Until the eighteenth century France was an absolute monarchy—a monarchy in which the king and queen could govern the nation without abiding to any state laws or regulations. Through this absolute monarchy, the traditional French class system of ‘Estates’ was born. The First Estate was composed of bishops and archbishops of the Roman Catholic Church. According to Lin’s diagram, no more than 130,000 Frenchmen were in this class. Though this class amounted to approximately 1% of those living in France, their rewards were most bountiful. Bishops and archbishops were exempted from land taxes, because church property could neither be taxed nor sold, and clergymen also had the right to collect tithes—most of which was pocketed for personal gain. Though some simple parish priests sympathized with peasants, sadly it was apparent that those working for the church were more concerned with monetary and power gain, than their spiritual duties. The Second Estate was the noble class, consisting of the Royal family, the lords and ladies of the courts, and those in govern...
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Lin, Wei-Wei. The Estate System. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.
Nygaard, Bertel. "The Meanings of "Bourgeois Revolution": Conceptualizing The French Revolution." Science & Society 71.2 (2007): 146-172. Academic Search Complete. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. < http://www.nclive.org/cgi-bin/nclsm?url=%22http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=24846952&site=eds-live%22>
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