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The French Revolution (the Effects of Capitalismsocialism and the National Assembly

Essay by review  •  February 23, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,206 Words (5 Pages)  •  998 Views

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The most prominent cause of social stress in France in the eighteenth century is overpopulation with a startling 20 million people living within its borders. Over the next century there would have been an increase of population up to about 8 to 10 million people. In a population that big there was bound to be some social strife. Also with a large population the economy would begin to struggle under its burden. Thus capitalism was introduced into everyday life for the French people as a way to increase income. It is these two factors that initially began the French revolution. The war between the nobility and the peasants was based on money and human rights. The peasants believed they had a right to live with all the comforts that the nobles did. The nobility believed that they were better then everyone below there station. So to control this egotistical way of thinking the national assembly was created to insure all menÐ'ÐŽÐ'¦s human rights.

Socialism (a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles) was a leading factor in the France revolution primarily because as it is stated above Ð'ÐŽÐ'§production and distribution are controlled by the peopleÐ'ÐŽÐ'Ё but not by all of the people. Nobles essentially controlled production and distribution, thus creating some resentment on the part of the regular people of peasants. In Marxist theory, socialism is the stage after the proletarian revolution when a society is changing from capitalism to communism, marked by pay distributed according to work done rather than need but in this case socialism was the cause of a proletarian revolution (a revolution headed by the working class).

Capitalism in France began as a large expansion of overseas trade that caused the economy to continually grow. Although self-sufficiency remained the predominant way of economic life, capitalism began drawing everyone into some form of regional and international exchange. Daily life for peasants (owners of small family farms and there workers) stayed the same amid these economic and population shifts. Peasants, although differing considerably in wealth and status could almost never claim to be living noblyÐ'Ñ"n (meaning they rented their land to others to work). Many people were day laborers desperate for work in exchange for a place to stay and food to eat. 90 percent of peasants lived at or below the subsistence level (the equivalent of our minimum wage) earning only enough to feed their families. As you can see as the economy increased the people didnÐ'ÐŽÐ'¦t see any more money coming in to their homes, thus making them resentful. ItÐ'ÐŽÐ'¦s easy to assume that any human, not able to provide for there family or themselves would be

enraged at the audacity in which this new surplus of money was kept just for the nobles. This money you could be sure was being spent on the fortifying of cities and manor houses.

Modern French society was legally stratified by birth into three divisions. These divisions were: the clergy, the nobility, and the common people. Nobles ruled over the commoners, and the clergy was the advisor to the nobility. On May fifth 1789 the king called for an Estates-General social tensions plaguing the old regime emerged as the central issue of the revolution. Estates representatives belonged to one of the three divisions. In theory each order had an equal voice before the king. However because nobles overtook the clergy the majority of representatives came from two privileged orders. These orders stood for about five percent off the population. Because each voter would exercise one vote in the assembly the nobility was allowed two of the three votes. One of the traditions of the Estates-General was to Request cahiers de doleances or the book of complaint from the realm. In compliance with this tradition, the drawing up of the Cahiers had been officially decreed on January 24 to be ready for the May fifth conference and

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