– The spread of new enlightenment ideals, the development of the bourgeoisie in the 18th century and the example of the American Revolution stimulated the desire for change in Europe.

– A revolutionary wave began in France in 1789 and spread through Europe in the first half of the 19th century. It’s aim was to end absolutism and the Ancien Régime. 

– Revolutionaries wanted all make citizens to be considered free and equal with an end to feudal privilegies, and the right to participate in political life. 


Enlightenment ideas about government 

– sources of government’s power. Consent of governed; will of majority

– Structure of government. Separation of powers; checks and balance 

-Power of government. Absolute power or limited power

-When government fails. People have right to overthrow the government. 

-Pourpose of government. To protect natural rights.

-Goal of government. Material well-being; social justice 

-Governmnet and the economy. Lassiez faire; free market 

Enlightenment principle and the American Revolution gave the bourgeoisie new ideas to help the confront absolutism and the stratified state system of society. 

Principle of enlightenment

– Reason. Versus tradition or superstition 

– Learning and teaching. Educate and “enlighten” society.

-Natural rights of the human being. Power can’t eliminate individual freedom and property

-Tolerance. To coexist in society

-Social equality. Opposition to the state of realm. Every person could progress in society thank you his/her abilities, in stead of the economic privilegies if noble families. 

-Equality and liberty under the low. All people should enjoy the same legal rights and freedoms. 


-In the late 18th century, the Third Estate(composed of the bourgeoisie, peasant and artisans) aspired to profound social reforms. The peasants were opposed to the heavy taxes. The bourgeoisie wanted to end the privilegies enjoyed by the nobility and clergy. 

-The economic crisis, which was the result of a series of poor harvest since 1760 generated discontent among the people. 

-The financial crisis, caused by the monarchy’s lack of money. Louis XVI convened the Estates-General the only body that could approve tax reform. 


-The Estates-General met in Versailles in May 1789 the Third Estate representatives decided to leave the meeting when the privileged classes refused to allow them greater representation.

-They met in a pavilion in Versailles(Jeu de Paume) and proclaimed themselves the National Assembly(representatives the nation). They pledged to draggy a constitution that reflected the will of the majority of french people. 

-The people of Paris stormed the Bastile. In the countryside nobles’ homes were burnt.

-Louis XVI was frightened and, in the autumn of 1789, accepted the National Assembly, wich made France a constitutional monarchy. 


The revolution went through different phases: 

-The constitutional Monarchy(1789-1792). This was driven by the moderate bourgeoisie.

-The social Revolution (1792-1794).The radical bourgeoisie proclaimed the Republic and began a transformation into a democratic and equal society. 

-The conservative Republic (1794-1799).Despite the radicalization of the French Revolution, the moderate bourgeoisie took power and implemented a new moderate liberalism.


The long term causes of the French Revolution emerge the economic and financial crisis of 1788, made worse by the refusal of the privileged classes to pay taxes.

The short-term cause was their refusal to accept, in the Estates-General, a greater representation of the Third Estate and to accept that their vote was per representative rather than per estate. The Third Estate representatives abandoned the meeting and a revolutionary process started. These factors were specific to France. The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America and the Enlightenment principle were external factors.


The constitutional monarchy (1789-1792)

-The moderate bourgeoisie tried to reach an agreement with the king and the privileged classes. The National Constituent Assembly: 

  • Abolished feudalism and approved the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the citizens. 
  • Drew up a constitution (1791) based on the separation of powers, national sovereignty and legal equality. Census sulfate was also introduced, giving the vote to the people with a certain level of wealth.

-A legislative Assembly forced the nobility to pay taxes and abolished the guilds.

In order to solve the financial crisis, Church property was expropriated (confiscated) and sold.

A constitutional monarchy was established in 1791, but the royal family and the privileged classes did not accept the changes and asked absolute monarchies in Europe to help restore absolutism.

-The Austrian army invaded France and Louis XVI fled Paris, but he was arrested.

