Causes of the French Revolution

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“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”

-- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Reflect upon your lifetime. Was there ever a moment where you felt mistreated, or unequally represented? Maybe it’s that your boss listens to your other coworkers and not you. Or that you feel like the government is listening to corporative powers and not the people. Inequality fosters resentment. How would you feel if your voice wasn’t heard? The concept of inequality is not exclusive to the French Revolution. In fact, these variations are seen within our modern relationships, social structures, and political structures—a few of which are outlined above. In regards to the French Revolution, the misrepresentation felt among the Third Estate at the end of the 18th century was a factor of the outbreak of the Revolution. However, this sentiment of unfairness alone was not the most influential in starting the Revolution, but rather it was the imbalances within the social population that had the greatest effect. While many historians focus on the discrimination of the Third Estate—frequently labeled as the commoners or peasantry of France—the social troubles within France were more extensive than those felt by the commoners. Although the Third Estate made up for over 2/3 of France’s population in the 1780s and focusing on the Third Estate shows how most of France’s population was reacting to pre-Revolution times, this perspective does not allow for a holistic perspective of social relations. Instead, by looking at the outbreak of the Revolution through a more wide-set scope, I believe that we can see that the French Revolution was a result of the under-represented population of the Third Estat...

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