The French Revolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most important events in the history of the world an it led to many changes in France, which at the time was the most powerful state in Europe. The Revolution promoted the development of new political forces such as democracy and nationalism. It questioned the authority of kings, priests, and nobles. The Revolution also gave new meanings and new ideas to the political ideas of the people.
The French Revolution was spread over the ten year period between 1789 and 1799. The primary cause of the revolution was the disputes over the peoples' differing ideas of reform. Before the beginning of the Revolution, only moderate reforms were wanted by the people. An example of why they wanted this was because of king Louis XIV's actions. At the end of the seventeenth century, King Louis XIV's wars began decreasing the royal finances dramatically. This worsened during the eighteenth century. The use of the money by Louis XIV angered the people and they wanted a new system of government. The writings of the philosophes such as Voltaire and Diderot, were critical of the government.
They said that not one official in power was corrupt, but that the whole system of government needed some change. Eventually, when the royal finances were expended in the 1780's, there began a time of greater criticism. This sparked the peasants notion of wanting change. Under the Old Regime in France, the king was the absolute monarch. Louis XIV had centralized power in the royal bureaucracy, the government departments which administered his policies. Together, Louis XIV and the bureaucracy worked to preserve royal authority and to maintain the social structure of the Old Regime.
At this time in French history, the social classes played an important role in the lives of the people. The social structure of France was divided among three groups: the First Estate, the Second Estate, and the Third Estate.