NCERT Folder 9th History Chapter 1

Revision Notes

Important Terms

  • Bastille : The Bastille was a fortress in Paris that was used as a state prison by the kings of France.
  • Bourbon family : It is the name of the royal family of French origin, members of which became rulers of several European countries.
  • Bourgeoisie class : The social class that came to own the means of production during modern industrialization and was primarily concerned with property values.
  • Chateau : A large French country house or stately residence belonging to a king or a nobleman.
  • Constitutional monarchy : Form of government in which a king or queen acts as Head of State.
  • Clergy : Group of persons vested with special functions in the church.
  • Convent : Building belonging to a community devoted to a religious life.
  • Deputy : A parliamentary representative in many countries.
  • Democracy : A form of government in which power is vested in the people, who rule either directly or through freely elected representatives.
  • Livre : Currency of France from 781 to 1794.
  • Sceptre : Symbol of royal power.
  • Subsistence crisis : An extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered.
  • Sans-culottes : Group of people in France.
  • Tithes : A tax levied by the church, comprising one-tenth of the agricultural produce.
  • Treason : The action of betraying one’s country or a government.
  • Dictator : A ruler who wields absolute authority.
  • Negroes : A term used for the indigenous people of Africa South of the Sahara. It is a derogatory term, not in common use any longer.
  • Feudalism : A social system, in which the king would give a piece of land to the nobles who fought for him. While the peasants were obliged to live on their landlord’s land and serve him.
  • Guillotine : A device consisting of two poles and a blade with which a person is beheaded.
  • Jacobin Club : A political club that existed during the French Revolution.

Important Dates

  • 1770s-1780s : Economic decline : French Government in deep debt.
  • 10th May, 1774 : Louis XVI ascended the throne and death of Louis XV.
  • Between 1715 and 1771 : French commerce had increased eight fold; it was exporting sugar, coffee and indigo.
  • 1788-1789 : Bad harvest, high prices, food riots
  • 5th May, 1789 : The Estates General met after a gap of almost two centuries.
  • 17th June, 1789 : Representatives of third estate declared themselves as the National Assembly of the people of France, not of the estates.
  • 14th July, 1789 : National Assembly formed; Storming of the Bastille ; Beginning of the French Revolution.
  • 4th August, 1789 : The National Assembly passed a decree abolishing feudal privileges and system of obligations and taxes.
  • August 26, 1789 : Declaration of the Rights of Man
  • 1790 : Civil Constitution of the Clergy nationalises the Church.
  • 1791 : The National Assembly completed the draft of the constitution to limit the powers of the king and to guarantee basic right to all human beings.
  • August 1791 : Prussia and Austria issued the Declaration of Pillnitz.
  • 1792-93 : France becomes a republic. Jacobin Republic overthrown, a Directory rules France.
  • 1792-1794 : The Reign of Terror starts. Austria, Britain, the Netherlands, Prussia and Spain are at war with France. Robespierre’s Committee of Public Safety repels back foreign invaders. Executes many “enemies of the people” in France itself.
  • 1794 : Robespierre is executed. France is governed by a Directory, a committee of five men.
  • April 1792 : National Assembly declared war Austria and Prussia.
  • 10th August 1792 : Anti-monarchy Jacobins rallied together with Sans-cullotes.
  • 21st January, 1793 : King Louis XVI was executed at the Guillotine.
  • 1793 : Marie Antoinette are executed.
  • Between September 1793 and July 1794 : Some 25,000 victims were dragged to Public Square to be guillotined.
  • 1795 : A new Convention appointed a five-man Directorate to run the state from 26 October, 1795.
  • 1815 : Napoleon was finally defeated in the Battle of Waterloo.
  • 1799 : The Revolution ends with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • 1848 : Abolition of slavery in French colonies.
  • 1946 : Women in France won the right to vote.


