The French Revolution

France 1789-1799

What is a Revolution

The purpose of a revolution is to create change. Sometimes it is done peacefully, and other times it is done violently. Either way, a revolution is a forceful overthrow of a government in favor of a new system. Revolutions follow a particular cycle: injustice, protest, and change. An example of a revolution is the French Revolution.

The Wheel of Revolution

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The first step in the cycle of revolution is injustice. Injustice is when there is a disagreement between two opposing forces.

The second step to a revolution is protest. Protest can come in two different ways: peaceful protests and violent protests. A peaceful protest consists of letters, petitions, sit-ins, and marches that try and convince the government to change.

When peaceful protests are ineffective, violent protests take place. Violent protects include riots, bombs, attacks, assassinations, and war.

The third and last step to the cycle of revolution is change. Change also comes in two steps. The first step is when the moderates are in power. Moderates are people who try to achieve change with as little violence as possible.

However, when the moderates do not achieve change fast enough, radicals in power will do anything in their power in order to achieve their goals.

Background Information

The French Revolution was one of the most important events in the history of the world. It was a 10 year dispute between the king and the citizens of France. Taking place in France, the French Revolution began in 1789, and it ended in 1799. It was a movement for political and social reform. The goal of this revolution was to tear down all forms of the Old Regime and to replace it with a new social and political order based on the concepts of freedom and equality.

The French Revolution tried to change the world. French revolutionary armies tried to spread democracy throughout Europe, and the slogan, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” still unites the nation today. This revolution questioned the authority of kings, priests, and nobles, led to the development of new political forces such as democracy and nationalism, and gave new meanings and new ideas to the political ideas of the people.


Click here to see the timeline of the French Revolution

Life in France Before the Revolution

During the 18th century, France was the leading nation of Europe. They had a large army, and excellent diplomatic service. Their bureaucracy, economic policies, elaborate and immoral court, ideas, manners, and languages were all admired by other countries. People across Europe followed French fashion, art, and cooking. Fredrick the Great said: “France is the most powerful state in Europe.” No one ever thought a revolution would take place.

How the French Revolution Fits in the Cycle of Revolution

The French Revolution - Injustice
The French Revolution - Protest
The French Revolution - Change


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