1. International: struggle for hegemony and Empire outstrips the fiscal resources of the state
2. Political conflict: conflict between the Monarchy and the nobility over the “reform” of the tax system led to paralysis and bankruptcy.
3. The Enlightenment: impulse for reform intensifies political conflicts; reinforces traditional aristocratic constitutionalism, one variant of which was laid out in Montequieu’s Spirit of the Laws; introduces new notions of good government, the most radical being popular sovereignty, as in Rousseau’s Social Contract [1762]; the attack on the regime and privileged class by the Literary Underground of “Grub Street;” the broadening influence of public opinion
4. Social antagonisms between two rising groups: the aristocracy and the bourgeoisie
5. Ineffective ruler: Louis XVI6. Economic hardship, especially the agrarian crisis of 1788-89 generates popular discontent and disorders caused by food shortages.
French Revolution began in the year 1789 in France against the monarchy and in support of democracy. The main reasons behind the revolution were −
(1) The French government under Emperor Louise XVI was under huge debt in the 18th century.
(2) The government imposed heavy taxes on the French citizens to meet its expenditure.
(3) The King, the nobility and the clergy lived a lavish life whereas the common people of France lived in misery and were burdened with heavy taxation.
(4) The feudal system gave the big landlords the power to enjoy various privileges and exploit the poor peasants by extracting taxes and tributes from them.
(5) The clergy also collected separate taxes called Tithes from the people.
(6) The prices of essential commodities were very high due to increased demand and wages were low. This made survival difficult for the poor sections of the society.
(7) The growth of middle class and the ideas of philosophers like Rousseau and Voltaire on equality and freedom made the people aware of their rights.
All these factors combined together and took the shape of the French Revolution in 1789.