French Revolution Causes and Effects

Often in society whenever some particular groups of people acquire too much power or wealth, it will create a class struggle. This usually results in a chain of events that will cause society to change its practices. Whether it is the American Revolution, the Civil Rights movement of the 60\'s and 70\'s, or in the case of the French Revolution, people were willing to lose their lives, just so they could have equal and unbiased treatment. It is almost as if there is an unwritten set of checks and balances for society, and when one group tries to abuse its power another will take action to balance it. This is very evident during the rule of King Louis XVI and his dealings with the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie. The results of the actions of all three groups led to the rise of the revolution and eventually a whole new France.
The first problem was that France, after aiding the American Revolution, was now bankrupt, and Louis needed to replenish national coffers. The nobility and the clergy side of the Estates General, a representative voice of the people, refused to relinquish their tax exemption causing the Third Estate- the middle class to suffer the burden. The winter of 1789 was particularly harsh, due to a poor grain crop, the price of bread was high, which also created unrest since France was the most populated European country at the time and could not adequately feed it (Hartman 1). This had a severe impact on the peasant and farmers making it almost impossible to survive. At this same time the bourgeoisie was supporting laissez-faire, economic freedom without government intervention, economics but also wanted to end feudalism, in an attempt to create their own power base. All of this led to the calling of the Estates-General.
As soon as the three Estates began to meet, the conflicts surfaced. On the first day of the meetings, Louis and his ministers failed to introduce a program of reforms for the deputies to consider. This raised doubt about the monarchy\'s commitment to reform. More important it allowed the political initiative to pass the Third Estate. The deputies boldly challenged the Crown\'s insistence that the three Estates meet and vote separately. The Third Estate refused to be certified as just the Third Estate rather than members of the Estates General as a whole (Doyle 88). Over a short period of time the Third Estate built up in strength winning over more deputies. This led to the notion that France needed a written constitution. On June 17 1789, they took the first steps toward a revolution by becoming an organization and giving themselves a name. They called themselves the National Assembly of France.
Now the king had to clarify his position. He began by closing the hall assigned to the Third Estate and ordering all deputies to hear a royal address on June 23. The deputies, however, adjourned to an indoor tennis court on the 21st and there swore a solemn oath to continue meeting until they had provided France with a constitution. Two days later they listened to the king\'s program for reform. In the "royal session" of June 23 the king pledged to honor civil liberties, agreed to fiscal equality (already conceded by the nobility in its cahiers, or grievance petitions), and promised that the Estates-General would meet regularly in the future. But, he declared, they would deliberate separately by order. France was to become a constitutional monarchy, but one in which "the ancient distinction of the three orders will be conserved in its entirety"(Doyle 106-108). In effect the king was forging an alliance with the nobility, who only a year before had sought to hobble him. For the patriots this was too little and too late. Backing down, he directed the nobles several days later to join a National Assembly whose existence he had just denied. Thus the Third Estate, with its allies in the clergy and nobility, had apparently effected a successful nonviolent revolution from above. Although this was a victory for the Third Estate, Louis at that same time was building a military presence in Paris due to other disturbances in France.
Between June 27 and July 1 he ordered 20,000 royal troops