French Revolution

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The French Revolution (French: Révolution française; 1789–1799), was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a lasting impact on French history and more broadly throughout the world. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed within three years. French society underwent an epic transformation, as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left-wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside.[3] Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy–of monarchy, aristocracy, and religious authority–were abruptly overthrown by new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights. Amidst a fiscal crisis, the common people of France were increasingly angered by the incompetency of King Louis XVI and the continued indifference and decadence of the aristocracy. This resentment fueled radical sentiments, and the French Revolution began in 1789 with the convocation of the Estates-General in May. The first year of the Revolution saw members of the Third Estate proclaiming the Tennis Court Oath in June, the assault on the Bastille in July, the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August, and an epic march on Versailles that forced the royal court back to Paris in October. The next few years were dominated by struggles between various liberal assemblies and a right wing of supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms. A republic was proclaimed in September 1792 and King Louis XVI was executed the next year. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution. The French Revolutionary Wars began in 1792 and ultimately featured spectacular French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular sentiments radicalized...
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