How The Revolution Changed Between 1789 and 1799 In 1789 the king called the estates to a meeting to form a National Assembly where all estates woul... ... middle of paper ... ...;reign of terror." The Jacobins also followed democratic principles and believed in the benefits of the middle class, peasants, and farmers and got to participate for the first time in a political event. The Convention abolished slavery. Many of these reforms were never carried out because of changes made later in the government. Many people of France wanted the "reign of terror", the Jacobin's dictatorship, and the democratic revolution to end.
The starting point of the revolution was when the peasants and merchants asked the government for representation. This was an impossible demand, because if the government allowed everyone to have representation, then the government would no longer be an absolute monarchy. It would then become a democracy, and so the government denied this request. As a result the peasants and merchants decided to form ‘The National Assembly,’ because they were unhappy with the government’s response. The National Assembly was created to pass laws, and reforms for the French.
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.
However, to begin discussion of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille negates a number of important factors that had influenced the publics' actions on July, 1789. As France emerged from the Middle Ages, the nation had maintained archaic social and governmental systems. Prolonged use of the feudal system had allowed for the development of a French society divided into three castes, known as the Three Estates. With the first two estates drawing its membership from the noble elites and clergy, wealth and power was poorly distributed throughout France, with approximately two percent of the population holding a position of privilege over the Third Estate. Socially disenfranchised, the Third Estate, comprised of France's rural and urban peasantry; and the wealthy, but not noble, bourgeoisie, also suffered political underrepresentation.
Meanwhile, the first two estates were given a free pass despite their great wealth (Doc... ... middle of paper ... ...in great debt after the French and Indian War and corruption of the monarch and nobility. This led to a crisis over taxation, and the king started abusing his power by specifically only taxing the third estate, the poorest segment of the population. Matters slowly became worse with the economic depression. Decreased economic activity and the agricultural revolution caused many people to loose jobs and go hungry. People were already angry about taxes, and the lack of food and work only aroused the people even more.
France had been suffering inflation for years; therefore, the government tried to tax the upper classes, but they refused to pay since they had been exempt for so long. Soon after, France endured many hardships, including drought and famine, and France became even poorer (Wright 31). In order to reform the financial status of France, Louis summoned the Etates-Generaux, who had not met since 1614. The Etates-Genereaux, or the General States, was a representative assembly that dealt with the matters of the state. It was made up of three groups: the church, the aristocracy, and the remaining ninety five percent of the population (Wright 33).
This made the new nation go in huge debt because it had no way of paying the army for their services in the Revolutionary War. The United States did receive some money from neighboring countries in order to pay of the debt and they had also gotten a few pence from the states, but this was insufficient and they still could not pay their debt. Another problem of the Articles of Confederation was that it could not enforce its laws and make the states pay the money that they promised the government. One of the many effects that this problem made was Shays' Rebellion. This rebellion was caused by the taxes that the government made.
They believed they would find food to feed themselves and ammunition there, for the use of defending themselves against the king’s army. “ A truly working class reaction to their situation would change politics forever”. (C/H French revolution). King Louis the sixteenth was placed on trial for betraying his country, he was found guilty of treason. The people voted for the death penalty, and he was later beheaded (1793).
It all started with a coup against the government that he was fighting for. The Coup D’etat, led by Napoleon, took place at the perfect time because the Jacobins were losing power and there were many people being executed for allegedly being monarchists. In the courts a person was not able to speak in their defense so if the prosecutor made a good enough argument the charged would be executed by the guillotine. There were many innocent people who were executed, and many more who were afraid. After the coup a referendum was held in 1802 that made Napoleon First Consul for life.
This made peasants angry, especially because French aristocrats did not have to lift a finger and lived in the lap of luxury. Also, the price of bread was rising due to several years of bad harvests. The fact that France was also about one hundred fifty million livres in debt from participating in many wars, including the American Revolutionary War, did not do anything to make the people any happier. An additional reason to revolt was King Louis XVI. He tried to help the lower classes, but he was indecisive and would back down if faced with a strong opposition.