French Revolution

The French Revolution, which usually dates from the meeting of the Estates-General in 1789 to the end of the Directory in 1799, or sometimes to 1815, was part of a more general movement for liberal reform that transformed Western Europe and North America in the late 18th century. This movement for liberal reform, whose aims included deregulation of the economy, constitutional limits on the power of the monarch, equality before the law, freedom of speech and of the press, and religious tolerance can be seen as originating in the American Revolution, continuing in several parts of Europe during the 1780s with the reforms of the “enlightened despots,” among them Joseph II of Austria, and intensifying with the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. The ...

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