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garthman99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Estate systems refers to a kind of social stratification based on control of land. This type of system existed from the 1500's to the 1800's in Europe and Asia. In a general estate system, there are two kinds of people: the nobility who own the land and the peasants or serfs who work on the land to produce profit for the nobility. The peasants typically live in poverty and perform toilsome labor with scant pay but they are  not considered slaves. The most famous estate system was the three estate system that existed in France prior to the French revolution- the first estate was the clergy; the second estate was the nobility and the third estate was the commoners. The famous motto of the French revolution, "Liberty, Fraternity, Equality" had to do with the desire of the third estate to abolish the estate system that existed in France.

Peasant rebellions are common throughout history occurring in France, Russia and China and many believe that the success of the French revolution ultimately lead to other peasant uprisings such as the Russian revolution.