To what extent was the storming of the Bastille on the 14th of July the most significant event during 1789?
The years leading up to the 1789 storming of the Bastille were turbulent ones.The French had been burdened by two lengthy and expensive wars, not to mention their involvement in the American Revolution.France was in desperate need of a new direction.Although several attempts had been made at financial reform, notably those by Jacques Necker, they were ultimately domed to failure, due to the upper classes unwillingness to change the status quo, and the crowns lack of interest.
As the financial crisis continued to worsen, undertones of revolution began to ripple across the country and throughout the different estates.This financial crisis was one of the main contributing factors towards the revolution.France was spending money faster then they could accumulate new funds.By 1788 the financial deficit had increased to 126 million livres, 20% of its total expenditure.50% of the government's expenditure was dedicated to filling this deficit, while only 2% was going towards schooling and poor relief, and 26% towards the military. It was expected that the countries debts would increase to 62% by 1789.
One man, Jacques Necker tried to face this predicament head on.He acquired loans to help fund Frances involvement in the American war of independence.But by doing so he crippled the crown by burdening it with high interest rates, which drove the government further into debt.Necker also issued thefirst public royal financial statement.This offered some console to the people, as it showed a surplus of 10 million livres during peace time, apposed to the 126 million during war time.Despite his best efforts the king failed to back any of his reforms and consequently he was dismissed.
By 1788, due to the ever evolving financial crisis, the king was forced to call for a convention of the Estates Gener…