History Main / TheFrenchRevolution

13th Aug '14 5:52:19 PM MarkLungo
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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bast.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350: ''[[AngryMobSong Ah ! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira !]] [[AristocratsAreEvil Les aristocrates]] [[OffWithHisHead à la lanterne !...]]'']]

->''From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world (...)''
-->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated German soldiers after the battle of Valmy

Era in French History when MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] tried giving her subjects a little dietary advice, who responded by storming Versailles and putting her and her brave husband Louis XVI to death by the guillotine. Their son, the Dauphin, makes it out of France alive, though, thanks to the tireless efforts of that "demmed elusive [[Literature/TheScarletPimpernel Pimpernel]]". Everyone in this time period wore pastel-colored satin, big fancy wigs, fake beauty marks, and snorted snuff like it was cocaine. Unless they were poor, in which case they wore trousers with tricolor badges and sung "String the aristocrats from the lamp posts!" whilst [[TorchesAndPitchforks waving their pitchforks]] and gnashing their rotting teeth. Don't forget about taking down ''l'Ancien Régime''.

Then [[NapoleonBonaparte Napoleon]] took over, and marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality.

The more cynical version of the French Revolution wasn't nearly that much fun. Start with a nation bankrupted by the construction of palaces and drained by wars (UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution in particular, which France had decided was an excellent opportunity for a world war[[note]]The Revolutionary War had fronts in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and India[[/note]] with Britain to get back for [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar the last one]]), add in a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country (it doesn't help that their young son died in the early weeks of the Revolutionary period), throw in a rigid social system more or less akin to castes, a famine that makes bread too expensive for the average person to buy, and don't forget to add a heaping helping of bitter, crude, ranting over the "[[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Austrian Bitch]]" at Versailles and an arbitrary non-income-based tax system that meant many people's tax demand was greater than their entire income.

Simmer for a few years, then let the poor boil over, form mobs called the sans culotte (literally "without knee breaches", as in they wore trousers), and kill anyone they can catch, including the cream of the country's scientists, musicians, judges, educators, and artists. Burn to the ground any department that raises any objections. Spread lots of stories about Marie-Antoinette's sexual escapades and supposed indifference to the poor and Louis's supposed cruelty to justify your actions, and finish by executing everyone who instigated the revolution. Don't bother to actually feed the poor, though.

The revolution started with many liberal and progressive ideas. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, declared many rights that are now considered basic human rights. In a radical idea at the time, divorce was legalized and so was, surprisingly, homosexual sex. Guilds were abolished, allowing more people to enter professions that had been protected by stringent requirements meant to protect its members from competition. Church lands were seized, and clergy were forced to swear an oath to the new constitution. At first the King seemed to be embracing the idea of a constitutional monarchy, even swearing an oath to uphold the constitution. However, in a scathing letter left behind when he escaped Paris, he made it clear that this was not the case. On the 10th of August 1792, the sans culottes and the National Guard attacked the Tuileries Palace and slaughtered the Swiss Guard guarding the royal family. The constitutional monarchy was no more, with the king placed under arrest. From there all order was lost, with the government declaring itself revolutionary and declaring terror to be its official policy.

An example of the variety of viewpoints is: in England "Jacobin" means "Jacobin", in America "Jacobin" means "fanatic", in Austria "Jacobin" means people like Alexander I of Russia, and in France "Jacobin" means "anti-federalists". To this day, the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]] is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived). Broadly speaking, liberalism consists in agreeing with it only so far as it went before the Reign of Terror; socialism consists in extending and "perfecting" it; conservatism consists in working within the structures it creates but either thinking it went too far/too fast or disliking it; and reaction consists in trying to do away with it altogether. These notions have slipped a lot with time, the modern meaning of these terms being quite different. RedOctober and WorldWarII changed these positions (for instance fascism was added, encompassing a combination of socialism's revolutionary spirit with a conservative/reactionary twist on its ideals), but did little to alter the overall orientation.

The French Revolution is usually considered to be a radical alternative to UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Ironically, at the time the French and American revolutions were seen as ideological twins (subject peoples inspired by [[RomanticismVersusEnlightenment radical liberal ideas]] overthrowing aristocracies, lead by radicalised members of the middle class like Robespierre and Washington) and supporters of one were usually supporters of the other (Creator/ThomasPaine, the Anglo-US radical, considered a traitor by the British for his support of the American revolution, was an equally-fierce supporter of the revolution in France; he later turned against the leaders of both considering them what we would now call sell-outs). Also ironically, the most famous man to say anything about both revolutions, Irish statesman Edmund Burke, supported the American Revolution but not the one in France - he supported the Americans because they were fighting for freedom but opposed what the French were doing because they were trying to change too much too fast and based only on largely untested ideas. Modern "interpretations" of the events of the period usually say much more about contemporary politics and bickering than they do about the late 18th century.

The rest of Europe, which was still ruled by kings and emperors, were alarmed at what was happening in France. Many of the rest of Europe's great powers eventually invaded France in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolutionary_Wars French Revolutionary Wars]], either to forcibly put the Bourbons back on the throne, prevent the revolution from spreading to their own lands or even to take advantage of the chaos in France. Over the course of the war, the French proved to be anything '''but''' CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys, repeatedly thrashing everyone from Great Britain to Austria to the Holy Roman Empire to Spain. A young NapoleonBonaparte [[EarlyBirdCameo was among France's generals]], developing the reputation and skills that would serve him so well later in his career.

Lastly, we can't discuss La Revolution without talking about the Republican Calendar. Wanting to eliminate Christian influence, the French reset their calendars based on the new French Republic. 1792 (the year the Republic was founded) was now Year I (years were written in Roman numerals), and September 22 (the official beginning of the Republic) marked the beginning of the year. But it didn't end there. Years were divided into 12 months...but each month had 30 days (months were renamed after the common weather conditions of Paris), and each week had 10 days. A mostly decimal-based calendar looked good and orderly on paper, but in practice was [[MindScrew somewhat more complicated]]. For instance, there would first be five-year intervals between leap years, followed by four. Even so, the French and eventually Napoleon persevered at it before giving up in 1805. The revolutionaries even tried to institute decimal ''hours, minutes, and seconds'', but this proved even less popular. However, longer lasting were a [[TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay bunch of units]] introduced by the National Convention in Year 3 (1795) like the meter[[note]]The meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the north pole to the equator, on a line ''running through Paris''.[[/note]] for lengths, the liter for volumes of liquid, the gram for mass, along with multiples of these units by factors of 2 and 10 like the kilogram (1000 grams), double decaliter (20 liters), or the centimeter (0.01 meters). Other long lasting changes include the departments -- the borders of which have changed little since 1789 -- and the tricolor flag.

Some basic notes:
* Louis XVI stayed King until 1792. He called the Estates-General in 1789 (the only body in France representing every Estate, or class, which hadn't been called since ''1614'') but some disagreement about the method of voting led to the formation of the National Assembly by the representatives of the Third Estate (peasantry/bourgeoisie). Initially the members of this body were split between those who wanted a constitutional monarchy similar to England (Feuillants) and those who wanted a Republic (Girondins and Jacobins). Robespierre was a leader of the Jacobins, though he only came to the forefront of the Revolution later when the Committee of Public Safety was in power. Lafayette was the leader of the National Guard in Paris until he was accused of being a counter-revolutionary and he fled the country.
* It went to hell when the King tried to suppress the changes leading to the Jacobins gaining power.
* The Reign of Terror under Robespierre killed at least 16,594 people and may have gone as high as 66,000.
* There were only seven prisoners in the Bastille when it was stormed, none of whom were political (the Marquis de Sade had been moved 10 days earlier). Besides, the goal of the rioters wasn't to free them but to get some weapons to defend themselves against royal troops. This event appears to have come about from rumours about said troops preparing a massacre of revolutionaries.
* There were several different governments during this time:
** The National Assembly (1789)
** The National Constituent Assembly (1789-1791)
** Legislative Assembly (1791-1792)
** National Convention (1792-1795)
** The Directory (1795-1799)
* NapoleonBonaparte ended this when he took direct power. [[SarcasmMode It's not like he caused any more mess.]] At least he stabilized the country and its institutions.

