The French Revolution Q&A Essay

1289 words - 5 pages

Question 1:

There were many causes of the French Revolution. Some were hinted at or mentioned in Sources 1 and 2, but there were some causes that weren’t mentioned in the two sources.

The first source is mostly about the mistreatment of the Third Estate by the First Estate, Second Estate, and King Louis XVI (who is in front of the other Estates, using the Third Estate to carry them all along). The reason why King Louis is at the front, whipping the Third Estate to get himself and the other two Estates moving, but the Third Estate just can’t handle it. This is symbolic of the amount of work the Third Estate was doing compared to how much they were paid and how much they had to pay for taxes.

According to Albert Mathiez, the Revolution was started by the middle class of the Third Estate, not the working class. His reason for saying this is that the working class was basically helpless on their own because they were ‘targeted’ by society and even had to pay to do work on a lord’s property. It was hard for them to do anything, so the middle class Third Estate had to step in.

The second source is a table of wages and taxes of the Third Estate. This source shows us just how unfair life was for the Third Estate financially. To buy the amount of daily bread needed for a normal French lifestyle, poor citizens of the Third Estate had to pay about 60% of their daily wage, and the richer citizens of the Third Estate had to pay about 15% of their daily wage. However, in just one year, the price of bread skyrocketed and poor citizens had to pay 97% of their daily wage on bread!

From these sources, you can clearly see how the Revolution started, and why the Third Estate took action.

Question 2

There were many challenges facing the emerging new order because of the difficult situation France was in when the Revolution started.

One of the problems the French Revolutionaries faced was that they had to write a whole new constitution to replace the old, unbalanced constitution and give the people of France a fair go. This problem was fixed at the National Assembly in 1789 when the Third Estate had made the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen’ and the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen’ (shown in sources 3 and 4). Even though it says in both of the declarations “Woman/Man is born free and equal”, women were still treated badly and there was still slavery (Robespierre had campaigned for the abolition of slavery, but was turned down by the National Assembly (According to ‘Miss Lavelle’ at www.SchoolHistory.co.uk )).

Another problem the French Revolutionaries faced was money. They just didn’t have enough to fully restore France, so they had to make a new tax system that was fair to all French citizens and they even had to buy church land, as the church was losing its power thanks to Ideas of Enlightenment. Michael Streich says that after the Church had lost power, it never regained full control in France, even after...

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