The French Revolution (1789–1799) was one of the first people's revolutions that took place in 18th Century Royal France. The revolutionaries overthrew King Louis XVI and established a Republic. Ironically, the French revolutionaries was inspired by the American Revolution that was supported by their own French Royalty (mostly because of a longstanding feud between the English and the French royal families). The French Revolution gave the world the motto "Liberté, égalité, fraternité!" (Liberty, Equality, Fraternity).
What lead up to the revolution
The Revolution was long in the making. Louis XIV was a rich extravagant spendthrift, even worse than his predecessors, in short, the Paris Hilton of the 17th century. France's economy started to slack off thanks to the fact while the nobles and clergy partied all day without taking on any tax burden, the Third Estate a.k.a. everybody else were breaking their backs trying to hold up the economy.
King Louis XVI and his Austrian wife, Marie Antoinette (who definitely didn't mention anything about pastry during her lifetime) were nice people, but not very clever since while they continued their really expensive lifestyle, Louis did try to help his people, but was too incompetent to do anything, not to mention his nobles and the clergy refused to cooperate at all. Just to make things worse, his troops who went off to America to do a bit of Brit-bashing came back spewing 'horrible' revolutionary ideas...
The king eventually called for a meeting with the Reps of all three Estates. He wanted advice but the only thing that happened was a bitch-fight. The voting system was pretty retarded. Instead of everybody having a vote, every? Estate had one vote each, meaning the Third Estate could make tonnes of noise if they wanted, but the First and Second Estate would always outvote them. Finally, the Third Estate's Reps staged a walk-out and met in the palace tennis court. They then declared themselves the National Assembly. Louis was finally forced to let them do whatever they wanted, including stripping him of his powers and passing laws that helped the poorer classes. However, like school classes, the Assembly was noisy and messy.
The common people, though, weren't very pleased watching their Reps acting like geniuses. Some decided to take matters into their own hands. The 'sans-cullotes' in particular didn't want to make peace with the king, they wanted revenge. On 14 July 1789, an angry mob raided the Bastille Prison and massacred everybody despite the Governor trying to surrender. Louis was pooping in his pants by then and he and his family fled to Austria...or tried to. They were caught thanks to their awful acting skills.
Republican world power
After the revolution, France became one of the only world powers to have a republican government (as back then the United States wasn't a power at all). The other major world powers at the time were Britain and Spain, which were monarchies at the time (and which still are, though the monarch no longer has much real power).
Though it was after the American revolution and the Glorious Revolution, it proved for the first time that men could rise in arms against evils (or incapable upper-class imbeciles). The French Revolution soon became corrupt and overused the Guillotine. Despite this the French Revolution was important in developing more equal rights (though only for men).
- The French Revolution Part 1 Good video
- Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Exploring the French Revolution
- War,Terror and Resistance
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