The French Revolution

The French Revolution

Essay: The French Revolution Prompt: Identify the major social groups in France on the eve of the 1789 Revolution. Assess the extent to which their aspirations were achieved in the period from the meeting of the Estates-General (May 1789) to the declaration of the republic (Sept 1792). Louis XVI decided to summon into session the Estates General in July 1788 in an attempt to win popular support for new taxes. The Estates General represented the three legally defined classes, or estates. These estates were the divisions of the French society. The first and second estates were generally small and made of the clergy and the nobles who were given many special rights and exempted from taxes. The third estate was the largest and consisted of the bourgeoisie and peasantry and was the largest. During this time women began a fight for equal rights. Disputes began over voting in the Estates General, which led the third estate to break away and form the National Assembly. The National Assembly pledged not to disband until they had written a new constitution. Although the nobility and the bourgeoisie both saw themselves as standing well above the peasants, the social groups- the nobility, bourgeoisie, peasants, and women-during the French Revolution had very different privileges which resulted in many conflicts. Members of the nobility had very useful and admirable privileges. The nobility were a part of the second estate who were taxed very lightly and owned about 25 percent of France’s land. They held a virtual monopoly on the highest and best-paid positions in the state and church. They were also allowed to tax the peasantry for their own profit. The nobility’s control over the peasantry demonstrated their great power and wealth in society. The nobility also had priority on public occasions and held the right to wear a sword. Their many rights proclaimed their legal authority and lofty social position. The bourgeo…


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