The French Revolution was caused by the escalating rivalry between the bourgeoisie and the aristocracy. The bourgeoisie was being taxed to the extreme, while the nobility felt they should be exempt from taxation. Controversies between the two led to street riots on several occasions. The third estate would stop at nothing until they received equality and the rights they deserved. All events that occurred during the revolution have some sort of link back to their rivalry.
"Wholly untaught, poorly fed, poorly housed, poorly clothed, working long hours for small pay"ÃÂ (May 33) was the way of life for the majority of people in the third estate. As for the rest of the third estate, they were prospering and gaining wealth. All they wanted to do was have the ability to climb the social ladder, which was impossible according to the aristocracy (Thackeray). Without having the ability to do this, as well as many other things, the third estate sought reform.
They made lists of grievances, hoping for equality under law and a new tax system; hoping to achieve social prestige and political influence (Thackeray). They made aware of these things to the king, as well as the rest of the first and second estates. Blatantly, they were ignored, until some of their ideas began to make sense.
The Estates General was deadlocked over the question of whether to vote by estate, in which the two privileged would out vote the third, or to vote by head, giving the advantage to the third estate. As the controversy deepened, the third estate realized that at any attempt at reform, they would be out voted (Gwinn 978). Therefore in a dramatic act of defiance, the third estate left the Estates General to proclaim itself the National Assembly. It was evident that the king...