If we further look at the reasons for the French Revolution, one that I think merits closer examination is the fact that while there was a monarchy in place in France, it was slowly becoming something less than the absolute monarchy it was supposed to be. With that said, it should not be a wonder that it was being challenged by the growing power of the noble class. It was this growth in power and a willingness to affront the monarchy that further pushed the French down the road to revolution.
What would have emboldened the noble class to begin acting outside of the established French tradition of monarchy to such an extent that the very existence of the monarchy would be challenged? Simply stated…money. It can be said with reasonable accuracy that those with money insist on having a certain amount of power and control. We see as an example of this the gentry class in Great Britain, as well as the traditional noble class as well. It wasn’t until the gentrified class of Great Britain began to take over the House of Commons that a push began for more power for the Parliament. Since the creation and adoption of the Magna Carta, the noble class had always been looking to procure some level of control from the monarchy in G.B., and the gentrified classes would be no exception. The result? It was called the English Civil War (1642-1649). to be sure, there were other factors, like Charles I forcing the idea of divine right when it was clear that the Parliament would have none of that, but the point is made. This same line of thinking was becoming predominant in France as well before the Revolution. The nobility was more than willing to undercut the king’s power as it would mean for money for them, and more influence. The very idea of becoming “enobled” was worth its weight in gold as it meant, if for no other reason, that one would not have to pay taxes to the government. This was clearly an important idea, for who really wants to pay taxes!? Should we factor in that Louis XVI was not a strong monarch, and Louis XV did nothing to help his cause either, it becomes clear that the combination of those two forces would lead to a forced change…the French Revolution.
I would be remiss if I didn’t include the importance of the ideals of the Enlightenment as well. As I will be writing about this later, I will keep this portion short. The challenges to authority and accepted practices of religion, human rights, individual rights, science, and social science were to permeate all of European society. The effect was to be different in Germany than in France, but the ideas themselves had a profound impact. It almost becomes fashionable to challenge the existing order of things, especially when the existing order is not quite working out and has bankrupted the nation. That brief point will underscore the importance of Enlightenment thought and provide the fuel needed to further revolutionary ideas…in a state the until that time was an absolute monarchy.
Historically, women of the nobility have had to acquiesce to the rather rigid requirements of society in order to preserve,