French Revolution (part 2) | World history | Khan Academy
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French Revolution (part 2) | World history | Khan Academy

October 1, 2019


We left off the last video
at the end of 1789. The Bastille had been stormed in
July as Parisians wanted to get the weapons from the
Bastille and free a few political prisoners to, in
their minds, protect themselves from any tyranny
from Louis XVI. Louis XVI had reluctantly kind
of gone behind the scenes and said, OK, National Assembly, I’m
not going to get in your way anymore. Because he’s seen the writing
on the walls that every time he’s done something, it’s only
led to even more extreme counteraction. So at the end of 1789, already
chaos has broken loose in a lot of France. The National Assembly, they’re
in process of creating a constitution, which won’t
fully happen until 1791. But they’re starting to bring
things together in order to draft that constitution. But in August of 1789, they’ve
already done their version of the Declaration of
Independence. The Declaration of the Rights
of Man and the Citizen. So if everything was well, we
would just wait until a few years, we’d get a constitution,
and maybe we would have some type of a
constitutional monarchy. But unfortunate, especially
for Louis XVI, things weren’t all well. As we mentioned, all of this
was propagated, all of this was started to begin with
because people were hungry. We have this fiscal crisis,
we have a famine. And so in October of 1789–
we’re still in 1789– October of 1789– rumors started to
spread that Marie-Antoinette, the king’s wife, that she was
hoarding grain at Versailles. So people started imagining
these big stacks of grain at Versailles, and this is in a
time where people couldn’t get their bread. And bread was the main
staple of the diet. So there was actually a march
of peasant women onto Versailles. And they were armed. This is a depiction of the
peasant women marching on Versailles. And they went to Versailles, and
they actually were able to get into the building itself. And they demanded– because they
were suspicious of what Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette
were up to at Versailles– they demanded that they
move to Paris. So the women’s march. And they were able to
get their demands. It resulted in Louis XVI and
wife, Marie-Antoinette, moving back to Paris, where
they couldn’t do things like hoard grain. And they’ll be surrounded
by all of the maybe not-so-friendly people
who could watch what they’re doing. I think the main factor was that
people are hungry, rumors are spreading that the king
is hoarding grain. But there were also rumors that
the king was being very disrespectful to some of the
symbols of the new France, of the new National Assembly. So that also made
people angry. And across the board everyone
kind of knew, and including Louis XVI, that he wasn’t really
into what was going on. He wasn’t into this kind of
constitutional monarchy that was forming, this power
that was being lost to the National Assembly. So we have this very
uncomfortable situation entering into 1790, where the
king and queen are essentially in house arrest in a building
called the Tuileries in Paris. You have this National Assembly
drafting this constitution. They’re charted to draft the
constitution up there. They all pledged at the
Tennis Court Oath. And at the same time, throughout
France, you have some counter insurgencies. This is France right here. Throughout France you have
counter insurgencies, people who don’t like the Revolution
that’s going on. And then those would
be subdued. And people are all plotting
one against each other. And then you have some
nobility, that says, gee, you know what? I don’t like the way
that this is going. We’ve seen already a
lot of violence. People are angry. I’m just going to take my money
and whatever I can pack, and I’m just going to get
out of the country. I’m going to emigrate away
from the country. So you start having nobility
starting to leave France. They’re called the Emigres. I know I’m not pronouncing
it correctly. But you see, you have this
notion of gee, I had it good in France, I’m not going to have
it good much longer, I’d better leave. And this same
idea, now that we get to 1791. So 1790 was just kind of
a bunch of unease. Now that we’re at 1791, the
same idea of trying to get away from the danger got into
the heads of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. But they couldn’t leave
the country. They didn’t trust
Great Britain. They didn’t trust any of these
other countries to safely give them shelter. So one of their generals, who
was sympathetic to their cause, said, hey, at least
come here to the frontier areas and you could hide
from all of the unrest that’s going on. So dressed as actual servants–
and it shows you what type of people they were– they dressed as servants. And they actually made their
servants dress as nobility to make them the targets in case
they were ambushed anyway on their way trying to
escape from Paris. Dressed as servants, the king
and queen– the king tried to escape to this general’s
estate. But when they were in Varennes,
right here, they were actually spotted. And then the people essentially
took them captive and brought them
back to Paris. So this is called, or you could
imagine this is the flight to Varennes, or the
flight away from Paris, or however you want to do it. So already, Louis XVI
started to see the writing on the wall. They tried to get away. But people brought them back. Now you can imagine, a lot
of people already did not like the king. They didn’t like the notion
of even having a king. And the most revolutionary,
the most radical elements, were called the Jacobins. And after the king and queen
tried to escape and came back, they were like hey, gee,
what’s the use of even having a king? You National Assembly, why are
you even trying to write some type of constitution that
gives any power whatsoever to a king? We should have a republic. Which is essentially– there’s
a lot of kind of nuanced definitions of what a republic
is, but the most simple one is it’s a state without
a king, without an emperor, without a queen. So they’re saying, we don’t
need, you know– you National Assembly, you think you’re
being radical. But you’re not being
radical enough. We want to eliminate the idea
of having a monarchy altogether. And the fact that Louis XVI
actually tried to run away, we view that as him abdicating
the throne. Abdication, or essentially
quitting. And they actually started
