What inequalities existed in France before the revolution?

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There were many inequalities that contributed to the French Revolution. In France, there were three groups or estates of people. The first group was the clergy, the second estate was made up of nobles, and the third estate was the vast majority of the people living in France. One inequality dealt with taxation. The first two estates didn’t have to pay most of the taxes. The third estate, consisting of poor peasants, merchants, and some professional people, paid most of the taxes in France. Even within the third group, there were some inequalities, as some people in some regions didn’t have to pay the salt tax.

Another inequality was that the peasants had to pay feudal dues. These dues, along with dues to the Church, were crushing the peasants. The peasants were also very limited while using the land of the nobles. For example, the peasants couldn’t kill rabbits that were destroying their crops because the rabbits were protected so the nobles could hunt them. Even if the nobles destroyed some of the possessions of the peasants as they hunted, the peasants couldn’t do anything to collect damages from the nobles.

France’s financial woes mounted as France fought many wars and had helped the United States in the Revolutionary War. Despite these financial issues, the King and Queen continued to live very extravagant lifestyles and refused to scale back they way they were living.

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As part of the feudal system of France, the Third Estate, which contained no members of the aristocracy, did not own land.  While many in this political/social division were affluent, they were merchants or lawyers, the majority of whom were Jewish.  And, by law, Jews were forbidden to own land; however, because they were wealthy, they wished to own property.  Also, along with the others of wealth in the bourgeois wished to exercise social and political influence, but they were prohibited from doing so because they were not in the first two Estates.

Added to the grave economic disparities between the Third Estate and the other two, the peasants were starving in 1789 because of their poverty and because of the poor wheat crop, and were forced to eat moldy bread to combat starvation.

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