French Second Estates

1168 Words 5 Pages
At the backbone of European history, the French Revolution was an important sequence of events that changed world history with its ideas and outcomes. Before the commencement of the French Revolution, France was in a period called the Old Regime, which was an absolute monarchy ruled by Louis XIV ("The Old Regime in France: Absolute Monarchy."). Traditionally, in the Old Regime, society was broken down into three estates; the clergy (first), the nobility (second), and everyone else (third). The first and second estates were very rich because members of the second estate were the tax collectors, meaning they paid no taxes, and members of the first estate were part of the church, so they paid no taxes. During this time, France was in extensive …show more content…
The members of the third estate argued that no matter what, the third estate would always be outvoted by the first and second estates. Also, the third estate argued that it was unfair that the first and second estates, who were only about 3% of the population, had the same number of votes as the third estate, who made up 97% of the population. Some members of the third estate, including lawyers, businessmen, and members of the bourgeoisie class concluded that the system was unfair and that they would not be seated to vote. Instead, these members of the third estate met in the tennis courts and declared themselves the National Assembly, vowing not to disband until a new constitution was written. This vow is known as the Tennis Court Oath, which took place on June 29th, 1789 ( "The Old Regime in France: Absolute Monarchy."). Louis the XVI on the advice of his finance minister, Jacques Necker, agreed to meet with the third estate and hear their grievances. However, on July 12th, 1789, the king dismissed Necker and summoned troops to Versailles (“Principal Dates and Time Line of the French Revolution”). Meanwhile, the french citizens began to take up arms and form a new national guard. On July 14, 1789, a group of Parisian citizens took up arms and stormed the Bastille. They stole weapons and …show more content…
In time, Napoleon coronated himself emperor of France. He became a hero to the French people because he preserved many of the accomplishments of revolution. He instituted the Napoleonic Codes, created schools, libraries, and other public buildings. However, his territorial ambitions to take over Europe lead to wars against Austria, Britain, Russia, and Prussia. Napoleon 's armies spread ideals of French Revolution throughout Europe. In the end, Napoleon 's conquests were halted by the Russian winter. Napoleon was defeated, captured, and exiled. In March of 1815, he escaped and returned to France, where he ruled for another 100 days, before being defeated at the battle of Waterloo in June, where he was once again exiled. Napoleon finally died of natural causes while in exile and thus, a new monarchy under Louis XVIII, was restored as government in France ("THE FRENCH REVOLUTION: PHASES AND DATES.").
French Revolution had many lasting impacts in Europe and around the world. It spread revolutionary ideas about democracy, human rights, and other enlightenment ideas. It lead to independence and abolitionist movements in Latin America and sparked revolutions in Europe in the 1830’s and 1840’s. Although France when through a series of governments, bloody wars, and suffering, it did become the first modern republic in Europe and a model for democracy

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