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Word Count: 990
The preliminary stage of any revolutionary cycle is characterized by a rigid unresponsive political structure referred to as the old regime The government apparatus of such a regime is generally faced with financial difficulties and limitations while a socio-economic class within society has reasons to be optimistic about the future The political structure of the old regime does not provide opportunity for growth and may hinder the operations of this particular segment of society Even if economic benefits accrue for this group social and political power is not granted by members of the established elite ruling class The Old regime loses the allegiance of the intellectuals and pressure groups arise hostile to the status quo The intellectuals of the pre-revolutionary society are unified against the Old regime and envision a better society in the future At a time when the ruling class must prove its legitimacy and effectiveness it is often divided on shaky economic ground In sum it fails to act as it should to preserve its power Its inability to rule effectively generally becomes evident during a series of particular events or crises The lack of mobility to positions of power in the society heightens class tensions as the lower orders develop a keen dislike for their superiors Tension grows and bursts as the lower classes soon rise up against the upper nobility and clergy and the revolution commences This is chain of events is what took place in the French Revolution in 1789 The causes of the French Revolution reach back into the aristocratic structure of society in the Old Regime Eighteenth century French Society was divided into three orders also called Estates known as the Estates General The clergy constituted the First Estate the nobility the Second Estate and everyone else about 95 of the French Population made up the Third Estate The clergy and nobility totaling about 400000 out of a population of 26 million enjoyed special privileges
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