Chapter 18 Visual Summary Causes of the French Revolution France was ruled by absolute monarchy A rigid social class system existed. The government was bankrupt. The Third Estate had no voice in government. Bad harvests, rising food prices, and unfair taxation caused civil unrest. Short Term Effects of the French Revolution The end of the monarchy caused initial chaos. France was attacked by foreign countries. The beheading of royals and the Reign of Terror led to internal disorder. Napoleon seized power and became emperor of France. Long Term Effects of the French Revolution. Napoleon’s army conquered other countries and changed many traditional political and class systems. French armies spread nationalism and Enlightenment ideals to other countries.