See also FrenchPoliticalSystem, for all the bizarre things that have happened in France since then.
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!!Popular tropes from this time period are:
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution: Whatever one may say, the two are linked together as contemporary events inspired by somewhat similar ideals. France's support of America during the Revolutionary War was one of many reasons France went bankrupt, while many French revolutionary leaders were at least partly inspired by events across the pond; many, like Creator/ThomasPaine and Marquis de Lafayette, participated in both. Americans were nonetheless disgusted at the bloodshed of the French Revolution; death is inevitable in such things, but a lot of what was happening in France was so gratuitously cruel that there was little excuse. UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson remained steadfast in his support of the French Revolution, even after learning of the Terror, and fought the U.S. policy of neutrality in the French Revolutionary Wars. Several prominent Americans (including Benjamin Franklin who was the United States Ambassador to France until 1785) also had personal sympathy for Louis XVI (as a man, if not necessarily a monarch) for his aid during their revolution. The US and France ended up fighting each other in the Quasi-War in 1798.
* AerithAndBob: As part of the general shift towards getting rid of most [[ChristianityIsCatholic Christian]] influences on civil society, as exemplified by the Republican Calendar, baby names given during the First Republic tended to sound like this, although today some of them are, if not ''common'', at least not as unusual as they would have been then: names inspired by nature such as [[DoctorWho Rose]], Prune [[note]]Plum[[/note]], or [[MemeticMutation Cerise]] [[note]]Cherry[[/note]], were basically invented (as names) at that point to replace then-popular names like Marie, Pierre or Jean. Adding to this trend is the fact that enthusiastically republican adults, namely politicians, also took on either non-biblical or "republican" names: for instance, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, ''the king's cousin'', who thus became "Philippe-Egalité". Somewhat like TheSixties hippy names, only [[SarcasmMode slightly less shroom-induced]].
* AngryMobSong: ''La Marseillaise'', now the French national anthem. See also ''La Carmagnole'' and ''Ah ça Ira.''
** The Vendée peasants came up with a good FilkSong version when [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Marseillaise_des_Blancs they rebelled against the Republic]].
* AristocratsAreEvil: A very influential trope.
* BigBad: Louis XVI, then Robespierre.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Whether your sympathies are royalist or republican, neither side comes out particularly well.
* BoisterousBruiser: Danton, by all accounts.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: Much like the "King George III wrote 'nothing important' in his diary on [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution July 4, 1776]]" story, Louis XVI wrote "Nothing." in his journal on July 14, 1789. This is a subversion however, as a) he was referring to his unsuccessful hunting trip that day, and b) an aide burst in shortly after and informed him of the revolt (which is where we get the dialogue at the top of the page).
* {{Conscription}}: The TropeMaker. Revolutionary France was the first government to pass universal conscription for all able-bodied Frenchmen.
* ConspiracyTheory: There are claims that TheIlluminati or the Freemasonry (or ''both'') have secretly orchestrated the French Revolution (despite the Illuminatis' official disbandment years earlier). Over the century, this suffered MemeticMutation to give us what things are now with the Illuminati as the OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness doing things (mostly) ForTheEvulz.
** Conspiracy theories were popular. Both the Jacobin and Cordeliers Club included rooting out counter-revolutionary conspiracies in their mission statements. After the fall of the king, the sans culottes believed there was a counter-revolutionary conspiracy among prisoners, leading to what is known as the September Massacres.
** Another variant, apparently popular among hardline royalists and later ultraconservatives, involved the Revolution being an anti-Christian conspiracy to destroy the "proper order" of the ''Ancien Regime'' and bring about the End Times. Coincidentally, the same theory is more or less used for other events and trends, ranging from UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution to Vatican II.
* CorruptChurch: The Catholic Church in France pre-Revolution was notoriously authoritarian, ultra-royalist, anti-reform, arrogant (it obeyed instruction from Rome basically when it felt like it) and, well, corrupt. This was a major factor in the popularity of deism and the anti-Catholic atrocities during the Terror.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: The Battle of Valmy. With a [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits Ragtag Army of Misfits]], too. Ask [[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]], he was there. Germans were so sure they would won that they had brought a poet.
** More generally, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolutionary_War French Revolutionary Wars]] stand as a Crowning Moment for France as a whole. The brand new republic is in chaos, its treasury is empty, and it's surrounded by hostile powers who want to destroy it. What does it do? Get some help from Poland, Denmark and Norway, and proceed to kick the asses of Germany, Britain, Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Turkey ''and'' Italy, expanding its territory in the process. This was also where NapoleonBonaparte earned the reputation that would eventually lead him to found the French Empire.
** The "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_Court_Oath Serment du Jeu de Paume]]" and the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storming_of_the_Bastille Prise de la Bastille]]" certainly qualify.
* DarkActionGirl: Charlotte Corday, who assassinated Jean-Paul Marat, a key revolutionary and leader of the Reign of Terror.
* DecapitationPresentation: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hinrichtung_Ludwig_des_XVI.png Look!]]. Also happenned to Danton et Robespierre.
* DecidedByOneVote: A very pupular [[HollywoodHistory myth]] about Louis XVI's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution#Execution_of_Louis_XVI execution]]. Execution was in fact widely ahead, but if you add the "death with delaying conditions" to the opposing votes, it comes to this.
* DemocracyIsFlawed[=/=]DemocracyIsBad: The French People basically fought to overthrow the oligarchy and institute a people's government. It worked, and what it amounted to was the people enacting Mob Rule and civil war. At best, France's democracy after the Revolution was flawed, and at worst, it was bad.
* DisproportionateRetribution: During the Terror, you could be convicted as a counter-revolutionary on the slimmest evidence, leading to people being executed for some pretty ridiculous things.
** One could actually be executed for not being enthusiastic enough, let alone against the Revolution.
*** Or even suggesting an expansion of the scope of the terror. Yes, Robespierre considered extremists like Hebert to actually be counter-revolutionaries (they were more bloodthirsty than him though).
* EarlyBirdCameo: France survived the foreign invasions in no small part due to the brilliance of its military leaders. One of these leaders was a young Napoleon Bonaparte, who was developing the skills and earning the fame that would serve him well later on.
* EatTheRich: The UrExample for this StockPhrase came about near this time when Jean-Jacques Rousseau reportedly said, "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich", which would make an interesting corollary with Marie Antoinette's alleged "Let them eat cake" comments. Note that Rousseau died in 1778, though...
* EveryoneWentToSchoolTogether: Robespierre and Desmoulins were friends in law school; they wound up as political enemies, resulting in Desmoulins's execution. Louis XVI was there to hear Robespierre's valedictorian speech. Also, Napoleon went to school and was friends with Augustin Robespierre, Maximilien's younger brother.
** The three young soldiers Napoleon befriended and took as aides-de-camp after the Siege of Toulon (Auguste Marmont, Andoche Junot and Jean-Baptiste Muiron) went to the same ''collège'' and had all served in different regiments before reuniting in Toulon.
** Napoleon could also have run across Louis-Nicolas Davout in the Paris Military school, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen had he not graduated one year early]].
* EvilCripple: Georges Couthon was condemned by Thermidorians because of that.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The instigators of the Reign of Terror actually ''called it that''.
* FacingTheBulletsOneLiner: Danton's gets ''two'': "Don't forget to show my head to the people, it's well worth seeing" addressed to his executioner and "My only regret is that I'm going before that rat, Robespierre!" addressed to the crowd.
* ForWantOfANail: Some experts believe that the famine that was one of the primary catalysts of the Revolution might not have been so bad, or even been averted completely had the French public had not been so resistant to earlier government efforts to introduce a crop from the New World known as ''la pomme de terre'' or in English, the potato.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[IncrediblyLamePun L'autrichienne]].
** For those who don't speak French: ''autrichienne'' means '(female) Austrian', but ''chienne'' means, well, 'female dog' (and is just as insulting as in English). In addition, ''autruche'' means 'ostrich'.
* GorgeousPeriodDress[=/=]PimpedOutDress: The new Greco-Roman inspired high-waisted muslin gowns replacing the aristocratic wigs and full-skirted dresses.
* HazyFeelTurn: Jacques-Louis David, the talented painter, prominent supporter of the Robespierre, and the chief propagandist of the Revolution and the Terror. He then managed to weasel out of a death sentence when Robespierre was guillotined and later became a great supporter of NapoleonBonaparte. This resulted in the ironic fact that the most famous image glorifying the Revolution (''La Mort de Marat'') was painted by the same man who created the most famous image glorifying Napoleon (''Napoleon Crosses the Alps''), the man who ended the Revolution.
** France itself suffered this, especially in the eyes of the Americans and (to a lesser extent) British and Dutch. While the Absolutists were naturally horrified by the idea of popular sovereignty and democratic republicanism, the major Western maritime powers were liberal and democratic in their on right and initially had sympathy for it on the whole. However, they were increasingly turned off by the various things the revolution turned to, and the MoralEventHorizon for the British was the terror and/owr Republican France's declaration of war against the Dutch Republic and "Crowned" Republic of Great Britain. Likewise, America suffered this to the French revolutionaries for applauding its' "sister revolution" only to declare neutrality when it started declaring wars, even going so far as to say the alliance it had with the Ancien Regime did not apply to the new Republic.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, and Napoleon spend so much time in fictions set in this period, one wonders how they managed to play their parts in history.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: [[WellIntentionedExtremist Robespierre]] did some less than commendable things in the name of the Republic, but he was co-author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, he advocated against the death penalty and was involved in such causes as the abolition of slavery, eliminating the property qualification to be represented in government, and granting rights to Protestants and Jews . Tell that to some fictional portrayals.
** Jean-Paul Marat perhaps got it worse than anybody else from that period, and went from being an almost godlike figure whose bust replaced crosses in churches to be described as an "angry monster insatiably hungry for blood" after the Reign of Terror was pretty much done and finished.
** Louis Antoine De Saint-Just is often portrayed in fiction as a violent extremist who wanted anyone of noble birth, even the ones on his side, wiped off the face of the earth. Now, while he did actually say this, he did so in the final years of his life (during the height of the Reign of Terror when they started executing people left and right), and for the most of his life had pretty moderate views. Tell that to fiction.
** On the other side, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette got this, especially during the Revolution. Marie Antoinette did not actually say the infamous line, [[BeamMeUpScotty "Let them eat cake"]], and Louis XVI was [[HanlonsRazor not tyrannical, just incompetent]].
* HistoryRepeats: The French Revolution cycle is strangely similar, if compressed, to the one of AncientRome: ousting the King, establishing a Republic undone by its divisions which gives way to an empire. Note that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoclassicism Neoclassicism]] was in fashion at the time.
** The British ''hate'' when this is pointed out, but they did exactly the same as the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones.]]
* HitSoHardTheCalendarFeltIt: As noted above, the revolutionary government made 1792 the Year I, and France counted years that way for a while thereafter.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The salon culture of Paris that served as the intellectual birthplace of many Revolutionary ideas grew as the result of the active patronage of the Duke of Orleans, Louis XVI's cousin, who was hoping to use the popular discontent against the King to usurp the throne himself. Suffice to say, things did not go as planned.
** Fun fact: Said Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orleans, is said to have tried to get rid of Louis XVI while he was still Dauphin [[note]]Crown Prince[[/note]] by using ''[[DeathBySex syphilis-infected prostitutes]]'', and had personal and ideological reasons for supporting the revolution. During the 3 or so years of de facto constitutional monarchy, the same Louis-Philippe became a deputy in the National Assembly under the name [[AerithAndBob Philippe]]-[[JustTheFirstCitizen Egalité]]. Then, he was among the deputies who voted ''for'' the execution of Louis XVI. Generally speaking, he took it UpToEleven during the revolutionary period, which didn't prevent him from eventually getting guillotined like everyone else on [[HoistByHisOwnPetard suspicion of counter-revolutionary sympathies]]. Meanwhile, his GenreSavvy son, [[NamesTheSame Louis-Philippe]], fled France, traveled incognito across Europe, is said to have made a living by giving [[JackOfAllTrades private tuition to well-off young women]], and eventually arrived in England where he was immediately [[NoTrueScotsman shunned by his surviving relatives]] [[note]]namely Louis XVI's brothers who would later become Louis XVIII and Charles X [[/note]] because of his father's endorsement of the Revolution. Some 30 years later, [[CycleOfRevenge he would help overthrow them and become "Louis-Philippe, King of ''the French''"]] [[note]]not king of ''France''; his daughter's descendants the kings of the Belgians would adopt an analogous style[[/note]] from 1830 to 1848.
* JustTheFirstCitizen: The Committee of Public Safety had no leadership positions; Robespierre was just another member, but he soon emerged as the most public and terrifying face of the ReignOfTerror.
* ListOfTransgressions: King Louis received one.
-->1 - On 20 June, 1789, you attacked the sovereignty of the people by suspending the assemblies of its representatives and by driving them by violence from the place of their sessions. Proof thereof exists in the procès-verbal drafted at the Tennis Court of Versailles by the members of the Constituent Assembly.\\
2 - On 23 June you wished to dictate the laws to the nation; you surrounded its representatives with troops; you presented them with two royal declarations, subversive of every liberty, and you ordered them to separate. Your declarations and the minutes of the Assembly established these outrages undeniably.\\
...\\
32 - On 10 August you reviewed the Swiss Guards at five o’clock in the morning; and the Swiss Guards fired first on the citizens. \\
33 - [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment You caused the blood of Frenchmen to flow]].
* LoopholeAbuse: The U.S. maintained neutrality in the war between Britain and revolutionary France, despite an earlier treaty with the French signed during the American Revolution. {{George Washington}}'s administration argued that the treaty was invalid because it had been signed with the no longer existent French monarchy. This led to the Quasi-War.
* MindScrew: The Revolutionary period is often cited as one of the most complex and confusing areas of historical study, and is sometimes memetically invoked as something that drives people mad or puts them to sleep.
* MoreDeadlyThanTheMale: That was the ''tricoteuses''' reputation, anyway.
* NothingIsTheSameAnymore: Oh yes. The global system was shaken from its core. Consequences are still visible and discussed to this day.
** When Kissinger asked Deng Xiaoping about the consequences of the French Revolution, Deng famously replied; "It is too early to say yet".
* OffWithHisHead: The guillotine was extensively used, during the ReignOfTerror in particular.
** Of note is that decapitation was the way nobles were executed, while commoners were hanged. One of the sole concessions the aristocrats were willing to make at the beginning of the Estates General was that [[{{Irony}} all social classes would get the right to be executed ''via'' decapitation]].
* ReignOfTerror: The TropeNamer.
* TheRemnant: The Royalists of Vendée and the Chouans saw themselves as this, along with LaResistance, in their uprising from 1793-1799. Their defiance and utter zeal caught the admiration of NapoleonBonaparte. [[NeverLiveItDown But even to this day, many of their descendants don't take to the Republic well.]]
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: The overwhelming conservative opinion.
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeVilified: [[AngryMobSong ''La Marseillaise'']] is now the French national anthem because of this.
* RousingSpeech: Several, often doubling as [[BadassBoast Badass Boasts]]. For instance, Henri de la Rochejaquelein addressing the Vendean Royalist rebels: "If I advance, follow me; if I die, avenge me; [[HonorBeforeReason if I retreat, kill me!]]"
** The most well-known may still be Danton's "''(...) de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace (...)!''".
* SelfMadeMan: Arguably, NapoleonBonaparte. The Revolution had given him an opportunity to rise up the ranks to become the legendary general-turned-Emperor known to history. Especially through a mix of ability (merit replacing social standing in the military) and connections with some of the Revolution's leaders.
** Pierre-François Augereau and André Masséna, the top commanders of the Army of Italy before Napoleon took over, rose from even lower. Augereau was the son of Parisian shopkeepers and became a brigadier general at 36 in 1793, three years only after joining the Revolutionary armies [[note]]Although this engagement was not his first : he had already joined the French army once at 17, fled because he had killed an officer, and then served under the Prussian and Austrian banners while occasionally working as a fencing teacher when funds were running low[[/note]]. Masséna's story is a bit similar, although less convoluted: he was the son of a grocer from Nice, lost his father at 6, ran away from home at 13 to become a sailor, joined the army twice in 1775 and later in 1790, and he was also 36 when he became a brigadier general in 1793. Both men would then be made Marshals by Napoleon when he established the Empire.
* ShootTheShaggyDogStory: The revolution to get rid of an absolute monarch, followed by the wars to remove foreign influence, ended up producing [[NapoleonBonaparte another absolute monarch]], who was then defeated by foreign influence, and the entire period of upheaval ended in 1815 with the Battle of Waterloo and the re-installation of the House of Bourbon. By foreign powers. After nigh-on three decades of bloodshed, the French could be forgiven for asking: what was the bloody point?
** That's taking the short view. The House of Bourbon couldn't maintain an absolute monarchy for long and constitutional reforms were gradually introduced. The French monarchy in 1815 was ''very'' different from the one in 1789.
* SocietyMarchesOn: Universal suffrage, abolition of slavery and divorce through mutual consent were part of the "[[{{Irony}} horrors]]" of the French Revolution for some of its opponents. They were swiftly abrogated by NapoleonBonaparte and only came back much later in France: 1848 for the first two, and ''1975'' for the mutual consent divorce.
* UpperClassTwit: Whatever else you think about Marie and Louis, it's pretty obvious they had no clue what they were doing. The other French aristocrats weren't much more efficient, and [[AristocratsAreEvil most higher clergy and nobles constantly blocked any economic reforms that would help the country]] ([[MoneyDearBoy since said reforms would also require them to give up some of their cash and noble privileges]]). Others (usually poorer ones) supported them, some because they sincerely believed the country needed change (the leaders of the moderate faction were mostly aristocrats, some of them very capable men like Lafayette and Mirabeau; they wanted a limited monarchy like in Great Britain, but couldn't convince the king it was his only hope of surviving.) Others opposed reforms just because they hated Calonne.
* WouldntHitAGirl: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Women%27s_March_on_Versailles How the king was forced back to Paris from Versailles]].
** Also AmazonBrigade: the Revolutionary Republican Women [[BlondeRepublicanSexKitten (NOT to be confused with...)]].
** Invoked by Jean-Baptiste Bessières (former medical student, future Marshal of the French Empire) when he was part of the Constitutional Guard, tasked with the protection of the King. On August 9th 1792, he and about 200 other guards faced a furious mob of ''sans-culottes'' ; he ordered his men to lower their weapons and shouted "On ne tue pas les femmes!"[[note]]We don't kill women![[/note]] In the end, the mob, impressed by his determination, dispersed without a single shot being fired.