The Ancient Regime And Its Crises

  • On the morning of 14th July 1789, the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. The king had commanded the troops to move into the city.
  • Rumours spread that the king would soon order the army to open fire upon the citizens. Some 7,000 men and women gathered in front of the town hall and decided to form a peoples’ militia. They broke into a number of government buildings in search of arms.
  • Finally, a group of several hundred people marched towards the eastern part of the city and stormed the fortress prison, the Bastille, where they hoped to find hoarded ammunition. In the armed fight that followed, the commander of the Bastille was killed and the prisoners released.
  • The days that followed saw more rioting both in Paris and the countryside. Most people were protesting against the high price of bread. Actually, it was the beginning of a chain of events that ultimately led to the execution of the king in France, though most people at that time did not anticipate this outcome.
  • French Society during the late 18th century
    • In 1774, Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of France.
    • Causes for an empty treasury of France under Louis XVI :
      1. Long years of war had drained the financial resources of France.
      2. High cost of maintaining an extravagant court at the immense palace of Versailles.
      3. Under Louis XVI, France helped the thirteen American colonies to gain their independence from the common enemy, Britain.
      4. The war added more than a billion livres to a debt that had already risen to more than 2 billion livres.
      5. Lenders, who gave the state credit, now began to charge 10 per cent interest on loans.
  • French Society in the eighteenth century was divided into three Estates, and only members of the Third Estate paid taxes.
    1. The members of the First Estate, that is the clergy, enjoyed certain privileges by birth. The most important of these was exemption from paying taxes to the state.
    2. The members of the Second Estate were the nobility. They enjoyed feudal privileges by birth. These included feudal dues, which they extracted from the peasants. They were also exempted from paying taxes.
    3. The Third Estate comprised of peasants, artisans, landless labour, servants, lawyers, doctors, administrative officials, traders, etc., they had to pay all taxes to the state.
  • Peasants made up about 90% of the population. However, only a small number of them owned the land they cultivated.
  • Peasants were obliged to render services to the lord, work in his house and fields, serve in the army or to participate in building roads.
  • All members of the Third Estate had to pay taxes to the state including a direct tax, called ‘taille’ and a number of indirect taxes which were levied on articles of everyday consumption like salt or tobacco.
  • The Struggle to Survive
    1. Increasing population of France led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains. But the production of grains could not keep pace with the demand. So the price of bread rose rapidly.
    2. Wages of the workers did not keep pace with the rise in prices. So the gap between the poor and the rich widened.
    3. Things became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest. This led to a subsistence crisis, something that occurred frequently in France during the Old Regime.
  • A Growing Middle Class Envisages an End to Privileges
    1. The eighteenth century witnessed the emergence of social groups, termed the middle class. They earned their wealth through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as woollen and silk textiles that were either exported or bought by the richer members of society.
    2. Members of the middle class were educated and believed that no group in the society should be privileged by birth. Rather, a person’s social position must depend on his merit.
    3. These ideas envisaging a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all were put forward by philosophers such as John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau.
    4. In his Two Treatises of Government, Locke sought to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the monarch. Rousseau carried the idea forward, proposing a form of government based on a social contract between people and their representatives.
    5. In The Spirit of the Laws, Montesquieu proposed a division of power within the government between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary.

