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Financial Factors Leading To The French Revolution

3446 words - 14 pages

The French Revolution was nothing less than any revolution before or anyone after it: radical change in the institution that was known as the ordinary lifestyle. What began as a dispute between the people and the monarchy quickly turned into a violent and demandingly rapid movement to change the government that was more representative of the people of France. With many examples around them, the French people had many examples and inspiration that motivated them to revolt. The British had lived with some governmental relief knowing that the Monarchy had not all the power with Parliament making some of the major decisions. Across the Atlantic, the Americans had already begun and ...view middle of the document...

In order to fully understand the economic turmoil France was in, the factors causing it must be explored. Furthermore, if one factor is found to be more significant than the others, additional research can commence following that specific factor with other cases in history (i.e. American Independence, Russian Revolution, etc.)
This paper aims to explore the two most significant financial factors leading to the French Revolution: taxation during wartime versus peace, and the broken system within the French Revolution. In these sections, origin, narration and meaning to the revolution will be explored and analyzed in order to find the overall significance of the factor. While this paper does intend on attempting to find the most significant financial factor of the French Revolution it does not guarantee it; rather the author hopes that the audience reading this will inquire further research into the topic, with the possibilities of adding other factors into the mix of the origins of the French Revolution.
The ‘rivalry’ between Great Britain and France runs deep within each of their own histories, and ties in directly with the French deficit in the Eighteenth Century. With the discovery in the New World and given the head start by Spain, the British and French were most urgent in claiming land across the Atlantic in order to create a colonial empire. Continentally, both countries were both competing for economic dominance within the exports and revenue coming in. With the Industrial Revolution beginning in the mid-1700’s for the British, it gave them an edge over the French whom would not begin their industrialization period until the beginning of the Nineteenth Century. Plus, the Industrial Revolution united the people of Great Britain in maintaining a successful national economy, which was what the French had sought.
Thus, when looking at the conflicts it is important to understand that the competition between the two countries knew no limits. In relations to the deficit France had created in the Eighteenth Century, the first major conflict the nation was in was the War of Austrian Succession. In order to gain more power in Europe, Spain was reluctant to accept Maria Theresa as the new leader of the Hapsburg Empire after the death of Charles VI. With the aid of allies like Great Britain, Austria won the war and Theresa retained the throne.
In order to create finances for French Involvement in the War for Austrian Succession, taxes were raised exponentially, which was almost pointless seeing that most people could not afford to give up money like that. Nobles then were looked upon to create more revenue as they paid their capitation, dixième, and vingtième, though not necessarily in full ( Goldstone, 85). It is quite revealing when the nobles had not been paying any of their property taxes up until this point, which may have been at the absolute end for some citizens paying everything they had in taxes. It can be argued that the raise in...

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