Abbe Sieyes *What is the Third Estate?*

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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.
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