The Abolition of the Feudal System in France

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In 1789, thousands of starving peasants abandoned the lands of their ancestors as the price of bread rose to eighty percent of the average peasant’s income (Kreis). Blazing buildings marked the path they took to the source of their woes in Paris. They attacked any food cart they passed. The outline of their skeleton could be seen from under their filthy, thread-bare clothing. Their impoverished condition had reached its climax. Their desperation led them to action. They over took the largest fortress in France, the Bastille, in search of weapons. Members of the Bourgeoisie had formed the National Assembly three weeks prior to the storming of the Bastille to begin to address the grievances of the peasants (Dabney). On August 4, the National Assembly met in Paris, and, with one enthusiastic fell swoop, they agreed to abolish the feudal system forever, thus gaining the support of the mob. “The Decree of the National Assembly Abolishing the Feudal System” created equality between the nobility and citizens, ended the Church’s authority over the state, and pledged to work with King Louis XVI to rectify the injustices of the people. The first decree written declared the elimination of feudalism in France (Roberts). Serfdom and servitude were abolished without compensation to the lords. Peasants were no longer restricted to work in the fields. They also were no longer required to pay the taxes and fees mandated by their masters. The nobility had no control over their vassals now. Peasants set out to discover their fortune and explore their talents in the free-market. The Comte de Virieu, a member of the National Assembly, subsequently suggested the right to control pigeon houses be terminated (Herbert). Because pigeons destroyed cr... ... middle of paper ... "Assignment Materials." History With Mr. Green. 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2011. . Herbert, Sydney. The Fall of Feudalism in France. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1969. Print. Kreis, Steven. "Lecture 12: The French Revolution - Moderate Stage, 1789-1792." The History Guide -- Main. 13 May 2004. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. . Roberts, J. M. "4 August Decrees." Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. . "THE FRENCH REVOLUTION." Social Sciences Division. Web. 06 Nov. 2011. . Whitcombe, Merrick. "Cahier 3." Cahier of 1789, The Third Estate of Versailles. Hanover College Deparment of History, 2001. Web. 19 Nov. 2011. .

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