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IntroductionBefore 1789, France was ruled by the nobles and the church. The ideas of the Enlightenment were beginning to make the ordinary people want more power. They could see that the American Revolution had created a country in which people had power, instead of a king. The government before the revolution was called the Old Regime
Causes of the revolutionMany problems in France led up to the Revolution:Under the Kings Louis XV and Louis XVI, France had been supporting the American Revolution and been part of the Seven Years War. (They did not support the American Revolution in support of democracy, but out of desire to weaken the British, their longtime enemies.) This had made the country very poor with a huge national debt.The high price of bread caused the ordinary people to suffer from hunger and malnutrition. This made them dislike the rich nobles who had the money to eat well and build huge houses.The Roman Catholic Church, which owned the most land in France, put a tax on crops called the dime (tithe) which hurt the poorest and hungriest people.Ideals of the Enlightenment. Many people disliked absolute rule by the royalty and the nobility. They could see that in other countries, such as in the new country America, people like them had more influence on the government. They also wanted freedom of religion.
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