Marxist History Paper
April 1st, 2013
Causes of the French Revolution from a Marxist historians perspective
As the first session of the Estates General opened on May 5th, 1789 at Versailles for the first time in 175 years, the Nobility, Clergy and Third Estate met as the Estates General. These three classes together held the power to issue new taxes and institute new policies in France. Louis XVI was in attendance along with the Queen and other members of the royal family. King Louis opened the session with remarks regarding the reasons for the assembly’s meeting and what he hoped would be accomplish.
At the time of this assembly the country was in excessive debt and the King’s proposed solution was to increase taxes on the bourgeoisie. The Third Estate was unmoved by the King’s unacceptable solutions for pulling France out of its economic gutter, and demanded changes be made. This first session marked the beginning of the French Revolution. One month after the assembly at Versailles members of the Third Estate organized themselves as the “National Assembly” this majority of the French population made up over 90% of the French population.
The revolutionary class within the Third Estate was the bourgeoisie, in this class we find lawyers, intellectuals, shop owners, etc. The bourgeoisie’s goals for reform included, but were not limited to the taxation powers and limiting the King’s influence under the framework of a new constitution. This new constitution put little to no emphasis on the King’s legitimacy and put more importance on the individual citizen. The King immediately rejected changes made by the National Assembly who would later go on to change their name to the Constituent Assembly on July 9th.
Not all those present in King’s court were dishonest or involved themselves in clandestine factions while in service to Louis XVI. Jacques Necker, a banker from Geneva, was...