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The French Revolution

1789-1795

Important Figures

Callone, Charles Alexandre de
(1734-1802) Controller-General of Finances from 1783-1787.  Faced with the deteriorating financial picture of the French crown, he tried to restore public confidence by limiting spending and introducing new taxes, such as a direct land tax and a stamp tax.  To help gain support for these policies, he asked Louis XVI to call an Assembly of Notables, which met in 1787.  This assembly failed to support his proposals.

LaFayette, Marie Joseph, marquis de:
(1757-1834) A French aristocrat who fought on the side of the American colonists during the American Revolution.  He presented a draft of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen to the National Assembly in 1789.  Fearing the Jacobins, he fled to Austria where he was held prisoner until 1797.  Later, he served in the Chamber of Deputies from 1818-1824, led the opposition from 1825-1830 and was commander of the National Guard during the Revolution of 1830.

Mirabeau, Honoré, comte de:
(1749-91) Was elected to the Estates-General from Marseilles and became a leader of the National Assembly.  He advocated forming a constitutional monarchy similar to England's.  As the revolution became more radical, his views became less popular.

Necker, Jacques:
(1732-1804) A prominent banker who became director of the French Treasury from 1776-1781 and again from 1788-1790.  He tried to finance French support of the American Revolution through deficit financing and then summoned the Estates-General to address the financial crisis.

Sieyes, Emmanuel Joseph also known as the Abbé Sieyes:
(1748-1836) Best known for his pamphlet What is the Third Estate? which criticized the French social structure.  He later served in the National Convention and on the Committee of Public Safety.  As a member of the Directory, he helped to organize Napoleon's coup d'etat.

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