French Revolution


The Strcture of the Ancien Regime

3 Estates:

1st Estate = the Clergy = church members = 130'000 of them

                 = exempt from tax 

2nd Estate = Nobels = anyone with a title = 350'000 of them

                  = paid for privilges = exempt from tax

                  = recieved feudal dues from tenants on their land

                  = owned 25% of the land

                  = Two Types: 

                  - Robe = inherited their title

                  - Sword = earned their title 

3rd Estate = everyone else: peasants and bourgeoisie = 27 million people

                  = paid all the tax = no privlidges 

                  = two types of bourgeoisie: 

                  - Haute bourgeoisie = wealthy traders and merchants

                  - Petit bourgeoisie = small shopkeepers and craftsmen


  •  owned 10% of the land 
  • censored critical books
  • recieved Tithes annually = were meant to pay for the upkeep of buildings but much of it went to Bishops and Abbots. 
  • Church made one payment a year, called the Don Gratuit and the church decided the amount they paid. 

Parlements = were courts of laws = they were made up of nobles that could critise the king, but he was allowed to ignore them. 

Marie Antionette Facts and Scandals

Austria wanted to cement an alliance with France through marriage. Marie Antionette had two older sisters and wasn't expected to marry importantly. She liked dancing and played instruments but wasn't a good student. Her two sisters died in 1767, and left her as the only option to marry Louis. She was uneducted and this lead to her being outspoken. 

  • Married on 16 May 1770, aged 15. 
  • acsended to the throne 10 May 1774. 
  • unpopular amongst some in court for being Austrian
  • didn't conceve children for 7 years 
  • Queen of Austria (mother) critised her for failing to 'ignite passion' in Louis. 
  • marie turned to her luxurious lifestyle and gambling - resulting in a downward spiral of public opinion. 
  • annually exceeded her wardrobe allowance - which the king covered. 
  • 300 dresses a year
  • spent on entertainment and friends:

= Petit Trianon = from Louis, gifted 24 May 1774. Small palace adjoining verailles. Rumors of her decorating the interior with gold and diamonds.  she built a theatre and the Temple of Love in the Park.

= Hameau = rustric retreat built in 1786. Here she played at being a milkmaid, surrounded by perfumed sheep and goat, porcelain milk buckets and churns made at the royal pottery. 

  •  Rumors


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