Why did Louis XVI call the estates-general?


Quick Answer

Louis XVI called the estates-general in 1789 to enlist their support in raising taxes to help deal with France's dangerous financial problems. Money spent on wars in the prior years, including the American Revolution, had depleted the budget.

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Full Answer

France had serious woes, and it did not help Louis XVI's position that his wife, Marie Antoinette, was spending money extravagantly. Even though the king agreed to call the estates-general to meet for the first time in 175 years, he still wanted to maintain control and refused to allow the three estates to meet together. When the third estate asserted its position as a national assembly, the king was angry. Many stormed the Bastille in protest of the monarchy, setting in motion the French Revolution.

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