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There is no doubt that the French revolution was not only the most famous revolution of all time but also a critical event in changing the history of mankind. It was a Tuesday morning where several Parisian peasants with the help of some soldiers took control of Bastille. It was a start of a new era and a historical moment for all of us. However, the revolution didn’t just happen nor it was spontaneous, but there were several causes that lead the revolution. In fact, several crises felt upon the country at the same time. The first one was a social crisis, where the majority of the French people felt unhappy about the social system that reigned at that time. Secondly, it was a political one, where the government was useless and couldn’t handle the crises and anger that reigned in the streets of France. Last but not least, the economic crisis where France couldn’t pay its debt.
In the era of Louis XVI, France was divided into three classes with specific jobs and privileges. Religious people, also called the clergy, was the first classes. At that time, the church was able to control the king and the government which gave it a huge power and weight in the country as they declared themselves as the God representative. Following the clergy were the nobles, a high born people that came from high families in the country. In fact, nobles were able to own land without paying any taxes and also have the power to arrest anyone without any objections. Which leads us to the last class who was suffering the most. They were called peasants and they did all the hard work for the other classes which caused it to be unhappy. Moreover, as a result of the economic revolution, the bourgeoisie has known a great growth in number and wealth. This growth has disturbed the system and clashed with the high classes especially nobles. This clash pushed philosophers to raise awareness among the people, and cause a revolution against the system. Furthermore, in 1788, Louis XVI gave freedom to the press, which gave them the liberty to write about anything and publish whatever they want (Carlyle 882). The freedom of speech gave a great boost for the revolution as it gave philosophers of that time, such as Montesquieu and Juan-jack Rousseau, the key to raising awareness among the working class(Cranston, “The philosophe may have laid the egg, but was the bird hatched of a different breed? Maurice Cranston discusses the intellectual origins and development of the French Revolution.”), which was the majority of the people at that time, and plot the root of revolution.
The government, with the king as its head, couldn’t absorb the anger and handle it smoothly. Unlike his grandfather, Louis XVI wasn’t interested in ruling as much as he liked living the luxurious life. They enjoyed unlimited power as no one could oppose them and if so they could be arrested without trial. As a matter of fact, Louis XVI was a kind person, however, he failed as a ruler. At the age of 19, Louis XVI found himself a ruler of a powerful empire (Thompson et al “Louis XVI”). However, he didn’t know how to used that power and spend it on unnecessary things such as supporting the rebels in America. Which, in fact, put the country in an economic crisis. In order to heal from bankruptcy, the king imposed several taxes over the peasants, which added heat to the fire and, therefore, made the people even angrier than before. The political crisis reached its peak when the king tried, as a hopeless action, to summon
What is called the Estates General in May 1789. Which lead to an opposite effect, and within months after, the king loses his powers.
The economic problems that France had were the start to the fire. As the king was spending money lots of francs helping the northern American rebels, the life in the country got even worse. Unemployment start to rise as food prices skyrocketed. The king starts imposing taxes only over the working class which resulted in hate and anger in the streets of cities. Life was unpleasant as Arthur Young, an English traveler who visited France in 1787, described in his book Travels in France (Jones 4). All France’s money was spent on wars and luxurious things that the clergy and nobles enjoyed playing with while the people are starving for bread. All this pushed the king to call the Estates General which saw that the system is unjust and caused the revolution which ended by the Napoleonic coup d’?tat in November 1799.
Succinctly, the French revolution was caused by several factors that took place at the same time. Those factors can be arranged into three categories. Firstly, the social factor as it plays a primordial role in encouraging the revolution which concludes in the clash between the classes as the philosophers planted its seeds in the minds of the people. Secondly, the political factor which sums up in the bad decisions that the government made. And last, the economic factor that prepared the proper environment for the revolution as it was the light that started the fire. The French revolution has put an end to the absolute monarchy and created a new era for equal rights and proper evolution.
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