|The System of Governance and Louis XVI
|Louis was an indecisive king, and made the wrong decisions in important situations. It was an a centralised government, so all power was in the hands of a small number of people. This made it hard to rule France, which had 34 generalites and was very big. Marie Antoinette was unpopular because she was Austrian, out of touch with the people, and had affairs.
|The Ancien Regime
|First Estate=The Clergy, Second Estate=The Nobility, Third Estate=Everyone else. 1+2 got privileges 3 didn't, E.g. tax exemption, despite being the most wealthy. Some members of the 3rd Estate were bourgeoisie (middle-class) and wanted to be Second Estate. Lots of corruption in the Church over tithes led to dissatisfaction, and the Second Estate were the only ones with any say in how the country was run.
|The Tax System
|Tax divided into direct and indirect taxes. First Estate given exemption from all direct tax, Second Estate from most direct tax, so the peasantry of the third Estate forced to bear the brunt. Also had to cope with Church tithes, which mostly went to corrupt bishops, not poor relief and church buildings. Tax collected through tax farming, which was very corrupt and Farmer-General kept a lot for themselves.
|Spread of new ideas before revolution caused people to question the monarchy and the Church. Discussion arose about the nature of absolutism, and science undermined the Church and the Crown. Church used censorship, but printing presses outside church control, so resentment towards church was caused. Philosophes such as Voltaire(freedom of religion and expression, separate church+state), Montesqieu(separation of powers) and Rousseau(general will) had big impact.