French Revolution


October 19, 2021

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France, in its colonies and in Europe at the end of the 18th century. The period usually included between the opening of the Estates General on May 5, 1789, and at the latest the coup d'état of Napoleon Bonaparte on November 9, 1799 (18 Brumaire of the year VIII). This period in French history put an end to the Ancien Régime by replacing the absolute monarchy with a series of more or less defined regimes, including the First Republic a little more than three years after the storming of the Bastille. The French Revolution bequeathed all new political forms, in particular through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of 1789 which proclaims the equality of citizens before the law, fundamental freedoms, and the sovereignty of the Nation, and being built around a state. “National myth”, its values ​​and the institutions of the Revolution still dominate French political life today. The Revolution led to the abolition of the society of orders (feudalism, privileges, etc.), a greater division of land ownership, the limitation of the exercise of political power, the rebalancing of relations between Church and State and the redefinition of family structures. It was marked by periods of great violence, especially during the Terror, as part of the attempted counter-revolution of the Vendée war, during which several hundred thousand people were killed, during federalist insurgencies or in the context of struggles between rival revolutionary factions, which resulted in the successive deaths of the main revolutionary figures. The wars of the French Revolution, which affected a large part of continental Europe, propagated revolutionary ideas and contributed to the abolition of the society of orders in Western Europe, in the "sister republics" and then throughout the world. 'Europe. The French Revolution "differs from other revolutions by its universalist demands in that it is intended to benefit all of humanity". From its inception, the universal scope of the ideas of the French Revolution was proclaimed by its supporters and the magnitude of its consequences underlined by its detractors. The Revolution has remained a subject of debate as well as a controversial reference throughout the two centuries that have followed it, in France and around the world. It created immediate and lasting divisions between the supporters of revolutionary ideas and the defenders of the old order, as well as between the anticlericals and the Catholic Church. It is considered by the majority of historians to be one of the major events in world history. It marks the beginning of a period of great institutional instability in France and in Europe during which three constitutional monarchies, two ephemeral republics and two empires succeed one another, until the definitive advent of the Republic in the 1870s. Contemporary history is marked by the legacies of the French Revolution when most revolutionary movements saw it as a precursor event. Its grand phrases and cultural symbols have become the flags of other major upheavals in modern history, including during the Russian Revolution more than a century later.

Chronology and periodization

It is traditionally placed between the opening of the Estates General, on May 5, 1789, and the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire by Napoleon Bonaparte, on November 9, 1799, which inaugurated the period of the Consulate and led, five years later, to the advent of the Empire. However, it was partially perpetuated by Napoleon during the expansion of

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