The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the era that paved the way for the creation of our modern day governments and societies, was an era of political and social revolutions. In response to the new thinking that was sparked by the Enlightenment, Romanticism, the Industrial Revolution and other changes in society, bloody and peaceful revolutions took place all over Europe. England actually had two separate revolutions to deal with during this time of unrest. The French endured a long and bloody series of one single revolution also, and the world would never be the same. Civilization as it appears, had evolved.
France had the most far-reaching and violent of the rebellions against the state. After the grand yet tragic rule of Louis XIV, the Bourbon kings watched as their power slipped out of their hands like a bar of soap. The Bourbon king Louis XIV, the powerful monarch of the early seventeenth century (1661-1715), had been the most successful absolute monarch in history, but his grandiose imperial ambitions led to massive military failure and had left his country in economic ruin. Because of the lost wars such as the War of the League of Augsburg and the Seven Years War with England, France had a war debt of half its annual budget. The heir of Louis XIV, Louis XV, was somewhat capable at ruling, yet he did very little to heal the nation because he was too much of a pleasure lover. Louis XVI came to the throne and proved to be well meaning but unable to pull France out of the hole it had fallen into. Louis XVI received snubbed noses from the privileged class when he attempted to gain the desperate revenues needed by asking for them to chip in their fair share of the tax burden. As hard as he might have tried, he couldn't exercise the power that divine right absolutism claimed. Word of the monarchy's growing weakness spread among the people and encouraged the hopes of dissatisfied classes.