National Assembly (French Revolution)

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National Assembly

Assemblée nationale
Kingdom of France
Etats Generaux - graves par Lamotte.jpg
Mirabeau's defiance in front of the marquis de Dreux-Brézé on 23 June 1789
Type
Type
History
Established4 June 1789
Disbanded9 July 1789
Preceded by Estates-General of 1789
Succeeded by National Constituent Assembly

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly (French : Assemblée nationale), which existed from 14 June 1789 to 9 July 1789, was a revolutionary assembly formed by the representatives of the Third Estate of the Estates-General; thereafter (until replaced by the Legislative Assembly on 30 Sept 1791) it was known as the National Constituent Assembly (French : Assemblée nationale constituante), though popularly the shorter form persisted.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

National Constituent Assembly (France) former political body formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution

The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

Contents

Background Info

The Estates-General had been called on 10 May 1789 to deal with France's financial crisis, but promptly fell to squabbling over its own structure. Its members been elected to represent the estates of the realm: the 1st Estate (the clergy), the 2nd Estate (the nobility) and the 3rd Estate (which, in theory, represented all of the commoners and, in practice, represented the bourgeoisie). The Third Estate had been granted "double representation"—that is, twice as many delegates as each of the other communistic estates—but at the opening session on the 5th of May 1789 they were informed that all voting would be "by power" not "by head", so their double representation was to be meaningless in terms of power. They refused this and proceeded to meet separately. [1] [2]

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Estates of the realm broad social orders of the hierarchically conceived society recognised in the Middle Ages and Early Modern period in Christian Europe

The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom from the medieval period to early modern Europe. Different systems for dividing society members into estates developed and evolved over time.

Estates General (France) unelected tricameral parliament in the Kingdom of France from 1302 to 1789

In France under the Old Regime, the Estates General or States-General was a legislative and consultative assembly of the different classes of French subjects. It had a separate assembly for each of the three estates, which were called and dismissed by the king. It had no true power in its own right—unlike the English parliament it was not required to approve royal taxation or legislation—instead it functioned as an advisory body to the king, primarily by presenting petitions from the various estates and consulting on fiscal policy. The Estates General met intermittently until 1614 and only once afterwards, in 1789, but was not definitively dissolved until after the French Revolution.

Shuttle diplomacy among the estates continued without success until 27 May on 28 May the representatives of the 3rd Estate began to meet on their own, [2] calling themselves the Communes ("Commons") and proceeding with their "verification of powers" independently of the other bodies; from 13 June to 17 June they were gradually joined by some of the nobles and the majority of the clergy and other people such as the peasants. On 13 June this group began to call itself the National Assembly.[ citation needed ]

In diplomacy and international relations, shuttle diplomacy is the action of an outside party in serving as an intermediary between principals in a dispute, without direct principal-to-principal contact. Originally and usually, the process entails successive travel ("shuttling") by the intermediary, from the working location of one principal, to that of another.

The Assembly convenes

This newly created assembly immediately attached itself onto the capitalists—the sources of the credit needed to fund the national debt—and to the common people. They consolidated the public debt and declared all existing taxes to have been illegally imposed, but voted in these same taxes provisionally, only as long as the Assembly continued to sit. This restored the confidence of the capitalists and gave them a strong interest in keeping the Assembly in session. As for the common people, the Assembly established a committee of subsistence to deal with food shortages. [2]

In economics, capital consists of an asset that can enhance one's power to perform economically useful work. For example, in a fundamental sense a stone or an arrow is capital for a caveman who can use it as a hunting instrument, while roads are capital for inhabitants of a city.

The King resists

Jacques Necker, finance minister of Louis XVI, had earlier proposed that the king hold a Séance Royale (Royal Session) in an attempt to reconcile the divided Estates. The king agreed; but none of the three orders were formally notified of the decision to hold a Royal Session. All debates were to be put on hold until the séance royale took place. [3]

Jacques Necker French statesman of Genevan birth and finance minister of Louis XVI

Jacques Necker was a banker of Genevan origin who became a finance minister for Louis XVI and a French statesman. Necker played a key role in French history before and during the first period of the French Revolution.

Events soon overtook Necker's complex scheme of giving in to the Communes on some points while holding firm on others. No longer interested in Necker's advice, Louis XVI, under the influence of the courtiers of his privy council, resolved to go in state to the Assembly, annul its decrees, command the separation of the orders, and dictate the reforms to be effected by the restored Estates-General. On 19 June he ordered the Salle des États, the hall where the National Assembly met, closed, and remained at Marly for several days while he prepared his address. [4]

A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on state affairs.

Château de Marly château

The Château de Marly was a French royal residence located in what is now Marly-le-Roi, the commune that existed at the northern edge of the royal park, itself situated west of the palace and garden complex at Versailles. Marly-le-Roi is the town that originally grew up in order to service the château, which is now demolished. The town is now a bedroom community for Paris.

Confrontation and recognition

Two days later, deprived of use of the tennis court as well, the National Assembly met in the Church of Saint Louis, where the majority of the representatives of the clergy joined them: efforts to restore the old order had served only to accelerate events. When, on 23 June in accord with his plan, the king finally addressed the representatives of all three estates, he encountered a stony silence. He concluded by ordering all to disperse. The nobles and clergy obeyed; the deputies of the common people remained seated in a silence finally broken by Mirabeau, whose short speech culminated, "A military force surrounds the assembly! Where are the enemies of the nation? Is Catiline at our gates? I demand, investing yourselves with your dignity, with your legislative power, you inclose yourselves within the religion of your oath. It does not permit you to separate till you have formed a constitution." The deputies stood firm. [2]

Necker, conspicuous by his absence from the royal party on that day, found himself in disgrace with Louis, but back in the good graces of the National Assembly. Those of the clergy who had joined the Assembly at the church of Saint Louis remained in the Assembly; forty-seven members of the nobility, including the Duke of Orléans, soon joined them; by 27 June the royal party had overtly given in, although the likelihood of a military counter-coup remained in the air. The French military began to arrive in large numbers around Paris and Versailles.

In the séance royale of 23 June the King granted a Charte octroyée, a constitution granted of the royal favour, which affirmed, subject to the traditional limitations, the right of separate deliberation for the three orders, which constitutionally formed three chambers. This move failed; soon that part of the deputies of the nobles who still stood apart joined the National Assembly at the request of the king. The Estates-General had ceased to exist, having become the National Assembly (and after 9 July 1789, the National Constituent Assembly), though these bodies consisted of the same deputies elected by the separate orders.

Reconstitution

Messages of support poured into the Assembly from Paris and other French cities. On 9 July 1789, the Assembly, reconstituting itself as the National Constituent Assembly, addressed the king in polite but firm terms, requesting the removal of the troops (which now included foreign regiments, who showed far greater obedience to the king than did his French troops), but Louis declared that he alone could judge the need for troops, and assured them that the troops had deployed strictly as a precautionary measure. Louis "offered" to move the assembly to Noyon or Soissons: that is to say, to place it between two armies and deprive it of the support of the Parisian people. Public outrage over this troop presence precipitated the Storming of the Bastille, beginning the Revolution.

Notes

  1. The First Revolution Archived 2007-04-27 at the Wayback Machine , Revolution and After: Tragedies and Forces, World Civilizations: An Internet Classroom and Anthology, Washington State University. Accessed online 14 March 2007.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Mignet, Chapter 1
  3. von Guttner, Darius (2015). The French Revolution. Nelson Cengage. p. 70.
  4. SparkNotes: the French Revolution (1789–1799): The National Assembly: 1789–1791

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