Causes and Effects of The French Revolution

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The French Revolution was a time of great social, political and economic tumult in the closing years of the Eighteenth Century. The motivators pushing French citizenry toward revolution are varied in scope and origin. They range from immediate economic woes to an antiquarian class structure. Modern historians still debate the value of the changes that the revolution brought to modern society. The middle class made gains that would never be rescinded, but do revolutions always end in tyranny? In the years before the revolution citizens were rigidly constrained by the estates of the realm. These social strata had been in place since the medieval ages. The people were divided into three groups; clergy, nobility and everyone else. The clergy and nobility had many advantages and privileges that were unavailable to the average person, such as freedom from taxation. The share of French land and wealth were split without egalitarianism in mind. Although the clergy and nobility were a scant three to five percent of the population they owned thirty percent of the nation’s land. Social mobility was largely unheard of; your position in society and in the workforce was determined by birth. The buying and selling of titles and offices at great cost was the only way for the members of the public to advance in society. France was hampered by its large population, causing stress. The population had reached twenty million by the seventeen hundreds and grew by another eight to ten million in the century following. This boom leads to horrible living conditions in urban centers. Due to unsanitary conditions poor urbanites had a lower life expectancy than peasants living at subsistence levels in rural areas. The state of the French coffers was a major ... ... middle of paper ... ...11 Mines, Linda. The Social Causes of the French Revolution. Girls Preparatory School – Chattanooga, TN. Oct. 13, 2011 SparkNotes Editors. (2005). SparkNote on the French Revolution (1789-1799). Retrieved Oct. 18, 2011 J.H. Robinson, ed. Readings in European History 2 vols. Boston: Ginn. 1906. 2: 404-409. Oct. 18, 2011. <> Brainard, Jennifer. The Reign of Terror. 2008. HistoryWiz. Nov. 03, 2011. Gascoigne, Bamber. History of The French Revolutionary Wars. HistoryWorld. From 2001, ongoing. Nov. 03, 2011.

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