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Major Causes of the French Revolution

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DBQ Essay: What were the major causes of the French Revolution? (Discuss three.)

The major cause of the French Revolution was the disputes between the different types of social classes in French society. The French Revolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most important events in the history of the world. The Revolution led to many changes in France, which at the time of the Revolution was the most powerful state in Europe. The Revolution led to the development of new political forces such as democracy and nationalism. It questioned the authority of kings, priests, and nobles. The Revolution also gave new meanings and new ideas to the political ideas of the people.

The French Revolution was spread over the ten year period between 1789 and 1799. The primary cause of the revolution was the disputes over the peoples' differing ideas of reform. Before the beginning of the Revolution, only moderate reforms were wanted by the people. An example of why they wanted this was because of king Louis XIV's actions. At the end of the seventeenth century, King Louis XIV's wars began decreasing the royal finances dramatically. This worsened during the eighteenth century. The use of the money by Louis XIV angered the people and they wanted a new system of government.

The main cause of the Revolution was the differences between the three social classes that existed in France at that time. There was a severe amount of injustice in the tax system (doc.1). The third estate paid the highest taxes, while the first and third paid low taxes or none at all. The rent was to high, and the price on bread was above people's economic ability to pay (doc.1). Although the third estate made up most of the population of France, it owned less land then the first and second estate (doc.2).

While the main cause of the French Revolution was the social inequality, there were other reasons, which caused the French to revolt. One was the idea's of the Enlightment. The middle class of France was fortunately very educated and was able to inform others of their rights (doc.4). This allowed the lower class to understand why they should revolt against their current form of government. Something that also influenced the French was the American Revolution (doc.5). Lord Acton felt that the condition the economy of France was in did not alone bring the overthrow



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