
15. What was the condition of women in France?
- Most women in the third estate had to work for a living. They worked as seamstress or laundress, sold flowers, fruits and vegetables. They worked as domestic servants in prosperous houses.
- Most women did not have access to education or job training but the wealthier families could study at a convent.
- Working women also cared for their families and id daily chores like cooking, fetching water, queuing up for bread and looking after the children.
- Their wages were lower than those of women.
16. Did women participate in revolutionary activities? What were their demands?
Since the very beginning the women had been very active in all the events related to the revolution. When the men were busy fighting at the front, the women took responsibility of earning a livelihood and taking care of the families.
- The crowd that the stormed the Bastille on 14 July 1789 included a large number of women
- On 5 October 1789, a large number of women set out for the royal palace at Versailles and forced the king and his family to leave Versailles for Paris.
- Women established around 60 political groups in different cities of France. The society of Revolutionary and Republican women was the most renowned club established in 1793 in Paris.
- Their major political demands included the right to vote, to be elected to the assembly and to hold political offices.
- Examples of some prominent Revolutionary Women include the names of Olympe de Gouges, Charlottee Corday and Marie Jeanne Ronald.
17. What were the steps taken by the revolutionary government to improve the lives of women?
- State schools were established and elementary education was made compulsory for all girls.
- They could not be forced to marry against their will and marriage was made into a contract entered into freely. It was registered under civil law. And divorce was made legal.
- Women were entitled to train for jobs, become artists or running small businesses.
18. Mention different steps to abolishing of slavery in French Colonies.
There was widespread slavery in the European colonies of the Caribbean and the Americas. Martinique, Guadeloupe and Domingo (Dominican Republic) were the main French colonies in the Caribbean in the 17th century.
- The National Assembly debated long on the issue of a abolition of slavery but it did not pass any laws abolished slavery in French colonies fearing opposition from businessmen pros and incomes depended on the slave trade.
- The abolition of slavery was one of the most revolutionary achievements of the Jacobin rule as the National Convention passed laws in 1794 to free slaves of French colonies but it was a temporary measure as it was reintroduced by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.
- It was in 1848 that the slavery was finally abolished in French colonies.
19. What was the triangular slave trade?
- The slave trade began in the 17th century and the triangular slave trade was carried between Europe, Africa and America.
- The Europeans did not want to go to work in distant and unfamiliar lands so slaves were bought from Africa and sold to Plantation owners of sugar, coffee, indigo and tobacco plantations to meet the demand for labourers.
- The French merchants sailed from the ports of Bordeaux or Nantes to the African coast, where they bought slaves from local chieftains. There were packed tightly shackled in the ships that sailed for around three months to reach Caribbean island where the slaves were sold to the plantation owners.
20. What was the legacy of the French Revolution? How did it affect the world and especially Europe?
The effects of the French Revolution of 1789 were far-reaching not only for France but the whole world. It began a new era of liberty, equality, fraternity being the watchwords that he echoed in the whole of Europe.
Effects on France
- The revolution brought about the downfall of the monarchy. First it was made a constitutional monarchy and then declared a republic on September 22, 1792.
- The old social system based on feudalism and the privileges of the nobles and the clergy came to an end and a new social order based on the foundations of liberty and equality began to take shape.
- The Declaration of Rights of Man granted individual freedom and fundamental rights on August 26, 1789.
Effects on the World
- Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, the award words of the French Revolution became a source of inspiration for different countries of Europe. The people became aware of power of masses in converting an absolutist monarchy into a contitutional monarcy or a republic.
- The masses in other European countries also started movements to achieve a individual freedom, right to property, an establishment of responsible government and the freedom of writing a speech in publication et cetera.
Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte
The French Revolution gave rise to Napoleon Bonaparte. After the dissolution of ‘Directory’ He first became the first consulate and then ultimately the Emperor of France in 1804. He is called the ‘child of revolution’.