The Ancien Regime France in the 18th Century
The 1% Royal FamilyClergy (First Estate)Nobility (Second Estate)
Divine Right • Monarch ruled by divine right • God put the world in motion • God put some people in positions of power • Power is given by God • No one can question God • No one can question someone put in power by God • Questioning the monarchy was blasphemy because it meant questioning God
Parlements • Hereditary law courts • All laws had to be registered in the parlements • Power to remonstrate with the king if there were errors or inconsistencies in the legislation • Could not initiate legislation or policy
The First Estate: The Clergy - .6% of the population (169,500)- Church owned about 10% of the land- tithe: tax between 8 – 10% of people’s income- Exempt from royal taxes- 1000 high clergy: bishops; archbishops (also noble)- impossible for a commoner to rise to the top of the hierarchy (Adcock 2009: 19)
The 99% Commoners (The Third Estate):- bourgeoisie (2 million)- artisans (2 million)- Landowning farmers (5 million)- Sharecropping farmers (11 million)- Day labourers (5 million) - Serfs (1 million)
What does this contemporary political cartoon say about conditions in France under the Old Regime?