Life in France before the Revolution

Life in France before the Revolution

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  • France before the revolution was ruled by King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. They had an absolute monarchy, so they had complete control over all aspects of society. King Louis was selected by divine right of kings meaning that he gained his power from god, he was not prepared to be King. They married as a way to form an alliance between Austria and France. Marie Antoinette was born an Archduchess of Austria. She was very used to living a lavish lifestyle and continued to live that way even when they were suffering economically.
  • French society was based off of fuedalism and had three different estates. The first estate was the members of the Roman Catholic clergy, they made up 1% of the population, owned 10% of land, and collected taxes from church members. The second estate were nobles and aristocrats who made up 2% of the population, owned 20% of land, and collected taxes from peasants. The third estate was the 97% of the population and included the bourgesie, bankers, and professionals, workers, laborers, and peasants. The third estate supported the enlightenment, paid all taxes, and had no representation.
  • The people of France got angry because there was mass inflation and poverty and King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had done nothing to fix it. The third estate demanded representation because they had no say in the government. They also demanded to be treated equally because they had the worst quality of life but carried the entire economy of France. These demands led to many events causing the overthrow of the monarchy.
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