Defining “Modern History”: the Impact of the French Revolution

1836 Words Nov 7th, 2013 8 Pages
Defining “Modern History”: The Impact of the French Revolution The French Revolution of 1789 was major turning point in European history because it redefined the image of nation in a way never seen before as the people gained political control over their own nation. Therefore the aspects of this revolution have been debated as the beginning concept of “modern history.” This concept is derived from how the French Revolution demonstrated the will of the citizens as a political entity that could dictate governmental change by showing how the people, not the monarchy, could reform a nation. Through the establishment of a new government by the people, new institutions and policies were developed that the world we live as modern; such …show more content…
When Louis XVI took the throne of France in 1774 he inherited a financial crisis that was too much for him to handle. France’s economy was failing as the state was nearing bankruptcy, due in part to the financial costs of participating in the Seven Years War and the American Revolution. Therefore, a an extremely regressive tax system was enacted, but ultimately proved ineffective due to the already heavy burden placed on the working class and the tax exemptions of the nobility and clergy. As a result, the General of Finance attempted to impose new legislature in order to stop tax exemptions, but was stopped by the Assembly of Nobles. As a response to this, Luis XVI called for the convening of the Estates General in May of 1789, the first time since 1614. During the Estates General of 1789, the 28 million French citizens who did not enjoy special privilege, “traditionally excluded from political and social power, were presented with the opportunity of expressing their opinions on the state of government and society.”
As the Estates General commenced tensions grew between the privileged and the Third Estate on whether to vote by head or order. Due to this, the Third Estate argued that the estates in which they had been placed into centuries were now unfair due to the financial pressure put on the working class. The 28 million people of the working class made up

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