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Rousseau brought the concept of democracy home to the people. According to him the democratic government was the best government from the point of view of administration. He propounded the theory that the king was but an elected representative of the people and that he could only hold his status of sovereignty till the people had faith in his integrity. It resulted in smoldering the feeling of revolution in the hearts of the French people. They were now thinking of overthrowing the monarchy.

Montesquieu had already established the idea that the Theory of the Divine Rights of the kings was baseless and that the king was to be chosen by the will of the people. He laid emphasis on the thought that in France like England there must be constitutional sovereignty, and this alone will be good for the people. Voltaire awakened the people of France by his critical and satirical writings. He exposed the high-handedness of the clergy and the nobles. Rousseau in his book Social Contract gave the idea to the people of France that the French monarchs had dragged the subjects onto the brink of revolution by their arbitrary and tyrannical acts.

3.4e Other Reasons

i. The Paris Parliament

The monarch with the consent of the then administration wanted to make up the deficit with the new taxes which the administrators threatened to impose on the subjects. But the Supreme Court of Paris gave the verdict that no one but the State Council or States General was empowered to impose new taxes. Thus the monarch was obliged to summon the States General. It was, obviously, nothing short of inviting Revolution itself. The rejection of the newly imposed taxes by parliament was also a cause of unrest.

ii. The American War of Independence

According to an eminent author of European history, Webster: "This War of American Independence became an eye opener to the nations of Europe and in particular gave leaders to the French Revolution." The soldiers returning to France from America spread revolutionary thoughts there. The eminent historian, Marriot, says that French people were now fully convinced that there could be no effective reforms in the country without doing away with the special privileges of the nobles. The then administration of the country had proved quite impotent for their dissolution. Now they were to gear the powerful engine of the revolution to end the melancholy state of affairs for good. French participation in the war of American Independence had completely upset the finances of the country. England was an old enemy of France. When the people of America rose in revolt against the English rule and started the war of Independence, it was France who rushed to the help of the Americans. It cannot be denied that it was the French participation in this war that precipitated the great financial crisis and ultimately led to the French Revolution.

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3.0 - Introduction
3.1 The Seven Years' War
3.2 Catherine the Great
3.3 The Industrial Revolution
3.4 The French Revolution
3.5 France as a Republic (1795 - 1799)
3.6 Napolean Bonaparte
3.7 Points to Remember

Chapter 4

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