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Economic Crisis During the French Revolution

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Introduction

A revolution can be described as a time when the masses, consisting of ordinary men and women, grow weary of the current political system and begin to take their lives and destinies into their own hands. The French Revoultion was started by economic factors, the burden of high taxes on the common people, the disparity between rich and poor, and the reduced demand for goods. Abraham Lincoln once commented about the masses under a political system by saying that, "Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it." President Lincoln's perspective can be applied to many of the uprisings throughout history, but it is especially relevant for the French Revolution because the poorest citizens of France felt so oppressed by the French government that they had no other choice but to fight for changes that would make their lives more bearable. The country of France accumulated significant debt in the late 18th century as a result of its participation in the American Revolution and the extravagant indulgences of King Louis XIV and King Louis XVI. ...read more.

Middle

King Louis did not really have a plan to deal with the situation until he met a man named Robert Turgot. Described as "tactless, high-minded, impatient and touchy," Mr. Turgot had difficulties when he tried to introduce a major reform that involved taxing the nobles. After Turgot's proposal was rejected, the King fired him from his office. Instead of taxing the nobles, the King decided to just tax the Third Estate, excluding the nobility and clergy. Marie Antoinette again describes the patient masses to make their lives better by writing, "What happy thing it is for persons in our rank to gain the love of a whole nation so cheaply." To add to the already bad economic crisis harvest was also poor and food was very expensive. People were enraged of hearing stories of lavish parties at the fine houses and palaces, where a lot of food was served, which was either wasted or given to the dogs afterwards. ...read more.

Conclusion

The higher social classes were also very uneasy, because of the spread of the great fear, during which hungry peasants wandered around killing citizens and pillaging homes and businesses. Society was corrupt and dishonest. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the role economic factors played in the French Revolution, some people may argue that if the poorer majority of citizens had felt that their government truly cared abut them and that their interests were represented in the political process then there would have been no need for them to revolt. Instead, they could have worked within the political system to improve their lives, reduce the burden of taxes, and secure better living conditions. This view would cite political factors as keys to the French Revolution. Eventually the economic crisis created by the government created a Revolution. The strong belief that there could be no liberty, if legislative and executive powers were placed into the hands of a single monarch or a body of magistrates proved to be true. Consequently, the people of France got rid off an absolute monarchy and a dictatorial rule and entered the stage of the Napoleonic era. ...read more.

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