The French Revolution was, in many ways, a world- historical event because its impact was felt far beyond Europe. Though the French Revolution was only from 1789-1791, the French revolutionaries inspired independence movements in places like Haiti
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and Latin America that carried into the early nineteenth century. The ideals of individual liberty, representative government and nationalism spread around the world, giving birth
to the modern pattern of politics. The various effects the French Revolution had on politics and on our world today stem from its political, social and economic causes.
3a) Under the Ancienne or “Ancient” Regime in France, the population was organized into three estates, the two upper classes, clergy and the nobility were exempt from all or most taxes, while the peasants were so heavily taxed that they could not afford to farm land to break even. In 1789, King Louis XVI called for a session of the Estates General—the Parliament of Paris—to address the tax issue. Louis XVI was an absolute ruler who believed in divine right and by calling on Parliament for help, he was admitting that he did not know how to solve this problem. The Estates General, a body made up of representatives from all three estates, declared itself the National Assembly and made drastic changes almost immediately after being called into session.
3b) Though Louis XVI calling upon the Estates General was the most direct and immediate cause, the economic problems in France also played a role in the start of the Revolution. During the 18th century, the French government spent more money than it collected in taxes. The severity of this deficit spending impacted France greatly; the country was bankrupt. As if the poor were not given enough of an economic burden, inflation gave them no choice but to use whatever money they had for necessities like bread, whose price was rising steadily. The...