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To what extent was the destruction of privilege the most important consequence of the French Revolution?

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Introduction

To what extent was the destruction of privilege the most important consequence of the French Revolution? The destruction of privilege was definitely one of the key consequences of the French revolution, if not the most important consequence. However this is not to say that it was the only consequence of the French revolution. Privilege in essence meant that the first and second estate were exempt from many taxes and laws, thus it was left to the third estate to carry the financial burden of the country. The first estate consisted of the clergy who were extremely powerful and the higher bishops were extremely wealthy, they had their own legal and court system, which was far more lenient than the normal state court system, they were also exempt from many major taxes. Their wealth is shown off by the fact that the church owned more than 10% of the land. The second estate consisted of nobles; they had fewer privileges than the first estate but they were still exempt from many taxes and the major nobles were very rich and controlled all the top jobs. ...read more.

Middle

The main aims of the government were to combat abuses and corruption within the system, this meant getting rid of corrupt bishops. The privileges that the church enjoyed, such as exemption from many taxes, were to be abolished. The wealth of the church was to be removed and given to the state. They wished to make the church more democratic so they decided that the clergy were to be elected. All links with the pope and Rome were to be cut-off. The church was also to allow freedom of conscience which granted people to worship any religion of their choosing. As part of the policies of the new government, many monasteries were attacked and those which did not benefit the community were closed. There were not going to be any new monks or nuns. The civil constitution of the clergy was drawn up; this meant that the church had to take a loyalty oath to the government, salaries were to be introduced for church members, the number of clergy was to be reduced, the clergy were to be elected, the pope no longer had the rights to confirm the bishop and the system of church was linked to the government structure. ...read more.

Conclusion

Free trade was introduced particularly in grain, guilds and internal tariffs were abolished, and a uniform system of weights and measures were introduced. Despite all the measures the economy of France was still in shambles. The military consequences were far more severe, many countries felt threatened by the revolution that had occurred, they wanted to crush the revolution and re-instate the king. Some counter revolutionaries were counting on a war to occur and wanted France to loose so that the king may be re-instated. Army commanders wanted war to strengthen the king's position and bring about political stability. France declared war on Austria in April 20, 1792, Prussia entered into the war a month later. Initially there were many losses, many of the experienced generals were nobles and held fled earlier, and this left the French army with ill-equipped and inexperienced soldiers. Overall the destruction of privilege was the most important consequence of the revolution as it destroyed a whole way of life and created another one, which was far more balanced. Balance was finally brought back to the state with popular sovereignty and meritocracy; the French people had finally gained the freedom they had so longed for. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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