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No-one, strangely enough, and certainly not only the so-called "Third Estate". The nobility was subject to the King and often more or less forced to live at Court if it wanted to stand any chance of preferment or appointment to good positions. Officially they did not have to pay taxes, but instead they were expected to pay 'voluntary contributions' to the State that suspiciously looked like taxes, if only because the Treasury carefully saw to it that it was paid to the last penny every year.

The clergy also was expected to pay carefully monitored 'voluntary contributions' which made their freedom from taxes an empty letter. The large majority consisted of village priests, as poor as the villagers they served. The 'Princes of the Church", Bishops and Cardinals, lived comfortably but always had to balance their loyalty and obedience to King and Pope.

The 'Third Estate" included everybody else in France, from beggars and poor peasants to wealthy and powerful citizens and everything in between. Because of the enormous differences between the various groups of people within the Third Estate there were also great differences between the influence they wielded. It is often said that it was the "Third Estate" that felt disenfranchised, but that is a oversimplification. It is true that the Estates-General had not been convened by the King for some 150 years, but that meant that the nobles and clergy also had not been called up. Moreover, the Estates-General only had the task and power to grant new taxes to the king, not to participate in his government.

Basically, all the rights that you could think of were in France embodied in only one person, the King - who was personally responsible for all the decisions taken by his ministers (answerable only to him) in matters of finance and economy, war and peace, Law and Order. None of the three classes in France had any formal rights or powers to influence the King's rule or decisions. The fact that it was the Third Estate who finally rose against the King was not caused by their extra-subordinated position, but because they simply represented 99% of France's population. And, because the King's ministers had made a total mess of France's economy and finances, which mostly hurt the upper, wealthier classes of the Third Estate.

So the French Revolution did not start as an uprising of underprivileged masses against their disenfranchisement. It started as a protest of the upper middle class citizens against decades of economic and financial mismanagement by the King's ministers.

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Women and slaves

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Q: Which people in France still were not equal despite the declaration?
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Related questions

Which people in France still were not equal despite the decleration?

women


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In the Declaration of Independence (4 July, 1776), later in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and citizen (France, 1789).


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You have to precise your question.


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