The French Revolution Writing Assignment (L65)

1.) What happened (involving the Third Estate) during the meeting of the Estates General that set the French Revolution in motion?

The meeting of the Estates General (which hadn’t been called since 1614) was the result of a debt crisis from the American Revolution. The original structure of the Estates General was broken up into three estates; the first estate consisted of about 240,000 clergy and leadership persons. The second estate was made up of of 400,000 nobility members. Lastly, the third estate represented about 27 million remaining people. Despite the great difference in the number of people each estate represented, they each had one vote. This meant that anything the third estate voted for that benefited them would have been outvoted 2 to 1 every single time.
Finally, the people of the third estate had had enough, and at the Estates General meeting they demanded that voting was done by head count, rather than one vote per estate. They also demanded that they should have double the delegates, considering they had so many more people than the other estates. The kings council agrees to double the third estates delegates, but insists that they continue to vote by estate. Basically, this nullified the fact they the kings council had even bothered to double the delegates of the third estate.
The third estate then took command as Estates General, and decided to establish a constitution. They asked the assistance of the first and second estate, and gained it over time. Eventually the third estate went on to establish itself a separate assembly called the National Assembly. (In reality they had no legal authority to do this, but that is part of what made it a revolutionary act.)

2.) What was the situation of the Church in France after Napoleon came to power?

Although Napoleon was in search of some form of general reconciliation with the Church in France after he came to power, he did not want them to escape from under his control. Napoleon gave the Church as little freedom as possible to get them to get along; then after agreements were reluctantly made, he gave them the set of actual rules and regulations he was imposing on them. The church was just glad to still be standing at all, and took what little they were given.



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