UCSB > History Dept. > Prof. Marcuse > Courses > Hist 133a > Lecture 3: German States and the French Revolution

UCSB Hist 133A, Fall 2006 (133a homepage)
19th Century Germany, Oct. 6, 2006

Prof. Marcuse (homepage)

Lecture 3:
The German States and the French Revolution
(previous lecture, next lecture)

Guiding Question

  • Did the French Revolution modernize "Germany," or halt a period of progress?

Q1 discussion

  • Name 3-4 underlying developments in the 18th and early 19th centuries that fundamentally transformed the nature of society in Europe; how reflected in Riesbeck's 1783 "letter."
  • 1.

The German States and the American Revolution

  • International politics: France against England; Prussia (and others) pro-French
    Seven Years War (1756-63) in Europe=French and Indian War in North America
  • France sent troops in 1780 (Yorktown)
  • German states that helped the colonies: Hesse-Kassel, Hamburg; what about Prussia?
    Prussian Baron F.W. von Steuben; Valley Forge,
  • Frederick II and the American colonies/United States
  • pre-1783 vs. post-1783 [see image below, of dagger given to George Washington: "For the greatest commander, from the oldest commander"]
  • "Friendship and Commerce Treaty of 1785"
    James Reeves, 1917: "Few international agreements have received the praise accorded to the treaty entered into between the United States and Prussia in 1785. It was acclaimed at the time as setting a new standard of international conduct, realizing to the fullest extent the humanitarian aspirations of the 18th century. To Benjamin Franklin and Frederick the Great have been awarded the credit for this epoch-making document." (1902 statue from WII, erected 1904)

The German States and the French Revolution

  • most German states: adminstratively progressive, socially and economically backward
  • Timeline:
    1789, July: Bastille
    1791: First constitution
    1792: overthrow of monarchy; April: war; Sept. "Cannonade of Valmy" [image below]
    1793, Aug: levée en masse
  • Duke William Ferdinand of Brunswick (led Austrian+Prussian forces), 1792 manisfesto:
    "if the Chateau of the Tuilleries is stormed or attacked, or if any harm or abuse befalls His Majesty the King, the Queen and the entire royal family, and if their life, safety and liberty are not immediately assured [the Allies] shall extract a vengeance that will live in memory for ever by delivering the city of Paris to military execution and complete destruction and the revolutionaries themselves, who are responsible for these deeds, to their deserved death."
  • 1795-1805: Napoleon's conquests
Washington with dagger from Frederick II
Cannonade at Valmy

prepared for web by H. Marcuse on Oct. 9, 2006, updated: 10/x/06
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