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Causes of French Revolution

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Causes of french revolution
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    “ rench Revolution”   Revolution:   Revolution can be elucidated as: “An abrupt sudden  and subversive  change in status- quo”  It can also be defined as: “ A fundamental change  in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time ”   Introduction to the French revolution: There are certain events in history that changed the entire scenario of the world. Events American Revolution French Revolution Industrial revolution (1765-1783) (1789-1871) (1760-1820) American Revolution was a social political and intellectual struggle by American people who overthrew the colonial masters and formed the United States of America. Industrial revolution gave a boost to the working class and transition to new means of manufacturing took place. French revolution that was preceded by industrial and glorious revolution changed the whole scenario of the world. The old system of monarchy was smashed and secular republican government was formed. The suppressed class burdened by the taxes which were increasing with every passing moment stood up for their rights and representation. “  auses of French revolution ”   “Revolutions take birth from causes”   1-Social Causes: “Re volutions are not about trifles, but they spring from trifles”  ( Aristotle)  Hope to the French revolution was given by industrial revolution. Before revolution people were thinking of change. Something was being cooked in their minds; Industrial revolution just added the fuel to fire. “ It is impossible to predict the time and progress of revolution. It is moved by its own mysterious laws, but when it comes, it moves irresistibly”   (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin) a-   Estates in France: Estates Clergy Nobles Commoners People of Priesthood Feudal Lords Tax Payers   Privileged Class Under-privileged b-   Privileges of Clergy: Clergy class included the religious leaders and people. Their income was based upon gifts and religious funds. The privileges of the clergy dated back to the medieval times when the Church was supposed to be the guardian of the weak. Church suffered in account of corruption but still I 18 th  century clergymen enjoyed many old privileges. Those people who wished to have better position and influence they joined the religious community. Clergy owned 1/5 th  of the total land. Out of 2 million French, 1500000 were nobility or clergy. They were exempted of taxes rather they received 10% of the total tax money. They, along with the nobles imposed taxes upon the commoners which came up with a strong revolt. c-   Privileges of Nobles: They were the second estate and the hereditary class, comprising of the administrators, traders and all the economic persons. Nobles kept themselves aloof from the commoners and were  jealous of their rights. New people were appointed in nobility by the monarchy, or they could purchase rights and titles, or may join by marriage. They owned large castles and properties. They did not pay any direct taxes and were exempted of indirect taxes. Classification of Nobles Big Nobles Lesser Nobles    Big nobles  lived within the courts, Led luxurious life and they fought with eac h other to win king’s favor. Their tyrannical bailiffs were crueler than them, who looked after their estates and extracted taxes from the peasantry, in their absence. The more money they generated, he more share they got. The lesser nobles  lived an idle, gay and purposeless life, contributed very little to country’s economic and political life. They claimed the same privileges as that of big nobles and were exempted of taxes. d-   Miseries of the commoners: The third estate comprised of peasants and the newly generated middle, bourgeoisie class. They were the tax payers and laborers. Masses of this class were the servants in military. They had less land. They also included averagarian laborers. Peasants  were subjected to “triple taxation” they paid taxes to the king, nobles and the clergy. The king claimed both, direct and indirect taxes. Direct taxes  consisted of the land tax, poll tax per head and income tax which amounted to the 1/20 th   of the peasant’s inc ome. Indirect taxes   comprised salt tax or “gabelle, customs, duties and “corvee” or forced labor on the roads.   Bourgeoisie  was the new middle class steadily emerged through the last two or three centuries as a result of the industrial revolution. They had become fairly rich on the basis of their overseas trade in tobacco, wine, spices, tea etc. But they belonged to the under privileged class so they had to pay tax. They did not match with the wealth with that of the nobles. There was a slight difference that they were more intellectual than nobles. Being inspired by the French philosophers and the American Revolution, they had a strong revolutionary spirit in them. 2- Economic causes: “ History reminds us that dictators and despots arise during times of severe economic crisis. ”   (Robert Kyiosaki) “In any country where economy is good, revolutionists are not present”   a-   Seven Years war (1756-1763): There is one event in history of France which led to the French revolution, the seven years war. This war was fought between Great Britain and France on the issue of colonies. If seven years war would not have been fought, the revolution would never have come. French army participated in this war which led France to economic deprivation. Poverty increased and an economic depression prevailed in the state of France. This war became an indirect cause of lawlessness in France. It was primarily a test for France, if France was succeeded; the revolution would never have come as whatever France had in shape of money was used in war efforts. b-   Choices for the government after the war: In order to control the economic crises, the French government had only two choices.    Control the economic depression Control the expenses Seek new opportunities for investment (New Colonies) c-   Financial Causes: The issue behind the economic crises was seven years war. It basically exacerbated the situation. King did not pay any attention to control the crises instead he frequently changed the ministers. Estate General of 1789:    The estate general of 1789 was the first meeting summoned by the King Louis XVI in order to propose solutions for the economic problems of the government.      All the three estates (Nobles, Clergy and commoners) were called. The third estate was middle class.    If in any country the middle class is sleeping, that means that the state is in static form, otherwise it is in dynamic form.    They signed a “ Memorandum ” (white paper) named as “ cahiers ” (Grievances of French), which was based upon the demands of the French middle class.   Demands in memorandum:      Commoners claimed in the estate general that clergy and nobles are unite  against the benefits of the commoners.    They raised their voice of equal representation  with the combined representation of the clergy and nobles.      If they cannot get the equal representation, then the nature of the feudal institution should be changed.      Monarchy was highly criticized.      They suggested constitutional reforms.      The memorandum was signed by 60,000-70,000 people.   Reforms: Controlled government and king should be present. Representation of middle class was suggested. King’s speech May 5, 1789:   After the suggestions in estate general by the commoners’  class, king addressed the nation but he did not mention a single word about the rights and representation of the middle or commoners class. May 6, 1789: 3 rd  estate forwarded their demands. They thought it is now useless to attend the meeting of estate general.
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