Period 7 Time of wigs and revolutions

The pursuit of fundamental rights and the political influence of the citizenry in the French and Batavian Revolution

What would you do if you were the boss of the Netherlands? In history there have been many people who wanted absolute rule over the Netherlands.

The Netherlands had at the beginning of the epoch of wigs and revolutions no king and little nobility. The country was ruled by the regents. The regents had seized power when the stadholder William III died. But the people were dissatisfied with the government by the regents. When the French king Louis XV invaded the Netherlands in 1747, they appointed William IV as stadholder of all dutch regions. The Dutch people hoped that William IV would do more for the people than the regents did. But this was not the case.

Both William IV and his son Willem V were absolute princes. This meant that they ruled alone and did not consult with anyone. Also in France in the 18th century they had absolute princes. At the beginning of this period, King Louis XIV ruled, followed by King Louis XV. King Louis XVI was the last king of the Ancien Régime. This means old governance. There was a new way of governing described by the French philosophers.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was one such philosopher. He wrote about popular sovereignty. This meant that the country had to be governed as the people wanted it to be. Another important French philosopher in history was Voltaire. He was one of the first to write and stand up for human rights.

Many of the things that enlightenment philosophers (because that's what we call the French philosophers of the 18th century) fought for are later incorporated into the constitution. These include issues such as freedom of religion, freedom of expression and a ban on discrimination.

But before that, the absolute rulers had to be disowned from their throne. This didn't happen without a fight. In France, Louis XVI was the last king. He had ruled the country badly. He couldn't handle money, which almost bankrupted France. In addition, there were many people who did not pay tax. Only the citizenry and the farming population were obliged to do so. The population was divided into unequal positions. The Parisian sansculotten therefore fought for the king's resignation. They did this during the French revolution. They disagreed with the privileges of the French nobility. They fought for equality and more rights.

In 1789, Paris was a dangerous city. There were a lot of riots between the French people and the government. The main riot was the storming of the Bastille. The Bastille was a prison where the rulers held enemies of the republic captive. The storming was the beginning of the French revolution and a very important point in history. It was also a very bloody period. Many French noblemen were sentenced to death. The king was also beheaded under the guillotine in 1791. But after the French Revolution, there was more room for democracy and emancipation.

In the Netherlands the absolute monarch was also stripped of his power. In 1794 this was the stadholder Willem V. The Dutch people had turned against him. They too fought for democracy, freedom, equality and emancipation. They called themselves patriots. Their revolution is called the Batavian revolution. The patriots got help from France, forcing Willem V to flee to England.

France now had a strong army fighting for freedom, equality and democracy. This army was led by Napoleon Bonaparte. The Dutch Republic became the Batavian Republic. The Batavian republic was independent, but because it had enlisted the help of France they had to pay a lot of money to the French


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