The French Revolution and The Estates-General Revolts

French Hotel and Flag

This is the fifth post in the current series on the French Revolution and lists the Estates-General Revolts as its cause.

In August 1788, Louis XVI due to the pressure of his advisers announced that a meeting of the Estates-General would take place. The Estates-General was a form of parliament consisting of members representing each of the three estates. Between August 1788 when the meeting of the Estates-General was announced and May 1789 when the Estates-General met there were several things that happened. The three different estates were asked to create a list of grievances and demands. This resulted in a long list of ideas for political and social reforms. Originally all three estates had equal representation but because the third estate had significantly more people than the other two estates they protested and were rewarded with being allowed to have twice as many members as the other two estates. However in the meeting of the Estates-General, each estate only got one vote meaning that unless the third estate persuaded one of the other states to agree with them they would not be able to create any reforms which would benefit the majority of the French people. On the 20th June 1789, many members of the Estates-General were locked out of the place where they were meeting. This led to a group of them meeting in a nearby tennis court and formed the National Constituent Assembly. Which took what became known as the Tennis Court Oath. In this oath they said that they’d keep meeting and would fight if necessary, until their demands, such as the freedom to represent everyone without the supervision of the king, were met.


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