French Revolution, cataclysmic political and social upheaval, extending from 1789 to 1799. The revolution resulted, among other things, in the overthrow of the monarchy in France and in the establishment of the First Republic. It was generated by a vast complex of causes and produced an equally vast complex of consequences.
For more than a century before the accession of King Louis XVI in 1774, the French government experienced periodic economic crises resulting from wars, royal mismanagement, and
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the period of the French Revolution.
The French Revolution abolished absolute monarchy, feudal privileges, and serfdom; dissolved the large estates; and established equal liability to taxation. The revolution also began reforms in the fields of education, law, and the separation of church and state. The more intangible results of the revolution were embodied in its ideals, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," which became the platform of liberal, democratic reforms in France and Europe in the 19th century.