A few weeks later, the third estate declared themselves to be the National Assembly.
The decision of the National Assembly to draft a new constitution for France signalled the end of absolute monarchy and the beginning of democracy.
There were 600 memers of the third estate and 300 each of the first and second estates.
When Louis XVI rejected the proposal of the third estate, they walked out of the Estates-General.
After paying all these taxes, they hardly had enough money to feed themselves.
The wealthy middle class had to pay heavy taxes and resented the privileges enjoyed by the aristocrats and the higher clergy i.e. The workers, the peasants and the middle class who suffered under the social and economic system wanted to change it.Rousseau, in his book ‘Social Contract’, announced that sovereign power lay in popular will.The success of the Americans in their war for independence also encouraged the French people to protest against their exploitation by the aristocracy, the clergy and the state.They entered the prison and released the prisoners.The Bastille, the symbol of a despotic monarchy, was destroyed.The nobility monopolised all important positions in the French administration and lived a life of luxury. It consisted of middle class people, peasants, artisans, workers and agricultural labourers.Even the rich middle class, consisting of merchants, factory owners etc., fell in this category.The immediate factor which caused the outbreak of the Revolution was the bankruptcy faced by the Government.The heavy expenditure on the army during the Seven Years’ War had drained the finances of the country.The entire burden of taxation fell on the third estate. The condition of the artisans, peasants and workmen was miserable.The peasants had to work for long hours and pay separate taxes to the Crown, to the clergy and to the nobility.