The French Revolution (738 words) Essay

The French RevolutionIntroduction
The French Revolution was a turning point in France’s history. The Revolution
began when King Louis XVI called the Estates General to provide money for his
bankrupt government. Between 1789 and 1799 many kings, queens, nobles, and
clergyman lost their power and status in France. France’s government changes
drastically over the ten years the war was fought and it will never be the same.

By the end of 1788, France was on the verge of bankruptcy. King Louis was a
very indecisive and shy king. He didn’t care much for politics or people. Through his
carelessness Louis chose officials who stole money from him and France. Since
France had no money and a large debt to pay the king taxed the citizens harshly. The
angry French grew tired of the heavy taxes and riots broke out constantly against the
king. Louie summoned the General Estates to meet at the Palace of Versailles for
the first time since 1614. Louis had all three estates prepare cahiers. The cahiers
were notebooks listing the grievances of each estate. Many cahiers asked for
reform. These reforms includes: freedom of speech, a regular meeting of the Estates
General, and fairer taxes. The third estate and least influential was also the largest. It
contained one million middle class citizens and twenty-four million laborers and
working class citizens. The third estate sick of being refused by nobles and being
out-voted(not in count but rank) formed the National Assembly. When their normal
meeting place was locked for preparations of a royal speech the National Assembly
took it as a threat. Between the ten days of June 17,1789 and June 27, 1789, the
delegates of the assembly took the Tennis Court Oath. The oath meant that they
would not dismember until a fair constitution was written up for France. After many
nobles joined the National Assembly the king had not choice but to accept them, but
by the end of July 1789, the food shortages had worsened along with the heavy
taxes. It was rumored King Louis was also going to demolish the assembly giving
the citizens more of a reason to fight back.

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Relationship to the French Revolution
The main reason for the French Revolution was a lack of money. This lack of
money for King Louis XVI bankrupt government caused Louis to tax the people of
France tremendously. When riots became to much for Louis to handle, he called the
three estates to list their grievances. The Third estate was made up of farmers,
laborers, peasants, and middle class citizens. Since the nobles and clergy didn’t
have to pay any land tax the members of the third estate were the ones being taxed
the most. They wanted each member of the whole assembly to have a vote, but the
nobles and clergy refused. The representatives from the third estate withdrew from
the assembly. They met at a near-by tennis court and declared themselves the
National Assembly. They took the Tennis Court Oath vowing not to disband until they
had written a constitution for France. After many nobles joined, the king has to finally
recognize them. Louis still tried to break up the assembly which lead to the storming
of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. All of these events lead up to the start of what we
today call the French Revolution.

The French Revolution was caused by the king not having enough money to
pay off his debt and taxing the French citizens on everything they could possibly be
taxed on. Some of the things taxed them on were: income, land, property, crops, salt,
tobacco, wine, and cider. The people even had to pay a poll tax for the privilege of
being born in France. They had to pay a tax on the money they received after selling
a piece of property or land. Peasants had to pay an additional tax on sales tax. Shoe
makers couldn’t make shoes because the tax on leather was too expensive. The
French citizens hated the tax collectors and called them, Bloodsuckers of the nation
who drink the tears of the unfortunate from goblets of gold.

The king’s irresponsibility caused him to tax the French harshly. I think that the
French Revolution is a symbol of the strength and power of the people. In the
beginning the king ruled supremely and only. Through the power of the people and
the French Revolution the French changed their government. After the war the
French formed a National Convention and framed a constitution in 1795. Even
thought the French government never became a democracy it did become a limited
monarchy. ( But in 1799 Napoleon unexpectingly returned and declared himself
dictator of France.)
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