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A 210 word summary of the causes of the French Revolution

  1. Nov 14, 2015 #1
    Here is my 210 word summary of the causes of the French Revolution:

    The French government borrowed huge sums of money to pay for France's military support of the USA in the American Revolution. The government of France owed a huge financial debt to the French banks the French government borrowed money from. The Noble Class (the class with Feudal titles) of France did not have to pay taxes because French law still allowed the nobles to not have to pay taxes because of the old Nobles titles from Feudalism. Raising taxes on the peasants was not a feasible strategy to get the debt paid because the peasants did not have enough money to pay the debt. The only way to get the debt paid would be to tax the nobles, but the only way that the nobles could be taxed again is if the Estates General allowed it. The Estates General was full of nobles who voted against taxing the Nobles. Changing the law to make the noble class have to pay taxes too was the incentive for the French Revolution. The French Bankers (the Bourgeousis) were the people who started the French Revolution because they wanted the nobles to be taxed so they could get their money owed to them by the French Government. Eventually the peasants took over the French Revolution, and the peasants started having the nobles executed.
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    Is my understanding of the causes of the French Revolution essentially correct?

    What parts of what I said would you disagree with (if any)?

    I can already imagine someone replying that my summary of the causes of the French Revolution is too simplistic. Of course my 210 word summary is simplistic. Giant 250,000 word books have been written about the causes of the French Revolution. I was trying to make the most comprehensive statement of causes that I could while making it something that could be read in two minutes.

    If you had to write a summary of the causes of the French Revolution in an essay 210 words or less, what would you include the I left out?

    I also invite anyone to write their summaries of the causes of the French Revolution in 210 words or less.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2015 #2

    Borek

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    I don't think you can explain French Revolution without even mentioning social stratification and inequalities.
     
  4. Nov 16, 2015 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    Or heavy boots. :biggrin:
     
  5. Nov 16, 2015 #4

    mheslep

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    The causes for the French revolution are not, I think, very interesting, are not at unique and the overspending by monarchies in the age was common. What's unique and interesting about the French Revolution is what happened after it began. In the English Civil War and the American Revolution, the institutions and culture of civilization were largely maintained. By contrast, the Jacobins in France went beyond taking a power from the monarchy and clergy; they set about systematically destroying the institutions of French society: clergy, scientists, nobility, farmers.
     
  6. Nov 17, 2015 #5
    The French Revolution was pretty cool. I was originally getting my BA in History, and that was one of my favorite things to discuss. It was pretty brutal.
     
  7. Nov 17, 2015 #6
    Borek, I briefly mentioned inequalities in the taxing system between the First Estate and the Third Estate.

    If you think you can give a better 210 word summary than mine, do it.
     
  8. Nov 17, 2015 #7
    mheslep, if overspending by monarchies in the age was common, how did the monarchies typically pay off the debts?
     
  9. Nov 17, 2015 #8
    I'd say the extreme poverty of the farmers was the main cause of the revolution. People revolt when they get hungry enough.
     
  10. Nov 17, 2015 #9
    Hornbein, if the extreme poverty of the farmers was the main cause of the revolution, how do you explain the fact that the revolution was started by the bourgeoisie (i.e. the bankers) not the farmers? Why did the revolution start in Paris rather than in the countryside where the farmers were?
     
  11. Nov 17, 2015 #10

    mheslep

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    Oppressive taxation, conquest.
     
  12. Nov 17, 2015 #11
    I whittled your 210 words down to 49:


    The French government borrowed heavily (from banks) to support the American Revolution. There were no funds to repay that debt: the only class with any money, the Nobles, were exempt from taxes. The Bankers pressed to have that exemption changed, and that was the spark of the French revolution.
     
  13. Nov 17, 2015 #12
    zoobyshoe, that's a wonderfully concise 49 word explanation of the causes of the French Revolution. Would it be a satisfactory paragraph to comprehensively explain the causes of the French Revolution to a Western Civ II class? No, of course not, but that's just in the nature of only using 49 words. But if one were to try to explain the causes as comprehensively as possibly while being extremely brief, nobody could do it better than you just did. Frankly, I like your summary better than mine.

    One final statement about my 210 word explanation of the causes of the French Revolution: The last sentence ("Eventually the peasants took over....") is not a statement of causes at all. The last sentence is just a statement of what happened during the French Revolution, not causes. I really should have left out that last sentence to make it a 195 word summary of the causes of the French Revolution.
     
  14. Nov 17, 2015 #13
    Glad you liked it. At the same time, it's not clear why you're trying to "explain the causes as comprehensively as possibly while being extremely brief."
     
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