You are on page 1of 4

French Revolution: 1750 & 1789 DBQ

Throughout the 1700 s, France was a place for growing greatness in many aspects. Although with the French Revolution occurring, it created many causes for change throughout Europe. Change occurred in many ways for France, but mostly in the way government ruled. The French Revolution had many varied effects on the way France and Europe looked at how this revolution was going to make a difference in the way of living. There are many causes for why the French Revolution started, but there are three causes for why the French Revolution for why it happened in the first place. The three most important causes of the French Revolution were the French government s ridiculous financial choices, disconnect perceived between different social estates, and the poor ruling of King Louis XVI. While the French Revolution was taking place, there were many problems in the French economy that were caused mainly by the government. In the 1700 s, the government divided people into estates based on their income. The first type of estate was clergy. This estate was made up mainly of high ranking people in society, who were usually known for siding with nobles. The second estate was nobility, which were people with relevance in society like the Royal Family, etc. The third estate was lowest social class of people that were made up of people in the middle class called the bourgeoisie. It was a sad, cruel way to let others know where people stood in growing French society. The estate system that was created by the government was very biased because of how land was split up between the classes of people. It was unfair to all the estates, except the clergy and nobility class because of their higher ranking in society. While this was a lesser issue that France was dealing with, they were also spending enormous amounts of money on the war they were in. It was even said by the Financial Minister, Turgot that, The next gunshot will drive France into bankruptcy. (Doc 3) The French Revolution lasted 7 years, and the French government ended up spending a staggering $1 billion livres on a pointless war that seemed like it would never end. Plus, after it all came to an abrupt end, the French government ended up $4000 million livres in debt. Many people were angry at the government s obnoxious spending habits, but were often blamed on the Royal Families extravagant money spending lifestyle. This did have some part to due with the debt in France, but nothing enough to actually make a major impact on the economic situation. It seemed like many people used this excuse to not only blame the Royal Family, but to use it to their advantage by getting them out of the throne by slandering the family name. While royalty dealt with the matter of getting blamed for the government s troubles, the war was quickly creating a poor economy for France and hitting the people who lived there the hardest. Lower class living citizens did not have enough money for basic essentials like food because of how much everything was taxed due to the war. It was even stated that, The average Frenchman today needs twice as much money for bread, yet is earning only half as much of what he is earning fifty or one hundred years ago. (Doc 6) The price of everything sky rocketed and made a rough situation for the people who couldn t

France has faced a budget deficit of approximately $112 million livres per year. It is said that the French government spent $503 million livres in 1788. This entire situation was caused by the different social aspects each class had at the time. which were average citizens who were not wealthy by any means. even though they weren t that great themselves. as well as the interest on foreign loans they owed to other countries that totaled to $318 million livres in 1788. In the end of it all. This class of people went by the name of bourgeoisie. France s financial situation could have been very different. It is said that. which actually helped bring down the economy . especially when the bourgeoisie started to battle against the nobility estate. In the time of the French Revolution. They concern themselves only with their rank and social status.5 million. and was even said by a well known Financial Minister named Calonne. which the government couldn t even afford to spend. France also fell into major debt of $5 billion livres after the war ended. (Doc 10) This gave the French government a bad name and reputation for what actions they made and what they stood for. they wouldn t have ended up spending all of France s money on pointless money traps like war. (Doc 14) If the French government were able to break away from their poor spending habits. The bourgeoisie had strong feelings of animosity towards the nobles because of how they treated everyone else. (Doc 8) The bourgeoisie population stayed large for a number of years until the French Revolution. (Doc 1) Even with the differences that the two classes had. they decided to enter the American war in 1778 as well. and refuse to deal with any social classes whom they deem inferior.even afford basic essentials to live their day-to-day life. the bourgeoisie had a very large number of people who were defined as Third Estate citizens. Better financial choices could have led to a better economy as well as happier citizens. France suffered the consequences for an extensive amount of time. There are three times more bourgeoisie in France now under Louis XVI than under Louis XIV. In the time of the French Revolution the population was mainly the Third estate. with the number of bourgeoisie approaching close to 2. which made up for 90% of the French population. Not only did France spend a large amount of money they didn t have. the bourgeoisie carried the upper hand when it came to the population they had in their social class. estate ranking and social status were a major part of how people were treated as well as how they lived. It was an overall inefficient decision made by the French government. which then caused them to become poorer. Many situations came about with the different estates of living. but had more money than peasants. Along with all the economy problems France was having. but one was as simple as respect and the overall way of treating other people. All of these complications eventually gave France an abominable reputation for many years to come. The French government ended up spending $1.2 billion livres. There were still many differences that France had to work out. During the reign of Louis XIV. This is because there were so many people in this Third Estate. The estates that were below the clergy and nobles thought that they were very vane. It was even said about the nobles that. simply if the French government watched how much money they were spending on certain things. and overly self confident in almost every aspect of their lifestyle.

that it s perfectly fine to stand up for what you believe in and question what is being done. I think therefore I am. The French Revolution was a situation that was extremely detrimental to France and everything they had at the time. The great philosopher Descartes once wrote. including the nobility. (Doc 13) This essentially emphasized the perfect and defined meaning of what the nobility class stood for. Although all this madness happened on top of the French Revolution. and the lacking non-sufficient attempts by Louis XVI to rule France were what mainly caused the French Revolution. The nobles hated them only for the reason that they had a large population and wanted to be defined under the Second Estate because they were middle class and not completely poor. it then made it difficult for them to spend their money on certain items. To save France from fiscal ruin a direct tax must be leveled on all land owners. . (Doc 4) Nobles were made up of upper class citizens. but it s important that people can learn from history and mistakes that everyday humans can make. It also showed people that if they do have a situation alike. with growing taxes on just about every product in France. which showed them what not to do. The arguing didn t fix any of the problems the estates were dealing with. but it was what had to be done to save France from complete destruction. Most of the nobles who read this were outraged and disgusted that someone could make such a comment that was used to slander the noble name. The French government and their reckless financial spending. (Doc 10) This didn t make the bourgeoisie or the nobles happy at all. and was stated by a Financial Minister named Calonne saying. France s debt is the King s debt and is not the responsibility of the Second Estate. and the economy dropped to an all time low. but instead should have been a time for true reasoning and thinking for the people of France to find the true reason why all this was occurring. who were high social ranking people that always wanted to spend money on whatever they could get their hands on. Although some people generally blame poorly made choices for the cause of the French Revolution. This event caused change for countries all over the world. the major lack of connection between the estates. Its not only essential for people to learn about the French Revolution. All of this may have been a situation that was perceived differently by each estate. This made it hard for the nobles to live their luxurious lifestyle they lived before the economy went down the drain. our society can learn and figure out that thinking twice. All of these essentially set up France for disaster when the revolution came. This shouldn t have been a situation where everyone pointed fingers. A editorial at a local newspaper named The Manchester Beacon made a statement in an article that read. To pay direct taxes is the mark of inferior social status. at the moment of harvest. and not always making split second decisions is better in the long run and will always bring a greater outcome in the end. While all this was occurring. it made a significant impact on the nobles and their way of living. there is actually more to it then an overall statement. many people had different views and opinions on the entire economic situation. However. Now. A quote was even made by a wealthy French nobleman named Duc de Arles stating.because of the number of people that made up the bourgeoisie class. The French government didn t care what the nobles had to think. but was the cold hard truth on what France was dealing with.