Nation State Midterm Term Sheet

Nation State Midterm Term Sheet - Estates General At the...

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Estates General- At the time of the revolution: First Estate = 10,000 Catholic clergy, owned 5%-10% lands in France, which was tax exempt. Second Estate = nobility, 400,000 persons, monopoly over distinguished government service, higher church offices, army parliaments, etc…, not taxed by principal of feudal precedent. Third Estate = 25 million people: bourgeoisie, peasants, and everyone else in France, forced to pay taxes (bourgeoisie found some way to be exempt) The burden of the French government fell upon the poorest French: peasantry, working poor, and farmers, which was heavily resented by the 3 rd Estate. In 1789 the Estates General was to meet. According to 1614 model, equal numbers of representatives would be assigned to each Estate. The Third Estate demanded, and ultimately received, double representation. When the E-G convened in May, it became clear that the double representation was a sham: voting was to occur "by orders", meaning that the collective vote of the 578 representatives of the Third Estate would be weighed the same as that of each of the other Estates. The E-G reached an immediate impasse, debating (with each of the three estates meeting separately) its own structure rather than the nation's finances. On May 28, 1789, the Abbé Sieyès moved that the Third Estate proceed with verification of its own powers and invite the other two estates to take part, but not to wait for them. They proceeded to do so, completing the process on June 17. Then they declared themselves the National Assembly, an assembly not of the Estates but of "the People". They invited the other orders to join, but made it clear that they intended to conduct the nation's affairs with or without them. King Louis XVI tried to resist. When he shut down the Salle des États where the Assembly met, the Assembly moved their deliberations to a nearby tennis court, where they proceeded to swear the Tennis Court Oath (June 20, 1789). Third Estate- The Third Estate was the generality of people which were not part of the other estates. The Third Estate comprised all those who were not members of the aristocracy or the clergy, including peasants, working people and the bourgeoisie. In 1789, the Third Estate made up 97% of the population in France. Due in part to a limited franchise, the representatives of the Third Estate actually came from the wealthy upper bourgeoisie; sometimes the term's meaning has been restricted to the middle class, as opposed to the working class. The first Estates-General was called by Philip IV in 1302, in order to obtain national approval for his anticlerical policy. Philip organized the assembly into three divisions, and the divisions were maintained through to 1789 . The Third Estate demanded a greater role; the lower clergy (and some nobles and upper clergy) eventually sided with them; the king was forced to yield. The Estates-General was reconstituted first as the National Assembly (June 17, 1789) and then as the National Constituent Assembly (July 9, 1789), a unitary body composed of the former representatives of the three estates.
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