Causes of the French Revolution

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For six of the eight causes of revolution, describe two events, actions or beliefs (evidence) during the years before the French Revolution that led to a developing revolutionary situation. Explain how each contributed to the revolutionary situation.

Frances failed attempts at economic reform contributed heavily to the developing revolutionary situation. In August 1787, when the parlements refused to implement the Kings proposed changes to the financial system, it became clear that the Kings authority was weakening. The parlements rejected these reforms, arguing that only the nation, assembled through an Estates-General had the right to determine the need for tax reform. Its position was clearly stated: "The constitutional principal of the French monarchy was that taxes should be consented to by those who had to bear them". The King attempted to assert his absolute power through the lit de justice, and push his reforms through the system, exiling the parlements to the country and setting up new courts to replace them. The parlements declared this action invalid, and they had the people of France on their side. The result was popular uprisings against the monarchy, and this contributed directly to the cause of revolution.

The perceived social inequality between the different estates within France contributed extensively to the developing revolutionary situation. In the cahiers de doleances of Dourdan (March 1789), the third estate wishes "That his subjects of the third estate, equal by such stature to all other citizens, present themselves before the common father without other distractions which might degrade them" It is evident from this statement that the third estate are unhappy with the current social class system, and wish for social equality. This system of class and privilege was inequal between the estates, and significantly favoured the first and second estates in terms of social privilege. These ideas are evident in the painting "The landlords...
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