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Source Interrogation Matching Activity

The following activity will enable you to follow the process of source interrogation.

You should spend a little bit of time viewing this exemplar and make sure that yours is of a similar structure and detail.

1. Introduction to source. This is a written account by Arthur Young in his 1792 book - ‘Travels in France and Italy’. Young was a social campaigner who sought to raise awareness about issues facing the poor during this era.
2. Initial justificiation of source selection. This view is shared by the cartoon which is outlined Source 2. This highlights the inequalities between the Three Estates, but Young’s perspective is both more reliable and useful. It highlights the inequalities from examples that were witnessed at the time, rather than using symbolism through a cartoon.
3. Immediate analysis of key features. Young’s criticism of the situation facing rural France can also be seen with his comments about the French tax system – “they had to pay 20kg of wheat and three chickens as feudal dues to one lord, and 60kg of oats, one chicken and five pence to another”. This conveys Young’s belief that the poorer areas were suffering to allow the wealthy to prosper, and that he believed this was an injustice.
4. Synthesis with other source - please note this also shows some evaluation of reliability. The source attempts to provide a sense of sympathy for the Third Estate and highlights the shocking poverty that they faced. It discusses the plight of a “poor woman”, with her husband being described as having only “a morsel of land, one cow and a poor horse”.
5. Further analysis of key features. The source provides a valuable insight into the severity of conditions facing people in the rural areas of France during the era of the French Revolution and why this led to discontent. In addition, its usefulness is furthered as it complies with my key question and hypothesis.
6. Evaluation of reliability. The purpose of Young’s extract was to raise awareness and highlight the need for social reform in the poorer, rural areas of France where a great amount of poverty was existing. In his final comment that “the taxes and federal dues are crushing us”, Young is able to outline that the poor are suffering at the hands of wealthy landowners, which was a key cause to the French Revolution.
7. Final comment on purpose/justification of selection. In terms of reliability, the limitations of Young’s account include it being biased in favour of poorer people in agricultural areas, due to him being known as an advocate of social reform. Yet this is still valuable information, as the source provides clear findings of Young’s time in France, though it is not known whether these conditions existed across the nation.

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