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French Revolution

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In the year 1789 a radical change occurred through France. This point in history was called the French Revolution. Some of the main causes were heavy taxation to the third estates, which was very unfair, now that this class was the lowest economic class, and had the worst living conditions. The second cause was the American Revolution, which had a huge influence on many European observers, since it served them as an example for a better living, or as they would say, a better world. The last cause would be the Enlightenment era, and all the ideas that it came with, which all talked about reason, nature, happiness, progress and liberty.

During the 18th century, the French government spent more money than it collected in taxes; this caused the country to be bankrupt. Arthur Young, an observer traveled to France and described in his book "Travels in France" the living conditions of the peasants. Their way of living compared to the higher classes was horrible and the amount of taxes that had to be paid was unjust. In fact nobles and clergy hardly paid any tax. The lack of bread was causing prices to go up, and this caused great misery for the people of France. Peasants were victims of the heavy taxation.

The American Revolution of the 1700's served as a profound example to all European observers. It also served as a great lesson, tyranny could be challenged. Men had inalienable rights. Also different and new types of governments could be created. Some of the ideas that Europeans took from the Americans were the following; that rational men could come together to study control over their own lives by choosing their own form of government. With this concept in mind, liberty, equality, private property and representative government began to make more sense to European observers. The effects of the American Revolution added new content to the conception of progress. It got more people into the habit



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