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The Nobility (2nd Estate - Rich Nobles)
The Clergy (1st Estate - Priests)
There were three classes or estates of people around the time of the French Revolution.
Everyone else (3rd Estate) (98 percent of population of France)
King Louis XVI, and his predecessor Louis XV, spent a lot of money for the American Revolution. They tried but failed to flee France because it was on the brink of bankruptcy. In 1786, a financial reform package was proposed by Louis XVI's controller general, Charles Alexandre de Calonne. This made sure privileged classes weren't free from the universal land tax. Delegates of the Three Estates made lists of things they thought were unfair. 'The Estates-General' were to be re-assembled on May 5 1789.
In 1789, The Third Estate began support for equal rights and they wanted voting by head not status. When the Estates-General met in Versailles (Where the Nobility lived) on May 5, hostility grew between the three orders. On June 17 the Third Estate met alone called the 'National Assembly' and they met again on June 20. They passed the Tennis Court Oath. Louis XVI merged all three orders within a week and named it the "National Constituent Assembly".
On July 14. rioters attacked the Bastille fortress in Paris, and claimed weapons. The French now call this Bastille day.
The Great Fear had broke out. Peasants started to rob and burn houses of tax collectors. The National (Constituent) Assembly signed the "Death Certificate of the Old Order".
On August 4, the Assembly and Enlightment thinkers made the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In april 1792, the new 'Legislative Assembly' declared war on Austria and Prussia. Then, the Legislative was replaced by the National Convention. On January 21 1793, Louis XVI was executed. The Bloody Reign of Terror was unleashed. Thousands of people were executed to the guillotine, under orders of Robespierre. But then Robespierre was executed.
A five-member Directory was in charge. The new leader was Napoleon Bonaparte. On November 9 1799 he abolished the Directory and made himself France's 'first consul'. This ended the Revolution.
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