Parliament itself was controlled by big landlords. The man in the street still did not count. If this was true of England, the same was the case in other European countries like Austria-Hungry, Prussia, Russia, France, Spain, Poland etc.
In most of the European countries, the rulers were depots although during the 18th century they were called enlightened despots. The people had no hand in the administration of the country. They did not enjoy any personal liberty and everything depended upon the whims of the rulers. Serfdom prevailed almost everywhere in Europe.
European rulers at that time were dishonest and unprincipled. International morality reached its lowest ebb during the 18th century. A man like Frederic, the Great, did not hesitate to annex Silesia in spite of his promises to Charles VI, the father of Maria Theresa. Russia, Prussia, and Austria conspired among themselves to put an end to the very existence of Poland. There was a general craze for territorial expansion at the expense of the weaker neighbors. "No consideration was paid to race limits or national boundaries," In the words of Professor Holland Rose, " That respect of dynastic rights and treaty obligations which generally held sway when Christendom was more than a name, now gave place to a state policy which avowedly aimed at little else but gain of territory or markets." Prof Hazen says, "The old regime in Europe was disloyal to the very principles of which it is rested" and those principles were respect for the established order and regard for regality and engagements (Mahajan 1)
All over Europe there were privileged classes which were completely or partially exempted from taxation and the burden of taxation fell on the unprivileged classes. The rich paid less to the state and the main burden fell on the poor. European society was organized on a feudal basis and the landlords acted like petty sovereigns in the localities. The serfs were attached to the land and most of the proceeds from land went into the pockets of the landlords. The conditions of the serfs were miserable. To quote, "the great substructure of European society was an unhappy, un free, unprotected, undeveloped mass of human beings, to whom an opportunity for growth and improvement was closed on every side." While a few enjoyed privileges, the others suffered. Inequality in every field weakened the very foundations of the social systems. There was hardly any awakening among the masses of Europe and thus the system continued. (Mahajan 21)
As regards the religion condition of Europe, western, western and central Europe were roughly divide between a Protestant North and a Roman Catholic south. In the centre people of Switzerland and Savoy were Protestants. The people of Ireland and Poland were Catholics. In Eastern Europe, the orthodox of Greek Church held sway over Russia and the Balkans. The Jews were found all over Europe. In some places, they were tolerated, while at others persecuted. Europe was not free from religious strife but religious toleration was making headway. It was felt that persons of different faiths could be the loyal subjects of the state. The growth of humanitarianism also played its part. The spread of the spirit of scientific inquiry made for tolerance. There was the decline of dogmatic religion.
Causes of the French revolution
The French revolutio