Class 9 History

French Revolution

The French Revolution was an important event in modern history because it catalyzed many changes which have had far reaching consequences. French Revolution initiated the change from monarchy to democracy. This revolution initiated the new system of various rights granted to individuals.

At present, whatever benefits we are getting in most of the democracies in the world could become possible because of French Revolution. In this lesson, you will learn about the French society and economy during eighteenth century. You will learn about various factors which resulted in a revolution in France. You will also learn about the effects of French Revolution on France as well as on other countries of the world.

French Society

During the eighteenth century the French Society was divided into three groups, viz., First estate, Second estate and Third estate.

First Estate

Clergy belonged to 1st estate of the French Society. Clergy were the group of persons who were responsible for special functions in the church, e.g. fathers, and other members of church.

Second Estate

Nobility belonged to 2nd estate. Nobility was hereditary, which means a person could get nobility by birth. However, new members were also awarded nobility by monarchy after paying heavy taxes or outstanding service to the monarchy, i.e. nobility could be purchased also.

Third Estate

The 3rd estate was further divided into three categories. Big businessmen, merchants, court officials, lawyers, etc. belonged to the first category of 3rd estate. Peasants and artisans belonged to the second category. And small peasants, landless labors and servants belonged to third category, and were considered as the lowest class in the society.

Taxes: Members of the third state had to pay all types of taxes including tithes and taille. Tithe was a religious tax collected by the churches, while taille was composed of direct and indirect taxes and was collected by the state.

Privileged Class

Clergy and Nobility were privileged class. They had certain special privileges, in addition to feudal privilege. They were exempted from paying any types of taxes. They paid feudal taxes after extracting from the members of the third estate.

Livre: Unit of currency of France. This was discontinued in 1794.