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Lecture 20

HIS109Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Charles Alexandre De Calonne, Tennis Court

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Kenneth Bartlett

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The French Revolution
A. R. Turgot
C. de Calonne
Noblesse de l’epee
Noblesse de la robe
1789 there were 100,000 150,000 Clerics in the kingdom.
Clerics owned 10% of land (some were still served by surfs)
Lower Clergy (Parish Priests) came from the society they served
Greater Clergy (Bishops) given to church when they were young. They had no desire to
practice, essentially were aristocrats, were rude, and lived at Versailles. Many of the 3rd
estate saw this as a problem.
In order for the Clergy to avoid being taxed, the gave the King a “gift” (money). More
money would be made if they were taxed.
Bishops would spend taxed money
Church paid no tax on their land
400,000 people made up the Noble class. They owned ¼ or 1/3 of the land (he said both
Nobility was the protection (military)
You did not have to be a noble to be an artillery officer
Nobles lived self-indulgent lives
They were close to the crown, as they were decedents of ancient noble families, some
even had royal blood
Nobles dressed the King
Privileged access to the king meant privileged favors (money)
Poorer noble families could sell their children to wealthier nobles for money
Noblesse de l’epee were the greater nobles
Noblesse de la robe were the lesser nobles. Were often lawyers that had bought their way
to nobility. They did not pay taxes. They were much more educated than the greater
Many of these families became socially ambiguous. The greater wealth allowed for
political influence.
Horbereaux were the poor nobility. They lived in houses that were falling apart in the
country as they couldn’t afford to live in the court. Everyone hated them. They refused to
get jobs as they did not want to lose their title.
80% of people were agricultural workers, and they were not badly off in France
compared to Germany where farmers were extremely poor.
The Bourgeois (middle class) made up 8% of France. They were a mixed group of
professionals (lawyers, artisans)
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