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Once upon a time, in a land called France, a monarch lived. His name was Louis XVI, and he was married to a woman named Marie Antoinette. Louis was a kindhearted king of many people, although quite indecisive. They lived together in the castle of Versailles.
However, things were not well in France. Although his country appeared prosperous to many, it had been suffering from poor harvests, high taxes, rising prices, and war debt.
At the time, France had an Estate System, with three estates. The first one included people of the church, or clergy members. The second estate was made up of wealthy nobles. The third estate included all the other people of France; workers, the poor, commoners and peasants.
King Louis XVI would call meetings of the Estates General, where the estates would vote on what to do for certain issues. However, the system was unfair to the third estate because estates one and two could always outvote it. In 1789, the king called a meeting to raise taxes to pay off debts he inherited, or got from spending or wars.
The members of the third estate were so unhappy with the king's proposals that they left the meeting room. They then formed their own group called the National Assembly.
However, when the king heard of this, they were locked out of the meeting room. Angrily, the National Assembly left and went to an indoor tennis court to meet and discuss.
"All men are born equal in rights and free; government exists to preserve natural rights; natural rights include liberty, property, safety, and resistance against unfair rule; and power lies with the people."
While in the tennis court, the members of the National Assembly all took the Tennis Court Oath, a vow that stated that they would keep meeting until a new constitution was created. They soon came up with the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, which included statements like:
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