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"The French Revolution was due to financial problems." To what extent is this a fair assessment of the causes of the French Revolution?

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Introduction

Carolina Andreoli History French Revolution Mon, 15 March, 2004 "The French Revolution was due to financial problems." To what extent is this a fair assessment of the causes of the French Revolution? The French Revolution, which broke out in 1787, was perhaps the most violent upheaval in the western world due to the extensive participation of peasants and common people, not only the aristocracy. Even thought in other parts of Europe revolutionist movements were taking place, they were usually between aristocratic rulers and other privileged groups. Regarding the causes of the French Revolution, several versions are proposed and debated. Some versions say that the causes were basically social and economical; while others say it was the rise of one particular class, the bourgeoisie. Therefore in order to attain a final answer it is necessary to study and analyze what really happened, thus approaching a fair assessment of the causes of the French Revolution. During the 1770s and 1780s, a great economic decline took place, following then a long period of prosperity, which had a terrible psychological impact on all social classes, which faced a harsh decline in their status. ...read more.

Middle

Although each class' had its own aspirations and achievements suiting their interests, they had one common goal. As the regime was no longer serving their interests or guaranteeing them, it had to be put down or modified. Therefore the regime, combined with other pressures, finally collapsed. Each class then developed tactics to fulfill their interests and implement them to the new government which was under construction. The nobility feared absolutism profoundly, and with the banishment of the parlements, which cherished the power of the nobility, they were even more scared. Therefore the first thing the nobility did was to restore these parlements, and after they demanded the establishment of the Estates General, which also gave them power. The bourgeoisie agreed on the establishment of the Estates General because it would allow them to have more control on political institutions and to reconstruct the economic structure. However this idea changed when they realized that representative institutions rather than the Estates General would bring them more advantages, both politically and economically. ...read more.

Conclusion

The French Revolution indeed had great influence on some European countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland and others; but there were other common factors that affected all Europe. One was the rapid growth of population, which was from about 100 million to 200 million people. Another was a great period of depression followed by very prosperous years. The consequences were lack of land resources, unemployment and economical problems. However almost all of the movements taken place around Europe ended in fiasco, but the French Revolution experienced several changes in political, economical and social areas. Concluding it can be said that the French Revolution was mainly caused by financial problems. However there were several other factors such as social resentment and political anarchy, which also led to the break out of the revolution. Even though philosophes did not have any direct influence, they incited people to express their feelings and to fight for a cause that they believed was important. In order for negative things to change, one has to fight for them, and that was what the French did. ...read more.

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