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Extra resources for All About History (2013)
First, France’s tax collection system, patched together over the centuries, was extremely heterogeneous and inefficient. There were numerous separate taxes, differing from region to region, and a whole segment of the fiscal machinery was privatized under the general tax farm, charged with collecting most of the indirect taxes. The system was further weakened by various class and provincial privileges, so that it relied inordinately on contributions from the least wealthy elements of society. During the last two wars, in particular, the monarchy became increasingly dependent on high-interest loans from various international financiers.
The system was further weakened by various class and provincial privileges, so that it relied inordinately on contributions from the least wealthy elements of society. During the last two wars, in particular, the monarchy became increasingly dependent on high-interest loans from various international financiers. 3 Second, the monarchy’s efforts to raise or reform taxes were invariably opposed by the French sovereign courts or parlements. Throughout most of the eighteenth century the parlementary magistrates— of which those in Paris were the most influential— claimed the right to block the execution of royal decrees.
A few even prided themselves in their learning, whether as robe nobles or courtiers or churchmen or seigneurial lords, retired in their town houses or rural estates. 17 Yet on the whole, noble culture differed substantially from that of the commoner Revolutionaries-to-be. A large proportion of noblemen began their military apprenticeship while they were still adolescents, and they were never able to finish the full cycle of secondary education or even consider university studies. Some were sent off to one of the French military schools for training.