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What reforms did the National Assembly make between 1789 and 1791?

192021

Answer

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06/17/2008

During the French Revolution, the National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale), which existed from June 17 to July 9 of 1789, was a transitional body between the Estates-General and the National Constituent Assembly.

Background

The Estates-General had been called in May of 1789 to deal with France's financial crisis, but promptly fell to squabbling over its own structure. Its members had been elected to represent the estates of the realm: the First Estate (the clergy), the Second Estate (the nobility) and the Third Estate (which, in theory, represented all of the commoners and, in practice, represented the bourgeoisie). The Third Estate had been granted "double representation"-that is, twice as many delegates as each of the other estates-but at the opening session on May 5, 1789 they were informed that all voting would be "by estates" not "by head", so their double representation was to be meaningless in terms of power. They refused this and proceeded to meet separately.

Shuttle diplomacy among the estates continued without success until May 27; on May 28, the representatives of the Third Estate began to meet on their own, calling themselves the Communes ("Commons") and proceeding with their "verification of powers" independently of the other bodies; from June 13 to June 17 they were gradually joined by some of the nobles and the majority of the clergy.