The French Revolution was a significant milestone in European history,
remembered by many in historical and literary works. The situation in France, mostly
under the leadership of Louis XVI, had a negative influence in France, thus creating a
perfect climate for the French Revolution. France was plagued by both debt, and poor
decision making. prior to 1789.
France was poverty-stricken and burdened with some of the highest debts. On the
financial side, Louis XVI was aided by: Finance Minister Anne Robert Jauques Turgot,
and Interior Minister Chretien Guillaume de Lamoignon de Malesherbes (*The economic
origins of the French revolution, pg. 4). Louis introduced some of the most oppressive
taxes and instituted financial reforms. Greater reforms were prevented by the opposition
of the upper classes and court. This opposition was so strong that Turgot was forced to
resign and was replaced by Jauques Necker. Lengthy wars, the support to the American
Revolution and the gross amount of taxes paid and the lavish spending of the court
contributed to the huge national debt. The government’s financial problems were made
worse after 1740 by the renewal of costly wars (the French revolution, pg. 9). The war of
In this time period there were class tensions. The nobles had all theprivileges and rights. Louis XVI wasdescribed as not overly intelligent, weak and incapable king ( Encarta, ref: Louis XVI). 27) The wealthy consisted of thenobles, clergy and the bourgeoisie and there was approximately 120,000 wealthy. Theywere hoping to weaken old rivalries and regain lost colonies. The hopes of the Frenchwere not realized and their participation in the war increased an already heavy nationaldebt. Necker also helped Louisdecide that the commoners (third estate) would have as many voters as the First andSecond Estate (clergy and nobility) combined. There were also poor livingconditions. Substantial sections of France were faced with decliningstandard of living. He preferred to spend a lot time and the people"tms money on extravagantthings, and his wife. Many people were left homeless because they couldn"tmt pay the taxes. All classes werediscontent with the Ancien Regime and wanted a change. Her lavish life style and the fact thatshe was a foreigner made her unpopular with the public. It was well knownthat Louis was more concerned with his own personal affairs than with the interests ofthe court and the people.