Louis XIV came to the throne as a "wishing to please monarch". He is reported to have said, "What I should like most is to be loved." He dismissed chancellor Maupeou and repealed taxation of the privileged. Louis also dismissed Turgot when his ideas of a liberalized economy drew opposition. Feeble and indecisive Absolutism would find no home under Louis XVI.
Louis XVI gives into public opinion and the Assembly of Notables to call the Estates General. Originally called to review an across the board tax by Louis XVI it the Estates General would become the catalyst for the French Revolution. This was a crippling move by Louis XVI, one his predecessors had not made since 1614.
Made up of Third Estate delegates and some clerical delegates of the Estates General. The National Assembly was born of the majority estate dedicated to draft a new constitution. Though this was the essence of the Estates General this incited Louis XVI to call 18,000 troops to Paris in order to reinstate hisAbsolutist rule by force.
In 1788 a poor grain harvest incited bread rioting and crisis within the Third Estate's populous. When knowledge spread of the King calling troops near Paris, angry crowds formed and attacked the prison of Bastille for arms. The King was forced to recede his troops. This allowed for the continued deliberation of the now Nat'l Assembly and marked a milestone of the power the peasantry wielded in numbers.
Fear of the opposition of their take overs of estates, Peasants became even more active in revolt. This allowed peasants new rights bestowed upon them by the National Assembly. Serfdom was abolished along with special hunting rights, fees for justice, village monopolies, and tithes payed to the church. This was a seemingly triumphant phase of the Revolution but as later seen staples to the societal structure was lost in these abolitions.
As markets shrank and employment soared after the attack on Bastille. Women without church provided access to food marched on Versailles in demand for action. They broke into the royal apartments in search of Marie Antoinette, in order to kill her. The royal family was driven back to Paris now located closer to the people. This was a victory for the symbolistic need of the King to be in touch with the lower half of society.
A new legislature elected of pure male suffrage. This newly formed body declared France now a republic, in which the people had power not the monarch. This new body would be the political leader of France directly after Louis XVI. All members were republican and the majority divided Jacobins. The Convention was spilt between the Mountain and the Girondists. Radicals and Conservatives.
The National Convention, by popular vote by the Mountain, convicted Louis XVI of treason. His final words were, " I am innocent and shall die without fear. I would hope my death might bring happiness to the French and ward of the dangers which I foresee. The National Assembly contradicted this statement and continued their "war on tyranny."
The Reign of Terror solidified power for the National Convention at home. Special revolutionary courts answering only to Robespierre's Committee of Public Safety tried "enemies of the state" for political crimes. During the Reign of Terror some 40,000 French men and women were executed and imprisoned, including Robespierre himself. The Terror represented the perversion of the Revolutionary Ideals. Revolution was attempted to be integrated into to all aspects of life and the country underwent dechristianization.
A five man executive proceeding the National Assembly. Voted in by men of substantial means, The Directory was the next rebirth of French Political power until Napoleon. They continued support of the armies and saw their reign destroyed by this. The Directory thrived on public opinion and in supporting the army they went against the public and their disgust with war and food rationing. The Directory soon lost it's reigns.
Napoleons rule stemmed from two factors: his renowned military reputation and the dissatisfaction of opponents to the "weak monarchy" offered by the Directory. The abbe Sieyes was the essence of this thinking and as he and his co-conspirators found candidate in Napoleon to rule they overthrew the Directory by way of bayonet and instated Napoleon into power.
In accordance to Napoleon's use of deals to maintain civil order amongst the French the Napoleonic Code was his deal with the middle class. It reasserted such ideals as male equality in suffrage and security of wealth and property. The code also stripped laws gained by women in the revolution reinstating without a doubt the male head of a household.
Napoleon's last breath and act. He usurped his power once again from Louis XVIII and left the Island of Elba and a 2 million yearly franc salary. Napoleon's forces were crushed and he was imprisoned on St. Helena. Napoleon's final bid for victory leaving a more than generous defeat shows his determination and fervor for power.