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Peasants influence on the Fren

The situation and influence of the peasants in reference

In the 1780's land was the predominant source of wealth

in France and the peasant the typical producer and very

Peasant families represented more than 85 % of the

population. According to historians, like George Rude,

(P.23) " in France perhaps one in four of the peasants

owned their land ". Some were regarded as relatively

well-off " laboureurs ", but most were poor and

miserable. More than one half were poor share-croppers,

called " metayers ", who owned no capital and shared

their produce on a fifty-fifty basis with their

landlords. A quarter were landless laborers.

The French peasant was burdened with heavy taxation, he

paid " tithe " to the Church, " taille, vingtieme,

capitation and gabelle "(salt tax ) to the State and to

the " seigneur " of the Parish, he had various

obligations, ranging from the " corvee "( demanded in

cash ), the " cens " ( rent in cash ). If he did not own

his land he had to pay for the use of his landlord's

In years of bad harvests and depression these obligations

became intolerable. Between 1730 to 1789 grain prices

rose by 60%. At the same time wages increased by only

Studying peasant grievances the Third Estate attacked the

privileges of the First and Second Estates. They have

attacked serfdom, as well as the tithe and " champart "

(feudal rent ). However what the cahiers were still

lacking, they did not give enough representation for the

most urgent and serious grievance of the peasants: their

The whole rural community had general grievances, there

were the unhappy share-croppers and laborers. In Rouen

where a 4lb loaf's price rose to 16 sous, they deman

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