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

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“The French Revolution Broke Out Because Of a Shortage of Bread”

To some extent, the cause of the French Revolution was a shortage of bread; however there were other reasons, both long and short term, which also triggered the French Revolution. It started on 14th July 1789, when the people of France finally lost their patience with Louis XVI. They decided to take the law into their own hands. A motto was established stating “liberty, equality and fraternity” and that was what the people wanted and were trying to achieve. The first official event to start the revolution was the storming of the         Bastille on 14th July 1789, however, there were some revolts and other events during May and the summer months leading up to the beginning of the revolution. The Bastille was an impregnable prison and it stood as a symbol of terror. By attacking the Bastille, the people showed that they were willing to fight for their rights and that the aristocrats would not be able to get rid of them easily.

Economy and Life Standard

One of the long term problems that France encountered was the Economic Slump between 1787 and 1789. One feature of the Economic Slump was the poor harvests. In 1787, the silk harvest failed and the other harvests were poor. This was caused by a rainy autumn, a mild winter and a hot summer. The harvests of 1788 were terrible because there was a rainy spring and an unexpected hailstorm in July. In 1789, the harvests were generally good, but the wine harvest was poor. That year, there was a hard winter with bad frosts. The poor harvests affected France’s trade industry quite badly. France had nothing to trade with, and so had to pay for things to be imported, leading to problems with money.

Another feature of the Economic Slump was the population rising and causing poverty, unemployment and more problems with money. The population of France increased dramatically. It had risen by 7 million people in 74 years, but there was an extreme year where the population rose by 6 million (20 million-26 million). This rise of population meant there were many unemployed and there was not enough food for everyone. Many people lived in poverty because of this and because the cost of living had increased by 45% while wages had only increased by 22%. Wages were very low. Some people barely owned their home, yet they had so much to pay in taxes. Some lords demanded animals and wheat, which some of the peasants didn’t have, and others asked for money. 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. More than half of these people were clothed in rotting tattered linen, and many were sick, weak and unhealthy. Approximately 2 million men were day labourers. They helped the country survive by doing all the major jobs and becoming sailors and soldiers when they were needed.  Many people thought they should have been spared some of the taxes because they earned a fair wage during the harvest but a low one during the rest of the year. These day labourers found it hard to survive without their wives doing some extra work for more money. Some of the men became apathetic because they knew their efforts would go unrewarded. The thousands who were unemployed had even bigger problems. They could not afford food, clothes or a decent home, so many died of hunger and an unhygienic lifestyle. Some of the unemployed ate extremely bad food and got diseases. Medicine and medical care was very expensive, so they would have died of whatever disease they had because they could not afford the things they needed.

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Although many of the 3rd estate could not afford an education, some of the richer people in the estate could. These people formed the middle class. They were mostly businessmen who ran businesses and had a good salary. They decided they wanted more of a say in the government of France because they were getting richer and higher in society, and they did not like the nobles getting all their privileges just for being grand and having money. The middle class did not like the fact that the aristocrats were getting all the top jobs in the government and the armed ...

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