The French Revolution and the Rise of the Republic of France: A Discussion of its Causes and Effects An essay by Cameron Reynolds-Beer
Prior the French revolution was a series of events that damaged the legitimacy of the monarch’s rule. These included many situations, some of which were avoidable, some of which were not. The French class system of three “Estates”: The First Estate - The Nobles and Lords; The Second Estate - The Church and Priests; and the Third Estate - the peasants, workers, and farmers. There are many arguments for different causes being the primary cause for the revolution, and in this essay I will describe the main causes and discuss my conclusion as to which of them I believe to be the primary cause.
One of the longest running of the issues was that of the influence of the Catholic Church and the Priests over the Third Estate. This was due to the ability of the Church to collect Tides, a form of tax for the use of the area on and around church property, from the Third Estate. This led to a feeling of hostility towards the church and the belief that they were partially to blame for peasants being unable to earn enough money to relive the debts that they had to pay.
The second issue was that of France’s constant warring. This included such wars as the Seven Years War and the American War of Independence. France’s large standing armies and navies were costing a lot of money to sustain, and the large number of casualties was causing a huge drop in work force and a massive increase in war exhaustion. This all led to a significant issue with military spending, most of which had to come from the Third Estate from war taxes.
The combination between France’s large debt and its absolute monarchy caused a lot of tension between the king and queen, and the peasants. This was caused by the inability to tax the First and Second Estates, the frivolous spending of Marie Antoinette and Louis XIV, the expensive upkeep of the palace at Versailles...
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