The Economic Origins Of The French Revolution

2493 words - 10 pages

inflated opinion the French monarchy had about themselves and other nobles lent itself to how they contributed to and handled the economic downturn in France for centuries prior to the French Revolution. Forming the foundation of many of France’s financial issues, the monarchial system granted royals and the nobles who surrounded them the ability to feel as if they are intended to be superior to the rest of France, a mentality that would last until the French Revolution began. With this monarchial system, each king of France from 1610 to 1789 would contribute in both positive and negative ways, depending greatly on the Chief Ministers they appointed.

Marking a significant beginning stage of the economic downturn was the Seven Years’ War, a battle that saw few positive achievements, but several losses both in terms of land and money, which had been acquired through loans that would establish France’s first significant debt. The reign of Louis XVI would further this debt, while also creating a greater divide between the estates of France by placing the heavy burden of repaying much of the new debt on the poorest class of France, the Third Estate. Participation in another war, only ten years prior to the French Revolution would create even more debt for France as they entered the American War of Independence, again with funding from loans that would need to be paid soon thereafter. Throughout this period of debt creation within France, society worsened in many ways due to the inability of the nation, from royalty to theThird Estate, to evolve economically, socially and agriculturally. With this overall sense of decline throughout France, a nearly unanimous desire amongst France’s Third Estate, the most populous, was to participate in a political revolution. Following the Revolution itself, France’s economy improved greatly for several years following key changes made by Napoleon and his government, proving that positive economic reform was possible.

France, from 445 to 1789 and then again for several decades following the Napoleon regimes, was lead by a single individual, known as a monarch. This individual, who was always male and thus a king because women were never permitted to inherit the throne, had the ultimate decision in terms of the actions of the French government, which in turn affected the entirety of France. Due to these monarchs being a part of the nobility and always having been, they knew little of the Third and lowest Estate who comprised the majority of France’s population at the time of the Revolution and for centuries prior. In addition to not understanding the average life or the best interests of the Third Estate, France’s monarchs, notably Kings Louis XIV to Louis XVI, felt, along with nobles who surrounded them, that they had the right to rule and act as they wished without the worry of repercussions.

If the old regime failed to reform itself, this was in large measure the fault of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI,...

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