THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
1St.- Economic crisis. Due to poor harvest the price of wheat increases. Only the rich people
can buy food.
Moreover, the French state was bankrupt as a result of:
.- Its participation in wars ( Included the American Revolution).
.- The money spend by monarchy. ( Extravagant way of life).
A possible solution was a change in taxes, asking the nobility to pay. But the king was afraid
about losing the support from the privileged estates.
The ideas of the Enlightenment.
French intellectuals and the bourgeoisie tried to put Enlightenment ideas into practice.
3Rd.- Politic causes.
Louis XVI continued with the idea of an absolute monarchy, unable to introduce in the system
the changes demanded by the third estate.
4Th.- Social Crisis:
All the states were upset:
.- Nobility and clergy wanted to continue with their privileges.
.- The rich and educated members of the third estate wanted access to political power.
.- The poorer members of the third estate hardly could get enough money to pay for
their food ( poor harvest) and pay the taxes.
2.- THE BEGINNIG OF THE REVOLUTION
Louis XVI needed desperately money, so he decided to force the nobility to pay taxes.
The noble people refused to pay and they ask the king to gather the General Estates . ( That
was the legal way to create new taxes).
In the General Estates every estate had one vote.
The members of the third estate, which was the most numerous, claimed for an individual
vote. That would have given them the victory. The idea supporting this position was the
The king and the nobility refused, so the members of the third estate left the meeting and
moved to a tennis court. There, they established themselves as National Assembly with the
aim of giving a Constitution to France. (20th June)
The Oath in the Tennis Court.
3.- THE END FOR THE ANCIENT REGIME.
The population joined the members of the third estate. They were afraid about the possibility
of the royal army suffocating the revolt, so they assaulted the Bastille, the royal prison, getting
weapons to defend the revolution.
The revolution spread to the country, and the 4th of August the Assembly approved the
Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, which included some of the ideas inherited from