Loreen Jill Ramirez Catubay 12 September 2010 HSS1C. 01 Miss. Erickson FRENCH REVOLUTION DBQ “The French Revolution. ” What pops up in your head? Probably a plethora of ideas. Images of riots, nobles, monarchy and such. So many mistakes and so many achievements has come out of the French Revolution. Many failed policies, laws and many inspirational and influential ideas has come of the French Revolution. The important causes of the French Revolution has changed France.
The French Revolution had many causes which lead to the outbreak of the revolution such as heavy taxes, extreme poverty and the ideas of the Enlightenment. During Arthur Young’s travel through France from 1787 to 1789 he stated “There is an injustice levying on the amount of each person must pay” (Document 1). One Cause that brought of the French Revolution is the inequality of the levy and taxes on the among the 3 estates. The first estate which is the body of all people ordained for religious duties most commonly in the Christian Church was called the “Clergy”.
The Clery had no taxes on them but they, The Clergy could collect tithes or taxes from people who are living on churches land. The Clergy owned 10% of the countries land but shockingly the Clergy consist of 1% of the countries population. The second estate which is known as belonging to a hereditary class with high social or political status is called the “Nobles”. The Nobles had very few taxes on them while they collected taxes and rents from peasants while the peasants worked for both higher classes, the first estates and the second estate.
The second estate, Nobles consisted of only 2% of the population but owned 35% of the countries land. Last but not least, This brings us to the third estate of peasants. Peasants are either Middles class, peasants or city workers. These people consisted of 97% of the countries population. They owned only 55% of the land. The third estate was treated very unfairly in both land and taxes. Peasants earned the least but paid the most taxes. This made them very mad about the injustice of the heavy levying as stated in the quote.
During the Arthur Young’s stay in France he has observed a lot of things about France as a country. Arthur Young stated on September 5,1788 that, “The poor people seem very poor indeed. The children are terribly ragged” (Document 1). Due to the heavy taxes on the peasants who work the longest and hardest jobs yet earn the least they had very little money lift for themselves and their families. Arthur Young also noticed that , “The price of bread has risen above the people’s ability to pay”.
The people were so poor that they did not even have enough money to buy bread for themselves to eat while the people in the first and second estate were eating steaks, cakes and many luxurious foods. This situation of unfairness and inequality made the peasants anger towards the other estates and the monarchy grow. Historian Albert Mathiez claims that leadership fell into the middle class in which he stated that, “The middle class….. was sensitive to their inferior legal position. The Revolution came from them-the middle class.
They were just beginning to learn to read” (Document 4). Through this the middle class gained knowledge and ideas of the Enlightenment. They became philosophers. They started to believe and realized many things. Voltaire believed in freedom of speech but gone thrown in jail for making fun of a rich baron. This made the rest of the citizens to wonder about what they could say and why weren’t they allowed to talk about whatever they wanted?. John Locke was a believer of natural rights from birth and is famous for his writings on rights of life, liberty and property.
His writings made people have an “oh yeah! why NOT?! ” moment and questioned their rights and the other estates rights deciding that this was unfair and unjust. These people started to believe and agree with what these philosophers thought than what the king or the clergy thought. The 3 situations that helped caused the revolution. Heavy taxes were unjust as the peasants who earned the least, paid the most taxes while the other estates lived a luxurious life. The extreme famine which of left the peasants stomach digesting in nothing but anger towards the onarchy while the higher estates had tea parties and buffets and ideas of the Enlightenment which opened the eyes of many others about how much unfairness, inequality and injustice they have been treated with and that this was not tolerable as they philosophers encouraged them for they believed that everyone should have rights, liberty and freedom. The citizens years of suffering, inequality, injustice, unfairness and anger were the causes that had lead to the French Revolution.
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