Skip to main content

French Revolution: Introduction

Prise de la Bastille The eighteenth century begins with the dramatic rise of the British Empire and the shifting fortunes of the French. The century ends having witnessed two of the world' most significant revolutions: one in America, the other in France, and the rise of perhaps one of the greatest military minds in history. While the American Revolution pressed for the removal of what had come to be as a foreign oppressor from across the sea, the French Revolution pursued the removal of a profligate royalty and corrupt privileged class and relief from taxation and hunger but in France, the offenders were within the country's own borders. While the French Revolution lasted 10 years, the story is multi-layered and fascinating.  The outcome of the revolution would contribute to massive change on the continent and in the greater world. This guide provides a starting point for the Study of the French Revolution.

Storming the Bastille, July 1789 / Anonymous.  The painting depicts the historical event which is generally considered to mark the beginning of the French revolution.