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Causes of the French Revolution

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Jeff Reznichek

on 17 September 2012

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Transcript of Causes of the French Revolution

Causes of the French Revolution Financial Difficulties Nobles were determined not to give up their tax concessions
The peasants and the bourgeoisie were unhappy because they had to pay all the taxes Need for tax reform Government had large debts with heavy interest Over ambitious wars Extravagant spending on courts King Louis XVI France was an absolute monarchy with a weak monarch King Louis XVI was incapable of strong decisive action King Louis was strongly influenced by his wife, Marie Antoinette King Louis XVI preferred personal interests to court interests Population of France was divided into three estates The First Estate: Clergy The Second Estate: Nobility Third Estate: Commoners (majority of the population) The Age of Enlightenment It's purpose was to reform society using reason (rather than tradition, faith, or revelation) and advance knowledge through science Adam Smith Liberal society can flourish
with free commerce John Locke Challenged the
absolute right to rule Appealed to
bourgeoisie grievances Rousseau France sent troops and supplies to aid the American revolutionaries Take up arms against tyranny Liberal freedoms for all men No taxation without representation A Republic is superior to a monarchy Cardinals, bishops and heads of monasteries 3 % of total population
Owned 10 %
of land
Paid no taxes
Clergy 1St Estate Nobility
Top jobs in government, military, law courts, and Roman Catholic Church
1.7% of total population
25-30% of land
Paid no taxes 2nd Estate Divided based on occupations, education and wealth
Peasants = 80%
At least half had little or no land to live on 35-40% of land
Owed duties to nobles – pay to grind their own flour
Middle class owned rest of land 3rd Estate Merchants, bankers, manufacturers and professional people (lawyers, doctors, public officials, and journalists)
8% total population
20% of land
Unhappy with noble and privileges they had Bourgeoisie July 14, 1789
8000 men and women
Defended by Marquis de Launay and 114 men
4 hours later
98 attackers dead - Revolutionaries
1 defender dead – French officials / military Storming of the Bastille More attackers arrive
Launay surrenders
Angry mob beats
Luanay to death
and cut off his head
Carry it through Paris And then…. Symbol of the states hard policies
Royal armory – held guns and ammunition
Used as a state
prison The Bastille Duc de la Rouchefoucauld-Liancout
“No, Sire, it’s a Revolution” King Louis XVI
“Is this a revolt?” Royal Response Bad harvests greatly increased the price of bread
Peasants and the poor could not afford to buy bread
In cities and towns people rioted, demanding bread Food Shortages Cahiers
Notebooks listing the grievances of each of the Three Estates
fairer taxes
freedom of the press
regular meetings of the Estates General
Tennis Court Oath
May 1789
Third Estate forms the National Assembly
Promise to continue to meet until they establish a constitution Louis XVI Calls the Estates General Enlightenment Ideas Revolutionary Ideas
Full transcript