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  1. 1. Problems! • France was spending more money than it received in income – Took out loans to pay for wars- debt!! • 1788 France spent have of its annual budget on interest payments • 25% on military • 6% on the extravagant lifestyle of the king and queen
  2. 2. • Sharp rise in taxes• Largely paid by the peasants – Most nobles and clergy were exempt• Poor harvest• Increased price of bread• 
  3. 3. The Estates General• King Louis XVI called for the Estates General to meet in order to solve the financial crisis• France’s representative body- not met since 1614• Divided France into 3 orders: – 1st Estate: The clergy – 2nd Estate: Nobility – 3rd Estate: Commoners
  4. 4. 1st Estate: The Clergy • Exempt from taxes • Divided – Higher clergy from aristocratic families shared the interests of the nobility – Parish Priests were often poor and and shared the interests of the commoners
  5. 5. 2nd Estate: Nobility• Leading positions in government, military, law courts, and higher church offices• Exempt from taxes• Wanted to expand their own power and limit the power of the monarchy
  6. 6. 3rd Estate: Commoners• Peasants• Skilled craftspeople and shopkeepers• The bourgeoisie (middle class) – Merchants – Bankers – Industrialists – Lawyers – Doctors – writers
  7. 7. Revolution?• Aristocrats and Bourgeoisie were drawn to the ideas of the Enlightenment• Both were upset with the monarchy• This opposition led them to take action!