Historical Factors of the French Revolution

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The three main contributory factors that I am going to focus on are the aristocracy, rising debt levels and inequality amongst the people of France. The role that King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette had before and during the revolution was a key factor in starting the revolution. His attitude towards his role as king was poor. He was shy, indecisive and disinterested in politics from a very early age and this continued throughout his reign. During the years leading up to the revolution, France was in massive debt after the Seven Years War. Combined with this, there was a famine which increased the price of bread and brought a lot of the country to the brink of starvation (Kinser, 1999). Louis and Marie Antoinette's eating habits did not help reassure the French people of Louis' competency as a ruler. They gorged themselves on fine cuisine as their people starved all around the country (Cavallaro, 2001). Louis' ministers Turgot, Necker and Calonne all agreed that France needed reforming if it was to get out of the massive debt it had accumulated. In February of 1787, Louis called the Assembly of Notables as France was in dire need of tax reform due to its debt. Louis suggested tax reforms to bring government expenditure in line with government income but because he had lost his authority as a king, he could not persuade the first and second estates to agree with a tax reform and they did not wish to bear the burden of increased taxation. This showed Louis to be weak and unable to make decisions about France's future. Shortly afterwards on the 5th May 1789, the Estates General was called and Louis' absolute power over France was all but over. This was one of the main events that led to the start of the French revolution an... ... middle of paper ... ...iography. [Online] 01/07/2012. Available from: http://bastille-day.com/biography/LouisXVI-Biography. [Accessed: 11/01/2014] Blue Valley. (2013). The French Revolution. [Online] Available from: http://www4.bluevalleyk12.org/bvhs/mklopfenstein/WW_notes/lecture%20notes/The%20French%20Revolution.pdf. [Accessed: 11/01/2014] Cavallaro, D. (2001). Critical and ultural Theory. [Online] London: The Athlone Press. Available from: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=coqW0qPzT3kC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=louis+xvi+eating+habits&source=bl&ots=opohSS1D0u&sig=sPbe6cm0WtjbEL4NzSjTGCrwJ7w&hl=en&sa=X&ei=S9LNUvH5OoGI7AbZ7IDwBg&ved=0CC8Q6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=louis%20xvi%20eating%20habits&f=false. [Accessed 11/01/2014] Dodd, Mead & Co. (1920). The New International Encyclopaedia. [Online] New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. Available from: http://dromo.info/louis16bio.htm. [Accessed: 11/01/2014]

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