The period in French history between 1789 and 1799.
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 and those who wanted a Republic: the Girondins and the 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). This event appears to have come about from rumours- Perception Is Nine Tenths Of A War.
- 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)
- Napoleon Bonaparte ended this whole mess when he took direct power. Specifically, he ended this mess. It's not like he caused any more mess. Of course not. After all, he's just The Emperor.
The French Revolution in fiction