French of the king, Louis XVI and queen, Marie

          French Revolution was a ten year long bloody fight for equality that began in 1789 and ended in 1799 with the rise of Napoleon. Throughout the revolution, the citizens of France went through many different battles and riots in order to completely redesign  their countries government, destroying the  centuries- old monarchy. The revolution was based on reforming the rights of the third estate in order to ring equality to all men. Although the revolution did not accomplish all of the things it wished to and led to the death of thousands, it played a crucial role in both  France’s history and in the history of the other countries revolutions that it inspired. The French Revolution had many causes such as the injustice amongst the estates, the motivation from both the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, and France’s very own egotistical king, the one cause that overshadows the others with its significance is France’s King because he was the root of all future problems.           France’s feudal system divided the citizens into three different social classes, also known as the three estates. The first estate, Clergy, consisted of the people of the church which made up 1% of the people. The second estate, Nobility, consisted of the wealthy and made up 2% of the population. The third estate consisted of the middle class, peasants, and city workers made up 97% of the population. Although the third estate had nearly 30x as many people as the first and second estates combined, the first and second estate owned almost the same amount of land as the third estate, showing the privilege the higher estates had. (Doc2) During the 1770’s and 1780’s, France sunk into debt. This was due to both the extravagant spending of the king, Louis XVI and queen, Marie Antoinette. The French did not approve of Marie’s spendings because spent an abundance of money on her wardrobe. She also had a gambling addiction that would cause her to lose up to 1.5 million dollars a year. In order for the king and queen to get the money back they lost, they imposed a tax on the people of France. This tax took 50% of the third estates income, 2% of the first estates income, and none of the second estates income. This caused the third estate to feel suppressed by the tax. (Doc1) Also it led the third estate to despise the first and second estate which led to a hatred amongst them. The first and second estate were content with the government and the ways things were ran, but the third estate was not happy. Although change could not take place because when voting on a matter, each estate got one vote meaning the first and second estate could override the third estate’s vote. Due to the third estates higher population, they felt as if they deserved a higher vote. (Doc3) This once again led to the injustice of the three estates, which overall led to the French Revolution.           Both the American Revolution and the Enlightenment ideas paved the way for the French Revolution by setting an example for the french citizens to follow. The citizens had felt the injustice in France for many years, they just weren’t able to express how they felt until they saw what they were feeling be put into action by the American colonists and the philosophes. (Doc4&5) Once the French had a pathway to get what they wanted, they had to figure out exactly what it was that they wanted, and they did this by using the Enlightenment ideas. They took into consideration Locke’s idea of equality for all when they saw the privilege of the first and second estate and decided that they themselves wanted equality. In order to get this equality they used riots, such as the March on Versailles, in order to express themselves and the injustice they felt. The revolutionaries has listened to the Voltaire’s idea of freedom of speech, and expressed their urge to have his right when the rioted and questioned authority. Therefore the example made by the American Revolution and the Enlightenment ideas made the pathway for the French Revolution.           Although the American Revolution and the Enlightenment made the pathway for the French Revolution, it was the unfit king who guided them onto the pathway. It is true indeed that the taxes and the raised bread prices made the third estate feel suppressed by their need for money. (Doc1) Although it was the King’s extravagant spending that caused their need of money because he enforced the taxes and raised bread prices in order to get France out of debt from his unnecessary, excessive spending. Without the unfair taxes and the other unfair accommodations set by the King, the third estate never would have felt a need for change. Therefore they most likely would have agreed with many of the same ideas that the first and second estate did, which means that the voting injustices never would’ve arose. This all shows that the hatred and injustice throughout the estates was a direct result of the King’s unsuitable ways of running France. Many would say that they American example is the most significant cause of the French Revolution because it changed the thought into an action. (Doc5) However, without the unfit king, the citizens of France would never have found it necessary to turn to American example. Therefore the king was the root of all the problems amongst France, proving that without his wrong doings, there would have been no need for the revolution in the first place.          The French Revolution had many causes such as the injustice amongst the estates, the motivation from both the Enlightenment and the American Revolution, and France’s very own egotistical king, the one cause that overshadows the others with its significance is France’s King because he was the root of all future problems. The injustice among the third estates led to a hatred amongst the estates, which caused  the third estate to fight for equality. Also, the American example and Enlightenment ideas turned the revolutionaries thoughts into actions, causing the revolution. However without the inconsiderate King, none of the other future problems would’ve arose, which shows the King was the most significant cause of the French Revolution. 

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