Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department



Grubb, Alan C

Committee Member

Clark , Henry

Committee Member

Dunn , Caroline


This study investigates the state's sale of Church lands and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution. The Civil Constitution has been seen as a turning point in the era's progression; it created very sharp divisions in revolutionary ideals by forcing clergy members to take an oath to the state that was condemned by the pope. These divisions helped feed Jacobin extremism and an era of Christian suppression and the Terror eventually ensued. Despite these problems, the struggling country under the Old Regime was desperate for Church reform that the Civil Constitution provided. The prohibition of the tithe and an overhaul of clerical pay helped many people in the nation. Despite its merits, many laws reflecting the spirit of 1789 such as the election of curés, the suppression of monasticism, and the oath had negative effects on the opinions of sects of clergy and sects of the public. I investigate these opinions (positive and negative) through the use of pamphlets, newspapers, and letters, and through secondary sources to question if these legislative moves were too extreme for an extreme time.