French Revolution Dbq Essay

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During the Eighteenth Century, France had an absolute monarchy with Louis XVI as king and Marie Antoinette as queen. In that time period, French society was based upon a system of Estates where the clergy made up the First Estate; the nobility comprised the Second Estate, and everyone else including professionals, peasants, and the bourgeoisie made up the Third Estate. The Third Estate was immensely unhappy with the old regime, the Estates General, and Louis XVI’s leadership. France was also in the midst of a fiscal crisis due to the American Revolution, Louis XVI’s lavish lifestyle, the Seven Years War, and the tax exemption of the First and Second Estate. Following the surge of new ideas and impactful philosophers from the Enlightenment,…show more content…
Due to their education, the working class understood how vastly dissimilar their standard of life was to the nobility and the clergy. The bourgeoisie were educated and had the means to obtain literature from around the world. They, thus, knew what the standard of life should be, how the upper estates were living, and what their life was actually like. This caused an immense amount of resentment (Document 4). The American Revolution also greatly influenced the French rebels. In 1783, only six years before the French Revolution broke out, the Americans successfully rebelled against the English king. This proved that a revolution could actually happen and that rebelling against Louis XVI could have positive effects. The success of the American Revolution inspired them (Document 5). During the Enlightenment, major philosophers like John Locke emerged and questioned the role or power of the government. Born after the English Civil War, John Locke discussed how people had natural rights like life, liberty, and property, which needed to be protected by the government. If this was not being done, he proclaimed that the people had the right to rebel. Other philosophers also convinced the French people about the corruption and misdeeds of the French monarchy. For example, Baron de Montesquieu frequently spoke that there should be a separation of power in
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