During the late 1700’s, France wanted to be like America in their own revolution. Their was a big change in power between 1789-1799, and and also caused an advancement away from the absolutist government of France. During the late 1700’s France was one of the strongest estate’s in the world. The effects of the country’s revolution spread from France to Europe. The French Revolution was caused because the Third Estate’s desire to have liberty and also be equal. The way France’s social class was made it was just a matter of time before the revolution would start.
The economic classes of France were made up of three estates. The first estate was the church, or clergy, the second estate was the nobles, and the third estate was made up of the peasants, the uneducated, and lawyers. France’s economic system made the third estate pay the most taxes and the clergy members didn’t have to pay taxes, and for the nobles they paid little or no taxes at all. People who are starving and can barely afford to survive can only pay so much taxes before they stop paying their taxes.
Along with the social causes of the revolution, economic and political events that made people want change. Economic conditions such as poor harvests made the price of food rise to very high prices half someones pay went to just attempting to feed their family. The taxation system took money from the peasants as well. King Louis XVI lived such a rich and well off life that three percent of the nation’s earned money was spent on royal family! Wars also caused the nation to have money problems. The cost of maintaining a army was 1/2 of France’s money.
The taxes were not used for health, schooling, or general life of the third estate where all the money was coming from. These economic problems set the stage for some huge changes in France. Louis XVI did try, and was not successful in trying to fix the political system of France. When King Louis XVI became king, he realized that these problems existed. Louis chose a man named Robert Turgot to help the financial problems of France, but he had difficulties when he tried to start a major reform.
Turgot could not create a change in the taxation policies of France. He was not able to introduce a higher tax to the second estate because the king could not tax the nobles unless the Parliament said it was ok to introduce the new tax laws. The people in the courts that voted on these laws were the nobles, and so they rejected Turgot’s reform. After Turgot was rejected, the king fired him from his office. With the economic problems of France increasing, Louis XVI made the Estates General in 1789.
The Estates General was a council where each social class could be represented. Louis called people together for the Estates General with the idea of raising taxes even higher than they were before on the third estate. The third estate thought that they would finally be able to express their ideas about a national change that would give the third estate both liberty and equality. When the Estates General met in 1789, the representatives from the third estate outnumbered the representatives of the first and second estates.
When the king realized this, he was upset and didn’t want to hear their views and the third estate made the tennis court oath, and declared themselves the National Assembly. The oath said not to leave until they had established a reformed government. This became the famous tennis court oath. The French Revolution had an impact on all of Europe. Hopefully Europe has learned from the Revolution and won’t make the same mistakes as before. All should learn from this and know not to make the same mistakes. The French Revolution is one of many previous events that many wish that history wont repeat its self.