French Revolution

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade November 2001

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The economy was a major cause of the Revolution. Such things as extravagant nobles, bad harvesting, and starvation effected the decrease in money. Louis XVI lived in the Palace of Versailles. Billions of dollars were spent to make this. Just the Hall of Mirrors alone symbolizes the lifestyle of the French nobility. This hall was covered from one end to another in mirrors (hence the name "Hall of Mirrors") and the walls were painted with gold (Doc.1). Bad harvesting was another issue. The grain prices increased because of inflation. The small yield of harvest, which wasn't much to begin with, rain, hail, drought, and the closing of granaries were all causes of inflation (Doc.5). The French were very poor people. Some children didn't have clothes, parents couldn't afford them, so they just didn't wear anything. If they were lucky they wore rags, or maybe even in some cases they had shoes and stockings.

Young children sat there playing with a stick while smiling happily, now that's sad. This was just the standard living for most French people (Doc. 4). The adults didn't have it all that easy, they were being heavily taxed on many things. They had a church tax, property tax, and nobility tax. Economically, the causes of the Revolution are obvious.

On a political note, one main cause of the French Revolution was the court system. People were very unhappy with the court. One man in particular, Marquis D'Argenson said that the court ruined France, it corrupts the morals of the nation. He also stated that in the word "court" lies all the nations misfortune (Doc. 3). What the people really wanted was stated in Article 7 of the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Article 7, is basically the modern day court system, your innocent until proven guilty, you have rights to defend yourself. Th French also wanted rights of freedom, liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression- natural rights. Also they wanted voting rights, which are saying people couldn't act as authorities to the nation unless it has been voted on (Doc. 7). These political affairs are partially what caused the Revolution.

During this time period, there were three social classes, clergy, nobility, and common people. The voting rights were unequal between these groups. No matter what the situation, the nobilities and the clergy's votes overruled that of the commoners. According to the common people this wasn't fair, people were becoming very angry, because they have opinions and wanted them to be heard, they wanted say in what was going on around them. Everything that nobles and clergy wanted was opposite what they wanted. Partly because of this, and other events the French people did not like nobility at all. They were torturing noblemen, killing some (Doc. 6). They wanted to abolish them. Socially they were going downhill thus being a cause of the Revolution.

At the beginning of this time things weren't good. Economically there was an enormous decrease in money because of the selfishness of nobles, bad harvesting due to inflation, and starvation. Politically, people were unhappy with the court systems and the way they were run. Socially people wanted to have rights they didn't have, they wanted rights of freedom, and rights to vote, but mostly they wanted equality. In the end, a new society was established based on the principles of democracy