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!!Works that are set in this time period are:

[[AC:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''RoseOfVersailles''
* ''[[LeChevalierDEon Le Chevalier d'Eon]]''

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}: Reign of Terror'': An {{Elseworlds}} story set during the French Revolution with Bruce Wayne as a French nobleman who becomes a masked crimefighter carrying convicted innocents out of France, a la TheScarletPimpernel.
* ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' story "Thermidor" is a dark tale set in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

[[AC:FanFiction]]
* ''AxisPowersHetalia'' DarkFic involving France tend to use this as the backdrop.

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* ''StartTheRevolutionWithoutMe''
* ''La Marseillaise'' (Jean Renoir film)
* ''Danton'' (1983 movie, Andrzej Wajda)
* ''Napoléon'' (1927 French silent movie by Abel Gance)
* ''MarieAntoinette''
* ''The French Revolution'' (1989 movie, Robert Enrico). The film was produced for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.
* ''Film/OrphansOfTheStorm'' (though the original novel which was adapted was '''not''' set in this time period)
* ''TheAffairOfTheNecklace'' about a scandal involving Marie Antoinette. Pre-revolution, but helped to lower her reputation in the eyes of the public.
* ''Film/{{Scaramouche}}''
* ''StayTuned'': The protagonist fall into this setting on one of the channels.
* ''Film/BrotherhoodOfTheWolf'', at the beginning.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* ''ATaleOfTwoCities''
* ''Literature/TheScarletPimpernel''
* ''Literature/{{Scaramouche}}''
* Creator/VictorHugo's ''93''
* The ''Pink Carnation'' series.
* ''A Place of Greater Safety''
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' takes place in the Napoleonic Wars InSpace and thus has the entire plot in the background.
* ''Literature/TheWomanWithTheVelvetNecklace'' takes place during the Terror. In reference to MoralEventHorizon, it mentions the execution of King Louis as "the single most important event in human history to date."
* ''{{Literature/Les Miserables}}'', though not actually set during the French Revolution, makes constant references to it.
* A significant part of ''{{Literature/TheRedLion}}''.
* ''Literature/TheWayToTheLantern''

[[AC:{{Live-Action TV}}]]
* ''[[BlackAdder Blackadder the Third]]'' ([[AnachronismStew for one episode]])
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': "The ReignOfTerror"
* ''Series/TheTimeTunnel'' episode "ReignOfTerror".
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': Episode "The Wrong War" (aka "The Frogs and the Lobsters") deals with a civil war between the Royalists and the Revolutionaries.

[[AC:{{Music}}]]
* Music/{{Voltaire}}'s song "The Headless Waltz"
* AllanSherman's song "You Went the Wrong Way Old King Louis"
* Fireaxe's ''[[FoodForTheGods Raise the Black Flag]]''
* "Bastille Day" by Music/{{Rush}}
* [[Music/PinkFloyd Roger Waters']] opera, ''Ca Ira'', [[{{Anvilicious}} with some deliberate allegories to America in]] [[TheWarOnTerror the mid-2000's]].
* Music/{{Queen}}'s "Killer Queen" namechecks MarieAntoinette and the "let them eat cake" misquote in its opening lyrics.

[[AC:{{Theatre}}]]
* ''Danton's Death'' (play by Georg Büchner)
* ''Theatre/MaratSade'' by Peter Weiss

[[AC:VideoGames]]

* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedUnity''

[[AC:WebComics]]
* ''Webcomic/BiteMe, [[EitherOrTitle or A Vampire Farce]]''.
* ''HarkAVagrant'': [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=273 "Yoo hoo]], [[BlackComedy does this pike make me look fat?"]]

[[AC:WebOriginal]]
* ''LookToTheWest'' features an AlternateHistory version.

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Histeria}}'' episode, titled, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin well, "The French Revolution"]]
----

to:

[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bast.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350: ''[[AngryMobSong Ah ! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira !]] [[AristocratsAreEvil Les aristocrates]] [[OffWithHisHead à la lanterne !...]]'']]

->''From this place, and from this day forth begins a new era in the history of the world (...)''
-->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated German soldiers after the battle of Valmy

Era in French History when MarieAntoinette [[BeamMeUpScotty allegedly]] tried giving her subjects a little dietary advice, who responded by storming Versailles and putting her and her brave husband Louis XVI to death by the guillotine. Their son, the Dauphin, makes it out of France alive, though, thanks to the tireless efforts of that "demmed elusive [[Literature/TheScarletPimpernel Pimpernel]]". Everyone in this time period wore pastel-colored satin, big fancy wigs, fake beauty marks, and snorted snuff like it was cocaine. Unless they were poor, in which case they wore trousers with tricolor badges and sung "String the aristocrats from the lamp posts!" whilst [[TorchesAndPitchforks waving their pitchforks]] and gnashing their rotting teeth. Don't forget about taking down ''l'Ancien Régime''.

Then [[NapoleonBonaparte Napoleon]] took over, and marched across Europe, stopped only by Richard {{Sharpe}} or the [[WarAndPeace Russian winter]], depending on your nationality.

The more cynical version of the French Revolution wasn't nearly that much fun. Start with a nation bankrupted by the construction of palaces and drained by wars (UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution in particular, which France had decided was an excellent opportunity for a world war[[note]]The Revolutionary War had fronts in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and India[[/note]] with Britain to get back for [[UsefulNotes/SevenYearsWar the last one]]), add in a new and very young king and queen who don't have a clue how to run the country (it doesn't help that their young son died in the early weeks of the Revolutionary period), throw in a rigid social system more or less akin to castes, a famine that makes bread too expensive for the average person to buy, and don't forget to add a heaping helping of bitter, crude, ranting over the "[[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen Austrian Bitch]]" at Versailles and an arbitrary non-income-based tax system that meant many people's tax demand was greater than their entire income.

Simmer for a few years, then let the poor boil over, form mobs called the sans culotte (literally "without knee breaches", as in they wore trousers), and kill anyone they can catch, including the cream of the country's scientists, musicians, judges, educators, and artists. Burn to the ground any department that raises any objections. Spread lots of stories about Marie-Antoinette's sexual escapades and supposed indifference to the poor and Louis's supposed cruelty to justify your actions, and finish by executing everyone who instigated the revolution. Don't bother to actually feed the poor, though.

The revolution started with many liberal and progressive ideas. The Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen, declared many rights that are now considered basic human rights. In a radical idea at the time, divorce was legalized and so was, surprisingly, homosexual sex. Guilds were abolished, allowing more people to enter professions that had been protected by stringent requirements meant to protect its members from competition. Church lands were seized, and clergy were forced to swear an oath to the new constitution. At first the King seemed to be embracing the idea of a constitutional monarchy, even swearing an oath to uphold the constitution. However, in a scathing letter left behind when he escaped Paris, he made it clear that this was not the case. On the 10th of August 1792, the sans culottes and the National Guard attacked the Tuileries Palace and slaughtered the Swiss Guard guarding the royal family. The constitutional monarchy was no more, with the king placed under arrest. From there all order was lost, with the government declaring itself revolutionary and declaring terror to be its official policy.

An example of the variety of viewpoints is: in England "Jacobin" means "Jacobin", in America "Jacobin" means "fanatic", in Austria "Jacobin" means people like Alexander I of Russia, and in France "Jacobin" means "anti-federalists". To this day, the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]] is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived). Broadly speaking, liberalism consists in agreeing with it only so far as it went before the Reign of Terror; socialism consists in extending and "perfecting" it; conservatism consists in working within the structures it creates but either thinking it went too far/too fast or disliking it; and reaction consists in trying to do away with it altogether. These notions have slipped a lot with time, the modern meaning of these terms being quite different. RedOctober and WorldWarII changed these positions (for instance fascism was added, encompassing a combination of socialism's revolutionary spirit with a conservative/reactionary twist on its ideals), but did little to alter the overall orientation.

The French Revolution is usually considered to be a radical alternative to UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Ironically, at the time the French and American revolutions were seen as ideological twins (subject peoples inspired by [[RomanticismVersusEnlightenment radical liberal ideas]] overthrowing aristocracies, lead by radicalised members of the middle class like Robespierre and Washington) and supporters of one were usually supporters of the other (Creator/ThomasPaine, the Anglo-US radical, considered a traitor by the British for his support of the American revolution, was an equally-fierce supporter of the revolution in France; he later turned against the leaders of both considering them what we would now call sell-outs). Also ironically, the most famous man to say anything about both revolutions, Irish statesman Edmund Burke, supported the American Revolution but not the one in France - he supported the Americans because they were fighting for freedom but opposed what the French were doing because they were trying to change too much too fast and based only on largely untested ideas. Modern "interpretations" of the events of the period usually say much more about contemporary politics and bickering than they do about the late 18th century.