The social republic (1792-1794) 

-The betrayal by the king and the military invasion led to the revolt by the common people. A republic was declared and the second phase of the Revolution began.

-Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette were convicted of treason and executed (1793). Monarchies in Europe formed an absolutist coalition against France. 

-In 1793, the Jacobins, the most radical sector of the bourgeoisie, seized power. 

-The reject the Austrian invasion, a mass levy was organized that forced all citizens to join the army. Freedoms were suspended 

-Many people opposed the dictatorial government, and a coup in July 1794 ended the Jacobin government. Roberspierre and other Jacobin leaders were executed by guillotine. 

The conservation republic (1794-1799)

-The bourgeoisie took back control of the Revolution an it entered its third and final phase. Jacobin laws were cancelled.

-The Directory was permanently unstable because it faced opposition from the aristocracy and the common people. In this context general Napoleon Bonaparte organized a coup in 1799 that ended the Directory. 

-In 1800, the French people voted in favor of a new Constitution that made Napoleon consul of France.

-Bonaparte wins his first his first major victory leading his soldiers across a bridge at the Battle of Arcole (November 17,1796) 

-Bonaparte defeats the Austrians at the Battle of Rivoli (January 14,1797)


The consulate (1799-1804) 

-Napoleon’s coup d’état was supported by a large part of bourgeoisie.

-In 1799, Napoleon was named consul, and the Consulate’s rule began. This was a period of autocratic and authoritarian rule. Napoleon aspired to put an end to the political instability and promote economic recovery. 

-The Constitution did not include the separation of powers or a redaction of rights. 

-The state was organized into departments. The public finance sector was reformed, and state schools were created. 

-A commercial code was established to stimulate the economy. 

The napoleónico empire (1804-1815)

-Napoleon began his conquest of Europe in 1803 and was crowned emperor by the Pope in 1804. His large army and the use of new military tactics enabled him to defeat most European monarchies. 

-In 1808, the French invaded Spain. In 1811, the Napoleonic Empire had reached its zenitch: it extended from Germany to Spain 


The Napoleonic military compagina sparked two types of reaction: 

-On the one had Napoleon had the supported of European liberals. 

-On the other hand the indiscriminate violence by its soldiers and the submission to French interests caused strong anti-French sentiment. 


-The failure of his invasion of Russia in 1808 and the 1812 revolt in Spain marked the decline of the Empire.

-After the battle of Leipzig (1813) Napoleon lost popular support and he was forced to abdicate. The Allies exiled him to Elba (1814), an island of 12,000 inhabitants in the Mediterranean, he had sovereignty over the island and allow him to retain the tittle of Emperor, in 1815 he returned to France were he retook the power. 

-In 1815, the imperial armies were finally defeated in Waterloo by Great Britain and Prussia. Napoleon abdicated and was sent into exile on the island of Saint Helena. 


The basis of democracy 

– People as citizens with rights recognized by the state. 

– Equality before the law, and an independent justice system. 

– The Constitution as the fundamental law

– Popular sovereignty

Economic liberalism -Guilds were abolished, and freedom of trade and contract was implemented

-Internal customs were ended

-The metric system was introduced 

Public education and culture

-For the first time, the need for equal, compulsory education for all citizens was considered. 

-The first public museums. 


What was the restoration of a absolutism? How did it change the mal of Europe? 

-The Restoration of absolutism was carried out by the powers who defeat Napoleon. They reinstated the monarchs deposed by Napoleon and created the Holly Alliance, a treaty of mutual assistance among European monarchs against any threat of liberal revolution. 

-They met at the Congress of Vienna, and reshaped the map of Europe to their advantage without considering the people ir their national aspirations. France returned to its borders of 1792 and the Napoleonic Empire was divided up among the victors. 



Characteristics of the Ancien Regime 

-Predominant from of government was absolute monarchy 

-Society was stratified and based on the privileges of a minority, while the majority of the population continued to be rural peasant.

-The bourgeoisie wanted political and social recognition, but the Ancien Regime did not permit it. 

