Crucial Element Of The French Revolution

1028 words - 5 pages

In the French Revolution, many contributing factors helped give birth to this messy revolution. These Factors included an unfair social system that gave privileges to the first estate, which was the clergy, and the second estate, which was the nobleman. The Rights included special positions, in which only higher classes could obtain, and most importantly an exempt from all taxation. For this reason, citizens in lower, third class France were rightfully upset. Another reason for rebellion was political reasons. Citizens of France had no voice or power in the absolute, French Monarchy. In addition to all of this, the King of France, Louis XVI, made thoughtless decisions that only ...view middle of the document...

The Enlightenment influenced the ideas of France concerning their unequal social structure. Without this way of thinking, this movement would have never materialized. This uneven social structure had been going on for ages before, but the Enlightenment gave the individuals of France, in particular the third estate, a way of thinking to realize this injustice. On page 42-43 of The French Revolution, Mason and Rizzo discuss some of the unfairness that applied to the lower estate. One of the stories is about a man in the second estate who seduces a woman in the second estate. He ends up being forced to leave her because she is in the lower, third class, and because of this, the woman’s family sues the man (Mason and Rizzo). If it were not for the Enlightenment, this more than likely would not have occurred. The people were now starting to fight back, and demand equality. In fact, one could argue without the Enlightenment, France would still be going through an imbalanced social structure.
In addition, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote much about the right every man should possess. He says, “Nevertheless, this right does not come from nature, and must therefore be founded on conventions” (Mason and Rizzo p.39). This quote sums up the thinking of the French at the time of the revolution. The lower class citizens were tired of treatment that was unequal to the clergy and nobleman. This introduction to this mindset was by Enlightenment thinkers, in which Jean Jacques Rousseau was one. In order for physical changes in France to take place, the ways of French thinking had to be changed. Moreover, someone had to tell them they were being treated unfairly.
During the pre-revolution, France was an absolute monarchy, with King Louis XVI ruling all. The people of France had little if no voice into the way the country was ran. In fact, the people who were paying all of the taxes had none. Montesquieu, who was one of the most prolific writers in France during the time, criticized the French Monarchy (Popkin ). He desired...

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