French Revolution Major Causes

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Starting from the beginning of the 17th century, people all over Europe have been questioning the traditional forms of government. One by one, countries all over the world convert from absolute monarchy to different, more radical forms of government. The start of the overthrow of monarchy, which eventually led to the beginning of the French Revolution, began with the overthrow of the English monarchy by the Parliament of England in 1649. The American Revolution of 1776 soon followed, and finally, France started their own Revolution; the French Revolution of 1789. Of course, there are many political, economic, and social causes leading to this sudden political advancement in France. For example, King Louis XVI was unprepared for his role as king, and with the growing population of over 30 million citizens, the economic position of France could only get worse. In conclusion, there are not one, but numerous causes that led to the start of a new era in France, the French Revolution. Enlightenment ideas opened the minds of the people of France, providing new views about power and authority in government. (Lecture 11: The Origins of the French Revolution section 8) France’s underprivileged Third Estate very eagerly accepted these new ideas. “18th century philosophy taught the Frenchman to find his condition wretched, unjust and illogical and made him disinclined to the patient resignation to his troubles that had long characterized his ancestors . . . . The propaganda of the philosophes . . . . accounted for the fulfillment of the preliminary condition of the French Revolution,” (Henri Peyre, "The Influence of Eighteenth Century Ideas on the French Revolution," Journal of the History of Ideas vol. 10, No. 1 (January 1949). Philosophes add onto the fire of revolution, with ideas on what government should be. Comte D’Antraigues, a French diplomat and political adventurer, summarized the general population’s idea on what government should be. “The Third Estate is the...
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