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Causes of the French Revolution by Mind Map: Causes of the French
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Causes of the French Revolution

Weak leadership (Louis XVI)

Diffident and weak willed

did not introduce reforms to gain the support of people

Weak advisors

Wasted resources (Marie Antoinette)

extravagant spending on courts

over ambitious wars, eg. 7 years war against Britain (1756-1763) --> fighting losing battle --> economically drained

System of privilege limited his call for action

could not tax the nobles because he had to protect the rights of the nobles, however, this is the only solution he has for the financial crisis, The king got trapped in this system of absolutism

Financial Crisis

revenue is less than expenditure

deficit budget --> development of a constant loan cycle

did not tax the nobility --> the Third Estate only had limited money to tax on

Turgot tried to make aristocrats pay taxes, aristocrats were unhappy because they traditionally did not have to pay any taxes

no modern banking system to underwrite loans

Hunger and Starvation

poor harvest

low productivity

famines and droughts

Large amount of money spent on food (88% of wages - 1788)

Discontent within the Estates

Structure based on custom & tradition (born into the different classes)

1st Estate, Those who pray (clergy), Tax exempted, 1% of population owned 30% of the land

2nd Estate, Those who fought (nobility)

3rd Estate, tax-burdened, Those who worked (peasants)


First & second Estates: exempted from tax

Third estates: taxed on items such as salt, bread, use of oven etc.

Pay taxes and tithe (10% of income to church), usually did not have enough money to buy food

Impact of Enlightenment Ideas

People demanded own rights

Current system was unjust and unfair

Idea of social contract (Rousseau)

Introduced possibility of negotiating with God (since King derived his power from God) -Reciprocal Relationship, appealed to the general masses, led to the questioning of the norms, beliefs, and values