-The 18th century was a period of transition between the old declining aristocratic world and the new emerging bourgeois world.  

An agrarian and manorial economy 

The economy of Ancien Regime was mainly rural, and over 80% of the population worked in agriculture. 

-Manorialism, wich had replaced feudalism, remains in force in the countryside. The lords received manorial rents and taxes paid by peasants and had the power to issue orders and impart justice. Peasants also had to pay 10% of the harvest to the Church. 

-Agriculture, used traducción al methods with few technical innovations, and productivity was low.

Society on privileges

– Society was divided by traditional law into three states: the clergy, the nobility and ordinary people. This last group (the Third Estate) included peasants, the urban working classes and the bourgeoisie. 

-The nobility and clergy had rights and privileges, controlled the army and did not have to pay taxes. The rest of society did not enjoy any privileges. 

Monarchy by divine right 

– The predominant form of of government in Europe was absolute monarchy by divine power. 

Factors for change 

-Economic bourgeoisie aspired to participate in government. They criticised the privileges of the nobles and clergy and argued that social recognition should be based on individual merit and not the family a person was born into.

-The peasants opposed the manorial system and the heavy taxes that had to pay. 

-A group of Enlightenment thinkers began to challenge the ideological foundations of the Ancien Regime and propose a new social and political model for society. 


Population growth 

-There was considerable population growth thoughtout the 18th century.

-Population growth increased agricultural production (the more consumers, the greater the demand, wich, in turn, helped stimulate the economy). 

The development of agriculture and manufacturing

-New agricultural techniques and new crops, such as potatoes and corn, were introduced.

-Two new systems of production were introduced: 

  • The domestic system. Peasants were provided with the necessary raw materials and tools to make products in their workshops.  
  • Factories. These were righter state-run or privately owned, and had many workers to make specific products (usually luxury products). 

An increase in capital and the prospering bourgeoisie

-The development of new forms of production and the expansion of trade caused a manorial rents to lose economic importance. The production of goods, trade and capital become more important. This caused a crisis in the Ancient Regime, wich was based in land ownership as a source of wealth. 


The British parliamentary monarchy and the American Republic were models of inspiration for the thinkers of the Enlightenment, and inspired revolutions that ended absolutism in Europe. 

The parliamentary monarchy in England 

-In the 17th century, the Stuart dynasty wanted to govern without Parliament and proceeded to arrest or execute opponents. This led to a conflict between the supporters of Parliament and the monarchy. 

-In 1648, king Charles I was executed and a republic was proclaimed under the leadership of Oliver Cromwell. 

-In 1689, the absolutist policy of the new monarch James II caused a second revolution. Parliament offered the crown to the Dutch prince William of Orange, a protestant who was prepared to accept the Bill of Rights.

The independance of United States 

-In the 18th century, the 13 British colonies on the east coast of North America organized the first colonial insurrection. They then established the first government to be founded on principles of equality and freedom. 

-The American colonists were unhappy with Britain for not allowing them to send representatives to Parliament and for imposing commercial monopolies and taxes (especially on tea). 

-The British decision to grant a monopoly on the sale of tea to a British company caused a rebellion in Boston known as the Boston Tea Party. In 1773, king George III sent an army to stop rebellion. 

-To strengthen its position against Britain, delegates from the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia and drafted the United States Declarations of Independence (4 July 1776). This stated the duty of a government to respect the inalienable rights of its people. 

-After a long war a defeat at Yorktown, Britain recognized the colonies’ independance (1785), and George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789.


In the 18th century, an intellectual movement ko own as the Enlightenment challenged the authority of the Ancien Regime and proposed a new way id organization society 

Enlightenment thinkers 

-Enlightenment thinkers beloved reason (logical though) was the only way to understand and explain the world. 

-Voltaire defended the freedom of though and the tolerance as a basis for humans interactions . They had an optimistic view of nature as a source of justice and goodness, and of humans, who were born to be happy. 

Enlightenment despotism

-European monarchs tried to introduce its ideas about progress without having to give up their absolute authority.

