Find your subject
in our database of
Spark your creativity...
an impressive essay!
Events Leading to the French Revolution
The major cause of the French Revolution was the disputes between the different types of social classes in French society. The French Revolution of1789-1799 was one of the most important events in the history of the world. The Revolution led to many changes in France, which at the time of the Revolution, was the most powerful state in Europe. The Revolution led tothe development of new political forces such as democracy and nationalism. It questioned the authority of kings, priests, and nobles. The Revolution also gave new meanings and new ideas to the political ideas of the people. The French Revolution was spread over the ten year period between 1789and 1799. The primary cause of the revolution was the disputes over the peoples' differing ideas of reform. Before the beginning of the Revolution, only moderate reforms were wanted by the people. An example of why they wanted this was because of king Louis XIV's actions. At the end of the seventeenth century, King Louis XIV's wars began decreasing theroyal finances dramatically. This worsened during the eighteenth century. The use of the money by Louis XIV angered the people and they wanted a newsystem of government. The writings of the philosophes such as Voltaire and Diderot, were critical of the government. They said that not one officialin power was corrupt, but that the whole system of government needed somechange. Eventually, when the royal finances were expended in the 1780's,there began a time of greater criticism. This sparked the peasants notionof wanting change. Under the Old Regime in France, the king was the absolute monarch.Louis XIV had centralized power in the royal bureaucracy, the governmentdepartments which administered his policies. Together, Louis XIV and thebureaucracy worked to preserve royal authority and to maintain the socialstructure of the Old Regime. At this time in French history, the social classes played an importantrole in the lives of the people. The social structure of France was divided among three groups: the First Estate, the Second Estate, and theThird Estate. Each social group had a varied type of people within theirstructure, which presented the different views of the people. The First Estate was the Church. During the ancien regime, the churchwas equal in terms of its social, economic, and spiritual power. The FirstEstate owned nearly 10 per cent of all land in France. It paid no taxesbut, to support church activities such as school running and caring for thepoor, they collected a tithe, or a tax on income. About one-third of theentire clergy in France served as parish priests. Also included in thisestate were the nobles. Some of the nobles lived in luxury in major citiesin France, such as Versailles or Paris. Parish priests usually lived ahardworking life. This Estate was the minority of the people in France, having approximately 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 of thepopulation. They, like the First Estate, paid hardly any taxes.Economically, the nobility was characterized by great land wealth. Nobleswere generally the richest members of the society. Typical sources ofincome were rents and dues for the use of their farms or estates. The First and Second Estates were grouped together because they had similarpolitical beliefs. The Third Estate consisted of the commoners. It included the bourgeoisie, peasants and city workers. The bourgeoisie, or the middleclass, were by far, the wealthiest. In the bourgeoisie, there were themerchants and manufacturers, lawyers, doctors and others similar to thosetypes of professions. Peasants made up the largest group within the ThirdEstate. They were forced to pay hefty taxes, tithes to the church, andrents to their landlords for the land that they lived on. The last groupwithin the Third Estate were the city workers. They were servants,apprentices, and household maids. The major cause of the Revolution were the differences
Names mentioned in this term paper
King Louis XVI, king Louis XIV, Louis, thedictator, Robert Turgot, Horatio Nelson, LouisXVI,
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
French government, National Assembly, the First Estate, Committee of Public Safety, Legislative Assembly, Parliament, Egyptian Navy,
MusicGroup included in this research material
Locations mentioned in this paper
France, Europe, Paris, Austria, Nile, Egypt, Italy, Great Britain,
Keywords included in this paper
France, National Assembly, Third Estate, the national assembly, revolution, Louis XVI, French Revolution, Louis XIV, king louis xiv, First Estate, second estates, constitutional monarchy, National Convention, King Louis XVI, social classes, French people, this day, Public Safety, three estates, French government, bourgeoisie, society, Napoleon, Paris, This one, Legislative Assembly, First Consul, Europe, national debt, limited monarchy, Napoleon Bonaparte, taxes, seventeenth century, eighteenth century, new constitution, some change, new ideas, social structure, democratic principles, Great Fear, Poor farm, Middle Ages, Horatio Nelson, social group, financial crisis, Egyptian Navy, metric system, Great Britain, wars, foreign policy,