The French Revolution of 1789 Essay

1950 Words 8 Pages
There is no doubt that the French Revolution has had a profound effect on the world. The cause or causes of it have been greatly disputed. Clearly the Revolution's primary cause was the presence of a weak monarchy and a lack of a stable system of government. France's absolute monarchy had many changes toward the end of the eighteenth century. King Louis XVI, in his attempts to consolidate his authority and lessen the power of the aristocrats, had planned out an intendant system. The intendants were like governors. They would oversee one constituency of the country. These intendants could not govern the region in which they lived, and were chosen from other than the aristocracy. This insured that their allegiance was pledged to the king and …show more content…
There were three divisions or classes in France called estates. The first estate, which was composed of church officials, had immense authority and obtained enormous salaries. Church officials obtained their salaries via taxes collected from church property. Therefore, since the officials received their salaries from the church property, they did not have to pay taxes. The second estate was composed mainly of nobility. They, too, were exempt from paying taxes. This left the entire tax burden upon the third estate. The third estate consisted of some merchants and entrepreneurs; however, the majorities were peasants. Corruption of the estates was causing much frustration among the common people who composed 70 percent of the population. The monarchy tried to make an attempt to give the third estate power by establishing the Estate's General, but this too was corrupted. Unlike most legislative bodies, the Estate's General did not vote by each person having a single vote. Rather, they let each estate have one vote each. Since the first two estates were always in agreement, the third estate was always out voted. This is a prime example of how the lack of a stable government had an immensely tragic effect on the people of the country. If the monarchy had tried to make some reform or if Louis XVI had more backbone to institute some tax reform to lessen the burden on the third estate, the Revolution may have been avoided. The government is the backbone of any…