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Causes of the French Revolution

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Introduction

Ashleigh N. Garrett Kevin S. Cronin History 1013 23 August 2004 Causes of the French Revolution: Assignment 1 Many factors contributed to the French Revolution, such as a widespread resentment of royal absolutism, the emergence of elightenment ideals, a massive national debt, as well as famine and poverty. Initially the Industrial Revolution brought surges of people form the rural countryside in to the cities in search of work. This created crowded living quarters and an increased demand for food. Many people lived at a level of subsistence, earning only enough to feed themselves and their family. These living conditions set the stage for the social unrest, which led to the French Revolution. ...read more.

Middle

The ideals of enlightenment thinkers also added greatly to the revolution. Philosophes such as Charles Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau created a spirit of unrest among the lower classes as they taught the ideals of reason. Montesquieu penned l' Esprit Des Lois, which introduces the theory of separation of powers. He felt the branches of the government should be separate and independent of each other in order to create a fair system of checks and balances, much like that of the US government today. Voltaire verbally attacked the French monarchy indirectly through fictitious novels and essays. Rousseau wrote the Social Contract, through which he expressed his thoughts that power was not derived from god but from the people and that the French government must honor ...read more.

Conclusion

Finally the third estate, made up of the merchant class, broke away creating the National Assembly and invited the other estates, the clergy and nobility, to join in. This third estate was the group, which would later split into the Jacobins and the Girondins and create the riots of the French Revolution. A combination of social unrest, unjust rulers, and unequal social class caused the French Revolution. When added to the events of the time period, such as the Enlightenment, the result is one of the greatest revolutions of all time. The French Revolution not only affected France but the world as it was at the time. The teachings of the French Philosophes entrench themselves in our great United States Constitution, helping to create the Unites States as we know it today. ...read more.

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