Class 9 History Chapter 1 Important Questions The French Revolution
Class 9 Social Science History Chapter 1 The French Revolution important questions and answers cover the major concepts of the chapter. Solving answers of these important questions help students to revise the Chapter most competently. We prepared these questions with PDF as per the latest NCERT book and CBSE syllabus. Practising these questions before the exam will ensure excellent marks in the exam.
The French Revolution Class 9 Important Questions
1. Describe any three causes for the fall of the Jacobin government in France.
Answer: The causes for all of the Jacobin government were
(i) Many persons who were seen as ‘enemies’ of the republic, i.e., those who did not agree with the strict measures taken by Robespierre, were executed.
(ii) A maximum ceiling was fixed on wages and prices. Rationing of essential food items was introduced, causing hardships to the people.
(iii) Churches were shut down and converted into barracks or offices, causing resentment in the clergy.
2. Describe the divisions in French society before the French Revolution.
Describe the French division of society.
Answer: The French society was divided into three estates
(i) First Estate comprised of the Church and the clergy. They enjoyed certain privileges by birth. They were exempted from paying taxes to the state.
(ii) Second Estate: They were big aristocrats and landlords. They were considered above law and exempted from paying taxes.
(iii) Third Estate: This comprised the peasants, artisans, city workers and the middle class people like teachers, doctors, lawyers, writers, etc. All such people had no political rights. They had to pay many kinds of taxes.
3. How did peasants protest against the feudal lords or nobles of France?
Answer: (i) In the countryside, there were rumours that the landlords of the manor had hired criminals to destroy the ripe crops of the peasants.
(ii) Being afraid of the situation, peasants in several districts seized hoes and pitchforks and attacked chateaux (castles belonging to the noblemen). They looted the hoarded grain.
(iii) They also burnt down documents containing records of the manorial dues. As a result, a larger number of nobles fled from their home towns and migrated to neighbouring countries.
4. How did France become a Constitutional monarchy?
Answer: In 1791, the National Assembly completed the draft of the Constitution. Its main object was to limit the powers of the monarch. The powers instead of being concentrated in the hands of the monarch, were now separated and divided between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The Constitution also declared that it was the duty of the state to protect each citizen’s natural rights. In this way, France became a Constitutional monarchy.
5. Differentiate between active and passive citizens of France.
Answer: In France, only men above 25 years of age who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage were given the status of active citizen. They were entitled to vote. The remaining men as well as women who were not entitled to vote were called passive citizens. At that time to qualify as an elector and a member of the assembly, a man had to belong to the highest bracket to taxpayers.
6. What was the condition of women in France before the revolution? Or Evaluate the role of women in France before the revolution.
Answer: (i) The role of the women in France before the revolution were All women were classes as passive citizens. They did not have voting powers.
(ii) They worked as seamstresses or laundresses, sold flowers, fruits and vegetables or worked as domestic servants.
(iii) Their wages were lower than those of men.
(iv) They looked after their children, did the cooking, fetched water and queued for bread.
(v) Most women did not have access to education or job training. Only daughters of wealthy parents could study at a convent, after which they were married off.
7. Which laws were made to improve the status of women in the French society?
Discuss any four steps taken by the revolutionary government of France for improving the lives of women.
State any five laws introduced by the revolutionary government in France that helped to improve the lives of women.
Answer: In the beginning, the revolutionary government introduced some laws to improve the status of women in society. These were
(i) Schooling was made compulsory for all girls.
(ii) Their fathers could no longer force them into marriage against their will. If they did so, they were punished.
(iii) Marriage was made into a contract entered into freely and it was registered under civil law.
(iv) Divorce was made legal and could be applied for by both men and women.
(v) Women could train for jobs, could become artists or run small businesses.
8. What was the guillotine? How was it used?
Answer: The guillotine was a device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person was beheaded. It was used by Robespierre, who followed a policy of’ Reign of Terror’ i.e., of severe control and punishment. Those who did not agree with his methods were arrested, imprisoned and then tried by a revolutionary tribunal. If the court found them ‘guilty’, they were guillotined.
9. Compare the manifesto drafted by Olympe de Gouges with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.
Name one of the most important of the politically active women in revolutionary France. What do you know about her?
Answer: While the manifesto drafted by Olympe de Gouges talked primarily about women and equality, the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen talked only about men. The manifesto sought to give political, social and economic equality to all citizens including men and women. On the other hand, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen denied privileges to women. They were sidelined as passive citizens.
10. Explain any five features of the Constitution of 1791, framed by the National Assembly in France.
Write three main features of the French constitution of 1791.
Answer: The National Assembly completed the draft of the Constitution in 1791.
(i) It declared France as a Constitutional monarchy.
(ii) Powers of the king were separated and assigned to different institutions – the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.
(iii) The National Assembly was given the power to make laws.
(iv) To qualify as an elector, member of the assembly, a man had to belong to the highest bracket of taxpayers.
