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The French Revolution
Transcript of The French Revolution
In 1789, a social order that had lasted for centuries persisted.
Estates – the social order of French society.
There were three estates.
French Society Divided
Higher clergy – lived a luxurious lifestyle free from worry.
They collected tithes from parishioners that helped support this wealth and privilege.
tithe – a required payment by all parishioners to the Catholic Church.
Lower clergy – still part of 1st estate, but did not enjoy privileges of the higher clergy.
Second Estate – the titled nobility of French society.
They held top government jobs and military posts.
Third Estate – included the rest of French society. Those in the third estate were:
bourgeoisie – middle class merchants, bankers, manufacturers, lawyers, doctors, and professionals.
peasants – farm workers who worked and lived on large estates.
urban workers – worked in industries such as printing or cloth making.
Facts about the Third Estate in France:
1. They had no political rights or privileges.
2. They made up 97% of the population.
3. By 1789, conditions in France are poor,
and many people were finding it harder
and harder to find bread to eat.
4. The 1st and 2nd Estates experienced no such problems.
5. The 3rd Estate also had to pay taxes, while the other estates did not.
The French Revolution
1st Estate – made up of the clergy.
Forces of Change
Enlightenment ideas led people in the 3rd Estate to question the inequalities they were facing.
People in the 3rd Estate began calling for more equality.
France had a number of significant financial woes leading into the 1790s:
1. National debt – France had
spent more money than it had due to the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolution.
2. Lavish spending by the Court – King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette spent large sums of money on luxurious items.
Financial Problems Abound
3. Bad harvests – famine and drought caused a food shortage.
4. Refusal to raise taxes – the 1st and 2nd Estates strongly protested to the King against being taxed.