Bread And The Origins Of The French Revolution

Decent Essays
Near the end of the 18th century, the Europe’s most ostentatious nation would soon face a revolution that would alter the course of history. France’s Third Estate was starting to grow tried of being politically inferior to the other two estates, but having an overwhelming larger population. There were new taxes imposed by their king after he and his Austrian queen bankrupted the nation, throwing them deep into debt. Bread, the main source of a Frenchman’s diet, was scarily found after seasons of bad harvests. New thinkers and ideals were emerging in France, causing new political leaders to raise up, wanting the monarchy abolished and a new republic system in place. When the people of France believed they could reconstruct their society based …show more content…
Following a terrible harvest in 1788, the price of bread dramatically increased because of the bad wheat yields. Jack Goldstone in his section of The Origins of the French Revolution discusses the ramifications of this harvest saying, “Inflation was seen as a direct result of the crown’s failure to manage markets and prices, and hence as a fault to be remedied, not a reasonable condition for which the crown should be allowed to raise taxes” (Goldstone, pp. 96). But, the high prices of bread stopped at the gates of Versailles, the king and queen still living in extreme indulgence, oblivious to the complaints of their subjects. Because of Louis’s financial negligence, food supplies become sparse and the cost soon skyrocket. (Kaiser) (Goldstone; Merrick; Thomas Kaiser; Goldstone; McPhee; Darnton) …show more content…
The First and Second estates are the clergy and nobility respectively. The Third Estate was everyone who wasn’t a clergyman and aristocracy. However, the first two estates only represented around 3% of the population of France, and the Third Estate took the other 97% of the population. The nobility and the clergy often time would throw their votes together for a two-third majority rule over the one-third vote the Third Estate had. Many people in the Third Estate saw this unbalance of power as unfair because while they had an overwhelming majority of people, they only had one-third of the vote in their society. After storming the Bastille in July 1789 and drafting their new call for equally for all men called the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the new National Assembly has their new voice to change their world in France. Thomas Kaiser and Dale Van Kley finish the Origins of the French Revolution with a calibration essay explaining how the raise of the Third Estate’s impact on their nation saying, “The events of August 1789 also dismantled the legal foundations of ‘aristocracy’ in France. Having destroyed what, it already called “feudalism” and the “Old Regime,” the National Assembly was free to enshrine the principles of what it also called the “Revolution” in a declaration that proclaimed both equality of the “rights” of the nation’s citizens and the sovereignty of the “nation”

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