French Revo

Topics: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France, Estates of the realm Pages: 12 (2314 words) Published: March 5, 2013
Social Studies III: The French Revolution & Napoleon


Differences of Americans and French People:


In America…
a) Revolutionaries sought independence from Britain
b) Retained many British political ideas and institutions

In France…
a) Revolutionaries sought independence from old regime b) Revolutionaries were far more ambitious
c) Overthrew traditions, customs, and institutions that were centuries old d) Reshaped the French society completely
* First Reason: Bad conditions of France in the regime * Second Reason: Discontent in all levels of society

French Society Has Three Classes:

In the 18th Century…

Social Structure = Legacy of the Feudalism in the Middle Ages
500, 000 people out of 24 million belonged to the first and second estates

Three Estates (Classes):

1. The First Estate: Clergy

a) Higher clergy
* Important Post: Bishops, Archbishops, Abbots (Heads of Monasteries) * Only nobles were named to important posts
* Examples: Cardinal Richelieu and Cardinal Mazarin * Way of life: Luxurious like other aristocrats
1) Hunting dogs
2) Horses and carriages
3) Fine furniture & works of art
4) Although with huge income, no taxes
5) Great political power (Sometimes)

Responsibilities of Higher Clergy:
1. Collects large tax from the peasants
2. Owns and handles 10% of the land of France
3. Gives yearly gift to the government and determined how large

b) Lower Clergy
* Roles: Parish priests who came from middle and lower classes * Way of life: Most in poverty because they resented luxurious lives

Responsibilities of Lower Clergy:
1. Provides religious services for they were sympathetic to the people 2. Operated schools
3. Helped the poor

2. Second Estate: Nobility
* Owned the quarter of the land in France
* Way of Life: Highly privileged
1) Held the highest offices in Church, government, and army 2) Received generous gifts, and pensions from the king 3) Owned large estates with almost no taxes
4) Received produce, labor, and fees from peasants on their estates

* Problem: French nobility sought to undermine the king’s absolute rule 1) Louis XIV – in the last part of 17th century, he was unchallenged 2) Louis XV & XVI – tried to regain their power by expanding privileges

3. Third Estate: Peasants, City workers, & Middle Class

a) Peasants
* Owned half the land in France
* Way of life: Poor
1) Farms were too small to support a family
2) Many peasants owned no land at all
3) Many worked as day laborers
4) Better than the serfs in Central and Eastern Europe 5) Grind grains in the lord’s mill
6) Bake bread in the lord’s oven
7) Press grapes in the lord’s winepress
8) Part of crops goes to the lord

* Reasons of Poverty:
1) Old-fashioned ways of farming
2) Heavy taxation (King & Church)
* Usually 60% of income
* Army of government threatens by whipping, lost of homes

b) City Workers
* Laborers in small-scale industries
* Artisans who worked for masters in their craft

c) Bourgeoisie
* Roles: Merchants, Bankers, Lawyers, Doctors, Intellectaul, Officials *...
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