The rest of Europe, which was still ruled by kings and emperors, were alarmed at what was happening in France. Many of the rest of Europe's great powers eventually invaded France in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolutionary_Wars French Revolutionary Wars]], either to forcibly put the Bourbons back on the throne, prevent the revolution from spreading to their own lands or even to take advantage of the chaos in France. Over the course of the war, the French proved to be anything '''but''' CheeseEatingSurrenderMonkeys, repeatedly thrashing everyone from Great Britain to Austria to the Holy Roman Empire to Spain. A young NapoleonBonaparte [[EarlyBirdCameo was among France's generals]], developing the reputation and skills that would serve him so well later in his career.

Lastly, we can't discuss La Revolution without talking about the Republican Calendar. Wanting to eliminate Christian influence, the French reset their calendars based on the new French Republic. 1792 (the year the Republic was founded) was now Year I (years were written in Roman numerals), and September 22 (the official beginning of the Republic) marked the beginning of the year. But it didn't end there. Years were divided into 12 months...but each month had 30 days (months were renamed after the common weather conditions of Paris), and each week had 10 days. A mostly decimal-based calendar looked good and orderly on paper, but in practice was [[MindScrew somewhat more complicated]]. For instance, there would first be five-year intervals between leap years, followed by four. Even so, the French and eventually Napoleon persevered at it before giving up in 1805. The revolutionaries even tried to institute decimal ''hours, minutes, and seconds'', but this proved even less popular. However, longer lasting were a [[TheMetricSystemIsHereToStay bunch of units]] introduced by the National Convention in Year 3 (1795) like the meter[[note]]The meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the distance from the north pole to the equator, on a line ''running through Paris''.[[/note]] for lengths, the liter for volumes of liquid, the gram for mass, along with multiples of these units by factors of 2 and 10 like the kilogram (1000 grams), double decaliter (20 liters), or the centimeter (0.01 meters). Other long lasting changes include the departments -- the borders of which have changed little since 1789 -- and the tricolor flag.

Some basic notes:
* Louis XVI stayed King until 1792. He called the Estates-General in 1789 (the only body in France representing every Estate, or class, which hadn't been called since ''1614'') but some disagreement about the method of voting led to the formation of the National Assembly by the representatives of the Third Estate (peasantry/bourgeoisie). Initially the members of this body were split between those who wanted a constitutional monarchy similar to England (Feuillants) and those who wanted a Republic (Girondins and Jacobins). Robespierre was a leader of the Jacobins, though he only came to the forefront of the Revolution later when the Committee of Public Safety was in power. Lafayette was the leader of the National Guard in Paris until he was accused of being a counter-revolutionary and he fled the country.
* It went to hell when the King tried to suppress the changes leading to the Jacobins gaining power.
* The Reign of Terror under Robespierre killed at least 16,594 people and may have gone as high as 66,000.
* There were only seven prisoners in the Bastille when it was stormed, none of whom were political (the Marquis de Sade had been moved 10 days earlier). Besides, the goal of the rioters wasn't to free them but to get some weapons to defend themselves against royal troops. This event appears to have come about from rumours about said troops preparing a massacre of revolutionaries.
* There were several different governments during this time:
** The National Assembly (1789)
** The National Constituent Assembly (1789-1791)
** Legislative Assembly (1791-1792)
** National Convention (1792-1795)
** The Directory (1795-1799)
* NapoleonBonaparte ended this when he took direct power. [[SarcasmMode It's not like he caused any more mess.]] At least he stabilized the country and its institutions.

