Short and Long term Causes of the French Revolution

Essay by mplmmplmHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2013

download word file, 8 pages 0.0

History Essay

George Taylor has argued that the revolution happened simply by chance and that there were no long-term causes that made it inevitable. To what extent do you agree?

The French Revolution beginning in 1789 redesigned the country's political landscape and uprooted century old institutions. The movement was a result of a combination of various factors and played a critical role in shaping and showing modern nations the power inherent in the will of people. The Monarchy's absolute rule and ancient regime were tested by the growing influence of the Enlightenment, which challenged traditional ways and ideas. Lavish spending and irrational mistakes made by the royal family worsened the nations ongoing economic debt, installing fear and famine in the lives of French citizens. In the face of a changing world, the old order succumbed to its own rigidity, falling to the ambitions of a rising bourgeoisie. These significant long-term causes created an atmosphere of discontent and confusion in France, allowing an angry and frustrated Third Estate to utilise the Estates-General meeting to their advantage.

It was this event that lit the spark for the Revolution of France.

The inequalities and inefficiencies seen in the ancient regime contributed to the French Revolution. A social and political structure, the Old Order created imbalances in French society. The nation was divided into three strict "Estates", where the king was at the top and three distinctive social groups were under him. The First Estate consisted of religious leaders and clergy, and accounted for 0.6% of the population. They mainly existed to pray, keep the kingdom free of evil and collect the tithe from the Third Estate, which was equivalent to 10% of a person's income. An archbishop earned about 400,000 livres while most priests received 700 livres annually. There were huge disparities...