Arguments for social reform began to be advanced. The philosophes —intellectuals whose writings inspired these arguments—were certainly influenced by 17th-century theorists such as Descartes , Spinoza and Locke , but they came to very different conclusions about political, social, and economic matters.
Many government officials, it is true, were finely attuned to public opinion. Visionary architects, developing a style of Revolutionary Neoclassicism , similarly received royal commissions for new public works. On balance, however, it is hard to see how the monarchy, even if it had resolved its financial problems, which it was very far from doing, could have extended this ecumenism from art to politics and social life.
Thus, the monarchy seemed fated to failure and the stage set for revolution. They evolved into a new caste with its own agenda and political aspiration.
The bourgeoisie resented the position of the First and the Second Estate, which they believed was derived from their efforts. Moreover, they aspired to attain political equality with the other two estates.
The desire of the bourgeoisie to rid themselves of feudal and royal encroachments on their personal liberty, commercial prospects and ownership of property was one of the reasons which led to the French Revolution.
Depiction of lower class people and the bourgeoisie in 18th century France 4 Ideas put forward by Enlightenment philosophers The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century. Enlightenment philosophers like John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Baron de Montesquieu questioned the traditional absolute authority of the monarch and divisions of society like the Estates System.
For example, Locke argued that a leader may only govern a society if he had the consent of those he governed; Rousseau was against all class divisions; and Montesquieu advocated for a system of government based on separation of powers. The writings of Enlightenment thinkers were discussed in France more than anywhere else and they greatly influenced the revolutionaries. Jean-Jacques Rousseau — One of the most influential Enlightenment philosophers 5 Financial Crisis caused due to Costly Wars Throughout the 18th century, France participated in a series of expensive wars primarily against its long-term rival Great Britain.
He then drew up a plan to avenge the loss by building a larger navy and an anti-British coalition of allies. They were replaced by Jacques Necker , who supported the American Revolution and proceeded with a policy of taking large international loans instead of raising taxes. Jacques Necker France sent Rochambeau , Lafayette and de Grasse , along with large land and naval forces, to help the Americans. French aid proved decisive in forcing the main British army to surrender at the Battle of Yorktown in However, the British sank the main French fleet in , and France gained little, except for the colonies of Tobago and Senegal , from the Treaty of Paris that concluded the war.
The war cost 1. Necker concealed the crisis from the public by explaining only that ordinary revenues exceeded ordinary expenses, and by not mentioning the loans at all. This policy also failed; therefore, Louis convened the Assembly of Notables in to discuss a revolutionary new fiscal reform proposed by Calonne.
When the nobles were told the extent of the debt, they were shocked; however, the shock did not motivate them to rally behind the plan — but to reject it. This negative turn of events signaled to Louis that he had lost the ability to rule as an absolute monarch, and he fell into depression.
France was a wealthier country than Britain, and its national debt was no greater than the British one. In each country, servicing the debt accounted for about one-half the government's annual expenditure; where they differed was in the effective rates of interest. In France, the debt was financed at almost twice the interest rate as the debt across the Channel. This demanded a much higher level of taxation and less flexibility in raising money to deal with unforeseen emergencies.
See also Eden Agreement. Edmund Burke , no friend of the revolution, wrote in "the public, whether represented by a monarch or by a senate, can pledge nothing but the public estate; and it can have no public estate except in what it derives from a just and proportioned imposition upon the citizens at large. The desire to do so led directly to the decision in to call the Estates-General into session.
Taxation[ edit ] Louis XVI, his ministers, and the widespread French nobility had become immensely unpopular. This was a consequence of the fact that peasants and, to a lesser extent, the poor and those aspiring to be bourgeoisie , were burdened with ruinously high taxes levied to support a wealthy monarchy, along with aristocrats and their sumptuous, often gluttonous lifestyles.
This set up an arbitrary tax-barrier sometimes, as in Paris, in physical form at every regional boundary, and these barriers prevented France from developing as a unified market. Collections of taxes, such as the extremely unpopular salt tax, the gabelle , were contracted to private collectors " tax farmers " , who, like all farmers, preoccupied themselves with making their holdings grow.
How many millions more still had their lives ruined? Inspiring and ennobling, the prospect of the French Revolution is also moving and appalling: in every sense a tragedy. It represented an unprecedented effort to break with the past and to forge a new state and new national community based on the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
After the old government was replaced, differences over the meaning of those principles and the ways they were to be put into practice grew more salient and serious. Thus the revolution continued until a stable state organization was consolidated, in part through the use of military force.
Shaped and driven by passionate ideological differences, violence, and war, the revolution bequeathed to the French and to the World a new and enduring political vision: at the heart of progress lay liberation from the past, egalitarianism, and broadly based representative government. Nobles were able to return to their titles and to much of their land. Although considerable amounts of land changed hands during the Revolution, the structure of landholding remained much the same; the rich got richer, and the small peasants consolidated their hold, thanks to the abolition of feudal dues.
Industrial capitalism grew at a snail's pace. In the real of politics, in contrast, almost everything changed. Thousands of men and even many women gained firsthand experience in the political arena: they talked, read, and listened in new ways; they voted; they joined new organizations; and they marched for their political goals.Schwartz Causes of the French Revolution 1. International: struggle for hegemony and Empire outstrips the fiscal resources of the state 2. Social antagonisms between two rising groups: the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie 5. Ineffective ruler: Louis XVI 6. Economic hardship, especially the agrarian crisis college application essay writing tips generates french discontent and disorders caused by food shortages. Dual or multiple sovereignty is the cause feature of a revolutionary situation - the fragmentation of an existing polity revolution two or more blocs, revolution of french exercises the over some part of the government and lays claim to the exclusive control cause the the.
Their opinion on what government economic policy should be was summarized in the term Vincent de Gournay laid claim to: "laissez faire, laissez passer", meaning leave it alone and let it pass, also known as the " invisible hand " notion. The idea of free trade of grain was discredited and the economic experiment distanced the masses from the government in Versailles. These large expenditures by the French monarchy caused dissatisfaction among the people who began to view its leaders as wasteful while they suffered due to the poor economic state of the nation. This conflict was known as the Flour War of Changes in ideas and political culture: a.
This demonstrated a way in which the people took some power back into their own hands.
This worsened the economic crisis in the nation and pushed it toward bankruptcy. This is what gave the Declaration of the Rights of Man a far greater international resonance than the American models that inspired it; what made the innovations of France--including its new political vocabulary--more readily accepted outside; which created its ambiguities and conflicts; and, not least, what turned it into the epic, the terrible, the spectacular, the apocalyptic event which gave it a sort of uniqueness, both horrifying and inspiring. What they failed to see, as their inspirers had not foreseen, was that reason and good intentions were not enough by themselves to transform the lot of their fellow men. In theory, this would eventually lead to a war of revenge and see France regain its colonies from Britain. Stronger, further centralized state with a larger, more effective and more intrusive administration. This was partially because potatoes were seen as more difficult to transport and store than grain.