According to The French Revolution, How does a Subsistence Crisis Happen?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The subsistence crisis in the French Revolution caused because of population growth which led to an increase in the demand for food grains. All of the commodities’ prices went up as well. The rise in prices was not matched by an increase in worker pay. There was a subsistence crisis brought on by the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Subsistence Crisis in the French Revolution

Due to the increase in population, the demand for food grains also increased. The prices of all commodities also rose. Workers’ wages did not match the rise in prices. The gap between the rich and the poor widened, leading to the subsistence crisis during the French Revolution. The various causes of the French Revolution are:

  • Social: Inequitable and exploitative social conditions prevailed in France in the late 18th century. The first two estates, which included the clergy and nobility, were the most affluent segments of French society. They weren’t required to pay state taxes. On the other hand, the majority of the population was made up of the third estate, which included peasants and workers. They were subjected to excessive taxes and lacked access to social and political rights. They were therefore utterly dissatisfied.
  • Economical: Due to Louis XVI’s numerous wars, the treasury was empty. A flawed tax system and France’s participation in the American Revolutionary War made the situation even more challenging. Taxes were not paid by the privileged classes, but the third estate was increasingly burdened by them.
  • Political: Louis XVI, the Bourbon King of France was an extremely autocratic and weak king who led a life of obscene luxury. This led to great disillusionment among the masses, leading to a life of extreme poverty and widespread hunger.
  • Intellectual: The 18th century was marked by French thinkers’ conscious rejection of the “Theory of Divine Rights“. Philosophers such as Rousseau rejected the paradigm of absolute monarchy and promoted the doctrine of human equality and human sovereignty. They played a key role in exposing the fault lines of the old political system, i.e., the ancien régime, and articulating popular discontent.


According to The French Revolution, How Does a Subsistence Crisis Happen?

According to the French Revolution, prices of all commodities also rose which led to the subsistence crisis. Worker’s wages did not match the rise in prices, and the gap between the rich and the poor widened, leading to an existential crisis.

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