Causes of the French Revolution

Topics: French Revolution, Age of Enlightenment, Voltaire Pages: 2 (760 words) Published: December 13, 2012
Causes of the French Revolution

In the 1780s, long standing resentments against the French Monarchy fueled anger throughout France. The source of the French people’s ill will could be found in the unequal structure of French government and society. However there are 3 main short term and long term causes of the French revolution.

The long-term causes were economic, religious, and political and social. There was a severe financial crisis at this time. There was starvation, and no welfare for sick and dying peasants. There was too much poverty and a lot of people were unemployed looking for something to do that could save their family. First, France was deeply in debt. Over the previous centuries, France had borrowed huge sums of money to spend on wars including the American Revolution. But the king and his court continued to spend lavishly, leading to even more borrowing and debt. And by the 1780’s this pattern of spending and borrowing had taken the country deeply into debt. The country was broke, and people were hungry and angry. Eliminating the tax exemptions for the First and Second Estates could have helped the situation, but the clergy and the nobility resisted all such efforts. Then there was the religious long-term cause. The Catholic Church sided with the Aristocracy, and upper class, and The French Huegonauts. The Protestants were opposed to the state religion, and felt a change to a secular state would help them. There were a growing number of anti-Pope intellectuals, and Humanists in France, including people like Voltaire and Lafayette.

And finally there was the political and social long term causes all originating from the poor leadership of Louis XVI. A social and political structure called the Old Order, or ancien regime, created inequalities in French society. Under the Old Order, the king was at the top and three social groups called estates were under him. There were Three Main Estates. The Peasants, the Middle Class, and The...
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