Reign of Terror was during the French Revolution.

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The immediate bloody aftermath , was a product of social, economic, and political forces. The spirit of idealism that gripped France during the early phases of the Revolution gave way to mass paranoia and extremism, culminating in Robespierre's cruel regime. In the beginning of the French Revolution, Enlightenment of the French Revolution, known as the Reign of Terrorphilosophy seemed like a panacea for societal woes. Prominent philosophers like Rousseau, Voltaire, and Diderot contributed to a new mentality in France, one which instigated the mass revolt that caused the storming of the Bastille. The causes for the Reign of Terror in the 1790s cannot be isolated without examining first the leading causes of the French Revolution.

Under the Reign of King Louis the XIV, France still maintained a basically feudalistic society in which the monarch ruled with divine and absolute authority. This "ancien regime" had persisted for centuries throughout Europe. A stratified social class structure dominated French culture and politics. The privileged classes, including the clergy and the nobility, were exempt from most of the taxes passed on to the poorest rungs of French society: the farmers, the common laborers, and the peasants. This system obviously benefited the wealthy, upper classes of French society, who were unwilling to sacrifice their economic and political privilege for a more just society. However, the monarchy and the "ancien regime" came under heavy criticism by Enlightenment thinkers, philosophers, and economists. Voltaire attacked the Church and its absolutism, criticizing the Church's political and intellectual dominion. Denis Diderot advocated a new social order, while Montesquieu advocated the adaptation of an English-style constitution. Rousseau's notion of popular sovereignty was perhaps the most influential political philosophies that influenced the beginnings of the French Revolution. Although the Revolution was spurned by these Enlightenment thinkers, the political philosophies they espoused failed to take root, leading to the Reign of Terror.

The economic forces that led to the French Revolution also contributed greatly to the Reign of Terror in the 1790s. The Revolution started as a result of financial mismanagement on the part of the French government, who was contributing to overseas efforts in the New World. Participation in the American Revolution caused national debt, and in an attempt to avoid national bankruptcy, the Assembly of Notables was formed in 1787 to attract donations from the wealthy classes. However, the privileged people were unwilling to offer financial support. King Louis the XVI and his government were forced to quickly adopt a plan of financial reform.

The three class divisions in French society, the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners, held specific grievances toward the state. This generalized discontent and unrest led to the Revolution. The commoners, who were known collectively as the Third Estate, formed their own National Assembly amidst the political and economic turmoil in 1789. Some members of the other two estates, the clergy and the nobles, joined the efforts of the National Assembly, which called for a constitution. Their determination was solidified by the Oath of the Tennis Court, named after the meeting place they adopted after the King originally disbanded them. So influential was the National Assembly that the King relented to legalize the National Assembly, thus recognizing the grievances of the French common people. This small victory led to a mass outbreak of fervent idealism among not only the Third Estate of French culture but also among the clergy and the nobility, who were now willing to make the financial sacrifices they needed to bond ideologically with the common people. The nobility abolished feudalism and linked hands with the commoners in their overthrow of the monarchy. The National Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and in...
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