France of the Ancien Regime (old regime) is a system seeped in traditional rights and privileges for the few BUT all powerful. The system was based on your CLASS or “estate.” If Ancien Regime France there r 3 Estates. 1st-Clergy 1% of population (bishops, arch bishops, cardinals. Many of these dudes had been born into the nobility. REMEMBER! French Kings maintained the right to appoint-sell- religious positions since the Concordat de bologna which really created a Gallican(french) Catholic Church) 2nd Estate-Nobility 2% of population. NEITHER THE 1st or 2nd Estate paid ANY Taxes. 3rd Estate “everybody else!!!” 97% of population. They paid all the taxes, fought the wars, corvee, NO-zero political rights. NONE. The third estate could be peasants, tenant farmers, working class, laborers, business owners, attorneys, professional class, shop keepers. Notice the last few groups would not be typically “poor.” However, there status as 3rd estate gave them zero rights. Many of them grew rich or had some money, owned land, were highly educated, etc. THIS GROUP of the 3rd Estate would earn the title of Bourgeoisie. This was the era of the enlightenment. These people were tired of having no rights, being forced to give loans, serve, have no political opportunity, etc. Remember, the Enlightenment said the ONLY reason for govt was to protect “life, liberty, and property”-Locke. IF ur gov isn't doing that GET RID OF THEM. Accordingly, Voltaire was an absolute believe in FREE Speech. The 3rd estate could not challenge the king. If they did, they were punished. Many held w/out trial or tortured (remember what becarria said “ON” Crime and Punishment!?) The king, Louis XVI is an IDIOT. Dumb, ill prepared to be leader of the greatest most powerful kingdom of Europe. Total loser. Unfortunately, the kingdom he inherits is greatly in debt, it’s broke and has few new avenue’s to collect taxes from a third estate already crushed by taxation. The 1st&2nd refuse to pay any taxes due to their TRADITIONAL role. The economy and the Louis XVI’s assistance to the American colonists fight against the British and broken the french economy. Ironically, demands for economic and political change had been happening for years, going back to louis XV. Louis xv KNEW the future was not bright for his country. the established Privilege and tradition as well as STUPID economic system meant that the Ancien Regime was due for change. He said before he died….”After me…….the Deluge (the flood) Things will definitely begin to change. Louis XVI will have to get answers, help. An “Assembly of Notables” will be called. It is NOT the Estates General which was the “Parliamentary” body in France. Remember, #England is different cuz their parliament HAD to be called due to Glorius Revolution. King had little power. IN france, NOT AT ALL! The king only called Estates Gen when he wanted. The last one had been Henry IV (yeah, 175 years earlier!) French kings acted, did what they wanted with ABSOLUTE authority. Remember Louis XIV. Louis XVI is NOT Great Grandpa by any means.
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