to organize in Paris. This right here is the
Champ-de-Mars. I know I’m saying it
completely wrong. This is a current
picture of it. And so they started taking
signatures in this kind of public park in Paris to
essentially say, we don’t need a king. We want to essentially create
our own republic. That this National Assembly,
they’re not radical enough. And so people started gathering
over here in the Champ-de-Mars and things
got a little ugly. So the actual troops were
sent in to kind of calm everyone down. And these were actually
troops controlled by the National Assembly. The people who are
mainly controlled by the Third Estate. But things got a little crazy. Rocks were thrown at
some of the troops. Some of the troops, at
first, they started firing in the air. But eventually when things
got really crazy, they fired into the crowd. And about 50 people died. And this was the massacre. Or the Champ-de-Mars Massacre. I know I’m saying it wrong. This isn’t a video on French
pronunciation. But you could imagine, now
people are even angrier. People are still starving. That problem has
not gone away. The king and queen has been
kind of very reluctantly– everyone is suspicious of the
fact that they’re probably going to try to come
back to power. They tried to run away. When the Jacobins, or
in general kind of revolutionaries, but they’re led
by the Jacobins, when they start to suggest that, hey,
we should have a republic. We shouldn’t even have a king. And they gather people here,
all of a sudden, the troops that are controlled by the
current National Assembly actually fire on the crowd, and
actually kill civilians for throwing rocks. And they might have
been big rocks. But you can imagine, this is
going to anger already hungry and already suppressed
people even more. And to make people even more
paranoid that the king and queen might eventually come
back to power, you had two major powers all of a sudden
trying to insert certain themselves into the
French Revolution. I’m going to do a little
bit of an aside here. Because this is something, at
least you when I first learned European history, I found
the most confusing. You have these states,
you can call them. You have Austria, which I’ve
highlighted in orange. The kind of map here
is a modern map. But in orange, I’ve kind of
shown what Austria was at that point in time. Around 1789, 1790, 1791. In this red color,
I have Prussia. I want to show you that these
are very different than our current notions of
one, Austria. Austria today is this modern
country right here. And Prussia doesn’t even exist
as a modern country. And then you had this notion
of the Holy Roman Empire, which overlaps with these other
kingdoms, or empires, or whatever you want
to call them. And I want to do a little
bit of an aside here. The Holy Roman Empire, as
Voltaire famously said, is neither holy nor Roman
nor an empire. And he was right. It was really kind of a very
loose confederation of German kingdoms and states– mainly
German kingdoms and states. As you can see, it kind of
coincides with modern Germany. And the two most influential
powers in the Holy Roman Empire, or actually the most
influential power in the Holy Roman Empire, was
the Austrians. And the ruler of the Austrians
had the title of Holy Roman Emperor. And that was Leopold II. But it’s not like he was like
the Roman Emperors of old. The Roman Emperors of old
actually came out of Rome. Notice, nothing in the Holy
Roman Empire at that time, it had no control of Rome. So it was not Roman, we’re
not talking about people who spoke Latin. We’re talking about people who
spoke Germanic languages. And it wasn’t an empire. That it wasn’t a tightly knit
kind of governance structure. It was this loose confederation
of states. But what was the most
influential was the region that was under control of the
Habsburgs of Austria, or Leopold II. And not only was he in control,
or not only did he have the title of Holy Roman
Empire, and essentially had control of the Austrian, I guess
you could say Empire, at that point in time. He was also Marie-Antoinette’s
brother. Leopold II, that’s
her brother. So Leopold II and Frederick
William II of Prussia, which is another mainly
Germanic state. Let me do that in
a better color. They issued the Declaration
of Pillnitz. Let me write this down. So this is going to add even
more insult to injury to just the general population
of France. The Declaration of Pillnitz. And this was done in August. so
I just want to make it very clear what happened. In June of 1791, they tried
to escape, they were captured at Varennes. Then in July of 1791, you have
the Champ-de-Mars Massacre. So already, people are very
wary of the royals. The idea that we don’t need
them is spreading. And people are getting
angrier. And then you have the
Declaration of Pillnitz by these foreign powers, one of
whom is essentially the brother of the current
French royalty. And that declaration is
essentially saying that they intend to bring the French
monarchy back to power. They don’t say that they’re
definitely going to do it in military terms or whatever. But it’s a declaration that they
do not approve of what’s going on in France. And even though they themselves
might have not taken it too seriously, the
people of France took it really seriously. You have these huge powers on
their border right here. You had the Austrians
and the Prussians. So this wasn’t anything
that people could take very lightly. So it only increased the fear
that the royals were going to do something to come back
to full power and really suppress people. And it really gave even more
fuel for the Jacobins to kind of argue for some type
of a republic. So I’m going to leave you
there in this video. As you can see, we saw in the
first video, things got bad. Now they’re getting really
worst. Chaos is breaking out in France. People are questioning
whether they even need a king or queen. Foreign powers are getting
involved, saying hey, they don’t like what they’re seeing
there, with kings and queens getting overthrown. Maybe that’ll give ideas
to their people. And by the way, I’m your
brother, so I want to help you out too. That scares people even more. The current National Assembly,
which is kind of the beginning of the Revolution, they
themselves are on some level massacring people. So it’s really leading to a
really tense and ugly time in French history. And you’re going to see that
that’s going to culminate with what’s called the
Reign of Terror. And we’re going to see that
in the next video.

