The major causes of the French Revolution

Essay by dimi19High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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The major causes of the French Revolution were the disputes and inequalities between the different types of social classes in French society, and the financial problems, facing the French government, during the year of 1779. The French Revolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most important events in the history of the world. The Revolution led to many changes in France, which at the time of the Revolution was the most powerful state in Europe. The Revolution led to the development of new political forces such as democracy and nationalism. "It questioned the authority of kings, priests, and nobles. The Revolution also gave new meanings and new ideas to the political ideas of the people" ("History Analysis of the French Revolution").

The French Revolution was spread over the ten-year period between 1789 and 1799. "Revolutions evolve in definite phases. At first they are moderate in scope, then they become radical to excess and finally they are brought to abrupt conclusions by the emergence of a strong man to restore order" ("Extensive Analysis of the French Revolution").

Before the beginning of the Revolution, only moderate reforms were wanted by the people. At the beginning of the Revolution, events seemed minor and proceeded in a logical fashion. One of the reasons the Revolution originated was the discontent among the lower and middle classes in France. "By law, society was divided in to three groups called estates" ("Causes of the French Revolution").

The First Estate was the Church. "During the Old Regime, the church was equal in terms of its social, economic, and spiritual power" ("Extensive Analysis of the French Revolution"). The First Estate owned nearly 10 percent of all land in France. It paid no taxes but, to support church activities such as school running and caring for the poor, they...