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French History Notes

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Causes of the French Revolution

' The condition of French society: society was grounded in privilege and inequality; it was split into the three estates
' New political ideas of the Enlightenment proved attractive to both the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie;
' Political grievances: both elites, long accustomed to a new socioeconomic reality based on wealth and economic achievement, were increasingly frustrated by a monarchial system resting on privileges and on an old and rigid social order based on the concept of estates. The opposition of these elites to the old order led them ultimately to drastic action against the monarchial regime
' Food shortages
' Unemployment
' Rising prices for food and other goods
' Very large number of peasant class
' Near collapse of government finances
' Inspire Assignment

The Three Estates

' 1st Estate: clergy; 130,000 people; owned 10% of land; exempt from taille, France's chief tax; divided into higher clergy stemming from aristocratic familes, shared the interest of the nobility, while the parish priests were often poor and from the class of commoners
' 2nd Estate: nobility; 350,000 people; owned 25-30% of the land; held many of the leading positions in the government, military, law courts, and the higher church offices and sought to always expand and control their power in these areas; exempt from taille;
' 3rd Estate: commoners; divided by vast differences in occupation, level of education, and wealth; peasants made up 75-80% of population, owned 35-40% of the land; although no serfdom, peasants still had obligations to their local landlords that they deeply resented; also consisted of skilled craftsmen, shopkeepers, and other wage earners in the cities;
' Bourgeoisie: middle class; 8% of population; 2.3 million people; owned 20-25 percent of the land; merchants, industrialists, bankers, manufacturing, finance, lawyers, holders of public office, doctors, and writers; often excluded from social and political privileges of the nobility

Government Pre- French Revolution and Post French Revolution

' F

Importance of the Declaration of the Rights of Man

' The French representatives believed that ignorance, neglect, and scorn of the rights of man are the sole causes of public misfortune, and corruption of governments; adopted by National Assembly in August 1789; said men are born and remain free and equal in rights, government must protect these natural rights and that political power derived from the people;

The Difference between Nationalism and Liberalism

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