The Social Forces That Led To The Revolution

  • The Outbreak of the Revolution
    1. Louis XVI planned to impose further taxes to be able to meet the expenses of the State.
    2. In France of the Old Regime, the monarch did not have the power to impose taxes according to his will alone. Rather he had to call a meeting of the Estates General to pass the proposals for new taxes.
    3. On 5th May 1789, Louis XVI called an assembly of the Estates General to pass proposals for new taxes. Peasants, artisans and women were denied entry to the assembly and from participating in the meeting.
    4. Voting in the Estates General in the past had been conducted according to the principle that each estate had one vote. But this time, members of the Third Estate demanded that voting now be conducted by the assembly as a whole, where each member would have one vote. When the king rejected this proposal, members of the Third Estate walked out of the assembly in protest.
    5. On 20th June 1789, the representatives of the Third Estate assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of Versailles under the leadership of Mirabeau and Abbé Sieyès. They declared themselves a National Assembly and swore not to disperse till they had drafted a constitution for France that would limit the powers of the monarch.
    6. Because of bad harvest, increase in demand for food grains and high price of bread, people of France were becoming angry day by day. At the same time, the king ordered the troops to move into Paris. Finally, on 14th July, the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed the Bastille.
    7. On the night of 4th August 1789, the Assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes. Members of the clergy too were forced to give up their privileges. Tithes were abolished and lands owned by the Church were confiscated. As a result, the government acquired assets worth at least 2 billion livres.
  • France Becomes a Constitutional Monarchy
    1. The National Assembly completed the draft of the Constitution in 1791. Its main objective was to limit the powers of the monarch.
    2. These powers were now separated and assigned to different institutions – the legislature, executive and judiciary.
      This made France a constitutional monarchy.
    3. Not all citizens, however, had the right to vote. Only men above 25 years of age who paid taxes equal to at least 3 days of a labourer’s wage were given the status of active citizens and were entitled to vote. The remaining men and all the women were classed as passive citizens.
    4. The Constitution began with a Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Rights such as the right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before the law, were established as ‘natural and inalienable rights’. These rights belonged to each human being by birth and could not be taken away.
  • France Abolishes Monarchy and Becomes a Republic
    1. Although Louis XVI had signed the Constitution, he entered into secret negotiations with the King of Prussia.
    2. The National Assembly voted in April 1792 to declare war against Prussia and Austria. Thousands of volunteers thronged from the provinces to join the army.
    3. Political clubs became an important rallying point for people who wished to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action. The most successful of these clubs was that of the, Jacobins, which got its name from the former convent of St. Jacob in Paris.
    4. The members of the Jacobin Club belonged mainly to the less prosperous sections of society. They included small shopkeepers, artisans such as shoemakers, pastry cooks, watch-makers, printers, as well as servants and dailywage workers. Their leader was Maximilian Robespierre.
    5. These Jacobins came to be known as the sans-culottes, literally meaning, those without knee breeches. Sansculottes men wore long striped trousers similar to those worn by dock workers, in addition to the red cap that symbolized liberty. Women, however, were not allowed to do so.
    6. On the morning of August 10, 1792, they stormed the Palace of the Tuileries, massacred the king’s guards and held the king himself as a hostage for several hours. Later, the Assembly voted to imprison the royal family. Elections were held.
    7. The newly-elected assembly was called the Convention. On 21st September 1792, it abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic.
    8. A republic is a form of government where the people elect the government including the head of the government. There is no hereditary monarchy.
    9. Louis XVI was sentenced to death by a court on the charge of treason. On 21st January 1793, he was executed publicly at the Place de la Concorde.

