True the ideas that were promoted by the philosophies were a contributor to The
French Revolution but they were not the cause. The cause was the economic and social
problems that faced France in those years of turmoil.
I believe that The French
Revolution was caused by The Social and Economic woes of the days.
“The rule of the aristocracy lasts as long as the rural population continues to
ignore or neglect the crafts, and the ownership of land continues to be the soul basis of
wealth.” “When handicrafts and commerce take hold among the people and create a
new source of wealth benefiting a new class of working people, this paves the way for a
revolution in political structure. A new distribution of wealth opens the way to a new
distribution of power.
In the same way that the possession of land creates an aristocracy,
industrial property increases the power of the people; it provides the means to
achieve its freedom.” Antoine P. J. M.
Barnave also believed that without the economic
tribulations that were pending in France there would have been no need for change.
The third estate could be broken down into three parts: the rich, bourgeoisie; the
middle, lawyers, doctors, businessmen; and the poor, the peasant, farmer. There was
much change in the economic world of the third estate. For instance the bourgeois were
gaining land and therefore making money.
35% of the land was left to the 22 to 23
million peasants, the bourgeoisie held about 30% of the land, the 350 000 members of
the nobility held about 20% of the land, and left with an unequally shared 10% the
130,000 member of the clergy. This shows how much land the bourgeois actually had.
They were making large amounts of money off this huge percentage of land. Like those
today who make money they needed to be taxed, there was only one difference between
now and then, they the third estate were the only ones being taxed.
Being the only ones
taxed the bourgeoisie were carrying France on their backs for the greater part of the 18th
century. For this they wanted to gain ground into a better life “one associated with royal
power” . According to the Aristocracy there was to be no hope for the bourgeoisie, they
could not gain ground, ever. One had to be born into their social class, for them this was
The Aristocracy believed that one could be as prosperous as they wanted and as
prosperous as they could get but there was no way to socially climb the ladder. Because
of this the bourgeoisie decided to look to the other members of the third estate, the
There was many other Economic woes that plagued France in the 18th century.
There was much poverty throughout the country, but only within the poor part of the third
estate. The first and second estates were well off and could not lose their fortunes to the
taxes that the third estate paid.
There was much turmoil between the rich and the poor.
When the poor were getting prosperous the rich would not let them climb socially.
Privilege was something that every man, woman, child wanted in the 18th century
desired. This was never going to be possible without some sort of upheaval in the
political system that was in place.
“But in the eighteenth century the nobility like the
aristocracy tended to close its ranks.” This did not allow for a prosperous person in the
third estate to climb up to the second estate. After the enlightenment, social mobility was
shown to be a great step into modern society. If one could move socially then there was
hope into their future that one could better their lives to make them easier and more
Without this social upheaval there would be no means to the revolution.
During the eighteenth century, France went through many years of economic
disorder. France’s treasury had been drained throughout the years through frivolous
spending, wars, and lack of fund rejuvenation. Louis XIV, XV, and XVI
had been spending big throughout their years as head of state.
Many years of their
frivolous spending had drained