During the 18th century, French Monarchs had unlimited power, and as such declared themselves as the “Representative of God,” to the people. They were engaged in a life of luxury and extravagance at the royal court of Versailles.
Louis XIV (1643-1715) of the Bourbon Dynasty, a most powerful and efficient monarch, who participated in many wars. His successor Louis XV (1715-1774) took France to war against England, which brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.
Louis XVI (1774-1793), lived a life of luxury and extravagance, when the country’s finance was reaching near bottom. He may have been King, but his Queen; Marie Antoinette, played a major part in the affairs of the state.
The social condition of 18th century France, the French Society, consisted of three classes: Clergy – Nobles – Common People.
The Clergy was of the First Estate, subdivided into two groups; higher and lower clergy. The higher clergy, were held responsible for churches, monasteries and educational institutions, and paid no taxes to the monarchy.
The common people disliked the higher clergy, who lived a scandalous luxurious lifestyle, similar to the monarchy. Whilst the lower clergy, were appointed to serve the people.
Nobility was the Second Estate of French Society, exempt from paying taxes to the monarchy. Nobility consisted of two groups; count nobles and provincial nobles.
Court nobles, lived a life of luxury, and paid no interest, in the problems of its people, leaving provincial nobles, to listen to the problems of its citizen’s and resolve them.
France’s Third Estate, consisted of the country’s common people, its manual workers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and businessmen, and they paid taxes, keeping France afloat.
The lower clergies, provincial nobles and the ranks of the common people, joined together with the Bourgeoisie… so the French Revolution was born.
France’s economic condition was another cause for the outbreak of the “French Revolution.” Louis XVI attempted to resolve the situation…
- In 1774, Turgot was appointed, as France’s Finance Minister.
- In 1776, Necker was appointed, as France’s Finance Minister.
- In 1783, Callone was appointed, as France’s Finance Minister.
The finance ministers had their own ideas of sorting the country’s debt problem, from imposing taxes on all citizens of France, no matter what status they held to borrowing money to offset the debt.
For hundred’s of years, the members of France’s higher classes, had never paid taxes, and any suggestion was dismissed.
It was inevitable by 1789, the Monarchy had to go, and a Revolution would take place… The French Revolution.