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

Why was there a revolution in France in 1789

Extracts from this document...


Why was there a revolution in France in 1789? The causes of the revolution in France can be divided it to long-term causes and short term causes. The main long-term cause was the way in which the country was run. The 'ancien regime' was the period in France before the revolution of 1789. There was royal despotism, heavy taxes, the parlements had no real power and the church was also exploiting the peasants. The main short-term causes were the American war of Independence, the financial crisis in France and the unwillingness for the King and church to change. During the 'ancien regime' the country was divided into estates. The first estate was the clergy, the second estate were the nobles and the third were the peasants, the King was its head. The idea of having estates is that all of the estates represent different things, but none of the estates can work together without the other, which was partially true. The King apparently controlled all of the estates and was the most vital part of the machine that was the estates. The First estate was extremely rich and powerful, far more than the Monarch. The members of the first estate generally had good lives and were opposed to the ideas of reform from the king and the 'enlightened nobility'. This had a detrimental effect on the ability for the regime to modernise and 'abide' with new ideas. ...read more.


The parlements were granted more power by Louis XV but towards the end of his reign they were once again made powerless. All of the above are political, Geographical divides, the religious divides were also relatively numerous. There were 18 Arch Diocese, with an Arch Bishop in charge of each, and within there were 136 Diocese. Not only were there political and religious divides, there were also less official divides, such as the south of France used common law and the North used Roman Law, different areas followed different rules, there were even different sets of measures in the different areas. All of these factors meant that different parts of France were like entirely different countries. This alone made it hard for France to reform, without the further inconvenience of people's unwillingness to reform. The ancien regime was named after the revolution to describe the 'era' before the revolution. During this time, the King was an Absolutist leader. The basic principles of absolutism are that the Monarch rules by divine right and decides what is best for the state, he has unlimited power and everyone should be loyal to him, the Monarch should dominate the cultural world and censor what he deems unsuitable. Louis XVI was an absolutist. The effects of absolutism were evidentially, devastating to Louis XVI. The effects of absolutism were royal despotism, the King was unable to recognise that his actions did have consequences. ...read more.


This did not go to plan and the Nobles denied the law. Brienne, who was the Arch Bishop of Toulouse, replaced Calonne in April 1787. Calonne continued to attempt to pass Calonne's law, although it did have a new name and was slightly adjusted, and this time the Assembly of Notables asked for more information about the law, the King refused and claimed that they were questioning his authority and so decided to dismiss the assembly in May, 1787, which also led to an ever increasing list of problems. The king was now unable to pass his law and the nobles were calling for the estates general to be passed. The estates general was called in 1789, were Necker is recalled, but no real solutions are formed. The third estate started to decide that it deserved more power and respect than it got, the second estate was divided between agreeing with the reforming 3rd estate and the traditional 1st estate and the Kings role becoming ever less important. After answering the question, 'Why was there a revolution in France in 1789?' I have come to the conclusion that the primary reason was the social and political structure in France during the ancien regime and the fact that nobody was willing reform when they should have. Instead they waited until it was too late and the inevitable happened, there was a revolution, which was also turned out to be long lasting and damaging to every aspect of French society. Sam Mackin 1 ...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 British History: Monarchy & Politics 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 British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Which of the grievances of the Third Estates in France in 1789 were the ...

    4 star(s)

    But which of them were the most noteworthy? To begin with, the members of the Third Estate believed that the social structure, besides of being based on custom and tradition, it was also based on inequalities which were sanctioned by the force of the law. There was a profound division between the rich and the poor.

  2. Analyse the causes of the 1848 revolution in France.

    priority was to avoid a general European war where he was sure to be opposed by Austria, Russia, Prussia and Britain. Evidence of this opinion came in the form of the Belgium question. Belgium previously of the French empire had been annexed to the Netherlands in an attempt to create a buffer to future French expansion.

  1. Report on The linkage of 2010 item and the two historical periods

    In the Renaissance, the encyclopedia only recorded what the government wants their people to know, and this shows how controlling was the society at that time was. It wasn't until the mid 18th century, the encyclopedia no longer only record what the government want the people to know, but with a wider range of information.

  2. Industrial Revolution

    were willing to perform the worst jobs which enabled grater numbers of the local population to move up the complex industrialised social spectrum. London, in particular, became, during the nineteenth century, a haven for traders, merchants and, increasingly, knowledge with the first university college of London established in 1826.

  1. Warner Bros.' GoodFellas (1990) is director Martin Scorsese's stylistic masterpiece - a follow-up film ...

    the long line into the entrance by taking a side entryway, wind through hallways and then into the bustling kitchen area with cooks and helpers, pass other patrons waiting inside, and are set-up by the Copa Captain at a prime, front-row table (hastily resurrected out of nowhere and set up especially for them).

  2. Henry II (1154 - 1189) is generally seen as the main catalyst in the ...

    via the realm seeking 'representatives of twelve lawful men, who in turn would sit in what under modern day law would be referred to as the grand jury.'68 Ever increasing tension, hostilities and politics via Henry II and the church during this period meant in certain quarters reform and clauses

  1. Why Did Revolution Erupt in 1789? There were many causes of the French Revolution

    This meant he didn't look like much of a leader, and didn't inspire (much confidence in) his people. Also, the fact that he was overweight wasn't good, as this showed the poor people of France that while they starved, Louis obviously had too much to eat!

  2. Henry IV of France

    Soon after Chartres Henry captured Noyon, but could not defeat Rouen, and after a lot of consideration Henry decided to re-convert to Catholicism. While many doubted the sincerity of this second conversion, this action did have an immediate positive effect, with many important towns and cities surrendering to him, including Orleans and Lyon.

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