(v) Only men above 25 years of age, who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourers wage were given the status of active citizen, i.e., voters.
11. “The 18th century France witnessed the emergence of the middle class’. Who were they and what were their ideas?
Answer: In the 18th century, the middle class was a social group who earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as woolen and silk textile. In addition to merchants and manufacturers it also included lawyers and administrative officials. They were well educated and believed that
(i) No group in society should be privileged by birth.
(ii) A person’s social position must depend on his merit.
(iii) A society must be based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all.
(iv) This idea was maintained by Locke, Rousseau and Montesquieu.
12. Which was the important law that came into effect soon after the storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789? How did it change the lives of the common people? Explain.
Answer: After the fall of Bastille in the summer of 1789, one important law that came into effect was the abolition of censorship. Before French Revolution all written material and cultural activities? books, newspapers, plays could be published or performed only after they had been approved by the censors of the king. This law changed the lives of the common people in the following ways
(i) The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaimed freedom of speech and expression to be a natural right.
(ii) Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed pictures flooded the towns of France from where they could rapidly reach the countryside.
(iii) These all discussed events and changes that took place in France.
(iv) Freedom of press meant that opposing views of events could be expressed.
(v) Plays, songs and festive procession attracted common men through which they could identify the ideas of liberty or justice of the political philosophers.
13. Explain the triangular slave trade carried on during 18th and 19th century.
Answer: The triangular slave trade flourished in the 18th century and 19th century as
(i) There was a shortage of labour in the colonies in the Caribbean due to the reluctance of Europeans to go and work in distant, unfamiliar places.
(ii) This problem was solved by a triangular slave trade between Europe, Africa and America. The slave trade began in the 17th century.
(iii) French merchants sailed from the ports of Bordeaux or Nantes to the African coast from where they bought slaves from local chieftains.
(iv) The slaves were brought to Caribbean and were sold to plantation owners.
(v) The exploitation of slave labour made it possible to meet the growing demand in European markets for sugar, coffee and indigo.
14. Write a short note on Napoleon Bonaparte.
Answer: In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself as the Emperor of France.
(i) In the administrative field he had incorporated many revolutionary principles which made the whole system more rational and efficient.
(ii) His Civil Code of 1804 (known as the Napoleonic code) did away all privileges based on birth, established equality before the law and secured the right to private property.
(iii) He introduced a uniform system of weights and measures provided by the decimal system.
(iv) Initially many believed Napoleon as a liberator who would bring freedom for the people.
(v) Many of his reforms were exported to the regions under French control. These left a long lasting effect on society.
15. What do you understand by the term ‘Reign of Terror’?
Answer: The period from 1793 to 1794 is referred to as the ‘Reign of Terror’ because during this time, Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment. All those whom he regarded as being ‘enemies’ of the republic, e.g., nobles, clergy or members of his or other political parties, were arrested and tried by a revolutionary tribunal. If found guilty, they were guillotined. More than 15000 persons were guillotined during this period. The ‘Reign of Terror’ became intolerable and people were against Robespierre and his followers. Finally, Robespierre was convicted and guillotined in July, 1794 and the Reign of Terror ended with his death.
16. (i) Which groups of French society benefited from the revolution?
(ii) Which groups were forced to relinquish power?
(iii) Which sections of society would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution?
Answer: (i) All the groups which formed the third estate benefited from the revolution. These groups included workers, businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers, teachers and doctors etc.
(ii) The classes which formed the privileged sections of society like the nobility, clergy and aristocracy were forced to relinquish their executive powers.
(iii) Naturally, the privileged classes, viz, the clergy and the nobles would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution because their privileges were taken away from them.
17. Draw up a list of democratic rights we enjoy today whose origins could be traced to the French Revolution.
Mention any five values which are associated with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and citizen.
Answer: Some of the democratic rights which we enjoy today whose origins could be traced to the French Revolution are given in the Indian Constitution.
(i) Right to Equality: The right to equality has its origin in the French Revolution. In the Indian Constitution, right to equality means equality before law, prohibition of discrimination and equality of opportunity in matters of employment.
(ii) Right to Liberty or Freedom: The origin of this right can also be traced to the French. In the Preamble to the Indian Constitution, Right to Liberty or freedom means ‘freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.’
(iii) Encouraging the Spirit of Fraternity: The French Revolution introduced the growth of the spirit of fraternity and social welfare. In the Indian Constitution the concept of ‘fraternity’ abolishes untouchability, local or provincial anti-social feelings.
(iv) Inspiring the Spirit of Democracy: The French Revolution inspired the spirit of democracy which ensured many rights, viz., right against exploitation, right to life, right to vote etc which we are enjoying today.
(v) Liberty: It consists of the power to do whatever is not hampering the interests of other. The Constitution declared that these rights belonged to each human.
