Ancien Regime
The old order
A French social class. There were three estates
First Estate
Consisted of the clergy, who enjoyed enormous wealth, privilege and living standards
Second Estate
Consisted of the nobility who enjoyed the right to top positions in the government, military, courts and church. They feared losing their privileges and resented that middle class men were taking positions once reserved for them
Third Estate
The most diverse social class, which consisted of the bourgeoisie, bankers, merchants, journalists, lawyers, doctors, rural peasants and urban workers. They resented the many privileges of the first two estates, such as their exemption from taxes
The middle class
Why the did Third Estate resent the First and Second Estates?
Because the best jobs were reserved for the 1st and 2nd Estates and its members paid no taxes
Deficit spending
When a government spends more than it makes
Louis XVI
French king whose weak and indecisive leadership during France's economic troubles led to the French Revolution
Jacques Necker
A financial expert who was appointed by Louis XVI to fix France's debt. When he suggested taxes the nobles and clergy they used their influence to get him fired
Why did France have to use deficit spending?
Because the Seven Years War and American Revolution combined with lavish expenses left them deeply in debt
French legislative body that consisted of representatives from the three estates
Notebooks that were prepared by the three estates which listed their grievances
Why were French kings reluctant to call the Estates-General?
Because they feared the nobility would use it to increase their power at the expense of the monarchy
Why did Louis XVI finally decide to call the Estates-General?
Food riots, continuing economic troubles, tension between the estates, noble protestations of royal tyranny
What conflict deadlocked the Estates-General when they met in 1789?
Voting. Traditional each estate got one vote, with the 1st and 2nd outvoting the 3rd, two to one. The 3rd estate wanted to meet as a single body, with votes counted individually
National Assembly
What the 3rd Estate renamed themselves following during the meeting of the Estates-General
Tennis Court Oath
An oath by the delegates of the Third Estate where they declared themselves representatives of all of France and vowed to make a Constitution
A prison that was stormed by a French mob in 1789. It represented a challenge to the French monarchy, the release of years of frustration and a wake up call for Louis XVI