1. International: struggle for hegemony and Empire outstrips the fiscal resources of the state
2. Political conflict: conflict between the Monarchy and the nobility over the “reform” of the tax system led to paralysis and bankruptcy.
3. The Enlightenment: impulse for reform intensifies political conflicts; reinforces traditional aristocratic constitutionalism, one variant of which was laid out in Montequieu’sSpirit of the Laws; introduces new notions of good government, the most radical being popular sovereignty, as in Rousseau’s Social Contract ; the attack on the regime and privileged class by the Literary Underground of “Grub Street;” the broadening influence of public opinion.
4. Social antagonisms between two rising groups: the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie
5. Ineffective ruler: Louis XVI
6. Economic hardship, especially the agrarian crisis of 1788-89 generates popular discontent and disorders caused by food shortages.
For the greater part of history the French revolution was believed to have been the product of social and economic unrest. The country was at the time facing a deteriorating economic condition coupled with a lag between the intellectual development and social political condition that was stagnant. In this situation it was the middle class, also known as the Bourgeoisie which was in the worst social position. This was the educated class which was heavily taxed whereas the ruling nobles and the clergy were exempted from taxation.
Social Causes of the French Revolution
The vast majority of the French public belonged to the working class whose hard earned money was being used to finance the foreign wars and the court extravagance along with being the treasury with which to repay national debt. Although on the face of it the King had consolidated absolute monarchy which should have put an end to feudalism, the small land owners and the peasant class were still bound to extremely unfair contracts with