The Different Revolutionary Groups And Ideas Of The Time

  • The Reign of Terror
    • Robespierre’s rule in France was known as the ‘Reign of Terror’:
      1. The period from 1793 to 1794 is referred to as the Reign of Terror.
      2. Robespierre followed a policy of severe control and punishment. All those whom he saw as being enemies of the republic for e.g. the ex-nobles and clergy, members of other political parties, and even members of his own party who did not agree with his methods, were arrested, imprisoned and then tried by a revolutionary tribunal.
      3. Robespierre’s government issued laws placing a maximum ceiling on wages and prices.
      4. Meat and bread were rationed.
      5. Peasants were forced to transport their grain to the cities and sell it at prices fixed by the government.
      6. The use of more expensive white flour was forbidden; all citizens were required to eat the bread, a loaf made of whole wheat.
      7. Equality was also sought to be practiced through forms of speech and address.
      8. Churches were shut down and their buildings converted into barracks or offices.
    • Finally, he was convicted by a court in July 1794, arrested, and on the next day, sent to the guillotine.
  • A Directory Rules France
    1. The fall of the Jacobin government allowed the wealthier middle classes to seize power.
    2. A new constitution was introduced which denied the vote to non-propertied sections of society.
    3. The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • Did Women Have a Revolution?
    • From the very beginning, women were active participants in the events which brought about so many important changes in the French Society.
    • Condition of women during the French Revolution :
      1. The women hoped that their involvement would pressurize the revolutionary government to introduce measures to improve their lives.
      2. Most women of the Third Estate had to work for a living. They worked as seamstresses or laundresses and sold flowers, fruits and vegetables in the market.
      3. They were employed as domestic servants in the houses of prosperous people.
      4. Most women did not have access to education or job training. Only daughters of nobles or wealthier members of the Third Estate could study at a convent.
      5. Working women had also to care for their families, i.e., cook, fetch water, queue up for bread and look after the children.
      6. Their wages were lower than those of men.
    • In order to discuss and voice their interests, women started their own political clubs and newspapers. The Society of Revolutionary and the Republican Women was the most famous club.
    • Women of France demanded the right to vote, to be elected to the Assembly and to hold political offices.
    • Laws introduced by the revolutionary government to improve the lives of women in France :
      1. Together with the creation of state schools, schooling was made compulsory for all the girls.
      2. Their fathers could no longer force them into marriage against their will.
      3. Marriage was made into a contract entered into freely and registered under civil law.
      4. Divorce was made legal and could be applied for by both women and men.
      5. Women could now train for jobs, become artists, or run small businesses.
    • Women’s struggle for equal political rights, however, continued. It was finally in 1946 that women in France won the right to vote.
  • The Abolition of Slavery
    1. One of the most revolutionary social reforms of the Jacobin regime was the abolition of slavery in the French colonies.
    2. A triangular slave trade began in the seventeenth century between Europe, Africa and America.
    3. The exploitation of slave labourers made it possible to meet the growing demand in European markets for sugar, coffee and indigo. Port cities like Bordeaux and Nantes owed their economic prosperity to the flourishing slave trade.
    4. Slavery was finally abolished in French colonies in 1848.
  • The Revolution and Everyday Life
    1. The years following 1789 in France saw many changes in the daily lives of men, women and children.
    2. The revolutionary governments took it upon themselves to pass laws that would translate the ideals of liberty and equality into everyday practice.
    3. One important law that came into effect soon after the storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789 was the abolition of censorship.
  • Effects of abolition of censorship :
    1. Now the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen proclaimed freedom of speech and expression to be a natural right.
    2. Newspapers, pamphlets, books and printed pictures flooded the towns of France from where they travelled rapidly into the countryside.
    3. They all described and discussed the events and changes taking place in France.
    4. Freedom of the press also meant that opposing views of events could be expressed.
    5. Plays, songs and festive processions attracted large numbers of people.
  • In 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself as the Emperor of France.
  • Napoleon saw his role as a modernizer of Europe. He introduced many laws, such as
    1. the protection of private property, and
    2. a uniform system of weights and measures provided by the decimal system.
  • Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.
  • The ideas of liberty and democratic rights were the most important legacy of the French Revolution. These ideas spread from France to the rest of Europe during the nineteenth century, where feudal systems were abolished.
  • Tipu Sultan and Raja Rammohan Roy are the two examples of individuals who responded to the ideas coming from revolutionary France.

Intext Questions


(Page No. 5)

Question: Explain why the artist has portrayed the nobleman as the spider and the peasant as the fly.
Answer: Spider feeds on the fly for its survival. In the same way, the so called nobles of the French revolution imposed heavy taxes on the peasants which caused so much turmoil for them. The nobles obviously lived by utilizing the tax given by the peasants. Hence the artist compares the nobles to the spider and the peasants to the fly.


(Page No. 6)

Question: Fill in the given blank box with appropriate terms from among the following: Food riots, scarcity of grain, increased number of deaths, rising food prices, weaker bodies.Activity 2Answer: Activity 2 Answer


(Page No. 7)

Question: What message is Young trying to convey here? Whom does he mean when he speaks of ‘‘slaves’’? Who is he criticizing? What dangers does he sense in the situation of 1787?
Answer: Young is conveying the message that any social system based on Injustice will not last long and its consequences can be disastrous for the exploiters. The ‘slaves’ mentioned by him are the peasants, servants and landless sharecroppers, who were the underprivileged and deprived sections of French society at that time. He is criticizing the complete social system and particularly the noblemen and the clergy. The danger sensed by him is violence from the underprivileged sections on the noblemen and their families.


