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The French Revolution of 1789: Causes and Reasons for Success

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Imani Dorcelus September 28, 2011
Global Hist. II H Berlin 6

The French Revolution of 1789 consisted of many aspects which led to the movement. Both long-term and immediate causes bequeathed to its triumph. The Enlightenment bestowed a new concept of government and society. America also influenced the nation’s controversial revolt. Many actions contributed to the French Revolution of 1789; according to an excerpt from Travels in France by Arthur Young. (Document 1) Observations made by this traveler from the years 1787 to 1789 encompass the immense taxing on those who were not nobles, the increased price of bread; making the peoples’ purchase of the resource inevitable and the insane prices of feudal dues. According to Document 2, a diagram of the three estates in 1789, the relationship between the percentage of the population in each estate and the percentage of the land owned showed that the larger the population the more the land owned on the estate; primarily focused toward the third estate. Inequitable circumstances subsisted in pre-revolutionary France, entailing the third estate facing much more of the taxes and fees than the other estates. In Document 3, excerpts from the cahiers listed the following demands made by the third estate in the French government: reform of abuse and tyranny, equal taxation amongst all classes, taxes granted for a limited period, and votes taken per person within assembly. Another cause of the French Revolution of 1789 as expressed by Lord Acton was due to the American influence. He suggested that the ideas of philosophers were not the cause of the epidemic, but that it was the contemplation provided by the Declaration of Independence. (Document 5) The following actions contributed to the success of the French movement. Each cause led to the uproar of the third estate that caused them to revolt. The documents mentioned above are verification of the involved causes. The causes led to an ambitious fight for rights & resulted in what we know as the French Revolution of 1789.

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