See also FrenchPoliticalSystem, for all the bizarre things that have happened in France since then.
----
!!Popular tropes from this time period are:
* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution: Whatever one may say, the two are linked together as contemporary events inspired by somewhat similar ideals. France's support of America during the Revolutionary War was one of many reasons France went bankrupt, while many French revolutionary leaders were at least partly inspired by events across the pond; many, like Creator/ThomasPaine and Marquis de Lafayette, participated in both. Americans were nonetheless disgusted at the bloodshed of the French Revolution; death is inevitable in such things, but a lot of what was happening in France was so gratuitously cruel that there was little excuse. UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson remained steadfast in his support of the French Revolution, even after learning of the Terror, and fought the U.S. policy of neutrality in the French Revolutionary Wars. Several prominent Americans (including Benjamin Franklin who was the United States Ambassador to France until 1785) also had personal sympathy for Louis XVI (as a man, if not necessarily a monarch) for his aid during their revolution. The US and France ended up fighting each other in the Quasi-War in 1798.
* AerithAndBob: As part of the general shift towards getting rid of most [[ChristianityIsCatholic Christian]] influences on civil society, as exemplified by the Republican Calendar, baby names given during the First Republic tended to sound like this, although today some of them are, if not ''common'', at least not as unusual as they would have been then: names inspired by nature such as [[DoctorWho Rose]], Prune [[note]]Plum[[/note]], or [[MemeticMutation Cerise]] [[note]]Cherry[[/note]], were basically invented (as names) at that point to replace then-popular names like Marie, Pierre or Jean. Adding to this trend is the fact that enthusiastically republican adults, namely politicians, also took on either non-biblical or "republican" names: for instance, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans, ''the king's cousin'', who thus became "Philippe-Egalité". Somewhat like TheSixties hippy names, only [[SarcasmMode slightly less shroom-induced]].
* AngryMobSong: ''La Marseillaise'', now the French national anthem. See also ''La Carmagnole'' and ''Ah ça Ira.''
** The Vendée peasants came up with a good FilkSong version when [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Marseillaise_des_Blancs they rebelled against the Republic]].
* AristocratsAreEvil: A very influential trope.
* BigBad: Louis XVI, then Robespierre.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: Whether your sympathies are royalist or republican, neither side comes out particularly well.
* BoisterousBruiser: Danton, by all accounts.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: Much like the "King George III wrote 'nothing important' in his diary on [[UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution July 4, 1776]]" story, Louis XVI wrote "Nothing." in his journal on July 14, 1789. This is a subversion however, as a) he was referring to his unsuccessful hunting trip that day, and b) an aide burst in shortly after and informed him of the revolt (which is where we get the dialogue at the top of the page).
* {{Conscription}}: The TropeMaker. Revolutionary France was the first government to pass universal conscription for all able-bodied Frenchmen.
* ConspiracyTheory: There are claims that TheIlluminati or the Freemasonry (or ''both'') have secretly orchestrated the French Revolution (despite the Illuminatis' official disbandment years earlier). Over the century, this suffered MemeticMutation to give us what things are now with the Illuminati as the OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness doing things (mostly) ForTheEvulz.
** Conspiracy theories were popular. Both the Jacobin and Cordeliers Club included rooting out counter-revolutionary conspiracies in their mission statements. After the fall of the king, the sans culottes believed there was a counter-revolutionary conspiracy among prisoners, leading to what is known as the September Massacres.
** Another variant, apparently popular among hardline royalists and later ultraconservatives, involved the Revolution being an anti-Christian conspiracy to destroy the "proper order" of the ''Ancien Regime'' and bring about the End Times. Coincidentally, the same theory is more or less used for other events and trends, ranging from UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution to Vatican II.
* CorruptChurch: The Catholic Church in France pre-Revolution was notoriously authoritarian, ultra-royalist, anti-reform, arrogant (it obeyed instruction from Rome basically when it felt like it) and, well, corrupt. This was a major factor in the popularity of deism and the anti-Catholic atrocities during the Terror.
* CrowningMomentOfAwesome: The Battle of Valmy. With a [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits Ragtag Army of Misfits]], too. Ask [[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]], he was there. Germans were so sure they would won that they had brought a poet.
** More generally, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolutionary_War French Revolutionary Wars]] stand as a Crowning Moment for France as a whole. The brand new republic is in chaos, its treasury is empty, and it's surrounded by hostile powers who want to destroy it. What does it do? Get some help from Poland, Denmark and Norway, and proceed to kick the asses of Germany, Britain, Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, Turkey ''and'' Italy, expanding its territory in the process. This was also where NapoleonBonaparte earned the reputation that would eventually lead him to found the French Empire.
** The "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_Court_Oath Serment du Jeu de Paume]]" and the "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storming_of_the_Bastille Prise de la Bastille]]" certainly qualify.
* DarkActionGirl: Charlotte Corday, who assassinated Jean-Paul Marat, a key revolutionary and leader of the Reign of Terror.
* DecapitationPresentation: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Hinrichtung_Ludwig_des_XVI.png Look!]]. Also happenned to Danton et Robespierre.
* DecidedByOneVote: A very pupular [[HollywoodHistory myth]] about Louis XVI's [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution#Execution_of_Louis_XVI execution]]. Execution was in fact widely ahead, but if you add the "death with delaying conditions" to the opposing votes, it comes to this.
* DemocracyIsFlawed[=/=]DemocracyIsBad: The French People basically fought to overthrow the oligarchy and institute a people's government. It worked, and what it amounted to was the people enacting Mob Rule and civil war. At best, France's democracy after the Revolution was flawed, and at worst, it was bad.
* DisproportionateRetribution: During the Terror, you could be convicted as a counter-revolutionary on the slimmest evidence, leading to people being executed for some pretty ridiculous things.
** One could actually be executed for not being enthusiastic enough, let alone against the Revolution.
*** Or even suggesting an expansion of the scope of the terror. Yes, Robespierre considered extremists like Hebert to actually be counter-revolutionaries (they were more bloodthirsty than him though).
* EarlyBirdCameo: France survived the foreign invasions in no small part due to the brilliance of its military leaders. One of these leaders was a young Napoleon Bonaparte, who was developing the skills and earning the fame that would serve him well later on.
* EatTheRich: The UrExample for this StockPhrase came about near this time when Jean-Jacques Rousseau reportedly said, "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich", which would make an interesting corollary with Marie Antoinette's alleged "Let them eat cake" comments. Note that Rousseau died in 1778, though...
* EveryoneWentToSchoolTogether: Robespierre and Desmoulins were friends in law school; they wound up as political enemies, resulting in Desmoulins's execution. Louis XVI was there to hear Robespierre's valedictorian speech. Also, Napoleon went to school and was friends with Augustin Robespierre, Maximilien's younger brother.
** The three young soldiers Napoleon befriended and took as aides-de-camp after the Siege of Toulon (Auguste Marmont, Andoche Junot and Jean-Baptiste Muiron) went to the same ''collège'' and had all served in different regiments before reuniting in Toulon.
** Napoleon could also have run across Louis-Nicolas Davout in the Paris Military school, [[WhatCouldHaveBeen had he not graduated one year early]].
* EvilCripple: Georges Couthon was condemned by Thermidorians because of that.
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: The instigators of the Reign of Terror actually ''called it that''.
* FacingTheBulletsOneLiner: Danton's gets ''two'': "Don't forget to show my head to the people, it's well worth seeing" addressed to his executioner and "My only regret is that I'm going before that rat, Robespierre!" addressed to the crowd.
* ForWantOfANail: Some experts believe that the famine that was one of the primary catalysts of the Revolution might not have been so bad, or even been averted completely had the French public had not been so resistant to earlier government efforts to introduce a crop from the New World known as ''la pomme de terre'' or in English, the potato.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: [[IncrediblyLamePun L'autrichienne]].
** For those who don't speak French: ''autrichienne'' means '(female) Austrian', but ''chienne'' means, well, 'female dog' (and is just as insulting as in English). In addition, ''autruche'' means 'ostrich'.
* GorgeousPeriodDress[=/=]PimpedOutDress: The new Greco-Roman inspired high-waisted muslin gowns replacing the aristocratic wigs and full-skirted dresses.
* HazyFeelTurn: Jacques-Louis David, the talented painter, prominent supporter of the Robespierre, and the chief propagandist of the Revolution and the Terror. He then managed to weasel out of a death sentence when Robespierre was guillotined and later became a great supporter of NapoleonBonaparte. This resulted in the ironic fact that the most famous image glorifying the Revolution (''La Mort de Marat'') was painted by the same man who created the most famous image glorifying Napoleon (''Napoleon Crosses the Alps''), the man who ended the Revolution.
