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The French Revolution: 1789-1799

            The French Revolution of 1789-1799 was one of the most important events in the history of the world. The Old Regime was the French political and social system before 1789. Society in the Old Regime was divided into three classes called Estates. On May 5, 1789, Louis called a meeting of the Estates-General in Versailles. Once in session, the Estates-General assumed the powers of the government. On June 20th of the same year the Third Estate declared themselves the National Assembly and made the Tennis Court Oath, a pledge to not separate until they gave France a constitution. On July 14, 1789, a mob stormed the Bastille in Paris, and a short time later imprisoned the king and royal family in the palace of the Tuileries. Louis then accepted the new French Constitution but continued secretly to work against the revolution. In 1792 the National Convention declared France a republic and had the king tried as a traitor and condemned to death. Louis XVI was sentenced to the guillotine on January 21, 1793, in Paris. In 1779, the National Assembly announced the end of feudalism and serfdom, and then, in 1789, issued the Declaration of Rights of Man. One year later, in 1790, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed. The next year, in 1791, the Constitution of 1791 was adopted. The Revolution led to many changes in France, which at the time of the Revolution was the most powerful state in Europe. There were many different causes of the Revolution each influencing the people of France towards a revolution.
             One cause of the Revolution was the ideas of the enlightenment and the ease of distribution of the written word. The Enlightenment was an intellectual revolution that rewarded the ideas of ambitiousness and cosmopolitanism. This revolution had an international focus that believed that all people are equal and should be treated as equals. Tradition was thrown away and the thought that things could be made better by learning and changes reigned supreme in the mind of the enlightened individual.

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