Facts

Interesting and noteworthy items about the French revolution

General Facts

  • The direct cause of the Revolution was the chaotic state of government finance.
  • Director general of finances Jacques Necker vainly sought to restore public confidence.
  • French participation in the American Revolution had increased the huge debt, and Necker's successor, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, called an Assembly of Notables (1787), hoping to avert bankruptcy by inducing the privileged classes to share in the financial burden.

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The Third Estate

  • Peasants were forced to do military service.
  • Peasants could not hunt or fish on nobles' estates.
  • Peasants had to pay taxes to their lord, the king, and the Church.

The First and Second Estate

  • Nobles had almost complete authority over peasants.
  • Nobles did not have to do military service.
  • Nobles were exempt from most taxes.
  • Nobles collected tolls from people using roads and markets
  • Many nobles and clergy lived in great luxury in chateaux and palaces.

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