Essay on Causes of the French Revolution

Essay on Causes of the French Revolution

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Causes of the French Revolution

There were many causes and events leading up to the French Revolution in 1789. Before the Revolution, France had been involved in many expensive wars, especially the American War of Independence, causing financial difficulties and debts which were increased through the expensive upkeep of the Royal Family and their courts. At this time the Age of Enlightenment was occurring and new ideas, challenging the Ancien Regime and the Absolute right to rule, were emerging. The monarch of the time, King Louis XVI, was a weak monarch who was incapable of making decisions and sticking to them. King Louis XIV was also incapable of using his powers in a way to spark fear and gain control of those under his power. As a result of the high debts held by the French Government, the King decided to start taxing the First and Second Estates. They objected causing the Third Estate to question why the first two estates were given choice in paying taxes when the Third Estate, who were so heavily taxed, paid all their taxes. These were the major causes leading up to and, in some cases, triggering, the French Revolution.

In order to understand the causes of the French Revolution we must first understand the separations within the French society at the time. The population was divided into 3 states, the Clergy and the Nobility which were the first and second Estates, both of whom did not have to pay taxes and were given privileges such as high positions in the army and civil service. The Third Estate consisted of everyone else, the pheasants, farmers, landless labourers, serfs and the emerging middle class called the bourgeois. 80% of the population was rural and were very highly taxed by the king, like the rest of the ...


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...e the price of bread, or to better the way the starving saw him by cutting down on the expenses of Versailles. Overall, the weakness and indecisive actions of Frances monarch, King Louis XVI did not make those serving him respect or be loyal to him and his choices.

Revolution broke out in France as a result of a weak monarch, operating an unfair system that did not account for the majority of his people. The influence of the revolutionaries and the thinkers during the Age of Enlightenment gave the people new ideas and made them question the Church and absolute monarchy as well as the Ancien Regime. The increasing financial difficulties and the high rise in the price of flour made the Third Estate desperate for food, and the high taxes placed on them in order to fix the financial difficulties prevented the Third Estate from having enough money to feed themselves.

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