causes of french revolution

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The French Revolution: Causes, Outcomes, Conflicting Interpretations

Causes of the French Revolution:-

1. International: struggle for hegemony and Empire outstrips the fiscal resources of the state

2. Political conflict: conflict between the Monarchy and the nobility over the "reform" of the

tax system led to paralysis and bankruptcy.

3. The Enlightenment: impulse for reform intensifies political conflicts; reinforces traditional

aristocratic constitutionalism, one variant of which was laid out in Montequieu's Spirit

of the Laws; introduces new notions of good government, the most radical being

popular sovereignty, as in Rousseau's Social Contract [1762]; the attack on the

regime and privileged class by the Literary Underground of "Grub Street;" the

broadening influence of public opinion.

4. Social antagonisms between two rising groups: the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie

5. Ineffective ruler: Louis XVI

6. Economic hardship, especially the agrarian crisis of 1788-89 generates popular discontent

and disorders caused by food shortages.

Revolutionary situation: when the government's monopoly of power is effectively

challenged by some groups who no longer recognize its legitimate authority, no

longer grant it loyalty, and no longer obey its commands.

Dual or multiple sovereignty

is the identifying feature of a revolutionary situation - the fragmentation of an existing

polity into two or more blocs, each of which exercises control over some part of the

government and lays claim to its exclusive control over the government. A

revolutionary situation continues until a single, sovereign polity is reconstituted. The

Third Estate's Oath of the Tennis Court in June 1789 and its claim of representing the

sovereignty of the nation creates a revolutionary situation in France.

Revolutionary Process or Stages:

ï‚·ï€ One interpretation from this definition is that a revolution will continue until a single

sovereign order has been restored either by agreement or force. As the French Revolution

demonstrated, the level of...