18. What is the role of philosophers in the French Revolution?
Answer: The revolutionary ideas of philosophers encouraged people to fight for their rights.
(i) Voltaire believed that man’s destiny was in his own hands.
(ii) John Locke criticized the divine and absolute rights of the rulers.
(iii) Rousseau put forward the idea of formation of a government based on a social contract between people and their representatives. Men had the right to change their government, if they were not satisfied with it.
(iv) Montesquieu believed that all powers should not be concentrated in one person’s hand. They should be divided between the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. The ideas of these philosophers were discussed by common people in salons and coffeehouses and inspired them to fight for their rights.
19. How was slavery abolished in France? Or Explain the process of slavery abolition in France.
Answer: One of the most revolutionary social reforms of the Jacobin regime was the abolition of slavery. An acute shortage of labour in the French Caribbean colonies, Martinique, Guadeloupe and San Domingo, led to a triangular slave trade between Europe, Africa and America in the 17th century. The National Assembly held long debates and finally. The Convention in 1794 passed laws freeing slaves in the French overseas possessions but it was last for a short term. After ten years, slavery was reintroduced by Napoleon. Finally, it was abolished in 1848.
20. The French Revolution popularised many symbols. Each symbol depicted some basic values. Mention such symbols and related values.
(i) The Broken Chain was used to fetter slaves. A broken chain symbolised the freedom from slavery.
(ii) The Bundle of Rods or Fasces One rod can be easily broken, but not an entire bundle. It symbolises strength lies in unity.
(iii) The Eye within a Triangle Radiating Light The all seeing eye stands for knowledge. The rays of the Sun will drive away the clouds of ignorance. It depicts knowledge and removes ignorance.
(iv) Sceptre It was a symbol of royal power. It depicted the power of autocracy.
(v) Snake Biting its Tail to form a Ring This type of ring has neither beginning nor end. It is a symbol of eternity.
(vi) Red Phrygian Cap It worn by a slave upon becoming free. It symbolises the freedom from bondage or slavery.
(vii) Blue-White Red These were the national colours of France. The use of these colours depicted nationalism.
(viii) The Winged Woman Personification of the law. It symbolised the power of law.
(ix) The Law Tablet The law is the same for all and all are equal before if it symbolised equality and justice.
21. In ‘The Spirit of the Laws’, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the government between the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. Explain the values which can be reflected in this proposal.
Answer: The values which can he derived from Montesquieu’s proposal are
(i) Power Sharing Montesquieu suggested a division of power within the government between the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary. This arrangement refuted the absolute right of the king.
(ii) Equality There would be no special privileges for the first and second estates, i.e., the clergy and nobility. Everybody in the country should enjoy equal status.
(iii) Expansion of People’s Power Montesquieu opposed the theory of the ‘Divine Right of the King’. His concept of separation of powers is a prerequisite to eliminate corruption from the administration. It was a great instrument against the despotic rule of French emperor and established the common man’s power. Montesquieu believed that all powers should not be concentrated in one person’s hand. He stressed on individual liberty.
22. What was the impact of French Revolution on the world? Give your points.
What was the impact of French Revolution on the world? Name two Indians who were very much influenced by the revolutionary France.
Describe the legacy of the French Revolution for the people of the world.
Answer: Ideologically the impact of the French Revolution on the world was immense.
(i) The ideas of liberty and democratic rights were the most important legacy of the French Revolution. These ideas spread from France to the rest of Europe during the 19th century, where feudal systems were abolished.
(ii) Colonised people in Africa, Asia and Latin America reworked the idea of freedom from bondage into their movements to create a sovereign nation state.
(iii) The French Revolution led to the end of monarchy in France. A society based on privileges gave way to a new system of governance.
(iv) The idea that all individuals had rights and could claim equality became part of the new language of politics, but in different countries they were reinterpreted and rethought. Tipu Sultan and Raja Rammohan Roy are two Indians who were very much influenced by the revolution in France.
23. What were the causes for the empty treasure of France under Louis XVI? Assess any three causes.
State any five causes for the empty treasury of France under Louis XVI. (v) Lenders who had given the state credit, now began to charge 10 percent interest on the existing loans. So, the French government had to spend an increasing percentage of its budget on interest payment.
Answer: In 1774, Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of France. He found an empty treasury. The causes for it was
(i) Long years of wars had drained the financial resources of France. The condition was served when under Louis XVI, France helped the thirteen American colonies to gain their independence from Britain.
(ii) The king’s court at the immense palace of Versailles was extravagant. A huge amount of money was required for its maintenance.
(iii) Taxes were levied only on third estate and exempted first and second estates which were rich.
(iv) The war with Britain added more than a billion livres to a debt that had already risen to more than 2 billion livres.
(v) Lenders who had given the state credit, now began to change 10 percent interest on the existing loans. So, the French government had to spend an increasing percentage of its budget on interest payment.
