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Summery of the History Channel Documentary of the French Revolution

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Overview: This essay is a summary of the 2005 History Channel documentary of the French Revolution. The closing paragraph is my personal opinion on the movie. All information came from the Documentary.

Documentary Information

Directed by Writing credits

Doug Shultz Thomas Emil

Doug Shultz

Produced by Hilary Sio

Doug Shultz/Producer

Sandya Viswanathan/Co-producer

In 1770 the French Revolution began to form, at Fifteen Louis the sixteenth, marries Marie Antoinette the fourteen year old Austrian Princess, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa, to strengthen the France-Austria alliance. The French people dislike the Austrian Antoinette almost immediately. When Louis the sixteenth becomes King France is in deep debt. Heavy taxation left many of the French in poverty, resulting in anger against the government. King Louis and Marie Antoinette become a joke because of the kings “all around impotents”. Even with Frances heavy debt the king supports America’s fight for independence from Great Britain with several thousand troops and dozens of ships and vessels. The queen helps deplete France’s money too with extreme over extravagance.

On July 11, 1789 King Louis XVI fired his director general of finances, Jacques Necker, because he believed Necker was too sympathetic to the cause of the Third Estate. The firing of the popular Necker caused tens of thousands of people to gather in the street around Paris and began rioting in protest. When the Crowd storms the Bastille prison it is the signal for the start of the French Revolution. The National Constituent Assembly formally adopts their charter of basic liberties, the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Thousands of women march to Versailles to force King Louis XVI back to Paris to ensure the liberties appear within the Declaration of the Rights of Man.

King Louis XVI was captured and held in Paris. King Louis XVI and his family try to escape but are arrested the next day. On September 3, 1791 the National Assembly adopts the first French Constitution. This took away the authority of lawmaking and financial matters from the king and gave it to the National Assembly. King Louis XVI reluctantly approves the new constitution. In 1792, Louis XVI went on trial and was found guilty of treason. Days later Louis is executed by guillotine in front of a cheering crowd.

Maximilien Robespierre head of the revolution starts to lose his mind. He turns on his own associates, on of them politician Jacques Rene Hebert, and has them arrested and executed for supporting policies that were contrary to those of the Committee of Public Safety. He also pressures the National Convention to proclaim the Cult of the Supreme Being as an official religion. Tied of the Reign of Terror the Committee of Public Safety arrests Robespierre. He tries to commit suicide but fails and is executed by the guillotine. With his death the Reign of Terror ends. Finally after a few years of peace Napoleon Bonaparte becomes the ruler of France and takes control of the government.

In my opinion I enjoyed this movie it was very exiting and interesting to me. I think that the French people during that time were insane. They really did need an absolute monarchy to keep them in line but there king was an idiot. I felt a little bad for Marie Antoinette and king Louis but then I remembered what a spoiled rich life thy lived and saw that they got what was coming to them. Basically every one involved in the revolution got what was coming to them. Robespierre was executed, Marat was stabbed in his bathtub, the church got knocked down a few.

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