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French Revolution Lower Class

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Life from the Bottom

Lower classes have always been treated the worst of any other people. I, being a peasant farmer during the French Revolution, have experienced this maltreatment in mankind. We made up the largest group within the Third Estate. We were forced to do things that were out of our control.

The peasants, such as me, did not like being under the rule of Louis XVI and his spouse Marie Antoinette. We were already deprived of money to begin with, yet we still lost half of what we had due to taxes. We were expected to pay feudal dues to the nobles, tithes to the church, and royal taxes to the king's agent. Also, aside from taxes in money, we owed the corvÐ"©e. The corvÐ"©e was a certain form of tax that was paid by work rather than money. We were expected to do this for a certain number of days out of every year. During the rule of the Old Regime, peasants' rights were depleted and our power was oppressed.

When the radicals tried Louis XVI for treason and demanded that he be executed, we peasants were relieved. We now gained more rights and felt freer. The Jacobins were now gaining more power. We didn't like this at all. We were horrified by the beheading of the king. We knew that the beheadings could become a routine within our country.

As many leaders were trying to gain power, one man slowly took control. His name was Maximilien Robespierre. His reign of power was known as the Reign of Terror. We were terrified of Robespierre's power. We were all in danger of being guillotined. As many as 40,000 people were beheaded all together, and 80% of them were peasants.

After awhile, the members of the National Convention knew none of them were safe from Robespierre. They finally turned against him and executed him on July 28, 1794. This execution ended the Reign of Terror. Everybody was relieved.

If the European monarchies were able to squelch



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