24. Why did the subsistence crisis frequently occur in France during the Old Regime?
List any five reasons that led to the subsistence crisis in France during the Old Regime.
Answer: Subsistence crisis means an extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered. During the Old Regime, subsistence crisis frequently occurred in France. The reasons that led to subsistence crisis are
(i) The population of France rose from about 23 million in 1715 to 28 million in 1789 which led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains.
(ii) Production of grains could not keep pace with the increasing demand. So, the price of the foodstuff which is made from grains rose rapidly.
(iii) Most workers were employed as labourers on fixed wages. Their wages could not keep pace with the rise in prices.
(iv) Gap between the poor and the rich widened. Poor remain poor, but the rich become richer.
(v) The crisis of food grains became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest.
25. What were the results of the French Revolution for France?
What landmark decisions were taken by the National Assembly led by the third estate on the 4th August, 1789?
Answer: In June, 1789 the representatives of the third estate declared themselves as a National Assembly. They drafted a Constitution for France.
(i) They discarded the power of absolute monarchy. Even Louis XVI accepted the fact that his powers would be checked by a Constitution.
(ii) On 4th August, 1789 the assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes.
(iii) Members of the clergy were forced to give up their privileges.
(iv) Tithe, was abolished and lands owned by the Church were also confiscated.
(v) As a direct consequence of these measures taken by the government, the government acquired assets worth at least 2 billion livres.
26. Describe the circumstances leading to the outbreak of revolutionary protest in France.
Answer: The outbreak of revolutionary protest in France was a culmination of social, political, economic and intellectual factors
(a) Social Causes or Social Conditions was the existing social division in France. French society was divided into privileged and non-privileged sections. The first estate and the second estate belonged to the privileged sections. The first estate consisted of the clergy and the second estate comprised the nobility. These two estates were exempt from payment of state taxes. The third estate consisted of the lower and middle classes who bore the burden of taxes. But they did not have any political rights and social status.
(b) Political Causes Louis XVI, the king of France was an autocratic, inefficient ruler who led a luxurious life with his queen Marie Antoinette. People of France became tired of this ratter system of administration and wanted a change.
(c) Economic Causes The treasury of the king was empty on account of long wars, involvement in the American War of Independence, luxurious living of the king and faulty system of taxation.
(d) Intellectual Causes Philosophers like Rousseau, Voltaire and Montesquieu played a significant role. The ideas of these philosophers were discussed intensively in salons and coffee-houses and spread among people through books and newspapers. Forced by financial bankruptcy, Louis XVI was compelled to call an assembly of the Estates General to pass proposals for new taxes in 1789. This time, the voting method was not accepted by the third estate. They demanded each member should have one vote. This controversy led to agitation among the people which became the immediate cause of the French Revolution.
27. Describe the legacy of the French Revolution for the people of the world during the 19th and 20th centuries.
(a) The social and political changes that took place all over Europe can be traced to the French Revolution. The French revolutionary ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity motivated the political movements in the world in the 19th and 20th centuries.
(b) The idea of Liberty expressed in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen laid the foundation of a new social order. The ideals of freedom and liberty formed the basis of national sovereignty.
(c) The idea of Equality led to the end of a society based on privileges. All individuals have the same rights’ became the new slogan for world politics.
(d) The idea of Fraternity promotes the ideals of love, unity and cooperation among different sections of society.
(e) Another great legacy of the French Revolution was the idea of nationalism. The French Revolution promoted the concept of ‘nationalist’ which inspired the people of Poland, Germany and Italy to establish nation-states in their countries. This concept played a great role in reshaping the boundaries of Europe and South America.
(f) The French Revolution gave us many new ideas like abolition of serfdom, equal rights for women’, etc. Even today people get inspired by the great ideals of the French Revolution.
28. What is the significance of ‘The Tennis Court Oath’ in the French Revolution?
Answer: The representatives of the third estate viewed themselves as spokesmen for the whole French nation. They assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of Versailles on 20th June, 1789. They declared themselves as a National Assembly.
They decided not to disperse until they had drafted a constitution for France which would curtail the power of the monarch. Mirabeau and Abbe’ Sieye’s were the prominent leaders of the National Assembly while the National Assembly was busy at Versailles, drafting a constitution. Bastille was stormed and peasants revolts spread in the countryside.
29. Explain why the artist has portrayed the nobleman as the spider and the peasant as the fly.
Answer: The spider feeds on the fly, whereas the fly does hard labour for finding its food. Similarly, in 18th century, France, the nobles lived off the labour of the peasants. The social reality of the time was that peasants had to pay feudal dues as well as rendering services for the nobles.
30. Which groups of French society would have gained from the Constitution of 1791? Which group would have had reason to be dissatisfied? What developments does Marat (Source B) anticipate in the future?
