Second Estate  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Second Estate (Fr. deuxieme état) was the French nobility(or any man who owned land) and (technically, though not in common use) royalty, other than the monarch himself, who stood outside of the system of estates.

The Second Estate is traditionally divided into "noblesse de robe" ("nobility of the robe"), the magisterial class that administered royal justice and civil government, and "noblesse d'épée" ("nobility of the sword").

The Second Estate constituted approximately 1.5% of France's population. Under the ancien régime, the Second Estate were exempt from the corvée royale (forced labour on the roads) and from most other forms of taxation such as the gabelle (salt tax) and most important, the taille (the oldest form of direct taxation). This exemption from paying taxes led to their reluctance to reform.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Second Estate" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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