The French Revolution was a period of great upheaval that began in 1789 and ended in 1799. The primary causes of the Revolution were the Estates of the realm, which were the three social classes into which society was divided. The first estate was the clergy, who were exempt from taxes; the second estate was the nobility, who also were exempt from taxes; and the third estate was everyone else, who paid all the taxes.
The Revolution began when the third estate, fed up with paying all the taxes, rebelled against the other two estates. The first and second estates tried to quell the rebellion, but they were unsuccessful. In 1792, France went to war with Austria and Prussia, and in 1793, the monarchy was abolished and a republic was proclaimed.
The Reign of Terror was a period of violence that lasted from 1793 to 1794, during which thousands of people were executed. The Jacobins, a political club that supported the Revolution, were in power during the Reign of Terror. However, the Jacobins lost power in 1794 and the Directory, a group of five men, took over.
In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte, a general who had been instrumental in defeating the Austrians and Prussians, seized power from the Directory in a coup d’état. Napoleon declared himself Emperor and ruled France until his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Although Napoleon did not achieve all of the goals of the Revolution, he did bring about many reforms, such as the Napoleonic Code, which is still in use in France today.
The conflicts and disparities between the many types of social classes in French society, as well as the financial difficulties faced by the French government during 1779, were two of the principal causes of the Revolution. The French Revolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most significant events in world history. The Revolution resulted in numerous modifications in France, which at that time was Europe’s most powerful state.
The Revolution also had an impact on the rest of Europe and indeed the world. The French Revolution began in May 1789, when the Estates-General (the French parliament) met for the first time in over 150 years. The Estates-General was made up of representatives of the three main social classes in France: the clergy (the First Estate), the nobility (the Second Estate), and the common people (the Third Estate). The representatives of the Third Estate demanded that they be given equal representation to that of the other two estates, but this was refused by King Louis XVI. In July 1789, the Third Estate declared itself to be a National Assembly, and took an oath not to disband until it had drawn up a new constitution for France.
The Revolution paved the way for the rise of new political forces including democracy and nationalism. “It challenged the authority of kings, priests, and lords. The Revolution also gave new significance to popular political ideas.” There were three major social classes in France before the Revolution: the First Estate (the clergy), the Second Estate (the nobility), and the Third Estate (the bourgeoisie and peasants). Both first two estates were extremely wealthy, whereas third estate was extremely poor.
The French Revolution was caused by many factors, both long-term and short-term. In the long-term, the most important cause was the conflict between the two main social classes in France: the nobles and the commoners. The nobles had all of the power, while the commoners had none. This led to a lot of resentment among commoners, who wanted more equality. Another long-term cause was that France was one of the most populous countries in Europe, and its population was growing rapidly.
This led to a decrease in the amount of land available per person, which made life very difficult for peasants. In the short-term, the most important cause was the financial crisis that France was facing in the 1780s. This was caused by a number of factors, including expensive wars, high taxes, and bad harvests. The financial crisis led to widespread discontent among the people of France, which ultimately led to the Revolution.
The French Revolution was a time of great change for France. It brought about new ideas and forces such as democracy and nationalism. It also led to the development of new political parties. The most important changes, however, were social. The Revolution resulted in a more equal society, with more power for the common people. It also led to the end of the feudal system, which had allowed the nobles to have all of the power. The Revolution was a time of great change for France, and it shaped the country that we know today.
Only moderate changes were desired by the people before the start of the Revolution. The beginning of the Revolution appeared to be unimportant, and things moved in a logical direction. One reason for the outbreak of the Revolution was dissatisfaction among France’s lower and middle classes. “By law, society was split into three estates: clergy, nobility, and commoners” (“Causes of the French Revolution”).
The first estate was the clergy, the second estate was the nobility, and the third estate was everyone else. The third estate made up 97% of France’s population, but they had very little power. The people were upset by this unfair treatment, and it gave them a strong motive to rebel against the government. A second long-term cause of the Revolution was that the king and queen, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, were extremely unpopular. The French people disliked them for a number of reasons.
Firstly, after becoming king, Louis XVI immediately set about to undo many of his predecessor’s policies that were designed to make life better for the poor. Secondly, during a time of great famine in 1788, Marie Antoinette was said to have remarked, “Let them eat cake!” when she was told that the peasants had no bread. This callous remark showed how little concern she had for the plight of the poor. It also made her a prime target for revolutionaries who wanted to overthrow the monarchy.
The third long-term cause of the French Revolution was the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a period in which philosophers believed that reason, rather than tradition or religion, should be used to guide people’s actions. Many of the ideas of the Enlightenment were based on those of John Locke, an English philosopher who argued that all people have natural rights, such as the right to life, liberty, and property. The philosophes—intellectuals who wrote about these ideas—were very popular in France, and their ideas helped to create a climate in which revolution became more likely.
The immediate cause of the French Revolution was the financial crisis that hit the country in 1788-1789. At this time, France was involved in a number of costly wars, such as the Seven Years’ War and the American Revolutionary War. As a result, the government was deeply in debt. In an effort to raise money, King Louis XVI called for a meeting of the Estates-General—a legislative body made up of representatives from each of the three estates. However, when the Estates-General met in May 1789, it quickly became clear that there were serious divisions between the different groups.