This week we will examine a very important part of Europe and World history The French Revolution. By the mid 1700s France was considered the most advanced country in the world and the center of the Enlightenment. Yet while France had all the appearances of a rich prosperous country this appearance was deceiving as France was deep in debt and simmering in unrest as France suffered from high taxes, high inflation, inequality and lingering questions raised by Enlightenment thinkers such as Voltaire and Rousseau. These tensions and problems led to the French Revolution.
As we examine the issues of the French Revolution you will look at the different phases and issues of the Revolution through the viewpoints & perspectives of different classes of French citizens. During this time citizens of France were divided into classes or Estates. The Three Estates were: First Estate: Clergy, Second Estate: Nobility, Third Estate: Everyone else (About 95 percent of the population, including the bourgeoisie(middle class), urban workers, and rural peasants. Everyone will be assigned a role as: clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie or the peasants(both rural & urban)
First we shall look at the causes of the Revolution, the Three Estates, the Estates General and the beginning of the Revolution with the storming of the Bastille. Then you will examine political cartoons centered on the Revolution and the Three Estates paying particular attention to your character’s viewpoint.
The video below (French Revolution Crash Course) gives a good summary of the French Revolution. You have to listen since he has an accent and talks a little fast.