French Rev Essay Plans 1774-1799

  • Created by: M1223
  • Created on: 11-03-19 16:55

TOPIC 1 (ORIGINS AND COURSE OF REVOLUTION 1774-89)

  1. TO WHAT EXTENT WERE THE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS OF THE GOVT. PRIMARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IN 1789?

FINANCIAL ISSUES - MOST IMPORTANT

P: Caloone declared Crown bankrupt 1788 due to major financial issues on a national level leading to mass disaffection with the estates and crown. ( american war of independence forced crown to take loans they could not afford. Created the assembly of notables to pass through reform)

  • AMERICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE

    • 1.3 bill livres spent on financing the war

    • By 1788 the proportion of state expenditure on debt had grown by 50%.

    • Seven years war left large amounts of debt too

  • TAX SYSTEM AND CORRUPTION

    • 34 provinces controlled by Le Ferme Generale contaminated by corrupt officials taking money for themselves out of taxation

    • Venality (ability to buy position in second estate) meant there were fewer wealthy people able to pay tax, leading to less money for government

  • NECKER AND TURGOT (damaged the trust in monarch and undermind Louis’ competence)

    • 1774-1776 FAILED REFORMS BY TURGOT. 1774 Turgot was brought in by Louis to improve tax system. T proposed to force 3/2nd estate to pay more taxes producing public uproar and nation wide anger. Louis forced to withdraw support from T 1776 (dismissed)

    • 1776-1781 NECKER. Necker then introduced as Finance minister who in the 1781 Compte Rendu au Roi claimed a surplus of 10 mill livres. This was a lie in order to increase economy but in fact only increased state debt as many were prompted to loan money to King. ALSO borrowed high interest loans to fund American war of independence

COUNTER ARGUMENT

Tax system had been around for centuries, it helped perpetuate the revolution of 1789 but arguably was not the role reason for the cause of the revolution.

THEREFORE

Financial problems were intertwined the the entrenched social system. Tax and absolutism.

ECONOMIC ISSUES

P: Economic issues severely affected 3rd estate (majority of population with 27.3 mill by 1789) To them, being able to buy bread was the main incentive to revolt against the entrenched system that shifted the burden of taxation onto them.

  • COTTAGE INDUSTRY

    • France still used low tech agricultural tech. Therefore harvests only dependent on the weather. Agriculture made up 50% of economy therefore failed harvest severely damaged the economy and raised bread prices (main food source)

    • Bread prices in paris increased by 50% (indirect consequence for urban workers = demand for manufactured goods dropped due to increased povt. Therefore unemployment rose)

  • POOR HARVESTS [1778-79, 1781, 1785-56, 1787, 1788]

    • 1788 was particularly bad due to extremely poor consecutive weather conditions that destroyed all crop.

  • COMPETITION

    • Due to growth of industry and Eden Treaty(1787) trade was open to British Isles. Led to less demand for french farmers and increased rural poverty.

THEREFORE
Rural farmers unable to feed families due to poor harvests and high bread prices and failed corrupt tax system and growing populating and constant burden of taxation led to the third estate being extremely dissatisfied

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