The French Revolution is among the most well known revolution throughout the world. Although many people know what happened during the revolution and the results of it, along with Napoleon and his accomplishments, few understand the causes of this dramatic change in history. Although there are several direct and many indirect causes of the revolution, there are three main causes that they all can be broken down to. These are political, financial, and social causes. These played a big part in the beginning, during, and after the revolution.
During the 17th and 18th century, France was ruled by absolute monarchy. The king had all of the political power. For example, if citizens criticized the government, they could be arrested and put in prison without a trial. King Louis XIV (1774-1793) was king at the time of the French Revolution. He was more interested in hunting than governing France. He and his Austrian queen, Marie Antoinette, lived an extravagant life at the Palace of Versailles. They did not really care about the state of their country. He did make a good decision, however, in hiring Jacques Necker to take care of financial problems. Despite the good job that he did, he was quickly fired and so the crisis got worse. Soon, the wealthy and powerful classes demanded that the king call the Estates General. They hadn't met since 1614 and could not meet without the consent of the king. As a result, they had no power. "The government was inefficient, unjust and corrupt."" (Sikes, Robert).
During the 18th century, the French government spent more money than it collected in taxes. By 1788, the country was bankrupt. Most of the money was spent on wars. France had been at war for nearly 50 years out of the previous one hundred years. France supported the Americans in the American War of the Independence. After the war, France was in financial ruin. The Bourbon kings spent large amounts of money on palaces and entertainment.