The Minister Anne Robert Jauques Turgot, and Interior


The French Revolution was a significant milestone in European history,remembered by many in historical and literary works. The situation in France, mostlyunder the leadership of Louis XVI, had a negative influence in France, thus creating aperfect climate for the French Revolution. France was plagued by both debt, and poorFrance 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 economicorigins of the French revolution, pg. 4). Louis introduced some of the most oppressivetaxes and instituted financial reforms. Greater reforms were prevented by the oppositionof the upper classes and court. This opposition was so strong that Turgot was forced toresign and was replaced by Jauques Necker.

Lengthy wars, the support to the AmericanRevolution and the gross amount of taxes paid and the lavish spending of the courtcontributed to the huge national debt. The governments financial problems were madeworse after 1740 by the renewal of costly wars (the French revolution, pg. 9). The war ofthe Austrian Succession (1740-1748) and the Seven Years War (1756-1763) wereEuropean wars over the domination of central Europe and colonial and commercial warsbetween France and Great Britain (*Aspects of the French Revolution pg.).

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At theirend, in 1763 France had lost almost all of its colonial empire in America and India. In1778 the French launched an attack against Britain in the American Revolution. 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. After Louis XVI granted financial aid (1778-81) to the American coloniesrevolting against Great Britain, Necker proposed drastic taxes on the nobility. Neckerwas forced to resign in 1781 (Louis XVI and M. Antoinette ..

pg 37) because of thediscontentment of the people. Charles Alexandre deCalonne replaced him in 1783 andborrowed money for the court until the borrowing limit was reached (* CanadianEncyclopedia ref: france, revolution ). The anger of the French people against taxes,debt and lavish spending on the Court resulted in the recall of Necker in 1788, who stillcould not prevent bankruptcy of the government. During the next couple of years thefinancial crisis steadily worsened, because the government was bankrupt. Louis wasforced to call a meeting with a delegate of the Estates-General, ( a government groupconsisting of representatives of the clergy, nobility and commoners).

Once in themeeting the Estates-General took power of the government. One of the other causes ofthe national debt was at the fault of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI wasdescribed as not overly intelligent, weak and incapable king (* Encarta, ref: Louis XVI). But he was intelligent enough to get money from the government. It was well knownthat Louis was more concerned with his own personal affairs than with the interests ofthe court and the people. Often work bored him and he left his work up to his advisorsan ministers. He preferred to spend a lot time and the peoples money on extravagantthings, and his wife.

Rather than paying back previous debts and helping the situation,he increased taxes on the peasants and spent more money, worsening the predicament. By 1787, the national debt was 112,000,000 livres(* the French Revolution, Albert…pg. 25) and continued to get worse, sharpening the national debt even more. In the time leading up into and during the French Revolution there was classtensions, often between the nobility and the peasants.

There were also poor livingconditions. Some say that these situations are not Louis XVIs fault but were problemshe inherited with the throne. So he cannot be blamed for the events leading into theFrench Revolution. In this time period there were class tensions.

The nobles had all theprivileges and rights. The peasants were stepped on from every angle. So what madethe nobles so desirable? There was glamour, distinction and recognition that the noblestatues brought. They had a range of privileges that they received.

Nobles tookprecedence on public occasions, and carried swords. (the French Revolution, sydenham,..pg 61)They were entitled to a trial at a special courts. They also enjoyed financialadvantages.

They paid no duties on transferring feudal property and nobility conferredexemption from

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