Third Estate (Tiers état, French) is The third order or section of the French assembly, états généraux. Originally the Third Estate members were elected by the bourgeoisie of the large towns. Later, those of the small towns and rural areas participated in their election. While the Third Estate was spoken of as the representation of the common people, it was elected by taxpaying males aged 25 or over and the proletarians had no voice in the elections. The first two Estates or orders represented the clergy and the nobility. Each Estate met and voted separately. Thus, the Third Estate was unable to end the special privileges of the clergy (compulsory tithes) and the nobility (tax exemptions). The call of the 1789 États généraux provided the Third Estate with twice as many members as each of the other two Estates. On meeting, the Third Estate insisted the three Estates meet as one body with per capita voting. This was opposed by the King and the leaders of the other two Estates. The Third Estate then organized the Constituent National Assembly with minority members of the other Estates and the French Revolution ensued abolishing the privileges of the clergy and nobility.
- Percy L. Greaves, Jr. "Mises Made Easier ", 1974. Referenced 2014-08-24.