** France itself suffered this, especially in the eyes of the Americans and (to a lesser extent) British and Dutch. While the Absolutists were naturally horrified by the idea of popular sovereignty and democratic republicanism, the major Western maritime powers were liberal and democratic in their on right and initially had sympathy for it on the whole. However, they were increasingly turned off by the various things the revolution turned to, and the MoralEventHorizon for the British was the terror and/owr Republican France's declaration of war against the Dutch Republic and "Crowned" Republic of Great Britain. Likewise, America suffered this to the French revolutionaries for applauding its' "sister revolution" only to declare neutrality when it started declaring wars, even going so far as to say the alliance it had with the Ancien Regime did not apply to the new Republic.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, and Napoleon spend so much time in fictions set in this period, one wonders how they managed to play their parts in history.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: [[WellIntentionedExtremist Robespierre]] did some less than commendable things in the name of the Republic, but he was co-author of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, he advocated against the death penalty and was involved in such causes as the abolition of slavery, eliminating the property qualification to be represented in government, and granting rights to Protestants and Jews . Tell that to some fictional portrayals.
** Jean-Paul Marat perhaps got it worse than anybody else from that period, and went from being an almost godlike figure whose bust replaced crosses in churches to be described as an "angry monster insatiably hungry for blood" after the Reign of Terror was pretty much done and finished.
** Louis Antoine De Saint-Just is often portrayed in fiction as a violent extremist who wanted anyone of noble birth, even the ones on his side, wiped off the face of the earth. Now, while he did actually say this, he did so in the final years of his life (during the height of the Reign of Terror when they started executing people left and right), and for the most of his life had pretty moderate views. Tell that to fiction.
** On the other side, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette got this, especially during the Revolution. Marie Antoinette did not actually say the infamous line, [[BeamMeUpScotty "Let them eat cake"]], and Louis XVI was [[HanlonsRazor not tyrannical, just incompetent]].
* HistoryRepeats: The French Revolution cycle is strangely similar, if compressed, to the one of AncientRome: ousting the King, establishing a Republic undone by its divisions which gives way to an empire. Note that [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoclassicism Neoclassicism]] was in fashion at the time.
** The British ''hate'' when this is pointed out, but they did exactly the same as the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones.]]
* HitSoHardTheCalendarFeltIt: As noted above, the revolutionary government made 1792 the Year I, and France counted years that way for a while thereafter.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The salon culture of Paris that served as the intellectual birthplace of many Revolutionary ideas grew as the result of the active patronage of the Duke of Orleans, Louis XVI's cousin, who was hoping to use the popular discontent against the King to usurp the throne himself. Suffice to say, things did not go as planned.
** Fun fact: Said Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orleans, is said to have tried to get rid of Louis XVI while he was still Dauphin [[note]]Crown Prince[[/note]] by using ''[[DeathBySex syphilis-infected prostitutes]]'', and had personal and ideological reasons for supporting the revolution. During the 3 or so years of de facto constitutional monarchy, the same Louis-Philippe became a deputy in the National Assembly under the name [[AerithAndBob Philippe]]-[[JustTheFirstCitizen Egalité]]. Then, he was among the deputies who voted ''for'' the execution of Louis XVI. Generally speaking, he took it UpToEleven during the revolutionary period, which didn't prevent him from eventually getting guillotined like everyone else on [[HoistByHisOwnPetard suspicion of counter-revolutionary sympathies]]. Meanwhile, his GenreSavvy son, [[NamesTheSame Louis-Philippe]], fled France, traveled incognito across Europe, is said to have made a living by giving [[JackOfAllTrades private tuition to well-off young women]], and eventually arrived in England where he was immediately [[NoTrueScotsman shunned by his surviving relatives]] [[note]]namely Louis XVI's brothers who would later become Louis XVIII and Charles X [[/note]] because of his father's endorsement of the Revolution. Some 30 years later, [[CycleOfRevenge he would help overthrow them and become "Louis-Philippe, King of ''the French''"]] [[note]]not king of ''France''; his daughter's descendants the kings of the Belgians would adopt an analogous style[[/note]] from 1830 to 1848.
* JustTheFirstCitizen: The Committee of Public Safety had no leadership positions; Robespierre was just another member, but he soon emerged as the most public and terrifying face of the ReignOfTerror.
* ListOfTransgressions: King Louis received one.
-->1 - On 20 June, 1789, you attacked the sovereignty of the people by suspending the assemblies of its representatives and by driving them by violence from the place of their sessions. Proof thereof exists in the procès-verbal drafted at the Tennis Court of Versailles by the members of the Constituent Assembly.\\
2 - On 23 June you wished to dictate the laws to the nation; you surrounded its representatives with troops; you presented them with two royal declarations, subversive of every liberty, and you ordered them to separate. Your declarations and the minutes of the Assembly established these outrages undeniably.\\
...\\
32 - On 10 August you reviewed the Swiss Guards at five o’clock in the morning; and the Swiss Guards fired first on the citizens. \\
33 - [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment You caused the blood of Frenchmen to flow]].
* LoopholeAbuse: The U.S. maintained neutrality in the war between Britain and revolutionary France, despite an earlier treaty with the French signed during the American Revolution. {{George Washington}}'s administration argued that the treaty was invalid because it had been signed with the no longer existent French monarchy. This led to the Quasi-War.
* MindScrew: The Revolutionary period is often cited as one of the most complex and confusing areas of historical study, and is sometimes memetically invoked as something that drives people mad or puts them to sleep.
* MoreDeadlyThanTheMale: That was the ''tricoteuses''' reputation, anyway.
* NothingIsTheSameAnymore: Oh yes. The global system was shaken from its core. Consequences are still visible and discussed to this day.
** When Kissinger asked Deng Xiaoping about the consequences of the French Revolution, Deng famously replied; "It is too early to say yet".
* OffWithHisHead: The guillotine was extensively used, during the ReignOfTerror in particular.
** Of note is that decapitation was the way nobles were executed, while commoners were hanged. One of the sole concessions the aristocrats were willing to make at the beginning of the Estates General was that [[{{Irony}} all social classes would get the right to be executed ''via'' decapitation]].
* ReignOfTerror: The TropeNamer.
* TheRemnant: The Royalists of Vendée and the Chouans saw themselves as this, along with LaResistance, in their uprising from 1793-1799. Their defiance and utter zeal caught the admiration of NapoleonBonaparte. [[NeverLiveItDown But even to this day, many of their descendants don't take to the Republic well.]]
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: The overwhelming conservative opinion.
* TheRevolutionWillNotBeVilified: [[AngryMobSong ''La Marseillaise'']] is now the French national anthem because of this.
* RousingSpeech: Several, often doubling as [[BadassBoast Badass Boasts]]. For instance, Henri de la Rochejaquelein addressing the Vendean Royalist rebels: "If I advance, follow me; if I die, avenge me; [[HonorBeforeReason if I retreat, kill me!]]"
** The most well-known may still be Danton's "''(...) de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace (...)!''".
* SelfMadeMan: Arguably, NapoleonBonaparte. The Revolution had given him an opportunity to rise up the ranks to become the legendary general-turned-Emperor known to history. Especially through a mix of ability (merit replacing social standing in the military) and connections with some of the Revolution's leaders.
** Pierre-François Augereau and André Masséna, the top commanders of the Army of Italy before Napoleon took over, rose from even lower. Augereau was the son of Parisian shopkeepers and became a brigadier general at 36 in 1793, three years only after joining the Revolutionary armies [[note]]Although this engagement was not his first : he had already joined the French army once at 17, fled because he had killed an officer, and then served under the Prussian and Austrian banners while occasionally working as a fencing teacher when funds were running low[[/note]]. Masséna's story is a bit similar, although less convoluted: he was the son of a grocer from Nice, lost his father at 6, ran away from home at 13 to become a sailor, joined the army twice in 1775 and later in 1790, and he was also 36 when he became a brigadier general in 1793. Both men would then be made Marshals by Napoleon when he established the Empire.
* ShootTheShaggyDogStory: The revolution to get rid of an absolute monarch, followed by the wars to remove foreign influence, ended up producing [[NapoleonBonaparte another absolute monarch]], who was then defeated by foreign influence, and the entire period of upheaval ended in 1815 with the Battle of Waterloo and the re-installation of the House of Bourbon. By foreign powers. After nigh-on three decades of bloodshed, the French could be forgiven for asking: what was the bloody point?
** That's taking the short view. The House of Bourbon couldn't maintain an absolute monarchy for long and constitutional reforms were gradually introduced. The French monarchy in 1815 was ''very'' different from the one in 1789.
* SocietyMarchesOn: Universal suffrage, abolition of slavery and divorce through mutual consent were part of the "[[{{Irony}} horrors]]" of the French Revolution for some of its opponents. They were swiftly abrogated by NapoleonBonaparte and only came back much later in France: 1848 for the first two, and ''1975'' for the mutual consent divorce.
* UpperClassTwit: Whatever else you think about Marie and Louis, it's pretty obvious they had no clue what they were doing. The other French aristocrats weren't much more efficient, and [[AristocratsAreEvil most higher clergy and nobles constantly blocked any economic reforms that would help the country]] ([[MoneyDearBoy since said reforms would also require them to give up some of their cash and noble privileges]]). Others (usually poorer ones) supported them, some because they sincerely believed the country needed change (the leaders of the moderate faction were mostly aristocrats, some of them very capable men like Lafayette and Mirabeau; they wanted a limited monarchy like in Great Britain, but couldn't convince the king it was his only hope of surviving.) Others opposed reforms just because they hated Calonne.
* WouldntHitAGirl: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Women%27s_March_on_Versailles How the king was forced back to Paris from Versailles]].
** Also AmazonBrigade: the Revolutionary Republican Women [[BlondeRepublicanSexKitten (NOT to be confused with...)]].
** Invoked by Jean-Baptiste Bessières (former medical student, future Marshal of the French Empire) when he was part of the Constitutional Guard, tasked with the protection of the King. On August 9th 1792, he and about 200 other guards faced a furious mob of ''sans-culottes'' ; he ordered his men to lower their weapons and shouted "On ne tue pas les femmes!"[[note]]We don't kill women![[/note]] In the end, the mob, impressed by his determination, dispersed without a single shot being fired.

