The Old Regime During The Middle Ages

2303 WordsNov 30, 201410 Pages
In 18th century France, the political and social structure was called The Old Regime. The Old Regime began during the Middle Ages, in about the 11th or 12th century, and divided the French people into three estates. Members of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church made up the First Estate, who owned 10% of the land in France, and made up 1% of the population. The two groups in the estate were the upper clergy and the lower clergy. The upper clergy contained church leaders such as bishops, archbishops, and cardinals. The lower clergy consisted of parish priests. Furthermore, members of the First Estate did not have to pay taxes and had certain privileges such as access to high offices; the Second Estate members also maintained these privileges. Instead of paying taxes, the church offered many social and educational services as well as shelter/job/food assistance to the French people; in addition, the church offered a cut of its pay to the government. The clergy opposed views from the Enlightenment because they threatened their status and challenged the authority of the church. Nobles made up the Second Estate in France, accounted for 2% of the population, and owned 20% of the land. The Second Estate was made up of two groups: the nobles of the robe and the nobles of the sword. Nobles of the robe bought their titles and nobles of the sword were born with their titles; the government offered noble titles for sale as an additional source of income. The titles people

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