French Revolution – an overview

The importance of the French Revolution

The French Revolution was one of the most important events in history. It not only led to the overthrow of the monarchy in France, but also had a major impact on politics, society, and culture across Europe and the world. The ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity that emerged from the Revolution have shaped democracies ever since.

Today, as we face challenges to these values from populist and autocratic leaders, it is more important than ever to remember and learn from the French Revolution.

What is the French Revolution? 

The French Revolution was a political movement in France in the late 1700s when the people overthrew the monarchy and took control of the government to establish a republic.

The main actors involved in the French Revolution were King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the Dauphin Louis-Charles, Jean-Paul Marat, Georges Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, Napoleon Bonaparte – some of the most important names in the French history.

When did the French Revolution happen?

Although the exact period of the French Revolution is hotly contested, most contemporary historians agree that the Revolution began in 1789 with the storming of the Bastille, a symbol of the absolute power of the monarchy. The Revolution ended in 1799 with the establishment of the French Republic.

The revolutionaries worked to create a new constitution that would guarantee the rights of citizens and limit the power of the government. The Revolution ultimately led to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military leader and political leader. He became Emperor of France in 1804.

Why did the French Revolution happen?

There are a lot of complex reasons which led to the French Revolution, many of which go against the popular romanticized ideal of the Revolution as presented in the Broadway production of Les Miserable.

The basic view is that there were three main reasons of the French Revolution: the financial crisis in France due to heavy spending on wars in the 18th century, the social and economic inequalities in France and finally the political corruption and incompetence of the French government.

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Contemporary heritage;

This tile considers the impact, both immediate and long-term, of the French Revolution both at home and abroad

1794-99: les Années Folles of Thermidor and the Directory;

This tile covers the mid-1790s, as France recovered from the violence of the earlier part of the decade.

1793-94: Terror for the people and death for the monarchs;

This period saw France’s descent into outright chaos, with political violence on a scale never seen before.

1791-1792: old enemies and a new Republic;

This tile covers the latter period of constitutional monarchy in France, as it became increasingly clear that Louis XVI’s position was untenable.

1789-91: towards a constitutional monarchy;

The period 1789-1791 was a time of uncertainty in France. This tile covers the attempts to establish a constitutional monarchy – and their disastrous failure.

The nested conflicts leading to the French Revolution;

The causes of the French Revolution are complex. This tile discusses the multiple internal conflicts in France that made conditions ripe for upheaval.

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