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Contents:
  1. Albert Soboul | Open Library
  2. La presse en l'an II : aperçu des recherches en cours
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Le Premier Empire L'Essor Les soldats de l'an II Les Soldats de l'an II Paysans, sans-culottes et Jacobins Movimento popolare e rivoluzione borghese, i sanculotti parigini nell'anno II. Avvertenza di Armando Saitta. The French rural community in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Maximilien Robespierre Les sans-culottes parisiens en l'An II Les Sans-culottes parisiens en l'an II Rude et A.

Le Maximum des salaires parisiens et le 9 thermidor Robespierre and the popular movement of Brumaire an II. Rewolucja francuska. Les Papiers des sections de Paris, an IV Les Papiers des sections parisiennes, an IV A Francia forradalom, Les Troubles agraires de , documents Illustrations d'Alan Quarante huit Saint-Just Dossiers biographiques Boutillier du Retail.

Les Dernières Diffusions

Documentation sur Maximilien de Robespierre] Albert Soboul, Autre 8 Histoire de la France contemporaine 5 Histoire de la France contemporaine 6 Histoire de la France contemporaine 4 Histoire de la France contemporaine 3 Histoire de la France contemporaine 2 Histoire de la France contemporaine Histoire de la France contemporaine 1 Affiches de la Commune de Paris Documentation sur Albert Soboul] Gracchus Babeuf From that moment, up to the Revolution, Lyons became a hotbed of revolt, and in it was the rioters of who were chosen as electors.

Sometimes these risings had a religious character; sometimes they were to resist military enlistment — every levy of soldiers led to a riot, says Turgot; or it might be the salt tax against which the people rebelled, or the exactions of the tithes. But revolts went on without intermission, and it was the east, south-east and north-east — future hotbeds of the Revolution — that these revolts broke out in the greatest number. But the parlements had shown opposition to the Court, that was enough; and when emissaries of the middle classes sought popular support for rioting, they were given it willingly, because it was a way of demonstrating against the Court and the rich.

In the June of the Paris parlement had made itself very popular by refusing a grant of money to the Court. The law of the country was that the edicts of the King should be registered by the parlement , and the Paris parlement unhesitatingly registered certain edicts concerning the corn trade, the convocation of provincial assemblies and statute labour. The parlement protested, and so won the sympathy of the middle classes and the people. There were crowds round the Courts at every sitting; clerks, curious idlers and common men collected there to applaud the members. To Stop this, the King banished the parlement to Troyes, and then riotous demonstrations began in Paris.

The Exchequer Court of Paris Cour des Aides , supported by the popular outburst, as well as by the provincial parlements and the Court of Justice, protested against this act of royal power, and, as the agitation was growing, the King was compelled to recall the exiled parlement. This was done on September 9, and evoked fresh demonstrations in Paris, during which the minister Calonne was burnt in effigy.

These disturbances were chiefly confined to the lower middle classes. But in other localities they assumed a more popular character. In insurrections broke out in Brittany.


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When the military Commander of Rennes and the Governor of the province went to the Breton parlement to announce the edict by which that body was abolished, the whole town turned out immediately. The crowd insulted and hustled the two functionaries. The people in their hearts hated the Governor, Bertrand de Moleville, and the middle classes profited by this to spread a rumour that the edict was all owing to the Governor.

When he came out of the palace, therefore, they pelted him with stones, and after several attempts some one threw a cord with a slip-knot over him. Fighting was about to begin — the young men in the crowd breaking through the ranks of the soldiers — when an officer threw down his sword and fraternised with the people. It is interesting to note the active part taken in these disorders by the students at Rennes, who from that time fraternised with the rioters. As soon as the military commander, Clermont-Tonnerre, had promulgated the edict which dissolved the parlement the people of Grenoble rose.

The tocsin was rung, and the alarm spreading quickly to the neighbouring villages, the peasants hastened in crowds the town. There was a sanguinary affray and many were killed. Clermont-Tonnerre, with an axe held over his head, had to revoke the royal edict. It was the people, and chiefly the women, who acted on this occasion.

Albert Soboul | Open Library

As to the members of the parlement , the people had a good deal of trouble to find them. They hid themselves, and wrote to Paris that the people had risen against their will, and when the people laid hands on them they were kept prisoners — their presence giving an air of legality to the insurrection. The women mounted guard over these arrested members, unwilling to trust them even to the men, lest they should be allowed to escape.

The middle classes of Grenoble were in a state of terror. During the night they organised a militia of citizens that took possession of the town gates as well as of some military posts, which they yielded to the troops soon after. Cannon were trained on the rebels, while the parlement took advantage the darkness to disappear. From June 9 to 14 reaction triumphed, but on the 14 th news came that there had been a rising at Besancon and that the Swiss soldiers had refused to fire on the people.

But fresh reinforcements of troops having been sent from Paris the disturbance subsided by degrees. The agitation, however, kept up chiefly by the women, lasted some time longer. Even where no serious riots occurred advantage was taken of the prevailing excitement to keep up the discontent and to make demonstrations. At Paris, after the dismissal of the Archbishop of Sens, there were numerous demonstrations.

It is dated August 24, , and in it she tells him of her fears, and announces the retirement of the Archbishop of Sens and the steps she had taken to recall Necker; the effect produced on the Court by those riotous crowds can therefore be understood. It is very essential that Necker should accept.