(Page No. 8)

Question: Representatives of the Third Estate take the oath raising their arms in the direction of Bailly, the President of the Assembly, standing on a table in the centre. Do you think that during the actual event Bailly would have stood with his back to the assembled deputies? What could have been David’s intention in placing Bailly the way he has done?Activity 4
Answer: No, during the actual event, Bailly would not have stood with his back to the assembled deputies. The artist was actually trying to show that the constitution framed in 1791, after the 1789 revolution, had “turned its back” on the aspirations of the peasants, workers and women, instead of meeting them. Despite the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, the right to vote and stand for election remained with the rich and propertied class. The others were just passive citizens.


(Page No. 13)

Question 1. Identify the symbols in Box 1 which stand for liberty, equality and fraternity.Activity 5

  • Liberty: The broken chain and the Red Phrygian cap.
  • Equality: The winged women and the Law tablet.
  • Fraternity: The bundle of rods or fasces and Blue-white-red.

Question 2. Explain the meaning of the painting of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen by reading only the symbols.Activity 6Fig–The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, painted by the artist LeBarbier in 1790. The figure on the right represents France. The figure on the left symbolizes the law.
Answer: The figure symbolizes the right to liberty, property, equality, etc enshrined in the new Constitution of France. The figure on the right symbolizes the law. The law tablet signifies equality before the law for all.

Question 3. Compare the political rights which the Constitution of 1791 gave to the citizens with Articles 1 and 6 of the Declaration (Source C). Are the two documents consistent? Do the two documents convey the same idea?Activity 7Answer: The two documents are consistent and convey the same idea that human beings are born equal and all citizens are equal before the law. However, the Constitution of 1791 did not give practical shape to these ideas.

Question 4. Which groups of French society would have gained from the Constitution of 1791? Which groups would have had reason to be dissatisfied? What developments does Marat (Source B) anticipate in the future?Activity 7
Answer: Only some members of the Third Estate, who were rich and propertied, would have gained from this Constitution. Members of the First and Second Estates would have been dissatisfied as their privileges were abolished and they had to pay taxes.
Marat anticipates another revolution in which the poor will rebel against the rich persons of the Third Estate and overthrow them, just like they had done the noblemen and clergy.

Question 5. Imagine the impact of the events in France on neighbouring countries such as Prussia, Austria-Hungary or Spain, all of which were absolute monarchies. How would the kings, traders, peasants, nobles or members of the clergy here, have reacted to the news of what was happening in France?
Answer: The kings, nobles, clergy and other privileged sections of these countries would become fearful that what has happened in France can happen in their country also. The peasants would welcome the developments in France and sympathies with the peasants and underprivileged sections of that country.


(Page No. 15)

Question: Look carefully at the painting and identify the objects which are political symbols you saw in Box 1 (broken chain, red cap, fasces, Charter of the Declaration of Rights). The pyramid stands for equality, often represented by a triangle. Use the symbols to interpret the painting. Describe your impressions of the female figure of liberty.Activity 7Fig – Nanine Vallain, Liberty.This is one of the rare paintings by a woman artist, the revolutionary events made it possible for women to train with established painters and to exhibit their works in the Salon, which is an exhibition held for every 2 years the female symbolizes the idea of freedom.
Answer: The scroll in the right hand of the woman symbolizes the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. The pyramid in the background stands for equality, as all the three sides of a pyramid are equal. The left hand holding aloft the red cap symbolizes the torch of freedom. The female figure of liberty symbolizes the equality of women and men.


(Page No. 16)

Question: Compare the views of Desmoulins and Robespierre. How does each one understand the use of state force? What does Robespierre mean by ‘the war of liberty against tyranny’? How does Desmoulins perceive liberty? Refer once more to Source C. What did the constitutional laws on the rights of individuals lay -down? Discuss your views on the subject in class.Activity 7
Answer: Robespierre felt that use of terror by a democratic government was justified, as it preserved the ideals of the revolution. However, Desmoulins sees liberty as freedom to do anything which is based on principles of equality, reason and justice without being injurious to others.

Robespierre saying, ‘the war of liberty against tyranny’ meant that they should kill the enemies of the republic both in France and outside France.

Desmoulins perceives liberty as laid down in the Declaration of Rights, i.e. it is happiness, reason, equality and justice. The constitutional laws on the rights of individuals laid down the rights of liberty, equality, property, security and resistance to oppression.


