French Revolution - Sarah Lowery History 102 Professor...

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Sarah Lowery History 102 Professor Batham 18 January 2009 The French Revolution The French Revolution of 1789-1799 has been noted as one of the most important events in the history of the world. From political disputes to the turmoil of society, the French Revolution led to many changes in France. During the course of the Revolution, France was known as the most powerful country in Europe. France colonized, had powerful leaders, and had one of the largest populations. The Revolution had led France out of chaos, and into new political ideas such as nationalism and democracy. No longer were priests and kings in charge, but the people of the country itself, which gave new meanings to the politics of France forever. The beginning of the French Revolution is historically marked in 1789, but the people of France had been suffering for years prior. The citizens of France felt they were being misrepresented by King Louis XVI, and the primary cause of the Revolution was over disputes between the peoples’ differing ideas of the King. The peasants of France were angered by what seemed a never-ending demand by their central government. The tax system had major flaws, and tension existed between the overprivileged and underprivileged peoples of France. During the period before the Revolution, France suffered from many harsh economic problems. Farm harvests were poor, and trade was very difficult, but the most
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serious problem was the national debt. Years earlier, Louis XVI had borrowed money from the government in order to pay for the wars and to keep the French power alive in Europe. After Louis realized his debt, he called for help, and a man named Robert Turgot came to the rescue. Turgot claimed that the only way to restore France from this national debt was to tax everyone in France including the clergy and nobles. In order for this taxation to go through and revive France, it had to be passed by the nobles themselves (according to the Parliament tax laws). Of course, the nobles did not want to be taxed, and rejected Turgot. With this, Louis XVI called for help from the Estates General. The general decided that the only way to get France out of the national debt without taxing the nobles would be to tax the poorer. The general then divided the people of France into three estates. The First Estate included all the clergy and church, the Second Estate included nobility (Kings, Queens, etc.), and the Third (and largest) Estate included everyone else. The Third Estate had much controversy, because even the
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French Revolution - Sarah Lowery History 102 Professor...

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