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French Revolution

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Kya Nyaunt

Western Humanities

Dr. Turner

3. 31. 2016

French Revolution

The French Revolution was a monumental struggle, one about which thousands of books have been written and on which other revolutions have been patterned. The revolution was fundamentally about fairness, not only in economic terms but for the various social classes and for the governors and the governed. To understand the causes for this revolution, we need to look at the economy, the social classes, and the government of France before 1789, as well as the ideas of the Enlightenment philosophes.

In one sense the revolution was certainly fought for poor people and the middle class to gain more wealth and for the reform of the tax system that existed before 1789. Arthur Young writes that the poor were required to pay taxes to the government and that “the price of bread has risen above people’s ability to pay.” This is literally correct, but it gives the wrong impression that the peasantry started the French Revolution. This is wrong, because mostly every lower class paid less taxes to pay to the government than other members of the Third Estate, even though they still had to pay part of their produce to the lord whose land they worked. As Miss Betham-Edwards said, “I was joined by a poor woman, who complained of the time, and that it was a sad country”. This means that a woman was very struggly and did not have good job but paid her taxes and landowners by working on the farms, and paid everything she received and she could at least hope that she would grow enough grain to cover the money owed to the government and also she provide food for her family.

There were other economic causes for the revolution as well. Friedman & Foner stated that “He (King Louis XVI) levied taxes and spent the people’s money as he saw fit.” Louis was wasting more money than the poor and the middle classes could pay. This was a wrong thing to do to the society, because it was not fair to the people, and this led to inflation and the eventual doubling in the increases of the price of food. What was left for the people was a meager income, so that after taxes they could no longer pay for the food they needed to survive. People cried for help, but there was nobody out there to protect them. As Friedman and Foner point out, Louis continued to finance war and recruit soldiers from the starving. The people of France were starving to death as Louis spent millions dollar of their money and rise up higher price.The government led to starvation and increased taxes and caused the economy to decline and the people to revolt..

The French Revolution was caused by the condition



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