Three weeks later, September 14, , when the retirement of Lamoignon became known, the riotings were renewed.

The mob rushed to set fire to the houses of the two ministers, Lamoignon and Brienne, as well as to that of Dubois. Dubois fled from Paris. They demanded money from the passers-by to expend on fireworks, and forced gentlemen to alight from their carriages to salute the statue of Henri Quatre. Figures representing Calonne, Breteuil and the Duchess de Polignac were burned. It was also proposed to burn the Queen in effigy. These riotous assemblies gradually spread to other quarters, and troops were sent to disperse them.

Those who were arrested, however, were tried by the parlement judges, who let them off with light penalties. In this way the revolutionary spirit awoke and developed in the van of the Great Revolution. If there had been only their few attempts at resistance France might have waited many years for the overthrow of royal despotism. Fortunately a thousand circumstances impelled the masses to revolt. They rose in numbers against the governors of provinces, tax-collectors, salt-tax agents and even against the troops, and by so doing completely disorganised the governmental machine.

From the peasant risings became so general that it was impossible to provide for the expenses of the State, and Louis XVI. The misery in the country districts went on increasing year by year, and it became more and more difficult to levy the taxes and at the same time compel the peasants to pay rent to the landlords and perform the innumerable statute labours exacted by the provincial government.

Paysans d'autrefois, les communautés familiales et agricoles

The taxes alone devoured half and often two-thirds of what the peasants could earn in the course of the year. Beggary and rioting were becoming normal conditions of country life. Moreover, it was not only the peasants who protested and revolted. The middle classes, too, were loudly expressing their discontent.

They profited certainly by the impoverishment of the peasants to enrol them in their factories, and they took advantage of the administrative demoralisation and the financial disorders of the moment to seize on all kinds of monopolies, and to enrich themselves by loans to the State. But this did not satisfy the middle classes. For a while they managed to adapt themselves to royal despotism and Court government.

A moment came, however, when they began to fear for their monopolies, for the money they had invested in loans to the State, for the landed property they had acquired, for the factories they had established, and afterwards to encourage the people in their riots in order that they might break down the government of the Court and establish their own political power.

This evolution can be plainly traced during the first thirteen or fourteen years of Louis XVI.


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An important change in the entire political system of France was visibly taking place. But Louis XVI. We have seen how Louis XVI. The mere thought of limiting the royal power was repugnant to him. Necker, who followed closely on Turgot, was more a financier than a statesman. Necker, moreover, never dared to use to Louis XVI. He spoke to him very timidly about representative government, and he limited his reforms to what could neither solve the difficulties nor satisfy any one, while they made every one feel the necessity of a fundamental change.

The provincial assemblies, eighteen of which Necker added to those already instituted by Turgot, leading in turn to the establishment of district and parish councils, were evidently brought to discuss the most difficult questions and to lay bare the hideous corruption of the unlimited power of royalty. In this way the provincial assemblies, lessened the force of the storm, were helping towards the insurrection of Likewise the famous Compte rendu , the report upon the state of the provinces, that Necker published in,, a few months before quitting office, was a heavy blow to royal autocracy.

As always happens on such occasions, he helped to shake down the system which was already tottering to its fall, but he was powerless to prevent the fall from becoming a revolution: probably he did not even perceive that it was impending. At any moment the bankruptcy of the State might have been declared, a bankruptcy which the middle classes, now interested in the State finances as creditors, did not want at any price. With all this, the mass of the people were already so impoverished that they could no longer pay the taxes — they did not pay, and revolted; while the clergy and the nobility refused to make any sacrifice in the interests of the State.

La presse en l'an II : aperçu des recherches en cours

Under such conditions the risings in the villages necessarily brought the country nearer to the Revolution. And it was in the midst of these difficulties that the minister Calonne convoked an Assembly of the Notables at Versailles for February 22, To convoke this Assembly of Notables was to do exactly what ought not to have been done at that moment: it was exactly the half-measure which on one side made the National Assembly inevitable, and on the other hand inspired distrust of the Court and hatred of the two privileged orders, the nobility and the clergy.

Through that Assembly it was learned that the national debt had mounted up to sixteen hundred and forty-six millions — an appalling sum at that time — and that the annual deficit was increasing by one hundred and forty millions annually. And this in a country ruined as France was! It came to be known — every one talked of it and after every one had talked about it, the Notables, drawn from the upper classes and practically a ministerial assembly, separated on May 25 without having done or decided anything.

But the new minister, by his intrigues and his attempted severity, only succeeded in stirring up the parlements , in provoking widely spread riots when he wished to disband them, and in exciting public opinion still more against the Court. When he was dismissed on August 25, , there was general rejoicing all over France. But as he had proved clearly the impossibility of despotic government there was nothing for the Court but to submit.

Even in this the Court and Necker, who was recalled to the ministry in , managed so as to displease every one.

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It was the general opinion in France that in the States-General, in which the three classes would be separately represented, the Third Estate ought to have twice as many members as the two others, and that the voting should be by individuals. This was exactly what happened; but in spite of that, public opinion had been so predisposed in favour of the Third Estate by the provincial Assemblies that Necker and the Court were obliged to give in. The Third Estate was granted a double representation — that is to say, out of a thousand deputies the Third would have as many as the clergy and nobility combined.

In short, the Court and Necker did everything they possibly could to turn public opinion against them, without gaining any advantage for themselves.