The French Revolution

France became nearly bankrupt in helping the Americans during the American Revolution. To try and get out of the mess they were in, they began to increase taxes on citizens, which was met with protest and eventually escalated into the French Revolution, inspired by the similar American Revolution.

Declaration on the Rights of Man

The Declaration of the Rights of Man, which declared that "men are born and remain free and equal in rights," was drafted by the National Assembly to protest their lack of political power as a result of the "three estates" system of French society. This was completely unprecedented and even illegal in the ancien regime, and sprouted from Enlightenment thinking (e.g. Locke's idea of a social contract).

The Storming of the Bastille

The Storming of the Bastille  occurred in Paris, France on the morning of July 14, 1789. The Bastille was the medieval fortress and prison in Paris that symbolized royal authority in the center of Paris. French women were the ones who took part in this famous storming, showing how the French Revolution raised the question of female political equality far more explicitly than the American Revolution had done.

Women's March on Versailles

The Women's March on Versailles occurred on October 5, 1789 and marked one of the most influential events in the French Revolution. The March on Versailles started as a riot over the inflation of bread prices but quickly escalated into a mob that ransacked the armory of Paris and invaded Versailles. During this, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were confronted (and later executed by guillotine), marking the beginning of a power change in France.

Robespierre and the Terror

Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety maintained control of France from 1973-1974. He was the leader in what was called the Terror, a year in which over 10,000 people deemed to be against the Revolution were executed en masse. It started off with the execution of elites such as the ruling family but quickly escalated to involve anyone the Committee thought was acting against the revolution. He would later die by guillotine after being accused of tyranny and dictatorship.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was the French military leader who rose to power after successfully staging a coup following the bloody French Revolution. Considering to be one of the greatest military commanders of European history, Napoleon was able seize control of much of continental Europe until his naval defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar. He would eventually be exiled to the island of Elba following an unsuccessful invasion of Russia, but would return to power for a hundred day, only to be defeated again at the Battle of Waterloo. He would live out the remaining six years of his life in remote seclusion on the island of Saint Helena.

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