Causes of the French Revolution

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  • Topic: Louis XVI of France, French Revolution, Estates of the realm
  • Pages : 3 (1013 words )
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  • Published : May 19, 2002
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The Causes Of The French Revolution
In the 17th and 18th centuries, France was ruled by an absolute government. The king had all the political power. And the kings who came after him were despots. For example, anyone who criticized the government could be arrested and put in prison without trial. Louis XIV at l east ruled this country efficiently. Last French kings were not good rulers. Louis XIV (1774- 1793) was king at the time of the French Revolution. He was more interested in hunting than governing France. He and his Austrians queen, Marie Antoinette, lived an extravagant life at the Palace of Versailles. They did not really care about the state of their country. The government was inefficient, unjust and corrupt. There were too many government departments, different laws in different parts of the country and officials. Many people became angry about the way France was governed. They could do nothing to change it. The French Parliament was called the Estates- General. It was made up of the First Estate- churchmen or clergy, the Second Estate- nobility, the Third Estate- commoners. The Estate- General had not met since 1614. It could not meet without consent of he king. It had no political power.

During the 18th century, the French government spent more money than it collected in taxes. By 1788, the country was bankrupt. Because the government spent a lot of money, taxes were high. The tax system was unjust. The nobles and the clergy paid hardly any taxes. The Church owned one-tenth of the land in France. It did not pay taxes. The peasants paid most of the taxes. Yet, they were the people least able to afford them.

In the 18th century, France was a feudal country with class division. People were divided into three estates or classes. The First Estate consisted of the clergy. The Second consisted of the nobility, and the Third included the bourgeoisie, the city workers and the peasants. The estate to which he belonged decided a...
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