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Causes of the French Revolution
Transcript of Causes of the French Revolution
Economic Factors Historical Factors There are many reasons on why the people of France wanted to overthrow the French Monarch. Those factors are... After Louis the XIV had left the throne, his great-grandson, Louis the XV, became king in 1715. In 1754, France had entered the Seven Years' War and by 1763, France had lost to the British, and the country was bankrupted. The people did not enjoy the defeat and he was not popular with the people.
Years later, Louis the XVI who was the grandson of Louis the XV, had noticed the Americans fighting the British for their independence. Since he wanted to avenge the loss to the British in the Seven Years' War, he supported the Americans. France had sent troops, ammunition, supplies and ships to the Americans to help the cause. When the War was won by the Americans and French, the country was, yet again, bankrupt and had left France with huge debts. Thanks to these debts, this led to unrest by the public and a distrust towards the monarch and their decisions. The Age of Enlightenment During this age, (1650-1800) people from across Europe were coming to new ideas in conclusions to how the world works and should work. Some ideas that came from this time period is how society should be set up, and how a nation state should be run and the type of government that should be installed. People were coming to the conclusion that every man in society should be equal and people should be given their title based on experience and ability rather than being born into it. Famous philosophers such as Voltaire and John Locke had written and spoken about the removal of the Catholic Church from power as well as the ability of the people to overthrow the government if it is not working in the people's favour.
Many people, including the French people, had been inspired by the words spoken by the philosophers of the age of enlightenment. Most of the ideas from this age had been applied in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, written by the French people during the French Revolution. Geographic Factors The summer of 1788 had been filled with disaster. During the spring, there was a drought which had severely decreased grain production. Also, the winter had been the coldest in living memory of the citizens and had lasted for many months. This also had on the effect on the people, causing food shortages. With all the disasters, the price of bread had skyrocketed through the rough, causing riots and many people starving. The French people were very angry at the monarchy for this, as the nobles, the clergy, and the King and Queen were still able to live so comfortably, while the rest of France had to suffer. Social Factors During 1788-1789, the class system in France was set up in a way that had the clergy (which is the high end people of the church, 1% of the people) and the nobility (2% of the people) at the top of society, while everyone else was at the bottom. The clergy and nobility was able to always enjoy their lives to the fullest, going to parties at the Palace of Versailles, owning land, having high end positions in the military and the government, and not having to pay taxes. The people of France were very outraged by the clergy and the nobility, as their titles and positions had only been achieved by being born into it. It did not seem fair to the people that there were people who got special privileges that did not have to starve only because they were born into it. The population of France had also substantially increased over the recent years prior to the revolution, leaving more people to starve over what little bread there was available. Political Reasons The taxation of the people had been set up to where only the people that were not of nobility or clergy paid taxes. This meant that the most wealthiest people in the French society did not pay taxes to the King and Queen, leaving the rest of society how were mostly poor to pay. The people had to pay most of their income to the monarchy. The voting system for a government reform was also lop-sided. The clergy, the nobility and the people all had the same say in any government voting. Since the clergy and nobility would almost always be against any idea to change the system, any reforms put into debate would be scrapped, leaving with no change to a nation that had a massive debt that keep increasing and increasing. Economic Factors France had become bankrupt during the rule of King Louis the XV and King Louis the XVI. The national debt was incredibly high, and the cost of basic food and other needs was too much for the average peasant to buy. Since the nobility and clergy did not pay any taxes, there would be now economic reforms. All the war efforts that the French had got themselves into had also increase the debt of France by a substantial amount. The monarchy had also been spend massive amounts on money, including Queen Marie Antoinette, who had spent large amounts of money purchasing dresses and other novelty items. The spending by the monarch had been another addition to the increasing debt of France. With all of this money going nowhere, and almost nothing coming back in return. the people of France had become very poor and paid so much of their income to taxes, to the point where they could not afford to feed their families.