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History – French Revolution Essay

I truly believe it was the collective effect of all the causes of the French Revolution that finally caused the people to rise up. In 1789 the people of France were suffering under the rule of Louis XVI, who used the countries money to provide him and his family the most luxurious life imaginable, while the people starved. The political regime of the time was a absolute monarchy (regime in which the country is ruled by a King or Queen, who inherit this position and has absolute power), but in theory there was a form of parliament, Estates General that consisted of elected representatives.

This group of people could only meet if the King allowed or requested the meeting and in the 175 years of the parliament’s existence there had not been a single meeting. This fact frustrated the people because the King did not take their opinion and needs in consideration. Louis XVI would do as he pleased, a clear example of that was placing people in jail for no absolute reason except maybe his dislike for them. During the 18th century France was in a number of wars leaving the country with a lot of debts.

In 1780’s the country had to borrow more money simply to pay interest (the amount of money paid on the money borrowed) on their debts. The royal family had a lifestyle the country could not support because only the lower classes were taxed, the peasants (people who worked on the land), while the higher classes, clergy (the religious leaders, individuals that worked for the roman catholic church, ex: priests) and the nobles (entities with a high social rank, ex: Ladies and Lords) did not pay tax at all.

In other words the tax system needed a urgent reform (improvement). The social structure was horribly unfair. It was divided in three groups that were called “Estates”. The first estate was the Clergy, the people who belong to this estate worked for the Roman Catholic Church, which was at the time the main religion in France. At this specific stage in time the church owned a lot of land and most of their high officials were extremely wealthy. The Nobles formed the second estate.

They were given many special rights and privileges. The third estate was made up of 98% of the people. This estate was where all the peasants, middle class traders and all kinds of professionals (ex. Lawyers). They paid heavy tax and had absolutely no privileges at all. Above all the estates was the King and his family with the absolute power. “It was the collective effect of all the causes of the French Revolution that finally caused the people to rise up. ”

History Essay Lara Ismael Nogueira Martha For many centuries people in the whole of Europe accepted the authority of both their Kings and the Roman Catholic Church, a clear example of that was the “Divine Right of Kings” (this concept simply means that people believed their Kings and Queens were a representation of God and had to be respected and adored as such). Finally during the 18th century many philosophers started questioning these ideas. These period was called the Age of Enlightenment because the people began to question the old ways, led by the church, and created their own.

Science had great advances during these times because everything was new, there was something to be discovered everyday… it was at this point that Theocentrism (God in the center of the universe) was put aside and gave room for a complete new way of thinking and living, Anthropocentrism (man in the center of the universe). Diderot was a clear example of a philosopher that question the church and made his opinion well known. He was the leader of a group made up of philosophers that called themselves the “Encyclopaedists”, they’re goal was to write a series of books called “Encyclopaedia” (books that contained all existing knowledge).

As they began to write the books they became more and more aware of the situation in France. They made their books public, therefore everyone could read them, this act helped spread the revolutionary ideas more than they already were. As the popularity of the Encyclopaedia grew so did the need for individual opinions. Another great example was Rousseau he was the true star, known as the father of democracy, he believed in equality among the people, and wrote about rules that weren’t based or chosen by God but by the people. This was the basic principles of democracy.

In May of 1789 the representatives formed the National Assembly and met outside Paris against the Kings will and started a process of reform. They vowed to continue working until they had drawn up a new constitution for the country. However the process was very slow and the people of Paris grew impatient, the bread prices were constantly rising and the unemployment rate grew. On the 14th of July of 1789 angry people invaded the Bastille, killed the governor also some of the soldiers who tried to stop them and freed prisoners.

When the news of the takeover reached other parts of France the ordinary people revolted and just like that the revolution started. “It was the collective effect of all the causes of the French Revolution that finally caused the people to rise up. ” History Essay Lara Ismael Nogueira Martha In conclusion all this events such as the rise of bread prices and the unemployment rate in the country, the lack of interest the King showed for his people’s needs and the unfairness between classes made the people of France stand up for all they believed they deserved and needed.

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