The angry and easily manipulated peasants, who were used by the bourgeoisie for their own benefit were another significant change, and finally the decline of the traditional monarchy, that for so long had ruled, were all factors to the main point that the French Revolution was caused by a political base, with social disorder and economic instability contributing to the upheaval. All of the sub-factors relate with one-another, but are separate in their own ways. For centuries, the French noble was well set in society. He found prosperity and security in the old regime, and all he had to do was pay homage to the king, and provide the king with his services. This all came to a gradual stop, however beginning with the loss of the noble's power over their own land at the hands of Louis XIV.1 This was the foundation of the revolte nobiliaire in the fact that it formed a basis of mistrust, and anger for the monarch.2 In that time the feudal system was still being practiced, so social status was based on the amount of land you could attain.
During the eighteenth century, France was one of the most richest and prosperous countries in Europe, but many of the peasants were not happy with the way France was being ruled. On July 14, 1789, peasants and soldiers stormed the Bastille and initiated the French Revolution. This essay will analyze the main causes of the French Revolution, specifically, the ineffectiveness of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the dissatisfaction of the Third Estate, and the Enlightenment. It will also be argued that the most significant factor that caused the French Revolution is the ineffective leadership of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The first and main reason for the French Revolution was the terrible leadership of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.
Long-term government financial chaos played a lead role in the cause of the French Revolution. This point is supported by William Doyle, in Origins of the French Revolution. Government debt and lack of available funding seriously deteriorated authority and credit, leading to extreme measures in taxation, thereby acting as a catalyst of the French Revolution. Doyle makes his point by arguing that France was approaching a state of fiscal ruin as far back as August 20, 1786, indicating that “Calonne, comptroller-general of the royal finances, first came to Louis XVI and informed him that the state was on the brink of financial collapse,” at that time. (p.43) Although Doyle enforces the point that there are no concrete records to support the state of the government at that time, there are figures derived by Calonne, after extensive research on his part, that present the dire financial situation of the French government.
Before the French Revolution, France was facing many problems, such as famine, high taxes, high food prices, and an absolute monarchy incapable of solving problems. In comparison to the nobility and clergy the bourgeoisie and the peasants were taxed ridiculously high. So clearly during this time we are getting the sense that the third estate carried the burden of repaying France’s debt. So because of this unfair treatment and their knowledge of enlightened thought, the Bourgeoisie sought to put an end to the classes and their lack of representation by forming the National Assembly. The peasants on the other hand were not driven by the same goals.
It is seen here that it was the Bourgeoisie were struggling against the Privileged class ... ... middle of paper ... ...hed to them, because their privileges were taking large percentages of profits, adding on-costs to goods, causing massive inflation and reducing the wages of the middle class. In order to do this though they had get the reforms they wanted by having a role in government and take some of the power from the king, because he supported the Aristocracy. At no point in the build up to the revolution did poverty become an issue, the Bourgeoisie were looking after their own interests and trying to create a equal society in which they would become the most powerful and richest. Word Count:- 2,148 words Citation 1. Johnson, D. (1970) The French Revolution, Wayland, London.
However, the crisis in political and economic affairs in France in that period was so great that social unrest, rioting, and rebellion were common for two years before. The end of the revolutionary period was marked by the establishment of the Empire by Napolean in 1804. The basic causes of the French Revolution were rooted in the rigidities of French society in the 18th century. Lines of distinction between classes were tightly drawn, and opportunites for social advancement were very few. The economy was not growing as fast as it should have been.
Whilst their unusual approach to politics is often met with criticism, their approach of fear, terror and violence was successful in its own right. Robespierre’s rise to power through the Nati... ... middle of paper ... ...unction following the revolution. The people of France were obviously not unified under the Republican government as demonstrated by abounding discontent and rebellions triggered by the extreme measures of the revolutionaries. However whilst unification of the people is desirable, any society is going to be unstable following a revolution and ultimately the revolutionaries had achieved power through violent means and then through reforms. The revolutionaries held power for several years, ensured the success of the revolution all the while combatting the discontent of an unstable nation.
They were exempt from taxation. However, the Assembly of the clergy, dominated by bishops, negotiated with the King to make an annual payment to the crown, know as the “don gratuit”. It was always much less than they would have paid in normal taxation and was under 5% of the clerical income. They made up 2% of the population. The First Estate owned nearly 10 per cent of all land in France and therefore was the single largest landowner in France.
For example, the French government gave money to support the American Revolution while the people in their own country need money. Also, Voltaire who was an Enlightenment thinker caused uproar by the peasants upon his return to France when he announced that England was superior to France (Voltaire 7). Second, it made people skeptical about whether the government was there to fulfill their duty of protecting the people’s natural rights. The Enlightenment encouraged people to question divine right, the God-given authority rulers claimed to have (Enlightenment, Its Origins and the French Revolution 15). Finally, it made the third estate realize how the taxation was simply greed.
When Louis XVI came to be King, he inherited a France in debt, and he was left with no choice but to raise taxes even though they were already high enough. This had made the people of France very angry. Paris had become furious and chose to make a big scene. This was also one of the causes of the French Revolution. Some believe that the MAIN reason for the Revolution was all based on, Louis, being too young and inexperienced to run an ENTIRE country by himself.