1. I.                   Other Problems Facing the French Monarchy
    Long range cause
    • Long-range cause: frustration at monarchy’s inability to deal with new social realities and problems
  2. Other Problems Facing the French Monarchy

    Other factors
    • a.      Other factors: failure of French monarchy was exacerbated by specific problems in 1780s
    •                                                               i.      Although country enjoyed fifty years of growth overall, periodic economic crisis occurred
    • 1.      Bad harvests and beginnings of a manufacturing depression-> food shortages, rising prices for food shortages, rising prices for food and other necessities, and unemployment in the cities
    • a.      Number of poor (1/3 of population) reached crisis proportions on eve of Revolution
  3. Causes:
    Ideas of Philosophes
    • 1.      Increased criticism of existing privileges as well as social and political institutions
    • 2.      Philosophes didn’t advocate revolution
    • a.      Ideas widely circulated among literate bourgeois and noble elites of France
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Actual influence of ideas of philosophes à frequently quoted by revolutionary leaders
  4. Causes: Failure to Make Reforms
    • 1.      French Parlements frustrated efforts at reform
    • a.      13 law courts, which were responsible for registering royal decrees, could block royal edicts by not registering them
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Although Louis XIV had forced them into submission, the Parlements gained new strength in 18th as they and their noble judges assumed role of defenders of “liberty” against arbitrary power of monarchy
    • 1.      As noble defenders, however, they pushed their own interests, especially by blocking new taxes
  5. One problem facing monarchy was financial
    Financial Crisis
    • 1.      Immediate course: near collapse of government finances
    • 2.      At time when France experienced economic crises, government short of money
  6. Financial Crisis French gov. expenditures
    • a.      French governmental expenditures continued to grow due to costly wars and royal extravagance
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      Government responded by borrowing
    • 1.      In budget of 1788, the interest on debt alone constituted half of government spending
    • a.      Total debt: $40 billion
    • 2.      Financial lenders refused to lend for fear of not being paid back
  7. Financial Crisis: king's finance ministry
    • 1.      King’s finance ministry wrestled with the problem but met with resistance
    • a.      1786: Charles de Calonne, the controller general of finance, not being able to borrow any more, proposed a complete revamping of fiscal and administrative system of the state
  8. Financial Crisis: Charles de Caloone did what?
    •                                                                                                                                       i.      To gain support, he convened “assembly of notables” early in 1787
    • 1.      This gathering of nobles, prelates, and magistrates refused to cooperate, and governments’ attempts to do it soloà more disaster
  9. Financial Crisis: on verge of complete financial collapse
    • 1.      On verge of complete financial collapse, the government was forced to call meeting of Estates-General, which hadn’t met since 1614
    • a.      Calling it admitted consent of nation was required to raise taxes
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