To What Extent Was the French Revolution a Result of Economic Events?

Topics: Louis XVI of France, Louis XV of France, French Revolution Pages: 3 (1224 words) Published: February 10, 2008
Before humankind knew religion, politics, or security, it knew revolution. From the Ionian Revolt of 499 BC to the Darfur Rebellion of 2003, there is no denying that the history of man has been built from revolution – and that it has severely shaped the world we live in today; no one more so, perhaps, than the French Revolution of 1789. Regarded as possibly the most influential socio-political revolutions in human history, the French Revolution had countless good outcomes (the downfall of aristocracy, the creation of a new, more efficient government system, etc.). However, this was a time of horror for the people of France – plagued with death, terror, and loss. It is important, then, that humankind in this age clearly understands what could have been done to prevent over an estimated 75,000 deaths. And so the question becomes – what was the main cause of the French Revolution? Some historians believe that the enlightenment ideology was the main reason for the revolution. Others would disagree, placing the blame on the transparency of Louis XVI's incompetence. And others, still, would argue that the economic crisis of France was at fault. This is not an easy issue to resolve, because of the fact that it occurred over two hundred years ago, and that there is simply no way to set aside the specific circumstances that existed at the time and be able to know for sure. That being said, because the incompetence of the king, the enlightened ideas, and all other minor reasons have incredibly strong counterarguments, the best answer to the question becomes that of economic events and the crisis France was in at the time.

For a century prior to the French Revolution, the French monarchy had operated fiscally without a legislature. Because of this, the country was virtually bankrupt. Heavy spending on the American War of Independence and the Seven Year's War, as well as Louis XIV's excessive spending on commodities such as Versailles and reliance on agriculture for...
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