The Three Estates

In France, preceding the Revolution, the citizens of the country were split up into three groups or estates. The first estate was divided into two groups: the lower clergy and the higher clergy. The higher clergy came from wealthy families and the lower clergy consisted of parish priests. In the second estate were the nobles. They held the highest offices in government and paid little or no taxes. The third estate, which was the largest, consisted of peasants, city workers, and the middle class. The people in the third estate were the merchants, bankers, lawyers, doctors, & government workers.

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