French Society Divided Our time period: 1789 Paris, France. How was French Society Divided? Three Estates What were the features of the First Estate? The Clergy (church) Owned 10% of the land, collect tithes(donations), paid no taxes. High Church leaders were very wealthy. Parish priests were often poor. Provided some social services: schools, hospitals, orphanages. Enlightenment thinkers criticized Fist Estate, the Church condemned the Enlightenment.
French Society Divided What were the features of the Second Estate? The nobility of French Society (Not the King). Given rights by the king after their military power was taken, for example top jobs in the government, military, the courts, and the church. Did not pay taxes Some competed for higher positions in Versailles. Many though lived in rural areas, owned lands, and did not have much income. Many nobles did not like the absolutism and resent the royal bureaucracy because others were given jobs they should have. Wanted to keep their privileges.
French Society Divided What were the features of the Third Estate? The most diverse and most populated. The bourgeoisie (middle class) was at the top. Doctors, bankers, merchants, manufacturers, landowners; all well off. Most were poor rural peasants. The poorest were urban (city) workers; apprentices, journeymen, other industry workers, servants, or unemployed. All shared resentment of the privileges of the other Estates. The bourgeoisie because they couldn’t attain the best positions. The poor because of horrible wages and lack of food. The First and Second Estate paid almost no tax while the Third Estate paid almost all the taxes.
Financial Troubles What is deficit spending? When the government spends more money than it takes in. Why was France so deeply in debt? War: French and Indian, The American Revolution. The king’s court spent millions on a lavish life style even with rising prices. To keep up the government borrowed money and half of the taxes went to paying interests on loans. Bad harvests made food prices rise. The nobles and clergy resisted any change in taxes or lifestyle.
Financial Troubles How did King Louis XIV’s heirs fail? Louis XV ran up more debt. Louis XVI was too weak. Hired Jacques Necker, financial advisor. Necker urged Louis XVI to tax the First and Second Estates but when he tried they rejected it and he was too weak to make them. Why did the nobles call for the Estates-General? So that they could bring the absolute monarch under their control and keep all of their privileges.
Louis XVI Calls the Estates-General What issues was King Louis XVI dealing with that lead him to call the E.G.? France was on the verge of bankruptcy, bread riots (riots over the cost of food), nobles denouncing the monarchy. What was in the grievance notebooks? The issues that each estate had; revealed class resentment. How did voting work in the Estates-General? Each Estate had one vote. How and why did the Third Estate want to change voting, what influenced their ideas? They wanted everyone to meet and vote in person. They were influenced by enlightenment thinkers and the ideas of basic and natural rights.
Louis XVI Calls the Estates-General What did the delegates of the Third Estate do after weeks of stalemate at the E.G.? In June 1789, they claimed they represented the people of France (most of France’s people were in the Third Estate) and declared themselves the National Assembly. Were locked out of their meeting hall, so they met at a tennis court, and swore an oath to never separate, Tennis Court Oath. Eventually, reform-minded clergy and nobles joined them. The king accepted it but planned to break it up.
Parisians Storm the Bastille When and why did Parisians storm the Bastille? July 14, 1789. They heard that royal troops were going to occupy Paris and thought weapons were in the Bastille. What happened? The commander opened fire, may citizens were killed before they took it. No weapons. Why was the storming of the Bastille important? It was a symbol of the years of abuse by the monarchy and a wake-up call to King Louis XVI