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C O U R S E 
The French Revolution
Peter McPhee, The University of Melbourne
C O U R S E   L E C T U R E 
The Third Estate in Revolt
Notes taken on October 5, 2014 by Edward Tanguay
the Third Estate
King Louis XVI required the members of the three estates to formulate lists of grievances
also lifted constraints on freedom of press
so that debates would be freer, more open and more fertile
Abbé Sieyès (SEE-yez) takes advantage of this
from common birth
brilliant young man but experienced frustration because the fact of his common birth meant he was devoid of the aristocratic connection networks
by age of 40 a senior and respected cleric but he knows he will never be able to become a bishop or archbishop
1788 wrote "What is the Third Estate"
the third estate can govern itself, it can be the nation
there seems to be two other stages: nobles and clergy, but in fact there is only one, since the senior clergy are all nobles
opts to stand as a Third Estate deputy in Paris, dressed in common black costume instead of his clerical fineries
May 5, 1789: Estates General
the meeting of the three estates
by his speech, it is clear that Louis XVI is keen for sweeping reform
needs this reform, especially in terms of taxation, if the state is to find its way out of bankruptcy
says the three orders should go to their separate meeting places and start discussing affairs of state
Third Estate refuses to meet separately
insist that members of all three should meet in a common assembly
standoff lasts six weeks
June 20, 1789: Third Estate's meeting place has been locked
apparently an accident
they adjourn to a nearby, indoor tennis court
they take an oath not to disperse until they have given France a constitution
we will hence forth conduct ourselves as the National Assembly
we call on members of the other two orders to join us
some of the Parish priests do start joining them
Maximilien Robespierre elected to represent his province
reports back home how elated he is at the participation and enthusiasm of the Third Estate
Louis XVI hesitates but later agrees that members should join the Third Estate as the National Assembly
20 kilometers away in Paris
there are troop movements
people are nervous
rumors spread
that hostile members of the court are preparing some kind of military action
to expel this trumped up National Assembly
the National Assembly as it calls itself is saved by a new act of revolution
common people of Paris
people who are
fired up about the possibility of change
anxious about the troops in their city
hungry since the harvest of 1788 had been poor
Louis XVI dismisses finance minister Necker
the one non-noble in his cabinet
the trigger that sent fear into the people of Paris
why would the king expel the one non-noble in his court?
Camille Desmoulins
had been in school with Robespierre before the Revolution
street orator who encouraged crowds in Paris to take part in the revolution to protect the Third Estate
unruly crowds in Paris
turned their anger against the custom houses
customs wall had been built around the city of Paris with 48 customs houses
taxes were levied here and were terribly unpopular
turned their attention for the search for weapons
break into the Invalide, the great hospital
the cry goes up to take the fortress of Bastille
14th of July, laid siege to the fortress
soldiers open fire and scores of Parisians lie dead and wounded
governor who called for the shootings surrenders and is put to death in a particularly cruel way, effective hacked to pieces by the mob
Hanging of Foulon and Bertier de Sauvigny
July 22, 1789
Sauvigny, mayor of Paris
Foulon was marked to replace Necker
they tried to escape but where caught, killed in a cruel way, and their bodies were displayed in the city
these acts proved difficult for the Third Estate
on the one hand, these acts saved the National Assembly
on the other hand there are some acts of horror which have been committed
Marquis de Lafayette
had been the head of forces who helped Americans
elected him
powerful and wealthy noble
chosen as the first elected mayor of Paris
the National Assembly seemed to be successful
but it is an extraordinary confrontation that the people of Paris have unleashed against the regime