• Social Cause
One of the main factors that led to the French Revolution was the unbalanced
social structure of society during the Old Regime.
• Economic Cause
It was the main reason of the depletion of the treasury of the king.
• Political Cause
• King was a person of Mediocre Intelligence.
• Immediate Cause
Formation of the Estate General.
• Intellectual Cause
Influence from the writers.
The Social cause
– First Estate
• High-ranking members of the Church
• Privileged class
– Second Estate
• Privileged class
– Third Estate
• Everyone else – from peasants in the countryside to wealthy
bourgeoisie merchants in the cities
• Unprivileged class
In 1774, Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of
France. He was 20 years old and married to the Austrian princess Marie
Antoinette. Upon his accession the new king found an empty treasury. Long
years of war had drained the financial resources of France.
Added to this was the cost of maintaining an extravagant court at the immense
palace of Versailles.
Under Louis XVI, France helped the thirteen American colonies to gain their
independence from the common enemy, Britain. The war added more than a
billion livres to a debt that had already risen to more than 2 billion livres.
Lenders who gave the state credit, now began to charge 10 per cent interest
on loans. So the French government was obliged to spend an increasing
percentage of its budget on interest payments alone. To meet its regular
expenses, such as the cost of maintaining an army, the court, running
government offices or universities, the state was forced to increase taxes. Yet
even this measure would not have sufficed.
The Church too extracted its share of taxes called tithes from the peasants,
and finally, all members of the third estate had to pay taxes to the state.
These included a direct tax, called taille, and a number of indirect taxes which
were levied on articles of everyday consumption like salt or tobacco. The burden
of financing activities of the state through taxes was borne by the third estate
alone ,which angered the common People
France Is Bankrupt
The king (Louis XVI) lavished money
on himself and residences like
Queen Marie Antoinette
was seen as a
Government found its funds
As a result of wars
including the funding of the
more money than it takes
in from tax revenues
Privileged classes would not submit to
• Louis XVI, the king of France, was a person of mediocre
intelligence. He ruled with the help of his empty headed
wife „Marie Antoinnette‟, who appointed a number of her
friends and relatives at high posts and kept some of them
at pension. These people neither did any work nor they
contribute to the National treasury. Instead they took
salary from the Royal treasury.
• Louis XVI wanted to increase his territory. And to do so,
he had to be engaged in wars which meant that he needed
a large army for that purpose. Appointing so many
soldiers, required money to pay salaries to them. It
depleted the Royal treasury.
As a result, the king was forced to
raise the taxes with the consent of the three estates .
As the common people had to pay taxes, they became
agitated against their monarch – Louis XVI.
• Compelled by Financial bankruptcy, the
French Emperor Louis XVI called a meeting
of Estate General in 1789. It generated
much heat as the members of the 3rd Estate
were determined to put forth their demand.
However, the first two Estates i.e. „the
Clergy‟ and „ The Nobility‟ refused to have a
joint meeting with the Third Estate. The
members of the Third Estate walked of the
government did not
mean democracy or
became the National
Assembly in June of
1789 with the power
to frame a
◊Tennis Court Oath
was formed due to
the disagreement of
the 3’rd Estate and
Louis XVI did not
actually want a written
When news of his plan
to use military force
against the National
Assembly reached Paris
on July 14, 1789, people
stormed the Bastille
Storming the Bastille
Events of the night of
July 13, 1789
Reasons for the
attack on the Bastille
the next morning
The stubbornness of
the governor of the
Celebrations on the
night of July 14th
popular revolution all
Right to a
Gouges argued in
served as a
leader in the
of the Rights of
women are equal
was able to
reforms just as
Women did gain some
rights during the French
Revolution, but these
were designed for
purposes other than
• Women could inherit
property, but only because
doing so weakened feudalism
and reduced wealth among
the upper classes.
• Divorce became easier, but
only to weaken the Church’s
control over marriage.
Maximilien Robespierre (Maximilien François Marie
Isidore de Robespierre) was born on May 6th, 1758, in
Arras where his father was based as an advocate.
Robespierre and his three younger siblings were brought
up by diverse relatives after their father dramatically
lost his way in life after the death of his wife in
childbirth in 1767. Robespierre was educated for a short
time at a College in Arras and then in Paris initially at
the very prestigious College of Louis-le-Grand and later
at the College of Law. Robespierre qualified as an
advocate in 1781 and sought to establish a legal practice
at his home town of Arras. He became known both as a
successful advocate and as a participant in local literary
and philosophic circles. ABHISHEK
Execution of 40,000
“Enemies of the Nation”
Stress on radical
definition of equality
Wanted a legal
maximum on personal
Wanted a regulation of
End of Robespierre‟s
dictatorship on July 28,
A conspiracy overthrew Robespierre.
On July 27, 1794, he was barred
from speaking in public
and was placed
by his supporters
was thwarted, and
on July 28 Robespierre
died on the guillotine with
his other supporters. Eighty more followers
of Robespierre were executed the next day.
Role Of the Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon’s Rise to
the Bank of France
Napoleon’s “Art of