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France during the ancien régime. CHY 4U - October 26, 2009. A Tale of Two Cities Clip. I:\School\Practicum I\Powerpoint Movie Links\A Tale Of Two Cities - 3 Estates.avi What does this clip say about the common citizen in France at the time?

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France during the ancien r gime

France during the ancien régime

CHY 4U - October 26, 2009

A tale of two cities clip
A Tale of Two Cities Clip

  • I:\School\Practicum I\Powerpoint Movie Links\A Tale Of Two Cities - 3 Estates.avi

  • What does this clip say about the common citizen in France at the time?

  • How were peasants viewed at the time by the nobility?

  • How was this view changing?

The ancien régime (Old Order)

  • The old order was the societal hierarchy that was developed by the monarchy in the middle ages and lasted until the French Revolution

  • The ancien régime set people into social groups that were thought to be divinely created

  • Depending on which group a person was in, certain privileges would be allotted to them.

  • Many people had no privileges.

The three estates
The Three Estates

  • In the old order, the social groups were called the estates.

  • French society was divided up into 3 Estates. The social hierarchy was largely defined by which estate you belonged.

    • The first estate consisted of the clergy

    • The second estate consisted of the nobility

    • The third estate consisted of EVERYBODY ELSE

The Three Estates


The King

1st Estate

2nd Estate

3rd Estate

The first estate
The First Estate

  • “Those who pray”

  • This group belonged to the clergy and made up of less than 1% of the total population of France

  • They owned and controlled over 20% of the land in France

  • Because of religious oaths of poverty, members of the first estate lived modest lives.

The First Estate

  • Privileges:

    • Had their own courts

    • Controlled their own land for religious purposes and could never lose it (mortmain)

    • Were exempt from most taxes

The Second Estate

  • “Those who fight”

  • This group consisted of the nobility, outside the monarch himself, who was not part of the three estates

  • Consisted of 0.5% of the total population of France

  • This group of people too were exempt from paying taxes.

  • These people were relatively wealthy land owners

The Second Estate

  • Privileges:

    • Were allowed to carry a sword

    • Exempt from most taxes

    • Exempt from military service (funny considering they were referred to as “those who fight”)

    • Received special treatment in courts

The Third Estate

  • “Those who toil”

  • This group consisted of people who did not fit into the first two groups

  • Consisted of over 95% of the total population of France

  • This group of people paid the most taxes

  • These people were mostly poor peasants

The Third Estate

  • This group could be divided into two sub-groups: the bourgeoisie and the peasant.

    • The bourgeoisie were wage earners and intellectuals. Included lawyers, doctors, businesspeople, merchants, soldiers, and craftspeople.

      • Enlightenment philosophers also part of this group.

      • Grew in numbers and influence during the late 18th century

    • Peasants: poor individuals who earned little to no income.

      • Most lived in rural areas and therefore lived on subsidence off of the land

The Third Estate

  • Privileges:

    • Local privileges

    • Guild privileges – guilds were allowed to hold monopolies on trade in specific areas.

Land and the three estates
Land and the Three Estates

  • Although the Third Estate owned a majority of the land, the first two estates held a significant and proportionally unfair minority

The estates general
The Estates-General

  • All laws and decisions were made by the monarch. However, in times of crises, the monarch could call a meeting Estates-General, where a formal meeting of representatives from each estate came to decide on the direction of the country

  • The Estates-General would have equal representation of each estate and thus equal representation when making decisions

The Estates-General

  • People from each group would write information on their grievances of the country. These were called the cahiers.

  • Due to the deep economic troubles occurring in France at the time, King Louis XVI called the Estates-General to help remediate the problem.

The Estates-General

Does this seem fair?

The Estates-General

When the third estate lobbied for reform, how do you think the other estates responded?