Answer: Only some members of the Third Estate, who were rich and propertied, would have gained from this Constitution. Members of the First and Second Estates would have been Dissatisfied as their privileges were abolished and they had to pay taxes. Marat anticipates another revolution in which the poor will rebel against the rich persons of the Third Estate and overthrow them, just like they had done the noblemen and clergy.
31. Imagine the impact of the events in France on neighbouring countries such as Prussia, Austria-Hungary or Spain, all of which were absolute monarchies. How would the kings, traders, peasants, nobles or members of the clergy here have reacted to the news of what was happening in France?
Answer: The kings, nobles, clergy and other privileged sections of these countries would become fearful that what has happened in France can happen in their country also. The peasants would welcome the developments in France and sympathise with the peasants and underprivileged sections of that country. This is one of the rare paintings by a woman artist. The revolutionary events made it possible for women to train with established painters and to exhibit their works in the Salon, which was an exhibition held every two years. The painting is a female allegory of liberty that is, the female form symbolizes the idea of freedom.
32. Describe the picture in your own words. What are the images that the artist has used to communicate the following ideas: greed, equality, justice, takeover by the state of the assets of the Church?
Answer: Greed is symbolized by the fat clergyman on the left. The two men accompanying him symbolize government officials who have taken over the assets of the Church. The fat reducing press in the middle symbolizes justice. The man and woman on the right symbolize equality. The whole picture depicts what the revolution stood for.
33. How did the French people ultimately get the right to vote for all citizens?
Answer: In the summer of 1792, the Jacobins planned an insurrection of a large number of Parisians who were angered by the short supply and high prices of food. On the morning of August 10, they stormed the palace of Tuileries, massacred the king’s guards and held the king hostage for several hours. Later the Assembly voted to imprison the royal family. Elections were held. From now on all men of 21 years and above regardless of wealth, got the right to vote.
34. How did peasants protest against the feudal lords or nobles of France?
Answer: There were rumours that the landlords of the manor had hired some people to destroy the ripened crops. Being afraid of the situation, peasants in several districts seized hoes and pitchforks and attacked chateaux (castles belonging to the noblemen). They looted hoarded grain in the market. They had also burnt the documents containing records of the manorial dues. With the result, a large number of nobles fled from their homes and migrated to the neighbouring countries.
35. Differentiate between Active and Passive Citizens.
(i) Active Citizens: Only men above 25 years of age who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage were given the status of active citizens. Only they had the right to vote.
(ii) Passive Citizens: Whereas, the remaining men as well as all the women of France who were not entitled to vote were called Passive Citizens.
36. What rights were provided by the French Constitution?
Answer: The Constitution began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law were established. These rights were considered as natural rights, which belonged to each human being by birth and could not be taken away. It was the duty of the government to protect these natural rights of the citizens.
37. What do you know about the political clubs formed in France?
Answer: Large sections of the population believed that the revolution had to be carried further, as the Constitution of 1791 had given the rights only to the richer section. So, political clubs became important for the people who wished to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action. The most successful of these clubs was the Jacobin Club. Women too formed their own clubs to get the right to vote.
38. What was a ‘Directory’? Why was it removed from France?
Answer: After the fall of Jacobins, a new Constitution was formed which denied the right to vote to non-propertied men. It provided two elected legislative Councils, who appointed a Directory, an executive made up of five members. However, the directors often clashed with the legislative councils and were finally dismissed. With this, political instability emerged in France which gave rise to a military dictator. Napoleon Bonaparte.
39. How did women suffer in France?
Answer: Most of the women had to work for a living. They worked as laundresses or seamstresses sold flowers, fruits and vegetables or were employed as domestic servants. They could not get education or job training. Working women had also to take care of their families, that is cook, fetch water, queue up for bread and look after children. Their wages were also lower than men.
40. Which laws were made to improve the status of women in the French society?
Answer: In the beginning, the revolutionary government introduced laws to improve the lives of women.
(a) Schooling was made compulsory for all girls.
(b) Their fathers could no longer force them into marriage against their will.
(c) Divorce was made legal and could be applied for, by both men and women.
(d) Women could now be trained for jobs, could become artists or run small businesses.
41. What was the immediate cause of the French Revolution?
Answer: A severe winter had meant a bad harvest, the price of bread rose, often bakers exploited the situation and hoarded supplies. After spending long hours in long queues at the bakery, crowds of angry women stormed into the shops. At the same time, the king ordered troops to move into Paris and on 14th July, the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed the Bastille.
42. What was Guillotine? How was it used?
Answer: Guillotine is a device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person is beheaded. It was named after Dr. Guillotine who invented it.
It was used by Robespierre, who followed a policy of ‘reign of terror’ of severe control and punishment. Those who did not agree with his methods were arrested, imprisoned and then tried by a revolutionary tribunal. If the court found them guilty, they were guillotined.