(Page No. 18)

Question: Describe the persons represented in Fig. 12 – their actions, their postures, the objects they are carrying. Look carefully to see whether all of them come from the same social group. What symbols has the artist included in the image? What do they stand for? Do the actions of the women reflect traditional ideas of how women were expected to behave in public? What do you think: does the artist sympathize with the women’s activities or is he critical of them? Discuss your views in the class.Activity 8
Answer: They are all women and belong to the same social group, i.e. the underprivileged. The agricultural implements in their hands confirm that they are peasants. The clothes also show their poverty. The symbol of justice held by one woman depicts that they are striving for it. The woman on the horse symbolizes power and strength.

The drum symbolizes that they are proclaiming their march to all concerned. Here the actions of the women do not reflect the traditional ideas of how women should publicly behave. The artist definitely sympathizes with the activities of the women.


(Page No. 19)

Question: Compare the manifesto drafted by Olympe de Gouges (Source F) with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (Source C).Activity 7Activity 8 Source F
Answer: The manifesto drafted by Olympe de Gouges mentions women and equality throughout its text, mentioning women first in all places. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen does not mention women at all, it only talks about men.


(Page No. 19)

Question: Imagine yourself to be one of the women in Fig. 13. Formulate a response to the arguments put forward by Chaumette (Source G).Source G
Answer: The arguments given by Chaumette are not justifiable. He has mentioned only the biological role of women. As individuals, women have equal rights to men and so they must be treated equal to men. They would, of course, continue their traditional roles like bearing and nurturing children, feeding them, etc, but women are equally capable as men to carry out the other duties of human beings also.


(Page No. 21)

Question: Record your impressions of this print (Fig. 14). Describe the objects lying on the ground. What do they symbolize? What attitude does the picture express towards non-European slaves?9-History-Chapter-1-Activity-11
Answer: This print symbolizes the superior feeling of French people towards slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. The French thought that these people were uncivilized. The slogans represent the fact that the former slaves will have equal rights to the European settlers, now that the slaves are free. The objects lying on the ground are European clothes, symbolizing the superior culture of Europe compared to that of the slaves. This expresses the racial and condescending attitude of the French towards the slaves.


(Page No. 22)

Question: Describe the picture in your own words. What are the images that the artist has used to communicate the following ideas: greed, equality, justice, takeover by the state of the assets of the church?
Answer: Greed is symbolized by the fat clergyman on the left. The two men accompanying him symbolize government officials who have taken over the assets of the Church. The fat reducing press in the middle symbolizes justice. The man and woman on the right symbolize equality. The whole picture depicts what the revolution stood for.


(Page No. 24)

Question 1. Find out more about any one of the revolutionary figures you have read about in this chapter. Write a short biography of this person.
Answer: Napoleon Bonaparte
The great Napoleon was born on 15th August 1769 to Carlo maria and Letizia Ramolino. He used to speak French and was very well educated. He led many successful campaigns against the enemies of the French revolution and crowned himself as an emperor of France. The Napoleon introduced many laws like the private property, uniform system of weights and also the measures provided by the decimal system. The armies of Napoleon were observed everywhere by the enemy force and finally defeated at Waterloo in 1815.


(Page No. 24)

Question 2. The French Revolution saw the rise of newspapers describing the events of each day and week. Collect information and pictures on any one event and write a newspaper article. You could also conduct an imaginary interview with important personages such as Mirabeau, Olympe de Gouges or Robespierre. Work in groups of two or three. Each group could then put up their articles on a board to produce a wallpaper on the French Revolution.
Answer: Russian Revolution: The Russian Revolution took place in the year 1917. It was one of the most explosive events of the 20th century. In 1917, two revolutions swept through Russia, ending centuries of imperial rule and setting into motion political and social changes that would lead to the formation of the Soviet Union.

While the two revolutionary events took place within a few short months, social unrest in Russia had been simmering for decades. In the early 1900s, Russia was one of the most impoverished countries in Europe with an enormous peasantry and a growing minority of poor industrial workers.

Students can conduct an imaginary interview at the presence of their History teacher and could use information from Library or Internet.