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  1. This is wonderful!
    If you have time, can you go over WWI, that's what we're learning about at my school right now.
    Thanks!

  2. This man is unstoppable; which is a good thing. Everyone should write to those people who have won Nobel prizes and have Professor Khan nominated for the next one. I've written to former President Carter and he said he would. I guess I need to write to President Obama. The rules are only presidents of universities and former receivers of the prize can nominate someone for this great honor. Please keep sending those emails ladies and gentlemen.

  3. I am the happiest person probably here,
    i stop by to check everyday if he has uploaded new videos or not and when i saw he has done history, I was just flying….

  4. Its amazing that Sal is the only one…….that I've found……..that does this sort of thing.

    Say goodbye to the NEA!

    God, that felt good!

  5. very good video!
    small point – great britain is the name of the largest island of UK/Britain its not a country.

  6. @spaceghost1313 Where does Jersey come in the rankings? Jersey is not part of the UK, but is part of Great Britain. Did you know that?

  7. @spaceghost1313 It was called the Kingdom of Great Britain at the time (since the Act of Union in 1707), so he is absolutely correct to call it that.
    In fact, Germans still refer to the UK as "Grossbritannien" and very rarely call it "Vereinigtes Koenigreich" (=United Kingdom). Might be similar in other countries too.

  8. @PhotoPlankton
    yea france calls us grande bretagne still. weird coincidence, I was reading about kindgom of britain today. youre right ,it was called that till 1800. so 1 year after it chnaged

  9. He might not be able to speak french, but he is a darn good teacher to be sure! Hat's off to professor Khan!

  10. The Holy Roman Empire was so called because it dates from Charlemagne's Empire in the 9th century (actually it is one of the successors of Charlemagne's empire) who had the title of Emperor of the Romans as well as King of the Franks, his tribe. This empire was "Holy Roman" because it had the benediction of the Pope in Rome.

  11. I wish you would talk about literature associated with the time of events as well. Tale of Two Cities would have tied in nicely

  12. Also check out the you-tube video "John Law and the MIssissippi bubble"–a huge ponzi scheme that nearly bankrupted France and helped to lead to the French Revolution. Another incident that may have led to the French Revolution is dramatized in the Hilary Swank movie "Affair of the Necklace."

  13. These French Revolution videos are not bad, but really you should go into much more detail as this is a very brief overview. In Australia the typical VCE course on the French Revolution goes for half a year and is split into two Areas of Study. AOS 1: 1781 (Neckers Compte Rendu) to 1789 (August 4th the day before the August Decrees) and AOS 2: 1789 (August 5th The August Decrees) to 1795 (The Directory). The added detail is very important to understanding the French Rev.

  14. Khan introduces Leopold 2 as the emperor of HRE, but doesnt talk about his predecessor Joseph II who was very sympathetic to the enlightenment

  15. What is the program or hardware that you are using to make these videos? I want something like that for my classroom.

  16. It would have been a nice touch if he mentioned that Champ-de-Mars massacre happened under the command of Lafayette. It might blow people's mind in the US, considering how positive a character he's been in the context of the American Revolutionary War, that in France he was seen by many as a figure of oppression.

  17. Very entertaining video thus was the first time I am entertained of a history lecture that's because of Man. Thanks Sal.

  18. I like the video in the information provided, but you sound like you're doing this video after learning this stuff an hour before

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