The French Revolution Essay

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In the latter years of the eighteenth century, France was an aristocratic bureaucracy, presided over by sovereign monarch Louis XVI. France was ruled under the Ancien Régime; a social and political system established by the French in the early renaissance period of the fifteenth century, until the late eighteenth century where it was violently overturned in the French Revolution. ‘ Under the Ancien Régime the richer a man was, the less he paid.’1 The French Revolution, beginning in 1789 was an era of social and political upheaval that saw the collapse of the absolute monarchy and its prejudice class system. Before the French Revolution of 1789, France was subject to a social division dictated by ones circumstance of birth and wealth. The…show more content…
The prominent disparity between these three estates lead to social discontent that would cause the swift and vehement French Revolution. The first estate, also known as the Clergy, experienced select entitlements, ‘...besides its honorific preeminence, the Clergy possessed very great privileges.’2 The Clergy were exempt from certain conventions of law and were not subjected to direct taxes, instead they were to give free donations to the king, donations determined on the clergies own authority. This system meant that those of the first estate were rarely obliged to any form of taxation, especially taxation of free will. The Clergy were ‘closely allied with the monarchy, whose divine right was symbolized by the religious ceremony of coronation, the clergy exercised a control over thought in the interests of both Church and king, possessed a monopoly in education and shared in the censorship of everything that was lawfully printed.’3 Contributing to the Clergies power and affluence was the collection of tithes on its property; bishops often acted as lords over a village, and as a result, they were to receive payment from those they imposed taxes on. These were often the poorest peasants who worked the land of the Clergy. The Nobility, or the second estate, lived the most favorable existence of those in post-renaissance France. The Nobility did not possess as many exemptions and privileges as the Clergy, but were often the most wealthy, ‘What really characterized
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