French Revolution Dbq Essay

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Submitted by to the category World History on 11/06/2010 10:26 AM

There were many causes of the French Revolution of 1789. The majority of the population had long been suffering, and now with the new ideas presented by the people were willing to make a change. In addition, the American Declaration of Independence was fresh, providing people with inspiration. All of these factors led to the upheaval of the people, known as the French Revolution.

In the 18th century, France was a feudal country with major class divisions. People were divided into three estates. The first state was the clergy, making up 1% of the population, the second the nobility, making up 2% of the population. Lastly, the third estate were the bourgeoisie, the city workers and the peasants. This group made up 97% of the population. King Louis XVI was the absolute ruler of France during the time of the revolution. Him and his family lived a lavish lifestyle, not caring much about the people of their country. As mentioned in the cahiers, in assembly, votes were not counted by head (Document 3). The third estate felt betrayed by the king for this. The first and second estates were working together to keep the third estate down, so they would not become a threat to power. By suppressing the masses, the government was only hurting themselves in the long run.

In The French Revolution the historian, Albert Mathiez, states that “The Revolution had been accomplished in the minds of men long before it was translated into fact… The middle class…was sensitive to their inferior legal position. The Revolution came from them-the middle class.” (Document 4) Ideas from the Enlightenment (1600-1700s) The bourgeoisie of the middle class were well-educated. They followed the ideas of philosophes such as Volatire and Rousseau, who believed that all people are created equal and good. An ideal society would be one where the people had a say in laws and their government, and would therefore willingly follow the law. Although the peasants did make a large quantity...

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