43. How did the fall of Bastille prison become the immediate cause of French Revolution?
Answer: On the morning of 14th July 1789, the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. The king ordered his troops to move into the city. Rumours spread that he would soon order the army to open fire upon the citizens. Some 7,000 men and women gathered in front of the town hall and decided to form a people’s militia. A group of several hundred people marched towards the eastern part of the city and stormed the fortress-prison, the Bastille. In the armed fight, the commander of Bastille was killed and prisoners released. Since the Bastille stood for the despotic power of the king, it led people towards the success of French Revolution.
44. How can you say that Louis XVI was a despotic ruler?
Answer: Louis XVI of Bourbon dynasty, ascended the throne in 1774. He was married to Austrian princess Marie Antoinette. When he became ruler, he found an empty treasury. Long years of war had drained the financial resources of France. Added to this was the cost of maintaining an extravagant court at the immense palace of Versailles. Louis XVI also helped American armies in their war of independence, which led to further rise to more than 2 billion livres debt. To meet its regular expenses, the state was forced to increase taxes. Nobles, clergy and rich men were exempted from paying taxes, it was the third estate which bore the brunt.
45. What does subsistence crisis mean? What led to subsistence crisis in France?
Answer: Subsistence Crisis: It is an extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered. The demand for foodgrains was increased as population had increased in France from 23 million to 28 million. Production of grains could not keep pace with the demand. So the price of bread, which was the staple diet of the majority, rose rapidly. Most workers were employed as labourers in workshops whose owner fixed their wages. But wages did not keep pace with the rise in prices. So the gap between the poor and the rich widened. Things became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest. This led to subsistence crisis, something that occurred frequently in France during the Old Regime.
46. Who represented the National Assembly on 5th May 1789?
Answer: On 5th May 1789, Louis XVI called together an assembly of Estates General to pass proposals for new taxes. A resplendent hall in Versailles was prepared to host the delegates. The first and second estates sent 300 representatives each, who were seated in rows facing each other on two sides, while the 600 members of the third estate had to stand at the back. The third estate was represented by its more prosperous and educated members. Peasants, artisans and women were denied entry to the assembly.
47. What was Marseillaise? What led to the formation of Marseillaise?
Answer: Marseillaise was a patriotic song composed by poet Roget de L Isle. Although Louis XVI signed the constitution, he entered into secret negotiations with the King of Prussia. Rulers of the other neighbouring countries too were worried by the developments in France and made plans to send troops to put down the events that had been taking place there since the summer of 1789. Before this could happen, the National Assembly voted in April 1792, and declared war against Prussia and Austria. Thousands of volunteers thronged from the provinces to join the army. They saw this as a war of the people against kings and aristocracies all over Europe. So Marseillaise was sung for the first time by the volunteers from Marseilles as they marched into Paris and so got its name. The Marseillaise is now the national anthem of France.
48. Why do you think that a growing middle class in France envisages an end to the privileges?
(a) In the past, peasants and workers had participated in revolts against increasing taxes and food scarcity.
(b) But they lacked the means and programmes to carry out full-scale measures that would bring about a change in the social and economic order.
(c) The 18th century witnessed the emergence of social groups termed the “Middle Class”, who earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as woollen and silk textiles that were either exported or bought by the richer members of the society.
(d) In addition to the merchants and manufacturers, the third estate included professionals such as lawyers or administrative officers.
(e) All of these were educated and believed that no group in the society should be privileged by birth. Rather a person’s social position must depend on his merit. These ideas envisaging a society, based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all, were put forward by philosophers.
49. What do you know about triangular slave trade? What legislative measures were taken to end slavery in French colonies?
Answer: Reluctance of Europeans to go and work in distant and unfamiliar lands meant a shortage of labour on the plantations. So this was met by a triangular slave trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas. The exploitation of slave labour made it possible to meet the growing demand in European markets for sugar, coffee and indigo. Legislative Measures:
(a) Throughout the 18th century there was little criticism of slavery in France.
(b) The National Assembly held long debates about whether the rights of man should be extended to all French subjects including those in the colonies. But it did not pass any laws, fearing opposition from businessmen whose incomes depended on the slave trade.
(c) It was finally the convention which in 1794 legislated to free all slaves in the French overseas possessions.
(d) This however turned out to be a short-term measure; ten years later, Napolean reintroduced slavery.
(e) Plantation owners understood their freedom as including the right to enslave African Negroes in pursuit of their economic interests.
(f) Slavery was finally abolished in French colonies in 1848.
50. What kinds of freedoms were granted to the citizens of France after French Revolution?
(a) One important law that came into effect soon after the storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789 was the abolition of censorship.
(b) In the old regime all written material and cultural activities- books, newspapers, plays- could be published or performed only after they had been approved by the censors of the king.
(c) Now the declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaimed freedom of speech and expression to be a natural right.
(d) Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed pictures flooded the towns of France from where they travelled rapidly into the countryside. They all described and discussed the events and changes taking place in France.