NCERT Solution

(Page No. 24)

Question 1: Describe the circumstances leading to the outbreak of revolutionary protest in France.
Answer: Following are some of the causes which had a cumulative effect to result in revolution in France:

  • The war with Britain for an independent America: This war led to mounting debt on the French monarchy. This necessitated imposition of new taxes on the public.
  • Privilege based on birth: People got privileges and position based on their lineage and not on their merit. This led to resentment among common people.
  • Concentration of power among the privileged: People belonging to the first and second estate had all the power and money. Masses were at the mercy of this privileged class.
  • Subsistence Crisis: Rising population and less grain production resulted in demand supply gap of bread, which was the staple diet. Wages did not keep pace with rising prices. It was becoming difficult for people.
  • Growing Middle Class: Because of increased overseas trade a new class emerged. This class was wealthy not because of birth but because of its ability to utilize opportunities. People of the middle class started raising their voice for an end to privileges based on lineage.

All of this led to a general sense of resentment among people. Certain thinkers of the period spread awareness through various media. Some from the privileged classes also advocated a switch to democracy. So, finally there was revolution in France.

Question 2: Which groups of French society benefitted from the revolution? Which groups were forced to relinquish power? Which sections of society would have been disappointed with the outcome of the revolution?

  • The common men (Third Estate) benefitted from the Revolution because they gained equal socio-economic status and liberty.
  • The clergy and nobility were forced to relinquish power. Their privileges were taken away.
  • The moderates who wanted Constitutional Monarchy were disappointed because ultimately Napolian came to power.

Question 3: Describe the legacy of the French Revolution for the peoples of the world during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

  • The French Revolution not only affected France and changed its entire social and political system; it also had a lasting effect on the people of Europe in the 19th century. It inspired the Germans, Italians, and Austrians to overthrow their oppressive regimes. It led to a decade of political changes and Europe saw many revolutions inspired by the French Revolution.
  • The watchwords of the French Revolution such as liberty, equality and fraternity reflected the coming of a new democratic and social order in Europe and the world.
  • The French Revolution inspired the struggling nations of Asia and Africa who were groaning under the oppression of colonialism. Many a nation aspiring for liberty sought inspiration from its ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • India’s struggle for independence was inspired by the ideas of the great French philosophers like Voltaire and Rousseau and fired by the ideas expressed in the Rights of Man (1789).
  • The French Revolution put into practice the idea that sovereignty comes from the people, from below and not from above. A Greek guerrilla chieftain who led a revolt against the Turkish landlords in 1821 wrote :

“According to my judgement, the French Revolution opened the eyes of the world. The nations knew nothing before, and the people thought the kings were Gods upon the earth and they were bound to say that whatever they did was well done. In the present change it is more difficult to rule the people.”

Question 4: Draw up a list of democratic rights we enjoy today whose origins could be traced to the French Revolution.
Answer: Some of the democratic rights which we enjoy today can be traced to the French Revolution are as follows:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of press
  • Abolition of censorship
  • Right to vote
  • Abolition of slavery
  • Right to liberty
  • Right to property
  • Right to security
  • Right to education
  • Divorce laws

Question 5: Would you agree with the view that the message of universal rights was beset with contradictions? Explain.

  • The message of universal rights was beset with contradictions. The universal rights lay emphasis on the inalienable rights of man which mention property as one right which no government can ensure. Property will be owned by some and not by all. Even the ownership cannot be an equal division for all.
  • The Declaration also says that all citizens have the right to participate in the formation of laws, personally or through their representatives. All citizens are equal before it. But for this a country must have free and fair elections which does not happen everywhere.
  • The universal rights also say that every citizen may speak, write and print freely. For this there must be freedom of press which in many governments is restricted.

Question 6: How would you explain the rise of Napoleon?
Answer: The fall of the Jacobin government allowed the wealthier middle classes to seize power. A new constitution was introduced which denied the vote to non-propertied sections of society. It provided for two elected legislative councils. These then appointed a Directory, an executive made up of five members. This was meant as a safeguard against the concentration of power in a one-man executive as under the Jacobins. However, the Directors often clashed with the legislative councils, who then sought to dismiss them. The political instability of the Directory paved the way for the rise of a military dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.

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