THE THREE CLASSES OF FRENCH SOCIETY First Estate • Clergy • Powerful and influential • 10% of the population • Archbishops, bishops, priests • Did not pay taxes • Collected tithe (or tax) from to pay for church services such as schools and charity for the poor Second Estate • Nobility • 1-2% of the population • Lived at the court, in towns, cities, and rural areas • Did not pay taxes • Wealthy in terms of land ownership • Some feudal landowners who collected taxes from the Third Estate THREE CLASSES OF FRENCH SOCIETY Third Estate • 80-90% of the population • Salons, philosophers, and the enlightenment • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2IGuOA2yUw. • Commoners: Included the bourgeosie, peasants and city workers. • Bourgeosie: merchants, manufacturers, lawyers, doctors • Peasants: largest majority within the Third Estate; had to pay heavy taxes • City workers: apprentices, servants, household maids. • Paid the majority of taxes such as land taxes and tithes collected by the church Peasantry in the French Revolution ABBE SIEYES “WHAT IS THE THIRD ESTATE?” How does Sieyes see the divisions of society? What type of economic system would Sieyes support? What criticism does he level at the economic system of France on the eve of the French Revolution? How does Sieyes define a ‘Nation’? How does this conflict with the idea of state, according to Louis XIV (an absolutist ruler)? MEETING OF THE ESTATES GENERAL • To address financial difficulties, Louis’ financial minister Jacques Necker, suggested Louis hold a meeting of the Estates General • Louis called a meeting of the Estates-General in May 1789 • Purpose was to address financial difficulties of France by raising taxes and a vote was to be held. • Third Estate drew up a list of grievances from a number of towns to present to Louis at the meeting DEBATE Pretend that you are deputies of the First, Second, and Third Estate and you are attending a meeting of the Estate General. Create a life story for your character that includes a description of your family, your occupation, and your daily life. Devise an argument for or against a raise in taxes and while doing so consider the following: what is in the best interest of your family? What is in the best interest of the nation? Are there any alternatives to addressing the financial situation other than raising taxes? Choose one identity from those listed: Prepare to have 1-2 members from your estate act as speaker for the group. First Estate: • Clergy: Archbishop, bishop, abbot Second Estate: • Nobility: Duke or Duchess, Count or Countess • Are you a landowner, or do you live at court Third Estate: • Doctor Lawyer • Farmer Peasant • Servant Shopkeeper • City worker • Artisan Banker THE TENNIS COURT OATH • The Third Estate felt they should get the majority of representation at the meeting, since they comprised the majority of the people of France. • Louis wanted to maintain the process of voting by Estate, not by head. Under this system, one vote would be cast for each estate. • Deputies of the Third Estate decided to meet and protest against this, and Louis viewed this as a defiance of his authority. • As a result, on 20 June, 1789, the Third Estate Deputies arrived at the meeting hall, they found it locked and guarded. • They walked to a nearby unoccupied tennis court and held their own meeting, referred to as the Tennis Court Oath, in which they swore they would not dissolve until they had a constitution. • Louis sent a messenger on 23 June, 1789 to two Deputies with an order to disperse the National Assembly. They both refused. http://www.history.com/topics/enlightenm ent/videos#origins-of-the-french-revolution.