(e) Freedom of the press also meant that opposing views of events could be expressed. Each side sought to convince the others of its position through the medium of print.
(f) This was one way they would grasp and identify with ideas such as liberty or justice that political philosophers whose about at length in texts which only a handful of educated people could read.
51. In what circumstances did the French Revolution occur?
Discuss the political, economic and social causes of the French Revolution.
Answer: Following were the reason of French Revolution –
(a) Social – The social conditions in France in late 18th century were extremely unequal and exploitative. The clergy and the nobility formed the first two Estates and were the most privileged classes in the French society. T Third Estate that consisted of peasants and workers formed the majority of the population. They were burdened with excessive taxes with no political and social rights. As a result, they were extremely discontent.
(b) Economic – As a result of a numerous wars waged by Louis XVI the State coffers were empty. The situation was made even more complex by France’s involvement in the American War of Independence and the faulty system of taxation. While the privileged classes were excused from paying taxes the Third Estate was more and more burdened with them.
(c) Political – The Bourbon king of France, Louis XVI was an extremely autocratic and weak silled king who led a life of obscene luxury. This led to a lot of disenchantment among the masses who then were leading life of extreme poverty and widespread hunger.
(d) Intellectual – The 18th century was marked by a conscious refusal by French thinkers of the ‘Divine Rights Theory’. Philosophers like Rousseau, rejected the paradigm of absolute monarchy and promulgated the doctrine of equality of man and sovereignty of people. They played a pivotal role in exposing the faultlines of old political system, i.e. the ancient regime, and articulating the popular discontent.
52. ‘The French philosophers of the 18th century greatly influenced the people and it led to the French Revolution.’ Comment on this statement.
Answer: Philosophers such as Montesquieu and Rousseau put forward ideas envisaging a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all. In his Two Treatises of Government, John Locke sought to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the monarch. Rousseau carried the idea forward, proposing a form of government based on ‘social contract’ between people and their representatives. In the spirit of the laws, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the government between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. This form of government was put into force in the USA. It was an important example for political thinkers in France.
53. Explain the importance of the following events on the course of the French Revolution:
(a) Storming of the Bastille
(b) March on the Versailles by the women of Paris
(c) The passing of the Civil Constitution of the clergy
Answer: (a) On July 14, 1789, a mob of Paris stormed the fortress – the prison of Bastille – considered a symbol of oppression and despotism. The Swiss guards were killed and prisoners set free. The mob stole arms and ammunition. To this day, France celebrates ‘Bastille Day’ on 14th July every year.
(b) The march on the Versailles by women of Paris signified the fact that women became an active participant in the French Revolution. They gained an equal status in the society. The slogans of liberty, equality and fraternity became true.
(c) In 1790, the Civil Constitution nationalised the church. The clergy or group of persons who enjoyed special powers in the church were also forced to relinquish power. Tithes were abolished and lands owned by the church were confiscated.
54. Describe the Reign of Terror and role played by Robespierre in it.
Answer: The period from 1793 to 1794 is referred to as the Reign of Terror. Maximilian Robespierre, leader of the Jacobins, followed the policy of severe control and punishment. All those he saw as enemies of the Republic — ex-nobles, clergy, political opponents — were arrested, tried and guillotined if found guilty. He issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on wages and prices. Meat and bread were rationed. Use of expensive white flour was forbidden. Robespierre followed his policies so relentlessly that even his supporters began to demand moderation. Finally, he was convicted, arrested and guillotined in July 1794.
55. What is the legacy left by the French Revolution?
Answer: The ideas of liberty Equality (democratic rights) and Fraternity were the most important legacy of the French Revolution. These spread from France to the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century, where feudal systems were abolished. Colonised people reworked the idea of freedom from bondage into their movements to create a sovereign state. Tipu Sultan and Ram Mohan Roy are two examples of individuals who responded to the ideas coming from revolutionary France.
56. What did the following symbols convey in the Declaration of Rights?
(i) The broken chain
(ii) The bundle of rods or fasces
(iii) The eye within a triangle radiating light
(v) Snake biting its tail to form a ring
(vi) Red Phrygian cap
(viii) The winged woman
(ix) The law tablet
(i) The broken chain: Chains were used to fetter slaves. A broken chain stands for the act of becoming free.
(ii) The bundle of rods or fasces: One rod can be easily broken, but not an entire bundle. Strength lies in unity.
(iii) The eye within a triangle radiating light: The all-seeing eye stands for knowledge. The rays of the sun will drive away the clouds of ignorance.
(iv) Sceptre: Symbol of royal power.
(v) Snake biting its tail to form a ring: Symbol of eternity. A ring has neither beginning nor end.
(vi) Red Phrygian cap: Cap worn by a slave upon becoming free.
(vii) Blue-white-red: The national colours of France.
(viii) The winged woman: Personification of the law.
(ix) The law tablet: The law is the same for all, and all are equal before it.
