CAUSES OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
This task is based on the accompanying documents. Some of these documents have been edited for the purpose of this task. This task is designed to test your ability to work with historic documents. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of the document and the author’s point of view
The French Revolution of 1789 had many long-range causes. Political, social, and economic conditions in France contributed to the discontent felt by many French people-especially those of the third estate. The ideas of the intellectuals of the Enlightenment brought new views of government and society. The American Revolution also influenced the coming of the French Revolution.
The following question is based on the accompanying documents. As you analyze the documents, take into account both the source of the document and the author’s point of view. Be sure to:
1. Carefully read the document-based question. Consider what you already know about the topic. How would you answer the question if you had no documents to examine? 2. Now, read each document carefully, underlining key phrases and words that address the document-based question. You may also wish to make notes. Answer the questions which follow each document.
3. Based on your own knowledge and on the information found in the documents, formulate a thesis that directly answers the question.
4. Organize supportive and relevant information into a brief outline. 5. Write a well-organized essay proving your thesis. The essay should be logically presented and should include information both form the documents and from your own knowledge outside the documents.
Document 1: This excerpt is adapted from Travels in France by Arthur Young, who traveled through France from 1787 to 1789.
In the south of France there is a taille [tax on the land and its produce]. There is an injustice in levying the amount each person must pay. Lands held by the nobility are taxed very little. Lands held by commoners are taxed heavily…
September 5, 1788: The poor people seem very poor indeed. The children are terribly ragged. June 10, 1789: The lack of bread is terrible. Stories arrive every moment from the provinces of riots and disturbances, and calling in the military, to preserve the peace of the markets….The price of bread has risen above people’s ability to pay. This causes great misery. July 1789: ….I was joined by a poor woman who complained of the hard times. “The tailles and feudal dues [rents owed the lords] are crushing us,” she said.
Q: List three observations this traveler made about the life of the peasant in France between 1787 and 1789.
Document 2: This diagram illustrates the three estates in 1789 and the land each held during the Old Regime.
Q: What conclusions can you draw about the relationship between the percentage of the population in each estate and the percentage of land owned by that estate? What unfair conditions existed in pre-revolutionary France?
Document 3: These excerpts from cahiers (lists of grievances about the king, taxing, and voting in the Estates General) brought to the Estates General..
That the king be forced to reform the abuses and tyranny of letter de cachet. That every tax…. Be granted [by the Estates General] only for a limited time. That the taille [a tax on land] be borne equally by all classes…. The meetings of the Estates General…. Shall be scheduled for definite times…. In order to assure the third estate the influence it deserves because of its numbers… its votes in the assembly should be taken by head…
Q: What three changes did the third estate demand be made in the French government?
Document 4: In The French Revolution, historian Albert Mathiez claims that leadership fell to the middle class with their knowledge of the ideas of the Enlightenment.
The Revolution had been accomplished in the minds of men long before it was translated into...
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