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The French Revolution is one of the most significant and famous events of world history.
The First Estate in France, or the clergy, owned 10% of the land though it comprised less than 0.5% of the population. It had many privileges, including the collection of tithes.
Tithes was one-tenth of annual produce or earnings taken as a tax for the support of the Church.
Here are the 10 major causes of the French Revolution.
In the 1780s, the population of France was around 24 million and 700 thousand and it was divided into three estates.
The First Estate was the Roman Catholic clergy, which numbered about 100,000.
The Second Estate consisted of the French nobility, which numbered about 400,000.The desire of the bourgeoisie to rid themselves of feudal and royal encroachments on their personal liberty, commercial prospects and ownership of property was one of the reasons which led to the French Revolution.The Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century.The writings of Enlightenment thinkers were discussed in France more than anywhere else and they greatly influenced the revolutionaries.Throughout the 18th century, France participated in a series of expensive wars primarily against its long-term rival Great Britain. French support for the war was expensive costing 1.066 million French livres, a huge sum at the time.This led to a severe winter in Europe in 1784 and the following summers included extreme droughts that caused poor harvests and famine.France then experienced another series of poor harvests in 17 with extreme winters.The Second Estate, or the nobles, owned about 25% of the land.They were exempted from paying many taxes and were allowed to collect dues from peasants.Everyone else in France; including merchants, lawyers, laborers and peasants; belonged to the Third Estate, which comprised around 98% of the French population.The Third Estate was excluded from positions of honor and political power; and was looked down upon by the other estates.