The French Revolution and The Ancien Regime

French Hotel and Flag

This is the third post which suggests that the Ancien Regime may be the cause of the French Revolution

The Ancien Regime which is French for ‘Old Order’ was a phrase coined during the French Revolution. It refers to the social hierarchy in France prior to the French Revolution. Each person was subject to the king and was a member of a province and an estate. There were three estates with the king in control of all of the estates. The first estate consisted of the clergy. Some of the clergy, like abbots, were rich because of their positions in the church whilst parish priests who worked in their local area would have been poorer. The second estate was the nobility. The nobility had various ranks including duke, count, baron and chevalier. Some of them had very little money and only had privileges which came with their titles. The first two estates were mainly exempt from paying taxes. The third estate, which had roughly 96% of the population had commoners (such as the wealthy bourgeoisie who had made their money through occupations such as being a merchant) and peasants who often struggled to survive by working on the land. This estate despite having some of the poorest people was responsible for paying all of the taxes imposed by the king and government. The unfair system under the Ancien Regime led to anger and ultimately to uprising in order to establish a fairer system of taxation.


About Thought Student

A lover of learning who blogs about history, life and opinions at
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