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Poems and Prose

In: English and Literature

Submitted By payelsaha70
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Chapter 1 The French Revolution
 French Society during the Late Eighteenth Century  1774: Louis XVI of the Bourbon family of kings ascended the throne of France.  Under Louis XVI, France helped America in gaining their independence from Britain.  France was experiencing financial instability due to the long years of wars fought by her and the cost of maintaining an extravagant court at the palace of Versailles.  Taxes were increased for meeting the expenses of maintaining an army, the court and running government offices or universities.  The French Society was divided into three estates–  First Estate: Clergy  Second Estate: Nobility  Third Estate: Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers, peasants, landless labourers and servants.  The first two estates enjoyed certain privileges by birth which also excluded them from paying any taxes to the French government.  The members of the third estate had to pay taxes to the State that included a direct tax called taille and a number of indirect taxes levied on the articles of daily consumption.  Peasants served in the fields and houses of the privileged classes and they also built the roads and served in the army.  The Church collected taxes known as tithes from the peasants.  The price of the food grains increased with an increase in the demand for the same.  Fixed-waged workers could not afford the expensive food grains. Hence, the gap between the poor and the rich widened.  A growing Middle Class  18th century: France witnessed the emergence of social groups and middle class, who earned through an expanding overseas trade and from the manufacture of goods such as woollen and silk textiles.  Philosophers such as John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau envisaged a society based on freedom and equal laws and opportunities for all.

 Locke refuted the doctrine of the divine and absolute...

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