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The Causes Of The French Revolution

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The primary causes for the French Revolution can be divide up into two overall reasons, which were the long standing causes and main (biggest) causes, which can and will be broken down even more. They can be broken down into more specific and detailed.
The long lasting causes were the ones that had been bothering the French for many years, which made them want the a change. The government was run by LouisXVI, who was an Absolute monarchy in France at that time. Because the Louis XVI had increasingly large powers over France's society, including: National System of Justice, Influence over the catholic church, the right to decree taxation and the leader of the military forces, the monarch had to be a strong, resposible, and stable person. Louis XVI was none of the above.
The population was divided into three estates at the time. The Third Estate was made up of the bourgeoisie, wage earners and the peasantry. They were the majority of the population. The Third Estate was also known as the estate of the commoners. The Second Estate was for the nobility. They were of minor rank. The First Estate was the clergy. Who were very wealthy and powerful. The first two states enjoyed privileges over the Third Estate. Although they were the wealthest, they were exempt from taxes. They were also the only members in society who could hold positions of importance such as officers in the army, political leaders, and other high positions. This really made the Third Estate angry.
Also there was great need for taxation reform in France before the Revolution. The inefficiency of only taxing the third estate showed in the government's budgets. The government was experiencing large debts and eventually went bankrupt because of over spending by the goverment including the king. This was made worse by the Nobles because they refused to pay taxes. The nobles were determined not to give up their tax concessions. This proved to be a great problem for Louis and his advisers. The peasants and bourgeoisie were also discontent due to the large taxes that they had to pay.
Due to costly wars and extravagant spending on courts, Louis XIV and Louis XV had played a main role in helping to bankrupt France. Their extravagant spending on courts could be seen by the sheer size and beauty of Versailles. The cost of the wars was great in two main ways. The French had suffered big defeats and therefore had lost men and supplies. They also had failed to gain any territory; in fact they often lost a lot of it. The worst war was the Seven Years War as this war drained the most out of France and this was when France lost most of her colonies toBritain.
The peasants had many grievances. One of the main grievances was the seigniorial system. This system allowed for greater income disparity in France and a real separation of classes.
This often left peasants almost isolated compared to the rest of society. The peasants were burdened with huge amounts of taxation that were nearly impossible for them to pay. This is why the peasents were so angry at this time.
This new growth lead to problems within the Ancien regime business expansion also. Plus the people saw prices steadily rising. This did not help the privileged classes whose incomes were fixed. But it helped the Bourgeoisie largely because they became wealthier and more powerful from this rise. The Bourgeoisie made up the largest proportion of society in France compared to the rest of Europe. This helped them gain more attention and power. The more town life increased the more and more bourgeoisie profited from good business expansion. This also made the Bourgeoisie despise the current tax system as it meant using money to pay tax that they could be using to expand. They wanted a uniform tax system.
The growth of new ideas amongst the Bourgeoisie reflected their high education levels. It also was prompted by the new 'Age of Enlightenment' that was taking place in France. Revolutionary thinkers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, the Encyclopedists combined with economic theorists combined with new theories. They presented an idea of a liberal society that flourished with free commerce. This appealed especially to the businessman of the Bourgeoisie. The thinkers also challenged the absolute right to rule and presented ideas of equal rights and the abolition of the class system.
The main causes for the revolution were the main reasons fought for. The French Monarchy was successful in running deficit budget after deficit budget. This was aided by large costs brought on from previous spending by Louis XV and Louis XIV. This did not stop Louis XVI from adding to the troubles. Instead of implementing tax reform Louis was insistent on not annoying the nobility. Therefore he had to borrow the difference. This started a constant loan cycle develop. When Turgot tried to stop this ...

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