Analysis Of The French Revolution

2245 words - 9 pages

What were the causes and the effects of the French Revolution?The major cause of the French Revolution was the disputes between thedifferent types of social classes in French society. The FrenchRevolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most important events in thehistory of the world. The Revolution led to many changes in France,which at the time of the Revolution, was the most powerful state inEurope. The Revolution led to the development of new political forcessuch as democracy and nationalism. It questioned the authority ofkings, priests, and nobles. The Revolution also gave new meanings andnew ideas to the political ideas of the people.The French Revolution was spread over the ten year ...view middle of the document...

At this time in French history, the social classes played animportant role in the lives of the people. The social structure ofFrance was divided among three groups: the First Estate, the SecondEstate, and the Third Estate. Each social group had a varied type ofpeople within their structure, which presented the different views ofthe people.The First Estate was the Church. During the ancien regime, thechurch was equal in terms of its social, economic, and spiritualpower. The First Estate owned nearly 10 per cent of all land inFrance. It paid no taxes but, to support church activities such asschool running and caring for the poor, they collected a tithe, or atax on income. About one-third of the entire clergy in France servedas parish priests. Also included in this estate were the nobles. Someof the nobles lived in luxury in major cities in France, such asVersailles or Paris. Parish priests usually lived a hardworking life.This Estate was the minority of the people in France, havingapproximately 1 to 2 per cent of the population.The Second Estate in French life was the nobility. They enjoyedextensive rights and privileges. They made up less than 2 percent ofthe population. They, like the First Estate, paid hardly any taxes.Economically, the nobility was characterized by great land wealth.Nobles were generally the richest members of the society. Typicalsources of income were rents and dues for the use of their farms orestates. The First and Second Estates were grouped together becausethey had similar political beliefs.The Third Estate consisted of the commoners. It included thebourgeoisie, peasants and city workers. The bourgeoisie, or themiddle class, were by far, the wealthiest. In the bourgeoisie, therewere the merchants and manufacturers, lawyers, doctors and otherssimilar to those types of professions. Peasants made up the largestgroup within the Third Estate. They were forced to pay hefty taxes,tithes to the church, and rents to their landlords for the land thatthey lived on. The last group within the Third Estate were the cityworkers. They were servants, apprentices, and household maids.The major cause of the Revolution were the differences thesethree groups had. However, there was another important factor duringthese times. France suffered from harsh economic problems. Poor farmharvests by farmers hurt the economy, and trade rules from the MiddleAges still survived, making trade difficult. However, the most seriousproblem was the problem facing the government during this time. TheFrench government borrowed much money to pay for the wars of LouisXIV. Louis still borrowed money to fight wars and to keep French poweralive in Europe. These costs greatly increased the national debt,which was, at the time, already too high.When King Louis XVI came into power, he realized that theseproblems existed. At first he did not know what to do, until hefound a man by the name of Robert Turgot. He eased the financialcrisis of France, but he had difficulties...

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