Top Ten Causes: French Revolution

Events leading up to the demise of the Old Regime

10. Rococo Style Art

Rococo Art depicted French aristocracy at play leading lavish lifestyles infuriating the Third Estate,


9. Marie Antoinette

Also known as Madame Deficit, she lived a life of opulent luxury and heavy spending at the cost of the French citizens.

8. War

Participating in the 7 Years War and supporting the colonists with troops in the American Revolution depleted France's resources.


7. American Revolution

The success of the American Revolution inspired France to bear up in arms to fight for their own freedom.

6. Enlightenment Ideas

The Enlightenment philosophers introduced the ideas of citizenship, democracy and human rights that pointed at a government by the people for the people.

5. Taxes

The peasant class was being grossly overtaxed. This heavy and unjust taxation without representation only served further rile anti-royal sentiments.

4. National Debt

The court's lavish spending and mismanagement of finances as well as the resistance of the nobles to accept economic reforms only made worse the debt that had resulted from the wars.


3. Famine

A bad harvest year coupled with a sharp increase on bread prices caused widespread hunger among the masses.


2. Antagonism Between Social Classes

The rising discontent of the Third Estate of the stark contrast of the lives between them and the First and Second Estate.

1. Weak Leadership

France was an absolute monarchy headed by Louis XVI, a weak ruler with poor management and decision-making skills. He held no real power over the nobles.