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Unformatted text preview: French Revolution- Alters the political and social order in France - Long term causes of the revolution o In the 18 th century France was faced with a lot of problems- the government was an absolute monarchy King was the heart of the power structure but the king wasn’t running the day to day stuff, he had to be able to cooperate with the nobles and holders etc King Louis 16 was not good at leading- he was out of touch with the people in France • He didn’t have a consistent policy for anything • Heavily influenced by special interest groups of nobles o They only supported reforms that did not jeopardize their status or power All of this is complicated by the enlightenment- the rhetoric called for legal equality • Distinguished between despotic or tyrannical rule and absolute rule Growing social tension in France- new made nobles and older nobles • As the lines of differentiation blur- and a shift in power between who has what power- the newer nobles had more power o Social tension between them, the older nobles are unhappy People who weren’t nobles- more middle class resent all the privaleges that the nobles have that they don’t have • Resented the courrupt and arrogant royal officials o Difference between the haves and have even more o The French government and monarchy had long relied on the sale of titles and commercial monopolies to get enough revenue to support itself Unfortunately as they made more offices the value of the offices fall Endanger of losing the confidence of the public, people are frustrated- what is the point, buy yourself a position, no real authority In addition there are financial difficulties • Economic downturns that make this a lot more difficult • Limits the revenue coming into the monarchy and exacerbate the social tensions o Declining wages o Prices of things were going up o High level of unemployment in 1770 and 1780s Conditions were made worse by a series of bad harvest and a growing population • This is fertile ground for a crazy revolution o The remnants of feudal dues are still about- the peasants are really resentful They’re starving and owe money- The sparking of the revolution is a financial crisis- the short term start o The financial crisis- France had had long wars with Britain and other powers Taking their toll leaving a very large national debt • Nearly 3/4’s of all the revenue went to paying the army, paying off the debts of the seven years war, American revolution and Austrian stuff Jacques Necker minister of finance in France had arranged for loans for the French to get involved in the American revolution • The revenue coming in was not enough to cover the loan payments • Government needed new ways of finding money o Taxes- but the problem is because the nobility is...
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This note was uploaded on 09/22/2009 for the course HIST 1007 taught by Professor Horton during the Fall '08 term at LSU.
- Fall '08
- French Revolution