Essays academic service


Exploring the main causes of the french revolution

Bring fact-checked results to the top of your browser search. The deeper causes for its collapse are more difficult to establish. Revisionist historians in the 1980s, however, responded that the bourgeoisie had no monopoly in these sectors; nobles were also heavily involved in foreign tradein banking, and in some of the most modern industries, such as coal mining and chemicals.

Most historians today argue that, on balance, it was becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish clearly between the nobility and the bourgeoisie. Like most nobles, wealthy French non-nobles were landlords and even owners of seigneuries, which were bought and sold before 1789 like any other commodity.

The causes of the French Revolution

There were two areas, however, in which the nobility enjoyed important institutional privileges: Henri de Boulainvilliersin his posthumous essays of 1732 on the nobility of France, had even developed a wholly fraudulent but widely praised theory of noble racial superiority. Thus, there were some issues on which all the bourgeoisie might unite against most of the nobility. But such issues, it is now claimed, were relatively unimportant. Proponents of a social explanation of the Revolution have also emphasized the role of the lower classes.

As population increased during the 18th century, peasant landholdings tended to become smaller, and the gap between rich and poor grew. Although the general trend after 1715 had been one of greater overall prosperity, the 20 years before 1789 were a time of economic difficulties. The months leading up to the convening of the Estates-General coincided with the worst subsistence crisis France had suffered in many years; a spring drought was followed by a devastating hailstorm that ruined crops in much of the northern half of the country in July 1788.

Distressed peasants were thus eager to take advantage of a situation in which the privileges of their landlords seemed vulnerable to attack.

Contemporary historiography has refocused the discussion regarding the causes for the Revolution.

  • Contemporary historiography has refocused the discussion regarding the causes for the Revolution;
  • There were two areas, however, in which the nobility enjoyed important institutional privileges;
  • Thus, the monarchy seemed fated to failure and the stage set for revolution;
  • Thus, the monarchy seemed fated to failure and the stage set for revolution;
  • As population increased during the 18th century, peasant landholdings tended to become smaller, and the gap between rich and poor grew.

Studying the representation of politics, the shape of revolutionary festivals, and the revolutionary cults of sacrifice and heroism, scholars have come to place the transformation of culture at the core of their discussion. What really mattered was the desanctifying of the monarchy, the new understanding of the self and the public good, and the belief that thinking individuals might seize the state and fundamentally reshape it.

Other historians, by contrast, have emphasized the persistent liabilities that French political culture carried through the Enlightenment, such as the suspicion of dissent and the readiness to rely on force to subvert it.

Many government officials, it is true, were finely attuned to public opinion.

Exploring the French Revolution

Visionary architects, developing a style of Revolutionary Neoclassicismsimilarly received royal commissions for new public works. On balance, however, it is hard to see how the monarchy, even if it had resolved its financial problems, which it was very far from doing, could have extended this ecumenism from art to politics and social life. Thus, the monarchy seemed fated to failure and the stage set for revolution.