57. Who were the Jacobins? What was their contribution to the French Revolution?
Answer: The most successful of political clubs was that of the Jacobins. They got their name from the former convent of St. Jacob in Paris. They included small shopkeepers, artisans such as shoemakers, pastry cooks, watch-makers, printers, as well as servants and daily wage earners. Their leader was Maximilian Robespierre.
Contribution- In the summer of 1792, they planned an insurrection of a large number of Parisians who were angered by the short supplies and high prices of food. On August 10, they stormed the Palace of the Tuileries, massacred the king’s guards and imprisoned the king. Elections were now held. The newly elected assembly was called the Convention. On 21st September, 1792 it abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic. Louis XVI was sentenced to death by a court on the charge of treason and executed on 21st January, 1793. The queen also met with the same fate.
58. Discuss the participation of women in political clubs, their activities and demands.
Answer: (a) In order to discuss and voice their interests women started their own political clubs and newspapers. About sixty women’s clubs came up in different French cities.
(b) The Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women was the most famous of them. One of their main demands was that women should be given the same political rights as men.
(c) Women were disappointed that the constitution of 1791 reduced them to passive citizens. They demanded the right to vote, to be elected to the Assembly and to hold political office.
(d) Women’s struggle for equal political rights, however, continued. It was finally in 1946 that women in France won the right to vote.
59. “The revolutionary government took it upon themselves to pass laws that would translate the ideals of liberty and equality into everyday practice.”
Discuss this statement with special emphasis on the abolition of censorship.
Answer: The years following 1789 in France saw many such changes in the lives of men, women and children. The revolutionary governments took it upon themselves to pass laws that would translate the ideals of liberty and equality into everyday practice. One important law that came into effect soon after the storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789 was the abolition of censorship. Earlier all written material and cultural activities — books, newspapers, plays — could be published or performed only after they had been approved by the censors of the king.
Now the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen declared freedom of speech and expression to be a natural right. They all described and discussed the events and changes taking place in France. Freedom of the press also meant that opposing views of events could be expressed. Each side sought to convince the others of its position through the medium of print. Plays, songs and festive processions attracted large numbers of people. This was one way they could grasp and identify with ideas such as liberty or justice that political philosophers wrote about at length in texts. Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed pictures flooded the towns of France from where they travelled rapidly into the countryside.
60. Describe any four causes for the fall of Jacobin government in France.
Answer: (a) The Jacobin government in France was based on extreme measures. The period from 1793- 1794 is referred to as the reign of terror. Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment. This led to chaos and resentment among the people.
(b) The Jacobin government issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on wage and prices. Meat and bread were rationed. Peasants were forced to transport their grain to the cities and sell it at prices fixed by the government. This led to a feeling of resentment against the Jacobins. Peasants began opposing them.
(c) Robespierre’s government ordered shutting down of churches and converting church buildings into barricades or offices. Thus the clergy turned against the Jacobin regime and hastened its fall.
(d) Robespierre pursued his policies so relentlessly that even his supporters turned against him. They began to demand moderation and a middle path. Finally, he himself was tried by a court in July 1794, arrested and guillotined.
61. State the election process of the National Assembly in France.
Answer: The constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly, which was indirectly elected. Citizens voted for a group of electors, who in turn close the assembly. All citizens did not have the right to vote. Only men above 25 years of age who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage were given the status of active citizens, that is, they were entitled to vote. The remaining men and all women were classed as passive citizens. To qualify as an elector and then as a member of the assembly, a man had to belong to the highest bracket of tax payers.
62. What changes were brought in France after the fall of Robespierre’s government? How did it lead to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte?
(a) The fall of the Robespierre’s government led to the seizure of power by the wealthier middle classes.
(b) A new constitution was introduced which denied the vote to non-propertied sections of society.
(c) It provided for two elected legislative councils. These then appointed a Directory, an executive made up of five members.
(d) This was to check concentration of powers in the hands of a one man executive which could turn tyrannical.
(e) But the directors often clashed with the legislative councils, who then sought to dismiss them. The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator Napoleon Bonaparte.
63. Describe the importance of Declaration of the Right of Man in France.
(a) The Declaration of the Right of Man in France was a landmark decision in the history of France. The constitution began with a declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.
(b) Rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law, were established as ‘natural and inalienable’ rights.
(c) That is, they belonged to each human being by birth and could not be taken away.
(d) It was the duty of the state to protect each citizen’s natural rights.
(e) The declaration of the Right of Man and Citizens influenced revolutionary movements elsewhere too.
64. What landmark decisions were taken by the National Assembly led by the Third Estate on 4th August, 1789?
(a) On 4 August 1789, the Assembly passed a decree abolishing the federal system of obligations and taxes.
(b) Members of the clergy too were forced to give up their privileges.
(c) Tithes were abolished and lands owned by the church were confiscated. As a result, the government acquired assets worth at least 2 billion livres.