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What was the division of the French society in the 18th century?

Last updated date: 20th Jun 2024
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Hint: The French society underwent a severe administrative and financial crisis in the 17th and 18th century. The time of such a crisis is regarded as a social crisis. As a result, the french society was naturally divided into three estates:

Complete answer:
As stated in the hint, the French society in the 18th century was split into three estates. The first estate consisted of the clergymen, the second estate consisted of the nobles and the third estate was constituted of the common people most of whom were peasants. The peasants made up about 90% of the French population, among them only few owned the land they cultivated . 60% of the land belonged to the members of the first two estates.
Only the members of the third estate paid taxes to the state, this became the main factor of a revolution.

The members of the first and second estates enjoyed certain privileges. One of such privileges was exemption from paying any taxes to the king. The feudal dues were extracted by the nobles from the peasants. The latter were also obliged to provide services to the noblemen due to their elite status and power, by working in their fields and houses. They were also made to serve in the army.

Note: The members of the third estate had to pay direct tax to the state which was known as ‘taille’. Indirect taxes were also imposed on tobacco, salt and many other everyday items making the third estate seething with financial difficulties.