The Crisis of 1788-1789
French support for the American cause in their War of Independence (1776-83) compounded the gross indebtedness of the state, which was already in 1770 in a critical condition created by the costs of the Seven Years War (1756-63). There were bad harvests in 1787, 1788 and 1789 which brought the ordinary people to the edge of starvation: grain prices soared, and a general economic recession deepened to a point where the workers in the cities began to share the destitution of the peasantry. The government of Louis XVI proposed replacing the vingtième (a tax of the “twentieth part” which landowners were supposed to pay on agricultural revenues, but which many evaded paying, and from …
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Clark, Robert. "French Revolution". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 22 January 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=447, accessed 24 August 2017.]