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Impact Of The Early French Revolution

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CHANGES IN THE ESTATES: THE IMPACTS OF THE EARLY FRENCH REVOLUTION

Benjamin A Polozune

History 3001: Europe in the Age of the French Revolution and Napoleon
September 9th, 2015

It would be difficult at best to argue that the French Revolution was not one of the most significant events in the history of Europe. Amongst a sea of rebellions, revolts, wars and squabbles, it was the first true fall of a Monarchy that Europe had ever seen, the end of an ancient regime that had stood for nearly a millennium. But did it actually mean any real change for the citizens of Europe? The answer is absolutely “Yes”. While the lives of the citizens outside of France fall outside of the scope of this paper, simply examining the lives of French citizens is more than enough. One need only look at the laws, and the changes to both the privileges and the responsibilities possessed by the various positions of society to see a clear contrast of before and after. France’s society and economy were nearly upended, with all three estates experiencing severe alterations to the fabric of their society. To be able to determine the changes that were effected upon French society during the French revolution, it is necessary to first examine the period immediately preceding it. In early 1789, France’s estates were well divided. The first and second held virtually all power, while the third was regarded with both fear and suspicion by its counterparts. By contrast the third estate held
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