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!!Works that are set in this time period are:

[[AC:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* ''RoseOfVersailles''
* ''[[LeChevalierDEon Le Chevalier d'Eon]]''

[[AC:ComicBooks]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}: Reign of Terror'': An {{Elseworlds}} story set during the French Revolution with Bruce Wayne as a French nobleman who becomes a masked crimefighter carrying convicted innocents out of France, a la TheScarletPimpernel.
* ''ComicBook/TheSandman'' story "Thermidor" is a dark tale set in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

[[AC:FanFiction]]
* ''AxisPowersHetalia'' DarkFic involving France tend to use this as the backdrop.

[[AC:{{Film}}]]
* ''StartTheRevolutionWithoutMe''
* ''La Marseillaise'' (Jean Renoir film)
* ''Danton'' (1983 movie, Andrzej Wajda)
* ''Napoléon'' (1927 French silent movie by Abel Gance)
* ''MarieAntoinette''
* ''The French Revolution'' (1989 movie, Robert Enrico). The film was produced for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution.
* ''Film/OrphansOfTheStorm'' (though the original novel which was adapted was '''not''' set in this time period)
* ''TheAffairOfTheNecklace'' about a scandal involving Marie Antoinette. Pre-revolution, but helped to lower her reputation in the eyes of the public.
* ''Film/{{Scaramouche}}''
* ''StayTuned'': The protagonist fall into this setting on one of the channels.
* ''Film/BrotherhoodOfTheWolf'', at the beginning.

[[AC:{{Literature}}]]
* ''ATaleOfTwoCities''
* ''Literature/TheScarletPimpernel''
* ''Literature/{{Scaramouche}}''
* Creator/VictorHugo's ''93''
* The ''Pink Carnation'' series.
* ''A Place of Greater Safety''
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' takes place in the Napoleonic Wars InSpace and thus has the entire plot in the background.
* ''Literature/TheWomanWithTheVelvetNecklace'' takes place during the Terror. In reference to MoralEventHorizon, it mentions the execution of King Louis as "the single most important event in human history to date."
* ''{{Literature/Les Miserables}}'', though not actually set during the French Revolution, makes constant references to it.
* A significant part of ''{{Literature/TheRedLion}}''.
* ''Literature/TheWayToTheLantern''

[[AC:{{Live-Action TV}}]]
* ''[[BlackAdder Blackadder the Third]]'' ([[AnachronismStew for one episode]])
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': "The ReignOfTerror"
* ''Series/TheTimeTunnel'' episode "ReignOfTerror".
* ''Series/HoratioHornblower'': Episode "The Wrong War" (aka "The Frogs and the Lobsters") deals with a civil war between the Royalists and the Revolutionaries.

[[AC:{{Music}}]]
* Music/{{Voltaire}}'s song "The Headless Waltz"
* AllanSherman's song "You Went the Wrong Way Old King Louis"
* Fireaxe's ''[[FoodForTheGods Raise the Black Flag]]''
* "Bastille Day" by Music/{{Rush}}
* [[Music/PinkFloyd Roger Waters']] opera, ''Ca Ira'', [[{{Anvilicious}} with some deliberate allegories to America in]] [[TheWarOnTerror the mid-2000's]].
* Music/{{Queen}}'s "Killer Queen" namechecks MarieAntoinette and the "let them eat cake" misquote in its opening lyrics.

[[AC:{{Theatre}}]]
* ''Danton's Death'' (play by Georg Büchner)
* ''Theatre/MaratSade'' by Peter Weiss

[[AC:VideoGames]]

* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedUnity''

[[AC:WebComics]]
* ''Webcomic/BiteMe, [[EitherOrTitle or A Vampire Farce]]''.
* ''HarkAVagrant'': [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=273 "Yoo hoo]], [[BlackComedy does this pike make me look fat?"]]

[[AC:WebOriginal]]
* ''LookToTheWest'' features an AlternateHistory version.

