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23 March, 22:04

compare and contrast the experience of a member of the bourgeoisie with that of a noble in pre-revolutionary France.

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  1. 23 March, 22:35
    Before the French Revolution, French society was structured in three estates: the clergy, the nobility and the third estate, which was composed by the commoners, peasants, and merchants. A member of the bourgeoisie during this time, in the 18th century, was a rich person from the third estate, often merchants and artisans. Normally, in spite of their wealth, they were excluded from the political decisions and had no privileges, since the power was in the hands of the nobility. Thus, the bourgeoisie was the social progressive class that supported a constitutional government and natural right, as opposed to the Law of Privilege and rule by divine right claimed by the nobles and clergy.

    Nobles, on the other hand, formed the second estate according to a feudal social stratification. They were benefited by this social configuration based on, what they believed was, a divine right to rule. Therefore, a noble at this period was an aristocrat related to the royalty and the Church and had the highest status in the French and European society. They normally owned large extensions of land and had many peasants at their service, they were the only ones to have the privilege of hunting and were exempt of paying direct land taxes that commoners landowners were obliged to pay.
  2. 23 March, 22:51
    The social order of pre-Revolutionary France was composed of three states: the 1st state was made up of clergymen, the 2nd state included all the nobility, and the 3rd state was formed by the rest of the population of France, including the peasantry, the bourgeoisie, and the city workers.

    The experiences of the nobility and the bourgeoisie were very different during this period. The nobiity included around 1-2% of the population of the country. They were mostly exempt from taxes and for the most part, did not have a job. On the other hand, the bourgeoisie was a large percentage of the population, and carried a significant tax burden. This class was the most educated and wealthiest part of the 3rd State, and they resented the privileges of the nobles, in particular the tax exemptions. The conflict between these classes was a reason for the French Revolution.
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