age of reason

Topics: American Revolutionary War, French Revolution, American Revolution Pages: 1 (279 words) Published: March 5, 2014
Among causes of the French Revolution, the principal condition was the "revolutionary situation" which had developed in 18th century France through mismanagement of the economy and, in particular, the costs incurred in fighting the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War. The economic crisis was compounded by years of bad harvests and resulted in urban and rural resentment of the wealth and privilege enjoyed by the nobility and clergy. In due course, the crisis led to the convocation of the Estates-General in May 1789 and, subsequently, as the revolution unfolded, it came to be seen in terms of Enlightenment ideals which some held to have created a "revolutionary spirit".The essence of the revolutionary situation which existed in France in the 1780s was the bankruptcy of the King, and hence the State. This economic crisis was due to the rapidly increasing costs of government and to the overwhelming costs incurred by fighting two major wars: the Seven Years' War and the American Revolutionary War. These costs could not be met from the usual sources of state revenue. Since the 1770s, several attempts by different ministers to introduce financial stability had failed.[1] The taxation system was burdensome upon the middle class and the more prosperous peasants, given that the nobles were largely able to exempt themselves from it. As a result, there was "an insistent demand" for reform of these abuses of privilege, for an equitable means of taxation and for improved government processes.[2] David Thomson argued that the bourgoisie and peasantry had "something to lose, not merely something to gain" in their demands for a fairer society and this fear too was a major factor in the revolutionary situation.
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