The Social Order Of France

1778 Words Dec 18th, 2014 8 Pages
Mary Allen-Walmisley
AP European History
17 December 2014 Chapter 20 Unit Questions
The social order in France was complex in the 18th century. The population was legally divided into three social ranks, or the Estates. In the first estate was comprised of the clergy who had privileges, some of theses privileges included not having to pay taxes and owning 10% of France’s land. In the second estate, the nobles who owned 20% of the land, also had feudal privileges, which meant that they were exempt from taxes and had important hunting rights. Finally, the third estate consisted of 98% of the population: the commoners, the middle class, rural workers, urban poor, and merchants. The middle class was also known as the Bourgeoisie. The estates during this time period no longer reflected the social reality because the middle class were expanding into the second estate. The rising middle class actually caused tension between the social groups because they pushed for social change and the nobles felt like they were losing power.
The French monarchy lost power under Louis XV and Louis XVI because parliaments regained the power to evaluate royal decrees, France fell into a financial crisis, new taxes were imposed, the Seven Years War took place, Rene de Moanupeo was instated, and the royals lost their sacred aura. Originally, the parliaments in France had little power, but when Louis XV came to the throne they regained their right to evaluate the decrees made…
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