The estates society began to change in the 18th century:

  • Enlightened thinkers criticized the priviliges and benefits enjoyed by the nobles and the clergy as well as the fact that their power came from their origins or for being members of the church not for their contribution to improve social welfare. Philosophers considered that nobles were useless  for the society as their old military functions were replaced by the profesional armies. They also criticized the clergy because  of their wealth and their influence over society and education.

  • The bourgeoisie became the most active and productive group. They benefited from trade so they realized how important they were, however they did not have any political influence. Therefore, bourgeoisie claimed for a better position in society according to their new rol in economy. Bourgeoisie fought for their rights in France and they were the ones who wanted the General States to be summoned ( convoked) for them to have a better representation.

Marriage à-la-mode by William Hogarth,  pointed skewering of upper class 18th century society. This moralistic warning shows the disastrous results of an ill-considered marriage for money and satirizes patronage and aesthetics.




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