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What caused the French Revolution?
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France's international involvement led to debt

France's participation in the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution drained their financial resources, which led them to large amounts of debt, and eventually to the events that led to the French Revolution.

The Argument

France's extensive presence in the Seven Years ' War of 1756–63 depleted the economy, as did the country's participation in the American Revolution of 1775–83. Aggravating the problem was the fact that the government had to retain a massive army and navy, an expense of special significance during those hard times.[1] The main goal for France in the Seven Years War was to "expand its colonial possessions". The war was between the British and the French. The British wanted to expand their trading posts, and the French wanted to keep their land. The war was fought in five continents, which brought high maintenance costs to the French.[2] France eventually lost the war due to the inability to fund them militarily and ended up with heavy debts. The national debt after the Seven Years War was around 2.3 billion livres (French currency from 781-1794).[3] France's role in the American Revolution was that it provided money, soldiers, arms, and political leadership. It also provided naval assistance that tipped the balance of military strength in favor of the United States and paved the way for the eventual triumph of the Continental Army against the British.[4] The overall cost of the French involvement in the American Revolution was about 1,066.1 million livres. At this time, the French could barely make ends meet.[5] The involvement in these international affairs is what led King Louis XVI to call for a financial and tax reform, which led to the Estates-General following with the forming of the National Assembly and ending with the French Revolution.[6]

Counter arguments

The king's fiscal irresponsibility on his lavish lifestyle was one of the main reasons that France fell into debt. In comparison, the lavish expenses associated with the maintenance of King Louis XVI's lavish palace at Versailles and the frivolous spending of the queen, Marie-Antoinette, did nothing to ease the increasing debt in the usual indulgent manner that so irked the common people. One of the primary factors which led to the French Revolution was these decades of fiscal irresponsibility. The king became desperate to fix France's economy as it was costing him his lifestyle.[1]



Rejecting the premises


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