The Third Estate is part of the three medieval estates that made up society during feudalism and the old regime. Who belonged to the third estate? The unprivileged and poorer citizens, apart from those who did have special benefits such as the nobility and the clergy . They were also known as the group of the underprivileged, the commons, the pecheros, the people, the plebs , or the simple people, etc.
Who made up the Third Estate
The society of the Middle Ages was made up of three estates or states. It can be said that each of them represented a particular force in society. So that:
- The order of the nobles were those who were in charge of warfare.
- The order made up of the clerical class, in charge of prayer.
- The order made up of the peasants (Third Estate), who worked.
The conformation of the Third Estate basically comprised two groups: the peasantry and the bourgeoisie .
It was the largest part of the population and was commonly enrolled in the manorial regime or in serfdom . Medieval society was mainly composed of the peasantry. Unlike the privileged estates, they were subject to the direct payment of taxes. They had to pay a tithe to the Church and meet the stately rents in the case of places that had lordships. All of this together accounted for roughly half of livestock production and crops, depending on whether or not they owned the land.
They were the inhabitants of the city , in theory free , an aspect that clearly differentiated them from the peasants who were not. Within the bourgeoisie were the artisans organized according to the guild: merchants / merchants and the urban plebs .
Differences between the members of the Third Estate
It was common for marked differences to be found among those who made up the Third Estate when it came to wealth. For example, the peasantry grouped rich peasants who owned property or were tenants of large farms. On the other hand, there were the day laborers who, despite belonging to this group, did not even own the farming tools.
There were also differences within the bourgeoisie , making a distinction between upper and lower bourgeoisie . Even those who were the richest in this class could surpass those of the lower nobility in wealth. Although the Third Estate comprised the majority group, in certain situations they lacked rights. They were also subject to the decisions that the monarch and other estates made.
At the time of French monarchical absolutism, the Third Estate was part of society but did not possess any privileges . Otherwise, the people who made it up were relegated and their rights were not recognized , unlike other classes that were considered superior, such as the clergy and the nobility.
What was the role of the Third Estate during the French Revolution
Both before and after the French Revolution in 1789, the Third Estate played a pivotal role . They spread new ideas and supported the revolutionary uprising to permanently dethrone the monarchy. With this uprising it was possible to obtain the right and restrict the supremacy that the clergy and nobility possessed.
The Third Estate wanted to be heard and have representation in the state, as did the other estates. Made up of individuals with a wide variety of professions and trades, this group was the economic engine of that time and they were not being taken into account, their rights had even been denied.
With effort and gradually, the Third Estate accumulated enough money to promote political and economic changes , together with the revolution that was underway. The rejection and discrimination that they suffered from the treatment of the monarchy, was the engine that drove them to fight it and promote the corporatism that the professions, trades and arts regulated in the old regime.
Recognition of the right of the Third State
Those who made up the Third Estate also hoped that the prohibitions that prevented them from entering the army and public office would be removed . Until this moment, only the upper echelons had access to them. The success of the French Revolution was translated in a certain way into the triumph of the Third Estate and the demands it imposed for greater recognition, political and social freedom.
The recognition of this establishment was such that it went from being a relegated class to conforming itself as the most dominant , after this political and social conjuncture. The authority of the Third Estate was resolved with the ideas introduced by the Enlightenment and by the wealth that they wisely accumulated.
All the demands that they put on the table, such as freedom, property and political security, were recognized and established in the well-known Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen , approved in the Assembly that was held in August from 1789.