3rd Estate Dbq Analysis

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By the late 1700s, the people of France had experienced many years of inequality and oppression with the members of the Third Estate having to pay the most. In the midst of a financial crisis, the country of France was barely surviving on its own, and the unclear distinctions between the social classes was not helping. In order to fix the country, France drew inspiration from both its own citizens and from citizens in the colonies abroad. Abbé Sieyès’s What is the Third Estate? and the Declaration of Independence marked the beginning of France’s realization of how much privilege can hinder a society. It empowered the common people while also degrading the nobility and the clergy. The conversation about rights began during the French Enlightenment, …show more content…
Many French officers who served in the war came home and felt inspired by the New World; more specifically by the Declaration of Independence (Hunt et al. 12). Marquis de Lafayette offered a proposal for a document of rights in France around six months after What is the Third Estate? was written. Drawing from Thomas Jefferson’s ideas, Lafayette said, “The merit of rights consists in truth and precision; it should say what everyone knows, what everyone feels” (Doc. 11). Duke Mathieu De Montmorency said that the French should “follow the example of the United States [because] they have set a great example in the new hemisphere…” (Doc. 12.). However, Pierre Victor Malouet, a government administrator, thought the Americans were being too hasty with their declaration because they have never experienced anything less than equality and that France, being a larger and more organized country, should write a constitution before writing a declaration of rights (Doc. 13). Even though there were many opinions on the ways that France should be fixed, most of them agreed that there needed to be a new system of organization both socially and governmentally. About a month later, one of the subcommittees of the National Assembly drafted a declaration (Hunt et al 15). Discussions about the draft continued on for almost a week until they voted to postpone it until after drafting a new constitution (Hunt et al

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