The Revolution was started by people who wanted to make life better for the poor. Some of these ideas were from John Locke, Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Thomas Jefferson.
The king takes money from poor people, even though they don't have enough money!
But he lets all the rich people keep their money!
The French people were separated into three groups, called estates. The people in the Church were the first estate. The nobility (the people with titles like Prince) were the second estate. Everyone else, even the bourgeoisie (the people who were rich but not nobles), was in the third estate.
We're rich and we don't have to pay taxes!
Well I'm poor and I do!
France also got into trouble because they spent too much money. They had many wars, and they lost more money than they had, which is called debt. They alsokept spending money, even with the debt, which is called deficit spending. To try and fix it, the king made the third estate pay.
The king has no more money, and he's making us pay taxes to fix it!
That's not right! We should have a reform!
To fix this, the king had a meeting of the three estates, known as the Estates General. In the meeting, all three got to make a list of grievances, or the ways they were treated unfairly. These grievances were known as the Cahiers. The estates also voted on things they might want to change, but because the third estate was outnumbered 2 to 1, they lost.
We don't have much to complain about!
Well I definitely do!
Even though the third estate had almost all of the people, they only got a third of the vote, which they thought was unfair. They pledged, or promised, to make a new constitution, or set of rules for the country. To do this, they created a group called the National Assembly, and this pledge was known as the Tennis Court Oath.
We promise to fix these unfair laws, and create our own consitution that is fair to everyone!
On July 14, 1789, the people of the third estate made their first attack. They decided that they would storm a prison called the Bastille. They chose this prison because it had a lot of weaponry (weapons) that they could use in the fight against the king. They also wanted to take the Bastille because it was a symbol of the king's power, and taking it made the king afraid that he might lose his power.