Third Estate

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Many states in the Middle Ages of Europe had a system of three classes (estates) - the first estate, the second estate and the third estate. The first and second estates paid low taxes and enjoyed the facilities provided to them. In France in the 18th century the third estate paid 60% taxes, food was not provided to them and they were mostly peasants or farmers so they could not get much money.

After the money in treasury was spent, the king called a meeting of the three estates. He asked the estates to pay more taxes. The first and second estates walked out, and the king let them. The third estate however, was asked to do the heavy lifting again, and pay more tax. They didn't accept and took a pledge called the tennis court pledge and protested against the king. They got thrown in jail, but the rest of the third estate bailed them out.

This act of bravery led to the execution of the last ruler of the Bourbon Dynasty and the end of monarchy.