• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How important were the financial problems of the French Crown in bringing about the French Revolution in 1789?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked 21st October 2015 How important were financial problems of the Crown in bringing about the French Revolution in 1789? [20] The financial problems of the Crown were hugely important in bringing about the French Revolution. However the constitution of France itself at the time was also a major factor of its downfall. The financial problems included the weakness of the tax system, the poor harvests during the 1780s and the war debt accumulated from the wars France fought during the 18th Century. The constitutional problems (the feudal system, lack of will to reform from the nobility, etc.) could be considered the roots of France?s problems. However they often overlap in cause and effect with the financial issues. France?s tax system in the 1700s was considered unfair by the growing bourgeoisie class and the poorest members of society: the peasantry and urban peasants. The tax system was centred on the comfort of the nobility, rather than the revenue of the Crown: the 1st and 2nd Estates were exempt from most fiscal duties. ...read more.

Middle

This resulted in a seriously low income for rural peasants and general employment rates in urban areas sank. Although this directly impacted only the 3rd Estate, France?s general economy was in crisis. Food prices rose by around 60% from 1788 to 1789, forcing the average labourer (both rural and urban) to increase their expenditure on bread from 50%, to 88% of their income. This left little room for taxes and the other usual dues that peasants were forced to pay, causing a rapid depression and, more importantly, minimalizing the Crown?s tax revenue. In addition to this, the ?Eden Treaty?, signed in 1786, effectively ended the economic war between France and Britain by removing tariffs on imports. However this negatively impacted many French businesses, such as the textiles industry for example, which suffered a decrease in production (and therefore employment) rates of 50%. While this was only one fraction of France?s many industries, the effects represented the overall importance of the economic problems. Due to the poor harvest there was a small-scale famine in France, which had been developing since 1779, when the weather started to become harsher. ...read more.

Conclusion

The 1st and 2nd Estates had refused any reforms proposed by the Controller Generals such as Turgot and Calonne, restraining France's financial system and leaving its income gravely low. Therefore the nobility's prevention of constitutional changes was hugely impactful on the Crown's attempts to save the financial system which may have prevented the revolution. However, at the meeting of the Estate's General the "cahiers" from nearly all the deputies of every estate called for a change to the constitution. This was not addressed by the Crown however, meaning that their lack of order was, in fact, part of the reason for the development of the revolution. As a closing opinion, the most important cause of the French Revolution was the lack of will from the 1st and 2nd Estates to alter the constitution (specifically the taxation system. This is because nobility refused the pay taxes, while they held most of France's money, causing the Crown's income to be greatly lessened. If the nobility had paid equal taxes, there most likely would not have been a financial crisis for the Crown and for that reason their (the nobility's) reluctance to do so was the more important than the financial problems themselves. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Major Causes of French Revolution

    4 star(s)

    In 1763, it had to surrender most of it's overseas Empire to Britain. The Bourbon Family ruled France. King Louis XVI (1754-93) was a shy, awkward misfit who was a lazy monarch known for his orgy's was mostly the subject to viscous rumors around France.

  2. What impact did war have on the French Revolution 1789-1799?

    This changed the course of the Revolution entirely. The Revolution became incredibly radical, with the bourgeois aims of decentralisation, laissez faire and decreased government authority changing completely into the sans-culottes dominated demands of the right to work, the right to insurrection, greater centralisation and effective power moved into the city

  1. 'The French Revolution was directed by the middle class.' How valid is this comment ...

    The 1793 Constitution, which featured so many concessions to them, was never implemented or put into practice in France. Also, the Convention that was so heavily influenced by the Jacobins and sans-culottes was dominated by bourgeois, as was the Jacobin party.

  2. In the process of consolidating his position, Napoleons reforms, had by 1808, destroyed the ...

    Therefore, in theory, Napoleon had upheld a fundamental rule left from the Revolution and had not formally betrayed it. However this was also violated to a certain extent since, whilst there is no concrete evidence that the central government tampered directly with the figures, it is known that local officials

  1. 'In the context of the period 1715-1815 to what extent were economic factors the ...

    In reality, France had gained little in a conflict that had crippled the crown's treasury. In order to cope with the mounting Crown debt (the interest alone had reached 318 million livres in 17883), Louis XVI needed to drastically cut government spending and reform the tax structure.

  2. Why did the French Revolution end in 1799?

    The Bourgeois class was running the country and controlling the Revolution whether they were Jacobins or Royalists, leaving the other classes without a say in the governing of the country or achieving their desires and needs. The urban workers and the sans-culottes had had some success and brief moments of

  1. Notes and Reading on the causes of the French Revolution.

    United by the identity of interests established by the identity of interests between the three orders by the nobility and clergy?s complete and authentic surrender of all pecuniary exemptions in relation to taxes or public charges present and future, have resolved to draw up the cahier of our grievances together, 3.

  2. The French Revolution Broke Out Because Of a Shortage of Bread Discuss.

    The peasants didn?t have much of this either. Ordinary people were becoming poorer because of the economic problems. The lower classes of the 3rd estate could not afford to eat a lot of food, and what they could get, was bad quality. They ate meat less than 3 times per year; their bread still had the bran in it along with bits of straw.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work