The start of the French Revolution was due to a build-up of inequalities, bankruptcy, and the influence of The Enlightenment and the American Revolution. The First and Second Estates, which was made up of the rich nobles, did not have to pay taxes, and had special privileges. In contrast, the Third Estate was made up of the townspeople who worked hard every day, and paid heavy taxes. This inequality angered the townspeople. The king before Louis XVI was Louis XIV.
King Louis XIV was also incapable of using his powers in a way to spark fear and gain control of those under his power. As a result of the high debts held by the French Government, the King decided to start taxing the First and Second Estates. They objected causing the Third Estate to question why the first two estates were given choice in paying taxes when the Third Estate, who were so heavily taxed, paid all their taxes. These were the major causes leading up to and, in some cases, triggering, the French Revolution. In order to understand the causes of the French Revolution we must first understand the separations within the French society at the time.
The colonist did not really care about most of the British rules, and they again were able to overturn the rules once again. In France, the bourgeoisie and the peasants totally disliked the tax system. Both revolutions were started mainly because of taxation. Due to the Seven Year War and American Revolution, the government of the French was in a huge debt. The French rebels looked on to the American Revolution, and copied the idea of "taxation without representation".
Ideas from the American Revolution were making their way back to France, especially the idea of essential human rights and the validation of John Locke’s theory that Government should serve the people. France’s working class was suffering because of bad harvests. The Guild system didn’t allow for farmers to row what they wanted. This caused increased economic pressure on the entire country, but because of Louis XVI’s tax structure it placed an especially large amount of pressure on the working and middle class. To deal with France’s economic impending doom Louis XVI called all of the nobles and those with significant wealth together and requested to borrow money from them.
Nevertheless, the main problems that led to the French Revolution were deep debt, competition between social classes, and the unlawful conduct of the king. Debt was one of the problems that led France toward a Revolution. France was badly in debt after participating in the American Revolution and after Kings Louis XIV's and Louis XVI's enormous expenses. In order to save France from bankruptcy, Louis XVI called on the Estates General for help. The Estates General was made up of the First (clergy), Second (nobility), and Third (everyone else) Estate.
The clergy came to be called the First Estate while the nobility and the common people came to be called the Second and Third Estates, respectively. This social system in France was so corrupt that the few, the First and Second Estates, held all the power while the majority, the Third Estate, was left to suffer. The first two estates had many privileges over the Third Estate, the most important of which was that they paid fewer taxes. The intendants who were in charge of collecting taxes from the administrative districts that France was divided into often bent the rules at will for family or friends because of the enormous power they had. As a result, those who did not have much to begin with were burdened with even more taxes (Young).
The era began in 1764 when the British government passed the Sugar Act. It was to help pay off the Americans military expenses after the Seven Years War with France but it just caused problems within the colonies. This act did little to help with the finances, so parliament passed the Stamp Act of 1765, which taxed anyone who made a will, bought or sold property, borrowed money, purchased newspapers, or any other type of goods (Boyer). All classes of colonists were affected by this act and much resistance broke out. The Act made people think that they either had to face the taxation full-frontal or... ... middle of paper ... ... administration and the future of the government.
First, the increase of loans and assistance in the American Revolution put the French economy at a low. Installing increased taxation left the peasantry even more impoverished than ever and insulted the nobility, who refused to assist in the debt reduction effort. By implementing a strong bookkeeping and debt management plan, the king could have prevented a terrible financial ruin. In Necker’s interest to sort out financial difficulties, many loans were established, so that when Calonne gained control, there were no available funds to support government interests. Calonne also took out loans, mainly to pay off older debts, but eventually leading to a formidable financial reputation.
Jefferson (1977), statement, “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical”, clearly demonstrates that he supported revolution (p.417). During the time that Jefferson was penning down this statement there was wide dissent by revolutionary war veterans owing to the failure of the government to enact the necessary reforms. Most of the veterans had not been paid for the service they offered in the fight for independence. There was heavy taxes imposed by the states and those who could not be able to pay their taxes had their farms seized by the government. Most of the veterans in Massachusetts had ganged up against the government in a mini-revolt that came to be known as the “shays’ rebellion”.
The enlightenments was a group started in France, and inspired by philosophers they were emphasized on democracy which is a government in which the people hold ruling power. The enlightenments had the inspiration of the American Revolution and of the democratic changes in England. The Economic causes that it led to was the Royal Debt, which meant France bankrupt, and loans. It also caused many wars such as the Louis XIV French & the Indian war, and American Revolution. Another major cause was the unfair tax practice, which was that the first two estates paid no taxes, and the third paid toll.