-The idea of enlightenment despotism is summarised in the phrase ‘all for the people, nothing by the people’ meaning: act unfavorable of the people but keep absolute intact. 


Economic changes 

-They opposed mercantilism, wich based in the simulation of precious metals as the main source if wealth of a country, and defended agriculture and productive work as the source of national wealth (physlocracy) 

-They opposed state regulations and defended free trade (economic liberalism). 

Social changes

-They opposed stratified am society and argued that no one should inherit prestige or privilege or be entitled to them because of their ancestors. 

-They defended social mobility, equality of origin and personal merit.

Political changes 

-Criticism of despotism and the arbitrariness of absolutism. 

-Montesquleu proposed the separation of power (legislative, executive and judicial), with an emphasis,on the independance of judicial power.

-Rousseau expressed the need for a social contract between the ruler and the individuals (constructions). He also defended the idea of popular sovereignty, meaning that power comes from the consent of all citizens, expressed through voting. 

-Voltaire defended the need for a parliament that limits the power of the monarch and fiscal justice.

SPREADING THE NEW IDEAS OF ENLIGHTENMENT Scientific and technological progress

-In the 18th century, while science continued to advanced, monarchs and cultural elites became increasingly interested in science and its practical applications (technology).

-They believed that science and technology should work together to help society to progress and to make the country richer.

-The union produced great advances. Scientific advances were no longer hidden in a laboratory but were used to piece the daily lives of people. 

Based on experiments on the force of steam, Newcomen and Watt invented the steam engine (1775), wich triggered the industrial Revolutions in England.

Making the Encyclopédie

-In the second half of the 18th century, phylosophers and scientist collaborated on the development of the Encyclopédie was published between 1571 and 1772 and consisted of 29 volumes. The work distributed widely and had many subscribers in France and other European countries. 

-It’s aim was to bring together the known ledge of the time and share it with all who could read. The founders also wares a subtle way to avoid royal censorship.


A new dynasty rules Spain

-Charles II, the last Habsburg king, died in 1700. The appointment of the French Prince Philip of Bourbon as his heir resulted in the War of the Spanish Succession. 

-The reign of Philip V and Ferdinand VI were characterised by the centralization of the state and the implementation of the French absolutist model. Charles III was influenced by enlightened despotism and tried to modernize the Spanish economy, who put a stop to the reform process to avoid revolutionary ideas spreading.

Who fought in the war of the Spanish Succession? 

-Castile and France supported Philip

-Some European powers (Britain, the Dutch Republic, Portugal and the Austrian Empire) wanted the Archduke Charles of Habsburg to be king, the crown of Aragon defended Charles, who would guarantee the continuation of their privileges and institutions.

Development of the conflict 

-An international event was key to the outcome in 1711, Charles of Habsburg inherited the German Empire, his European allies saw the need to prevent the possible union of Spain and Austria under one monarch.

-The international conflict ended with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), wich recognized Philip V as king in exchange for territory in Europe and Spain. 

Territorial uniformity

-After the war, the unification of the old kingdoms is Aragon and Castile began. Anew laws specific to the unified territory were imposed, and i de tucán administrations were established with uniform institutions. 

-Between 1707 and 1716, the Nueva Planta Decreed were enacted. They abolished the privileged and institutions of the territories of the Crown of Aragon (Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia and Mallorca) and imposed the Castilian administrative system and language. 


-Regulations of the proffesions

-Limiting the privileges of the Mesta and settling new land.

-Promoting of the free movement if goods, establishing the free dar of grain. 

-Allowing free trade with the Americas from all Spanish ports manufacturing process 

-Establishing tariffs to defended against foreign competition

-Imposing royal authority over the Church ( expelling the Jesuits from Spain) 

-Creating primary schools and reforming universities. 

Reforms of the enlightenment monarchy

However the expansion of enlightenment ideas and the consolidation of the reform process in Spain were hindered by the absence of a large bourgeoisie, conservatism among the intellectuals and the enormous influence of the Catholic Church.