Ap Euro Napoleon Dbq Essay

The French Revolution is perhaps the most complex historical development that students will encounter in the AP European History course.  In this unit, we will examine the problems causing the fall of the Old Regime and follow the French Revolution through its liberal, radical, and Napoleonic phases.
In order to understand how the French Revolution changed France, one must first understand the way France was under the Old Regime. Although Louis XIV had done a great deal to build a French nation, France still remained in many ways a patchwork of regions dominated by clerics and aristocrats who made up the First and Second Estates. Due in part to tax exemptions enjoyed by the privileged classes, France found itself in a major financial crisis in the late 1780s, forcing the monarchy to call a meeting of the Estates General. When the Estates General was convened in 1789, it was convened under antiquated rules that Third Estate delegates found to be offensive. The failure of the Estates General was a watershed event in the French Revolution, opening the door for changes that were far more radical than any that had been proposed by the Third Estate delegates in 1789.
After the failure of the Estates General, the National Assembly convened and began swiftly enacting liberal reforms. Following the Great Fear and the storming of the Bastille in the summer of 1789, the National Assembly passed the August 4 Decrees and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. While the Declaration of the Rights of Man was heavily influenced by the classical liberal philosophy found in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and John Locke, it was also heavily influenced by the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose idea of the social contract subordinated individualism to the "general will" of the nation.  When seen as a dialogue between Jefferson and Rousseau, the Declaration of the Rights of Man both articulates the goals of the liberal revolution of 1789 while also foreshadowing the radical revolution of 1792-1794.

Unit Guide and Primary Sources

“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” 
                                                                              -- Napoleon

The Old Regime and the Estates General

Due 1/6/17

Primary Source Document(s)

Students should read Voltaire's writings on the English Constitution and Abbe Sieyes' What is the Third Estate​before class meets.
TEXTBOOK READINGS:  Kagan, 445-455, 547-550   OR   Wood, 227-239, 285-287  

Video Lectures Available on YouTube

After you've watched the videos, CLICK HERE to take a quiz!

The Old Regime

The Estates General

The National Assembly and the Declaration of the Rights of Man

Due 1/12/17

Primary Source Document(s)

TEXTBOOK READINGS:  Kagan, 550-564   OR   Wood, 287-290 

Video Lectures Available on YouTube

The National Assembly

The Rights ​of Man

Women and the French Revolution Lecture Series

While the French Revolution was not a feminist revolution, the upheaval it created had a hand in bringing about the modern feminist movement. In the 18th century, women were still barred from the public sphere and the Enlightenment did little to change this; in fact, Rousseau defended traditional views of women in his educational treatise, Emile​. 

Women and the French Revolution

On the eve of the French Revolution, most French people viewed women as easily corrupted and unfit for politics, public life, or the esteemed professions. In my introduction to this lecture series, I explain the origins of these ideas of women and how Rousseau's work perpetuated traditional views of women.

Marie Antoinette
Tragic Queen of France

Marie Antoinette was in the wrong place at the wrong time and is best known for saying something she never said. This beautiful young Austrian princess did little more than marry the French king. She became a symbol of the monarchy's excesses and was humiliated and executed during the Reign of Terror.

Olympe de Gouges
and the Rights of Woman

Olympe de Gougeswrote the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen in response to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. During the Reign of Terror, de Gouges was executed along with others of the Gerondist political faction.

Mary Wollstonecraft
vs. Edmund Burke

In Britain, the French Revolution sparked a debate in Britain, with the most prominent voice being Edmund Burke's criticism. In her Vindication of the Rights of Man, Mary Wollstonecraft defended the French Revolution against Burke's attacks. She followed this work with the seminal text of liberal feminism, Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

Charlotte Corday
and the Death of Marat

Jean-Paul Marat found prominence and notoriety during the Reign of Terror for his radical newspaper, Friend of the People, in which he denounced those he saw as enemies of the Revolution. No one had the courage to act against Marat until a young woman, Charlotte Corday, took it upon herself to assassinate him. "I killed one man to save a thousand," she said of her heroic deed.

Concluding Remarks
Women and the French Revolution

No lecture series would be complete without some concluding remarks!

The Radicalization of the French Revolution

Starting in 1791, the French Revolution began a period of radicalization, as the initial idea of a constitutional monarchy on the British model was abandoned in favor of a French Republic. The increasing influence of the Jacobin clubs led to the execution of Louis XVI and the election of the National Convention that would authorize the Reign of Terror.

The Reign of Terror

The French Directory

After the Thermidorian Reaction and the fall of Robespierre, the bourgeoisie reasserted control and limited the participation of the radical Parisian mobs that had been so influential during the Reign of Terror. Executive authority was wielded by five directors, from which this period from 1794-1799 got its name.


Jacques-Louis David: French Neoclassical Painter

E-Lecture Available on YouTube

PowerPoint Presentation

The Reign of Terror (1793-1794) was the most radical phase of the French Revolution and the most memorable in spite of its brevity. The National Convention and Robespierre presided over this short period when the blade of the guillotine severed heads on a regular basis.

PowerPoint Presentation

In 1799, Napoleon overthrew the Directory and dominated French politics until his final overthrow and exile in 1815. Napoleon's rule can be divided into the Consulate (1799-1804) and the French Empire (1804-1815). Some of his key political accomplishments were the Napoleonic Code, which gave France a uniform code of laws based on Roman Law, and the Condordat of 1801, which established Catholicism as the "majority religion" after a period of de-Christianization in the 1790s.

UNFINISHED PowerPoint Presentation

This unfinished PowerPoint is here for the benefit
​of my students. At some point, I intend to give Napoleon the PowerPoint he deserves.
Jacques-Louis David's neoclassical paintings provide a full overview of the French Revolution, as David was an active participant in the French Revolution throughout all of its phases. Best known for his paintings of Napoleon, he spent his last years in exile in Brussels painting classical pieces and portraits of Bonapartist exiles.

PowerPoint Presentation

High school students know that a good way to get a boost on college credits — or a leg up in the competitive college admissions process — is to sign up for Advanced Placement courses. But at the end of the year, that means taking AP tests, and scoring a 4 or 5 isn’t easy. Especially for all of the students who took this year’s AP European History exam.

Though this year’s AP Language students scored an opportunity to troll President Trump, there were no softballs for AP Euro. Instead, test takers had to answer questions about pseudoscience, the Glorious Revolution, and, uh, Mickey Mouse?

Students all across the country took to Twitter to air their complaints (and post some fire memes).

We totally get it. Okay, so we can’t remember taking any history tests that actually asked us about specific Disney characters. But we’ve all sat down for an exam only to face questions we could’ve never even imagined. Like this one.

According to Twitter, there were two different test booklets — Booklet O and Booklet M — and both came with their own unique challenges.

Some Twitter users weighed in on the general test-taking experience.

And they did it using their AP Euro knowledge. Shouldn’t they pass just for that?

At least this student has a fool-proof studying strategy.

You can check out everyone’s tweets in the #APEuro hashtag.

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