matey saidI myself don't see this as anything to celebrate.
Causes of the French Revolution
Adherents of most historical models identify many of the same features of the Ancien Régime as being among the causes of the Revolution. Economic factors included widespread famine and malnutrition, which increased the likelihood of disease and death, and intentional starvation in the most destitute segments of the population in the months immediately before the Revolution. The famine extended even to other parts of Europe, and was not helped by a poor transportation infrastructure for bulk foods. (Recent research has also attributed the widespread famine to an El Niño effect following the 1783 Laki eruption on Iceland, or colder climate of the Little Ice Age combined with France's failure to adopt the potato as a staple crop).
Another cause was the fact that Louis XV fought many wars, bringing France to the verge of bankruptcy, and Louis XVI supported the colonists during the American Revolution, exacerbating the precarious financial condition of the government. The national debt amounted to almost two billion livres. The social burdens caused by war included the huge war debt, made worse by the monarchy's military failures and ineptitude, and the lack of social services for war veterans. The inefficient and antiquated financial system was unable to manage the national debt, something which was both caused and exacerbated by the burden of a grossly inequitable system of taxation. Another cause was the continued conspicuous consumption of the noble class, especially the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette at Versailles, despite the financial burden on the populace. High unemployment and high bread prices caused more money to be spent on food and less in other areas of the economy. The Roman Catholic Church, the largest landowner in the country, levied a tax on crops known as the dime or tithe. While the dîme lessened the severity of the monarchy's tax increases, it worsened the plight of the poorest who faced a daily struggle with malnutrition. There was too little internal trade and too many customs barriers.
There were also social and political factors, many of which involved resentments and aspirations given focus by the rise of Enlightenment ideals, which included resentment of royal absolutism, resentment by the ambitious professional and mercantile classes towards noble privileges and dominance in public life, many of whom were familiar with the lives of their peers in commercial cities in the Netherlands and Great Britain, resentment by peasants, wage-earners, and the bourgeoisie toward the traditional seigneurial privileges possessed by nobles, resentment of clerical advantage (anti-clericalism) and aspirations for freedom of religion, and resentment of aristocratic bishops by the poorer rural clergy, continued hatred for Catholic control and influence on institutions of all kinds, by the large Protestant minorities, aspirations for liberty and (especially as the Revolution progressed) republicanism, and anger toward the King for firing Jacques Necker and A.R.J. Turgot (among other financial advisors), who were popularly seen as representatives of the people.
Finally, perhaps above all, was the almost total failure of Louis XVI and his advisers to deal effectively with any of these problems.
Louis XVI ascended to the throne amidst a financial crisis; the nation was nearing bankruptcy and outlays outpaced income. This was because of France’s involvement in the Seven Years War and its participation in the American Revolution. In May 1776, finance minister Turgot was dismissed, after he lost favour. The next year, Jacques Necker, a foreigner, was appointed Director-General of Finance. He was not made a minister because he was a Protestant, and could not become a naturalized French citizen. Necker realized that the country's tax system subjected some to an unfair burden; numerous exemptions existed for the nobility and clergy. He argued that the country could not be taxed higher, that the nobles and clergy should not be exempt from taxes, and proposed that borrowing would solve the country's fiscal problems. Necker published a report to support this claim that underestimated the deficit by roughly 36,000 livres; and proposed restricting the spending power of the parlements. This was not received well by King's ministers and Necker, hoping to solidify his position, argued to be accepted as a minister. The King refused, Necker was fired, and Charles Alexandre de Calonne was appointed to the Directorship.
Calonne initially spent liberally, but he quickly realized the critical financial situation and put forth a new tax code. The proposal included a consistent land tax, which would include taxation of the nobility and clergy, and the meeting of the Estates was planned for May 1789; a signal that the Bourbon monarchy was no longer absolute.
Storming of the Bastille
By this time, Necker had earned the enmity of many members of the French court for his support and guidance to the Third Estate. Marie Antoinette, the King's younger brother the Comte d'Artois, and other conservative members of the King's privy council urged him to dismiss Necker from his role as King's financial advisor. On 11 July 1789, after Necker suggested that the royal family live according to a budget to conserve funds, the King fired him, and completely reconstructed the finance ministry at the same time.
Many Parisians presumed Louis's actions to be the start of a royal coup by the conservatives and began open rebellion when they heard the news the next day. They were also afraid that arriving soldiers - mostly foreigners under French service rather than native French troops - had been summoned to shut down the National Constituent Assembly. The Assembly, meeting at Versailles, went into nonstop session to prevent eviction from their meeting place once again. Paris was soon consumed with riots, chaos, and widespread looting. The mobs soon had the support of the French Guard, including arms and trained soldiers, and the royal leadership essentially abandoned the city.
On 14 July, the insurgents set their eyes on the large weapons and ammunition cache inside the Bastille fortress, which was also perceived to be a symbol of monarchist tyranny. After several hours of combat, the prison fell that afternoon. Despite ordering a cease fire, which prevented a mutual massacre, Governor Marquis Bernard de Launay was beaten, stabbed and decapitated; his head was placed on a pike and paraded about the city. Although the Parisians released only seven prisoners (four forgers, two noblemen kept for immoral behavior, and a murder suspect), the Bastille served as a potent symbol of everything hated under the Ancien Régime. Returning to the Hôtel de Ville (city hall), the mob accused the prévôt des marchands (roughly, mayor) Jacques de Flesselles of treachery; his assassination took place en route to an ostensible trial at the Palais Royal.