Southern Netherlands was annexed by France, the French revolutionaries began to implement their policies regarding the Catholic Church. The
Civil Constitution of the Clergy required that priests take an oath of allegiance to the state. Priests who refused such an oath (non-juring priests) were considered to be enemies of the state and could be removed from their positions and homes. Additionally, in early 1798, the French
Council of Five Hundred passed a law requiring
compulsory military service. This law ordered the conscription of men between the ages of 20 and 25 in all French territories. General conscription like this was a relatively new product of the French Revolution, and was met with anger by the men who were forced into service.