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The Third Estate Prior To The French Revolution

1336 words - 5 pages

The Third Estate was a social class which was established by Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes in 1789, right before the French revolution. This Third Estate had goals of gaining freedoms that the other “estates” had at the time. The Third Estate was defined majorly as the common people of France or the middle class, while the first estate was made up of the clergy of the church and the second estate was made up of the french nobility and monarchs. This Third Estate ultimately played a major factor in spurring on the French Revolution by igniting the passions of those trying to achieve freedoms among the French population.
With the outreach and uproar of the Third Estate occurring, the issues brought forth by them seemed to become more and more prominent among the French people. Sieyes often refers to the Third Estate to “the whole” or the majority of France whose needs must be fulfilled as well. More specifically the Third Estate was composed of the commoners which included peasants, merchants, and artisans which all had their own individual grievances. One of the major problems the Third Estate worked towards eliminating was the high taxation in which they had to pay to the other estates. The fact that they had to work harder than the majority of the first and second estates to make less money and to pay more taxes didn’t fit too well with them. Most of the third estate was poor to begin with and they felt it wasn't right that they had to pay extra and this was a major reason as to why they ultimately decided to revolt which sparked the French Revolution.
Along with unfair taxation of the Third Estate, Sieyes also points out that equal representation was a major goal in which the Third Estate was pushing for. They felt that ridding of the unfair social hierarchy as well as the political system known as the Ancien Regime was key in ultimately reaching their goal of equality. Sieyes viewed the first and second estate as irrelevant and unneeded as the Third Estate represented the majority of France and was “everything “, which deserved more rights. Ultimately this led to the idea that the citizens of France should play a role in government choices instead of it being led by the few in power, which was a major goal of the French Revolution.
Lastly, the Third Estate felt that the France had a weak absolute ruler which was Louis XVI at the time. The main problem was that Louis XVI was establishing unfair laws that made it very difficult to become successful and have equal opportunity. One of their main goals was to rid of Louis XVI and to establish a new constitution which would make the establishment of new and better leaders easier and more consistent. In doing this, many hoped that this would lead to France becoming a Republic.
The build up of all of these issues ultimately led to a chain reaction of outburst among the majority of those who made up the Third Estate. As people more diligently began to pursue their goals including equal rights and laws,...

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