How different was France of 1799 from that of 1789?

Essay by daniiHigh School, 11th gradeA+, May 2004

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By 1799, France was very different from the acien régime which ended in 1789 with the French Revolution. The areas where change occurred the most were in the society, government, legal system and the Church. Although there were some changes in the economy, this remained the area that had the most continuity. The changes that took place during these ten years in France were very forward thinking for those times and brought France from a backward society into a more civil one.

French Society in the acien régime was divided into three class structures; the First Estate, Second Estate and the Third Estate. The First Estate consisted of the Clergy and religious orders (monks and nuns). This class was very privileged and was able to collect taxes called tithe and did not have to pay any taxes to the King, even though they were very wealth and owned a large percentage of the land in France.

By 1799, the First Estate had to obey a Civil Constitution, which stopped the tithe tax; the priests were paid by the government according to their duties, no longer were controlled by the Pope, but by the French Government and the ranks in the Clergy were determined through elections. What changed the most for the Clergy was that it no longer had complete control over the French population. The Second Estate was the most powerful of all Estates in France and it included the nobility. As well as the First Estate, this Estate had special privileges. Also, in the acien régime the oldest male inherited the family fortune and land and the younger males would obtain higher posts in the army and in the clergy. After the Revolution the Second Estate no longer existed. Their special privileges were abolished and had the same rights...