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France was experiencing such a severe economic depression that there wasn’t enough food to go around. Poor harvests lasting several years and an inadequate transportation system both contributed to making food more expensive. As with most monarchies, the upper class was always ensured a stable living, so while the rich remained very wealthy, the majority of the French population was starving. Many were so destitute that they couldn’t even feed their families and resorted to theft or prostitution to stay alive. Meanwhile, the royal court at Versailles was isolated from and indifferent to the escalating crisis. While in theory King Louis XVI was an absolute monarch, in practice he was often indecisive and known to back down when faced with strong opposition. While he did reduce government expenditures, opponents in the parlements successfully thwarted his attempts at enacting much needed reforms. The Enlightenment had produced many writers, pamphleteers and publishers who could inform or inflame public opinion. The opposition used this resource to mobilise public opinion against the monarchy, which in turn tried to repress the underground literature.