10-4-10 History Notes

10-4-10 History Notes - History 123 Notes The French...

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10/4/2010 History 123 Notes The French Revolution This revolution started an era of revolutions in Europe and globally. What caused the French Revolution? o 1. Social Inequality o 2. Money o 3. Ineffectual King SOCIAL INEQUALITY The social structure of France before the French Revolution was known as the Ancient Regime, which was the population divided into 3 groups called “estates”. 1 st Estate: Those who pray (Catholic Clergy) o There was higher ranking clergy who had privilege and wealth and there was a lower clergy who dealt with the everyday people who were not so “endowed”. 2 nd Estate: Those who fought (The nobility) o They owned property and were not taxed but they could tax the people living on that land. 3 rd Estate: Everyone else. (97% of the population) o Peasants, urban artists, the rising middle class (bourgeoisie- wealthy middle class). o Wealth didn’t equal privilege (middle class owned 20% of the land in France but they were taxed, unlike the nobility). The first 2 estates consisted of 3% of France’s population and the 3 rd estate consisted of 97% of the French Population. These 3 tiers were the basis of social inequality. MONEY France was in debt. Severely.
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3 reasons contributed to this extreme debt. o 1. Colonial Empire o 2. War o 3. Royal Extravagance The colonial empires were expensive to run and since they lost 3 wars to the British, they weren’t able to establish good trade to pay off debt since they lost many of their colonies. France got involved in the American Revolution which was also very expensive and caused France to go even further into debt. The court was also spending way too much to maintain the king and the 10,000 people at the Palace of Versailles. The King and Queen had extravagant taste (Marie Antoinette). There was one way to fix the debts and that was to reform the taxing method. The 1 st and 2 nd estate would not approve of the new reform because that would cause them to be taxed. INEFFECTUAL KING Louis XVI wanted to be an absolute monarch just like those who had come before him and use strong authority. Louis enjoyed eating, hunting and playing practical jokes more than ruling
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10-4-10 History Notes - History 123 Notes The French...

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