Its is 1789 and there is trouble looming in France. A revolution is on its way. But what are the causes?

  • New Ideas from the enlightenment. Now that people are beginning to think for themselves, they want a government that they feel is in their interests as well. Ideas of democracy and voting float about, and into salons in Paris.
  • Ideas from the revolution in America. The French saw that it was okay to rebel against a monarchy and have freedom and democracy: they helped America defeat Britain.
  • Taxes: Many people resented the absolute power of the monarchy, and the taxes given to the peasant class. Some princes and dukes who thought the power belonged to them resented the monarchy was well, and felt if it couldn’t be them, why should anybody be king?
  • National Debt. The Sun King Louis XIV left France in debt to his his great grandson Louis XV who increased the debt leaving France to Louis XVI, his grandson. These three kings engaged in too many wars for the countries good.
  • Old Regime. Louis XVI was told the only way to get money was to tax the nobles. France’s ways had become outdated, and when Louis called the estates general, the middle aged government system brought problems.
  • Famine. There was a food shortage in France due to bad crops and weather. Some people saw this as God’s anger with the monarchy. Convenient?
Next post — the ESTATES GENERAL