On which date did Louis XVI convene the meeting of the Estates-General? A) 5th May 1789 B) 15th May 1789 C) 10th May 1789 D) 7th May 1789
Hint: Before the meeting of the Estates-General which took place on this date, the members of the Third Estate (as the non-aristocratic class was known) started to mobilise the support of equal voting rights that would be over the basis of head and not by status.
Complete answer: The Estates-General refers to the legislative body of France until the French Revolution. Whenever the king wanted to take advice over particular matters, then he would call a meeting of the Estates-General. The Estates-General did not meet regularly and also had no real power.
In general, The Estates General was composed of different groups of people known as "Estates." The "Estates" were significant social divisions within the culture of ancient France.
There were three estates that are mentioned below: 1.First Estate - The First Estate composed of the clergy. They were those people who worked for the church consisting of nuns, priests, monks and bishops. This was referred to as the smallest estate in terms of population. 2.Second Estate - The Second Estate referred to the French nobility. They held most of the high offices within the land, got special privileges, while didn't have to pay major taxes. 3.Third Estate - The remaining of the population (about 98% of the people) were the Third Estate’s members. They consisted of the craftspeople, peasants, and labourers of the land. They paid taxes including the gabelle (a tax on salt) and the corvee (they had to work a specific number of days for free for the local lord or the king every year).
France was on the verge of collapse as well as required tax reforms so on the date of 5th May 1789, King Louis XVI had called a meeting of the Estates-General. It was the very first meeting of the Estates-General called since the year 1614. The only purpose that he called the meeting was because the French government was having financial problems.
Thus, Option A is the correct answer.
Note: When the meeting was convened, the question over the voting process had turned to open hostility among the 3 orders, hence the real motive of the meeting and the king’s authority who called for it being neglected.
With further talks having failed the Third estate met alone as well as formally adopted the title of National assembly on the date of June 17, 1789. They all had gathered in a nearby indoor tennis court and took the oath of office. Seeing no other option left, Louis XVI had to absorb the 3 assemblies into the new order.