FRENCH REVOLUTION LESSON
Print the French Revolution reading
comprehension passage and questions (see
Students should read the story silently,
then answer the questions about the story that follow.
Excerpt from passage
The French Revolution was a long time in coming. Before the revolution, France was made up of three classes of people: the nobility, the clergy, and the common folk. The two upper classes, the nobility and the clergy could do whatever they wanted. They did not pay taxes, they lived good lives, and they always had food and shelter. The common folk had to pay taxes to help support the upper class lifestyle. Often the common folk were so poor they had little to no food, poor living conditions, and were worked to the bone. They did not get to have fun like the upper class did.
The King and Queen were the highest of nobility in France. Their lavish lifestyle was viewed by the common folk as unnecessary. The rich King and Queen did not hide the way they lived, though it is believed they did not truly know how poor the common folk really were until it was too late.
The Queen of France was Austrian-born Marie Antoinette. Raised to be a pampered noble woman, Marie was disliked terribly by the French citizens. How could she spend so much money when people were starving? Unfortunately, Marie realized the hardships the French common folk faced a little too late. Once she knew the extent of trouble in France she cut back on frivolous (unimportant) spending and tried to give the poorest people food and assistance. However, by this point the French people hated Marie so much she could not rectify the situation or turn the people's opinion of her around no matter what she did.
The King of France at the time of the French Revolution was Louis XVI. While he tried to be a good King he was looked at as a clumsier kind of man that was not really able to relate to the personal problems of the men and women of his country. It seemed that he was not interested in being King. He even asked at one point why he couldn't resign from his position as King. (continued...)
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