French Revolution Essay Sample

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Different views on life throughout global history have led to major political, social, economic, cultural and technological revolutions. Each has a variety of complex causes that often a great impact on the lives of the people involved and their country surrounding them. Revolutions are often described as a change in society, and are usually violent and disruptive. In particular, the French Revolution was a period of radical, social and political upheaval in France that had a major impact on France and throughout the rest of Europe.

Although the French Revolution began in 1789 with the convocation of the Estates-General in May, there were multiple different principles prior to that which triggered the war to begin. The foremost cause of the war was bankruptcy of the government. The debt in France before the revolution had risen from 1 billion to 2 billion livres. In 1774 when Louis XVI began to rule, he spent way too much money on himself and his wife, Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI would demand that the third estate, the poorest and hardest working of them all, to be responsible to pay all the taxes. The second and third estate, known as the nobles and clergy, would not have the responsibility of paying any taxes and was able to own a large percentage of land. This made the third estate furious towards the king and queen because instead of using the people’s tax money to pay off the debt and help the country, they spent most of it on things for themselves. Louis XVI’s idea of reform was to get rid of any minister who tried to introduce financial reform. As a result, by 1789 the government went bankrupt.

An additional component that impacted the cause of the revolution was the political inequalities among the French government. The French population was divided into three estates. The first two, which contained the Clergy and the Nobles, concentrated all the powers. The first estate paid no taxes and owned 15 percent of land while the second estate paid no taxes as well and had held high positions in the army and government. They owned 30 percent of the land. Meanwhile, the third estate contained everyone else in the country which was 25 million people. They paid all the taxes and this estate included the Bourgeoisie- the educated people in society like doctors, lawyers, and teachers. This was not a fair balance among the different classes and is what caused feud in society and many other problems.

One event that instigated the start of the revolution was the Tennis Court Oath. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the third estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on June 20th, 1789. It is believed that they were locked out by Louis XVI to end their demands for reform. The only person who did not sign was Joseph Martin-Dauch, a politician who would not execute decisions not sanctioned by the king. This Oath gave the third estate a stronger voice in the estates general. The men of the third estate were supporters of the reforms and were anxious to discuss these measures.

After the French Revolution ended, it left immediate and long term effects on the lives of the people involved. One immediate effect was the fall of the class system. The government now began to realize what they needed to do in order to get the country back into shape and the elimination of the class system was probably the best way to do so. One long term effect was Napoleon becoming emperor. He started a war with almost every country that had a monarchy. The Revolution also gave a huge boost to science and literature, and freedom of speech.

As you can see, the French Revolution was caused by social, political and economic problems. People were disconnected from the king, which led to them having no say in the government. The first two estates were privileged and the third was very unprivileged and had to pay heavy taxes. French kings spent more money on themselves and on wars then they had coming in from society. Every aspect of the revolution eventually ended up affecting the people after it ended whether it was immediate or multiple years after. Either way, during this revolution France reformed a lot and has become what it is today.

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