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Main reason for french revolution

Updated: 8/19/2023
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12y ago

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French Debt - Upkeeping Pride is Expensive

By 1780 half of the national budget in France went to pay interest on money the government had borrowed to finance their part in the American Revolution. It didn't help that most of that debt was borrowed from French nobility and wealthy bourgeois who refused to accept smaller payments. Another quarter of the budget went to the military. 6% went directly to the King to maintain his lavish court at Versailles. Less than one fifth of the national budget was for keeping the country in working order. There was no money for transportation, or general administration. The only way out of the crushing debt was to raise taxes, and the people who were affected most were the peasants. Needless to say, this did not endear them to their king or the aristocracy.

The American Revolution - New Ideas

Many of the soldiers who fought in the American Revolution came back to France inspired by the liberty and equality that had been established for all Americans (well, for white males, anyway) regardless of class or birthright. Marquis de Lafayette was one of the few aristocrats who held republican convictions and was unhappy about the gross inequities in French society. The American Revolution fit perfectly with the Enlightenment theories so popular in France. People rebelled against a tyranny and then acted in a rational way to establish their own constitution and government. Unfortunately, people would not act so sane or rational in France, following the downfall of the House of Bourbon.

The Estates General - Outdated

The Estates General were established in the 14th Century. The First Estate was the Clergy, who owned about 10% of the land in France and comprised of about 100,000 people. The Second Estate was made up of the nobility. They owned about 25% of the land and were made up of about 400,000 people. They were lightly taxed, if at all. However, the Second Estate could impose taxes on peasants for hunting and fishing rights, baking bread or pressing grapes for wine. The Third Estate was made up of everyone else. There was a smattering of rich merchants and educated doctors and lawyers in the Third Estate, and a few more artisans and unskilled laborers. However, the majority of the Third Estate was peasants, working in the countryside. While this arrangement worked in a feudal economy, it was no longer practical for modern day France.

98 % of people who paid taxes in France had absolutely no say in their government. That is bound to lead to problems. Especially when aforementioned Americans base their own revolution in part on taxation without representation. Whenever tax reforms were introduced that included taxing the nobility the Second Estate would shoot it down. During the reign of Louis XVI, taxes were repeatedly raised. High taxes coupled with food shortages and angry peasants are a formula for revolt.

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11y ago
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13y ago

There was an increasingly large economic gap between the rich and the poor.

The poor were being harsly taxed due to the crashing economy.

The people were inspired by the sucess of the American Revolution.

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13y ago

The French sought liberty, equality and fraternity.

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It could be said that they wanted bread, a new tax code that treated everyone fairly, a more responsive and representative government and hope.

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12y ago

they couldn't settle a 1v1 in mw2

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12y ago

Mi pene

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