The French Revolution

Essay by pierce_d35University, Bachelor'sA, October 2008

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The French RevolutionThe French Revolution covers a period of time between 1770 – 1814. The French Revolutionaries named that era the Ancient Regime. The Ancient Regime was not what they had gotten rid of, but what they wanted to make. They wanted a break from the old regime, preferably the Monarchy. I will discuss the origins of the French Revolution, Rousseau’s contributions and his ideas of his writing of the Social Contract. I will talk about some of the conditions and actions of the French State, and also how the Assembly of Notables and the Estates General played a part in the French Revolution. Lastly, I will discuss how this led to the onset of Terror and is this typical of revolutions in general.

The intellectual origins of the French Revolution are so complicated, that even today; the real reasons are still debated. Some of the origins of the French Revolution lay in the strict social structure of the French society.

The French society was made up primary of Three Estates or Orders. The First Estate was made up of clergy. The Second Estate was made up of the nobility, and the Third Estate consisted of everyone else in the population of France. This consisted of approximately 25 million people. The First Estate, as I said earlier, consisted of the clergy. It consisted of upper and lower clergy. The upper clergy had all the wealth and property to go with it. The land, of course, was tax-free. The lower clergy resented this. The Second Estate represented another of the privileged Estate. They also held the highest positions in the clergy and the Government. They were almost completely exempt from paying taxes of any kind. However, they collected rent from the peasants that lived on the lands. They also collected money...