Q.1. what was the subsistence crisis? Why did
it occur in France during the Old Regime?
Ans. 1- The population of France was on the rise. It rose from 23
million in 1715 to 28 million in 1789.This led to increase in the demand for
production of food grains could not keep pace with the demand and the price of
bread which was thestaple diet of the majority Rose rapidly.
3- The wages also did not keep pace with the
rise in prices. The gap between the Rich and the poor widened. This led to the
Q.2.What was the system of voting in the
Estates General? What change did the Third Estate want in this system?
Ans. Voting in the Estates General in the past had been
to the principle that each estate had one vote.
2. Members of the Third Estate demanded that
voting must now be conducted by the assembly as a whole, where each member
would have one vote.
was according to the democratic principles put forward by philosophers like
Rousseau in his book, The Social Contract.
Q.3. Describe the incidents that led to the
storming of the Bastille.
Ans. 1- National Assembly was busy at Versailles drafting a
constitution; the rest of France was seething with turmoil.
severe winter had meant a bad harvest, the price of bread rose. Often bakers
exploited the situation and hoarded supplies.
3- After spending hours in long queues at the
bakery, crowds of angry women stormed into the shops.
4- At the same time, the king ordered troops
to move into Paris. On 14 July, the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed
Q.4. Describe how the new political system of
constitutional monarchy worked in France.
Ans The constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in
the National Assembly, which was indirectly elected. That is,
voted for a group of electors, who in turn chose the Assembly. Not all
citizens, however, had the right to vote.
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, that is, they were
entitled to vote.
remaining men and all women were classed as passive citizens.
qualify as an elector and then as a member of the Assembly, a man had to belong
to the highest bracket of taxpayers.
Q.5.What was �natural and inalienable
Ans1-.The constitution began with a Declaration of the Rights
of Man and Citizens
2- Rights such as the right to life, freedom
of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law were established as �natural and inalienable rights�,
i.e., they belonged to each human being by birth and could not be taken away
3-It was the duty of the state to protect
each citizen�s natural right.
Q.6Why did slavery begin and why was it
abolished in French colonies?
Ans1-.The slave trade began in the 17th century. The colonies
in the Caribbean � Martinique, Guadeloupe and San Domingo � were important
Suppliers of commodities.
2- But the reluctance of Europeans to go and
work in distant and unfamiliar lands meant a shortage of labour on the plantations.
3- Throughout the eighteenth century there
was little criticism of slavery in France. The National Assembly did not pass any laws, fearing
opposition from businessmen whose incomes depended on the slave trade
4- It was the Convention which in 1794
legislated to free all slaves in the French overseas possessions. This,
however, turned out to be a short-term measure. Napoleon reintroduced slavery.
5- Slavery was finally abolished in French
colonies in 1848.
Q.7. Explain what a revolution is. In what way did
the French Revolution mean different things to different people?
Ans It is an attempt by a large number of people
to change the government of a country, especially by violent action.
Third Estate comprising the common men benefitted from the Revolution. The
clergy and nobility had to relinquish power.
2. Their land was confiscated. Their
privileges were finished. The people of lower middle class also benefitted.
3. Position of artisans and workers improved.
feudal lords, nobles and even women were disappointed. The revolution did not
bring real equality as everyone was not given the right to vote meaning women
who got it finally in 1946.
Q.8. Who was the people who comprised the
Third Estate? Who paid the taxes and to whom?
Ans1-The people who comprised the Third Estate were big
businessmen, merchants, lawyers, peasants, artisans, small peasants, landless
labour and servants.
2- These were 95 per cent of the population.
They had to pay taxes to the state. Taxes included taille, tithes and a number
of indirect taxes.
Q.9Who formed the National Assembly? On what
date is �Bastille Day� celebrated and why?
Ans.1-The representatives of the Third Estate assembled at
Versailles on 20 June and declared themselves a National Assembly
2-The Bastille Day is celebrated on 14th July
every year because on this day the unruly Paris mob stormed and attacked the
prison of Bastille which was considered a symbol of terror and despotism.
Q.10 Name three famous writers and philosophers
who influenced the French- Revolution. What were their ideas?
Ans.1. Jean Jacques Rousseau � a French Swiss philosopher. His
main idea was � man is naturally good and that society of civilisation makes
man anxious and unhappy.
2. Mirabeau � he brought about a journal and delivered powerful speeches to
the crowds at Versailles.
3. Voltaire � A famous French writer. He exposed the evils prevailing in
the Church and administration. The numbers of the first two estates were the
(i) Clergy and (ii) Nobility respectively.