The French Revolution I. Causes A. Accelerators 1. Did the country recently experience a military defeat? a. The Seven Years’ War 1. made France lose its position as colonial power in Europe 2. lost most of its territory in America 3. destroyed the French navy 4. depleted the national treasury b.
This lead to the French revolution, because the king needed more money, and had to call a meeting of the estates general, and increase the tax burden on the third estate, which all link back to government debt. Another cause was the bad harvest. Due to bad weather there was very bad harvest, and as the poor peasants relied on farming it wasn’t good. Bread was also a big part of their diet, but because of the bad harvest, bread prices rose and it was not affordable to the peasants. This caused the French revolution, because the poor people were starving, and the rose up to the king to get what they wanted.
Decades of conflict followed, starting with the revolt as a result of the Stamp Act in 1765, leading to the eruption of war in 1775. The search for independence was a result of political, social, and economic factors such as the use of America as merely a subject land, made for the purpose of English wealth, the overall lack of representation the colonists had in government, and the emerging liberal and republican ideas as a result of the Enlightenment. Tension between England and the colonists stirred a hunger for liberty and a desire for freedom and was brought about by radical reforms, military battles, and the forming of a Declaration of Independence and a Constitution. The political aspect of the American Revolution was a result of Britain’s suddenly tightened control over the governing of the colonies. When they won the French and Indian War, England had to make a few reforms.
France was in huge financial difficulty following its involvement in the American Revolution as well as a food crisis which was crippling the economy. France suffered its worst harvest in forty years due to a hailstorm which destroyed crops in July 1788 followed by a severe winter. This created a food
The extent of France’s financial crisis was enormous enough to bring about the revolution in a form of a landslide to its people. France’s financial situation before the revolution began was a huge economic depression with an ever-increasing Royal debt. The financial system at that time was also very medieval in nature in regards to the inhuman taxes forced to be paid by the French Third Estate, taxes such as the Corvée and the Gabelle. The salt tax was a tax that was used back in the Dark Ages that forced citizens over the age of 7 to buy 7 pounds of salt each year at a commanded price. However, during the reign of King Louis XVI, France has applied a state monopoly on the salt and still forced everyone to purchase the salt at a high price but also at a very low quality.
By the time it came to 1918 food shortages had caused riots and discontent and the government was finding it difficult to keep the army supplied. Industrialists became independent on war time business and they severely struggled when the war came to an abrupt end in 1918. Due to the opposition from many neutralists the government operated through the use of emergency powers, where parliament played the role of simply rubber stamping legislation. The Italian socialists openly condemned the conflict as a capitalist or ‘bosses’ war. Italian politics was largely divided during war years.
The French’s hatred for the English lead them to help the Americans break free from British rule. When Louis XVI came to power, the country was already in huge debt, and him and his wife, Marie Antoinette, only made it worse by spending money on unnecessary luxuries. As the Revolution drew nearer, the cost of bread, which was a key part of the French diet, was extremely high. The French citizens were outraged and started riots in the streets of Paris. The inefficient tax distribution didn’t help the cause.
This debt was further accentuated by her involvement in the American Revolution from 1775, and the government continued spending more than they were receiving in taxes. This ensured that by 1788, the royal treasury was empty. This forced heavier taxes upon the 3rd estate, such as the hated gabelle, which angered them as this level of taxing was not enforced upon the higher estates, despite the fact that they had more money. However, the 3rd estate faced graver problems than this as, from 1788 – 1789, a series of bad weather events resulted in bad crops. This was a devastating blow to France as the
The Enlightenment was a period of time when The Enlightenment was “During the 18th-century European movement in which thinkers attempted to apply principles of reason and scientific method to all aspects of society”. (Beck, Black, Kreieger 218) “Members of the Third Estate were inspired by the success of the American Revolution. They had began questioning long-lasting notions about the structure of society”. (Beck, Black, Kreieger 218) Another thing that is part of the Cultural causes is that they believe in Democracy. The reason they believed in Democracy is because Rousseau and Voltaire began to demand equality, liberty, and democracy.
A wave of crop failures in the 1780’s led to extreme scarcity of food. Combined with the heavy taxes citizens were paying to compensate for the war abroad, prices for bread grew heavily and the people’s resentment soared. The food shortages forced rural residents to leave the countryside and live in a very overcrowded, hungry and disgruntled Paris. It was these people who were most responsible for the revolution. The economy only got worse