Regents Essay: Causes of the French Revolution

Global History Essay

The French Revolution has led to major changes in France and other regions of the world, and is one of the most influential periods in history.   The ideals of the French Revolution were noble; they wanted liberty, equality, and fraternity.   The French Revolution’s ideas, ideals, and reforms would influence many people. The French Revolution has not only affected France, but has effected and has had a large impact on the rest of the world.   It can be considered a major turning point in history.  

There are many causes of the French Revolution.   As told in Document 1, one cause for the French Revolution is that the king, Louis XVI, had absolute power.   He had the power to appoint all civil officials and military officers, he could make and enforce laws, and he could levy taxes and spend people’s money.   Louis XVI also could control expression of thought by censoring speech and press, and could imprison anyone without trial.   As shown in Document 2, another large cause of the French Revolution is that the Third Estate was the only estate to pay taxes and the land given to each estate was unfair.   The First and Second Estate are only about 2% of the population of France, yet owned 35% of the land and paid no taxes.   The Third Estate had to pay so many taxes as a result of the king’s lifestyle and from all the wars that France has been through.   The Third Estate was the backbone of France, yet it had very few privileges and had no power to influence government.   About 80% of France’s population consisted of peasants.   Many of these peasants were very poor, had little to eat, worked very hard, and still had many taxes to pay (Document 3).   The Third Estate includes a group called the bourgeoisie.   They were well-educated and believed in Enlightenment ideals.   The success of the American Revolution inspired them.   New views about power and authority in government were spreading.   The bourgeoisie were eager to make changes in the government....