[[AC:WesternAnimation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Histeria}}'' episode, titled, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin well, "The French Revolution"]]
----
[[redirect:UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution]]
10th Aug '14 9:02:34 AM Manawyddan
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** The British ''hate'' when this is pointed out, but they did exactly the same as the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones,]] as well as the fact that far fewer people died as a result.

to:

** The British ''hate'' when this is pointed out, but they did exactly the same as the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones,]] as well as the fact that far fewer people died as a result.overtones.]]
10th Aug '14 5:56:24 AM Ciara13
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** British hate when this is pointed out, but they've done exactly the same that the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones.]]

to:

** The British hate ''hate'' when this is pointed out, but they've done they did exactly the same that as the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones.]]overtones,]] as well as the fact that far fewer people died as a result.
16th Jul '14 2:21:02 PM Manawyddan
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-->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated Prussian soldiers after the battle of Valmy

to:

-->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated Prussian German soldiers after the battle of Valmy
16th Jul '14 2:18:50 PM Manawyddan
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-->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated German soldiers after the battle of Valmy

to:

-->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated German Prussian soldiers after the battle of Valmy
14th Jul '14 3:14:02 PM helix
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->'''King Louis XVI:''' ''Is it a revolt?''\\
'''Duke of La Rochefoucauld:''' ''[[NoExceptYes No sire, it is a revolution]].''
8th Jul '14 5:23:04 AM Random888
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* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution: Whatever one may say, the two are linked together as contemporary events inspired by somewhat similar ideals. France's support of America during the Revolutionary War was one of many reasons France went bankrupt, while many French revolutionary leaders were at least partly inspired by events across the pond; many, like Creator/ThomasPaine and Marquis de Lafayette, participated in both. Americans were nonetheless disgusted at the bloodshed of the French Revolution; death is inevitable in such things, but a lot of what was happening in France was so gratuitously cruel that there was little excuse. Several prominent Americans (including Benjamin Franklin who was the United States Ambassador to France until 1785) also had personal sympathy for Louis XVI (as a man, if not necessarily a monarch) for his aid during their revolution. The US and France ended up fighting each other in the Quasi-War in 1798.

to:

* UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution: Whatever one may say, the two are linked together as contemporary events inspired by somewhat similar ideals. France's support of America during the Revolutionary War was one of many reasons France went bankrupt, while many French revolutionary leaders were at least partly inspired by events across the pond; many, like Creator/ThomasPaine and Marquis de Lafayette, participated in both. Americans were nonetheless disgusted at the bloodshed of the French Revolution; death is inevitable in such things, but a lot of what was happening in France was so gratuitously cruel that there was little excuse. UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson remained steadfast in his support of the French Revolution, even after learning of the Terror, and fought the U.S. policy of neutrality in the French Revolutionary Wars. Several prominent Americans (including Benjamin Franklin who was the United States Ambassador to France until 1785) also had personal sympathy for Louis XVI (as a man, if not necessarily a monarch) for his aid during their revolution. The US and France ended up fighting each other in the Quasi-War in 1798.
29th Jun '14 2:49:27 AM Manawyddan
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-->'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated German soldiers after the battle of Valmy

to:

-->'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe -->--'''[[Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe Goethe]]''' to the defeated German soldiers after the battle of Valmy
4th Jun '14 10:02:29 PM Ratshot
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The French Revolution is usually considered to be a radical alternative to the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Ironically, at the time the French and American revolutions were seen as ideological twins (subject peoples inspired by [[RomanticismVersusEnlightenment radical liberal ideas]] overthrowing aristocracies, lead by radicalised members of the middle class like Robespierre and Washington) and supporters of one were usually supporters of the other (Creator/ThomasPaine, the Anglo-US radical, considered a traitor by the British for his support of the American revolution, was an equally-fierce supporter of the revolution in France; he later turned against the leaders of both considering them what we would now call sell-outs). Also ironically, the most famous man to say anything about both revolutions, Irish statesman Edmund Burke, supported the American Revolution but not the one in France - he supported the Americans because they were fighting for freedom but opposed what the French were doing because they were trying to change too much too fast and based only on largely untested ideas. Modern "interpretations" of the events of the period usually say much more about contemporary politics and bickering than they do about the late 18th century.

to:

The French Revolution is usually considered to be a radical alternative to the UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution. Ironically, at the time the French and American revolutions were seen as ideological twins (subject peoples inspired by [[RomanticismVersusEnlightenment radical liberal ideas]] overthrowing aristocracies, lead by radicalised members of the middle class like Robespierre and Washington) and supporters of one were usually supporters of the other (Creator/ThomasPaine, the Anglo-US radical, considered a traitor by the British for his support of the American revolution, was an equally-fierce supporter of the revolution in France; he later turned against the leaders of both considering them what we would now call sell-outs). Also ironically, the most famous man to say anything about both revolutions, Irish statesman Edmund Burke, supported the American Revolution but not the one in France - he supported the Americans because they were fighting for freedom but opposed what the French were doing because they were trying to change too much too fast and based only on largely untested ideas. Modern "interpretations" of the events of the period usually say much more about contemporary politics and bickering than they do about the late 18th century.



* There were only seven prisoners in the Bastille when it was stormed, none of whom were political (the Marquis de Sade had been moved 10 days earlier). Besides, the goal of the rioters wasn't to free them but to get some weapons to defend themselves against royal troops. This event appears to have come about from rumours about said troops preparing a massacre of reolutionaries.

to:

* There were only seven prisoners in the Bastille when it was stormed, none of whom were political (the Marquis de Sade had been moved 10 days earlier). Besides, the goal of the rioters wasn't to free them but to get some weapons to defend themselves against royal troops. This event appears to have come about from rumours about said troops preparing a massacre of reolutionaries.revolutionaries.
7th May '14 1:04:53 AM Turtler
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An example of the variety of viewpoints is: in England "Jacobin" means "Jacobin", in America "Jacobin" means "fanatic", in Austria "Jacobin" means people like Alexander I of Russia, and in France "Jacobin" means "anti-federalists". To this day, the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]] is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived). Broadly speaking, liberalism consists in agreeing with it only so far as it went before the Reign of Terror; socialism consists in extending and "perfecting" it; conservatism consists in disliking it but working within the structures it creates; and reaction consists in trying to do away with it altogether. These notions have slipped a lot with time, the modern meaning of these terms being quite different. RedOctober and WorldWarII changed these positions (for instance, the latter added fascism, a combination of socialism's revolutionary spirit with a conservative/reactionary opposition to its ideals), but did little to alter the overall orientation.

to:

An example of the variety of viewpoints is: in England "Jacobin" means "Jacobin", in America "Jacobin" means "fanatic", in Austria "Jacobin" means people like Alexander I of Russia, and in France "Jacobin" means "anti-federalists". To this day, the [[UsefulNotes/StandardEuropeanPoliticalLandscape European political spectrum]] is largely oriented by one's opinions on the French Revolution: the terms "left" and "right" themselves originate in where the delegates sat in the national assembly (other cool terms like Montagnard (Mountaineer) have not survived). Broadly speaking, liberalism consists in agreeing with it only so far as it went before the Reign of Terror; socialism consists in extending and "perfecting" it; conservatism consists in disliking it but working within the structures it creates; creates but either thinking it went too far/too fast or disliking it; and reaction consists in trying to do away with it altogether. These notions have slipped a lot with time, the modern meaning of these terms being quite different. RedOctober and WorldWarII changed these positions (for instance, the latter added fascism, instance fascism was added, encompassing a combination of socialism's revolutionary spirit with a conservative/reactionary opposition to twist on its ideals), but did little to alter the overall orientation.



** France itself suffered this, especially in the eyes of the Americans and (to a lesser extent) British and Dutch. While the Absolutists were naturally horrified by the idea of popular sovereignty and democratic republicanism, the major Western maritime powers were liberal and democratic in their on right and initially had sympathy for it on the whole. However, they were increasingly turned off by the various things the revolution turned to, and the MoralEventHorizon for the British was the terror and/or Republican France's declaration of war against the Dutch Republic and "Crowned" Republic of Great Britain.

to:

** France itself suffered this, especially in the eyes of the Americans and (to a lesser extent) British and Dutch. While the Absolutists were naturally horrified by the idea of popular sovereignty and democratic republicanism, the major Western maritime powers were liberal and democratic in their on right and initially had sympathy for it on the whole. However, they were increasingly turned off by the various things the revolution turned to, and the MoralEventHorizon for the British was the terror and/or and/owr Republican France's declaration of war against the Dutch Republic and "Crowned" Republic of Great Britain.Britain. Likewise, America suffered this to the French revolutionaries for applauding its' "sister revolution" only to declare neutrality when it started declaring wars, even going so far as to say the alliance it had with the Ancien Regime did not apply to the new Republic.



** British hate when this is pointed out, but they've done exactly the same that the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What only sets them apart is French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism.

to:

** British hate when this is pointed out, but they've done exactly the same that the French, [[EnglishCivilWar just one century before]]. They ousted the King, judged him in Parliament, beheaded him, established a republic[[note]]"commonwealth" is a LiteralTranslation of the Latin "''res publica''", which gave "republic"[[/note]] which ended in a dictatorship, paving the way for the return of the kings. What only sets them apart is the French Revolution's bigger focus upon equality and its messianism.messianism while the English Civil War had its' [[RealMenLoveJesus religious overtones.]]



* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: The overwhelming conservative reaction.

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* TheRevolutionWillNotBeCivilized: The overwhelming conservative reaction.opinion.
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