“We want the kings to understand that they exist for the country and not the country for them”. The French Revolution of 1789 was the result of several years of corruption, injustice and economic turmoil. Under the king’s rule the lowest of the Ancien Regime were the Third Estate or peasants who had most to gain from a revolution. The revolution was triggered by several grievances up to 1789 that brought upon such radical change in France.
In response to the high rates of unemployment, starvation and taxes in 1789, the frustrated Third Estate formed mobs that travelled throughout France looting and spreading violence. Angry peasants broke into chateaux and burned records of the detested feudal dues payments. As a result of “The Great Fear”, noble deputies were forced to announce the end of their privileges and feudalism as a whole. The Great Fear was significant as it showed the power of the Third Estate to affect change no matter how they were viewed by the nobility.
The storming of the Bastille was undoubtedly a grievance caused by the Third Estate that also helped lead the way to revolution. The Bastille was seen as a representation of the monarchy and its strength. By storming the prison, a clear message was sent by the peasants as to how they felt towards their sovereign. It was a sign that the king could no longer rely solely on his role as being god’s messenger, to enforce his power. The magnitude of this event was such that the King had lost control of Paris, weakening his power greatly.
In addition to the uprisings caused by the Third Estate, the way the peasants organised themselves to revolt against bureaucracy and the ineffective monarchy was vital. The setting up of the National Assembly was a great success for the Third Estate. It gave them the power to change society to their benefit and most importantly control taxation. A notable act of the National Assembly that corroborated this belief was when the Declaration of the Rights of Man...
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