The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a major impact on France and throughout the rest of Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation, as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assaultfrom radical left wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside. 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.
The French Revolution began in 1789 with the convocation of the Estates-General in May. The first year ofthe 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 tensions between various liberal assemblies and a right-wing monarchyintent on thwarting major reforms.
A republic was proclaimed in September 1792 and King Louis XVI was executed the next year. External threats also played a dominant role in the development of the Revolution. The French Revolutionary Wars started in 1792 and ultimately featured spectacular French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and mostterritories west of the Rhine achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries.
Internally, popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 during which between 16,000 and 40,000 people werekilled. After the fall of the Jacobins and the execution of Robespierre, the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795 and held power until 1799, when it was replaced by the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte.
The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. The growth of republics and liberal democracies, the spread of secularism, the development of modern ideologies,and the invention of total war all mark their birth during the Revolution. Subsequent events that can be traced to the Revolution include the Napoleonic Wars, two separate restorations of monarchy (Bourbon Restoration and July Monarchy), and two additional revolutions as modern France took shape.
Aunque la suya es una historia inacabada, constantemente cuestionada pornuevos enfoques metodológicos, con la revolución iniciada en Francia en 1789 se abre una nueva etapa en la historia de la humanidad.
Logros como la supresión del sistema señorial, la proclamación de la libertad e igualdad de todos los hombres ante la ley o el establecimiento del estado constitucional y parlamentario, basado en la soberanía nacional, permiten afirmarlo así.
Los revolucionariosfranceses no sólo crearon un nuevo modelo de sociedad y estado, sino que difundieron un nuevo modo de pensar por la mayor parte del mundo.
La Revolución Francesa se encuadra dentro del ciclo de transformaciones políticas y económicas que marcaron el fin de la Edad Moderna y el comienzo de la Edad Contemporánea. La independencia de EEUU y el desarrollo de la Revolución Industrial, iniciada en laGran Bretaña, son los otros dos grandes procesos que señalan esta transición histórica.
Antes de comenzar a hablar de la Revolución francesa, nos es indispensable hacer una breve referencia a las ideas que la gestaron:
El final del siglo XVIII fue una época de trastornos en muchas partes de hemisferio occidental, trastornos que se pueden atribuir, directa o indirectamente, al fermento de...