The French Revolution was the most important social and political change which took place in Europe in the late XVII Century. It was a violent period in which the old regime was overthrown, setting up a new regime where the burgeoisie, occasionally supported by the masses, became the ruling political class. Let’s see the causes of this revolution: 18th Century, we are in France, the active current of thought is the Enlightenment. The ideas of people, such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Montestquieu, have made bedlams in society. They held human thought could battle ignorance, superstition and tirany, to build a better world. This kind of thinking was expanded through meetings, held in wealthy people’s houses, in which intellectuals participated, and philosophy , politics and literature were discussed. The Encyclopaedia was read, an initiative by Diderot and D’Alambert that told in its successive publishings with many colaborators that wrote thousands of articles to embody the Enlightened thought. The Encyclopaedia contributed to the discredit of the system, a cultivated society that thinks for itself, it was the best way to ensure the end of the Old Regime. The principles based on the Reason, Equality and Liberty were present in the mind of the French. Not only of the French, the Enlightened ideas had spread across Europe and its colonies. On the other side of the ocean, the Enlightenment had worked as an impulse so that on a Fourth of July, 1776 the Thirteen Colonies of North America achieved Independence. France is under the yoke of an absolutist monarchy, ruled then by Louis XVI, who was married to Marie Antoinette, the power of the King and the Nobility was the base of this regime. The economy in the State was in a very precary situation, the military spendings and the bad harvests created a serious social situation, the people were hungry, while the luxury and wastes of the royalty continued normally, getting even more into debt the situation of the State. The Enlightened thought plus the social discontent were the perfect broth for the beginning of the revolution. But first, let’s see the division of the French society: The society was composed by three sectors, named Estates The First Estate was the church, which didn’t pay taxes, obtained from the peasant the tithe, i.e., one tenth part of the product of the harvests. Only the church could legalize marriages, births and deaths, and the education was in its hands. The Second Estate was composed by Nobility, owners of the land, which did not pay taxes, either. The peasants would pay them tribute and could only sell their harvests to them. It was a breed enclosed on itself. The First and Second Estates, i.e. the clergy and nobility, summed up around 3% of the population. The Third Estated would make up to 97% of the population, and the composition was very diverse: on one hand, there was the burgeoisie, formed by the wealthy merchants and bankers, the liberal professionists, physicians, lawyers… also by artisants and small merchants. On the other hand there were free peasants, small landlords, lessees and workers. The Third Estate had no power nor political decision, but paid all of the taxes, had the worst jobs and no rights. The burgeoisie needed access to power, and to handle a centralized State which protected and impulsed its economic activities, just as it had been happening in England. Let’s go back to Paris. When poverty provoked revolts, people went to complain to Versailles about the hunger they endured, then the rumour spread about the Queen, very haughty, said the phrase: “Let them eat cake”. Something like that trascended and resulted very provoking. To raise the serious taxing deficit, the King declared the State in bankruptcy and convened in 1788 the Estates General, a Medieval Parliament which was last held 174 years before. It was an assambly in which the deputies of the clergy, nobility and the people reunite. Around 1200 deputies were present, the half of them represented the first two Estates, and the other half represented the Third Estate which achieved to duplicate its representation. The inaugural session was held by the King Louis XVI, The clergy and the nobility claimed the vote for Estate, which granted them a majority without the need of a consensus. The Third Estate asked the vote per capita, which allowed more equality in the vote. With the negative of the first two Estates and the blocking of every vote, the Third Estate invited loose deputies of the clergy and nobility to join them. Two nobles and 149 members of the clergy did, in the face of this revolutionary act, the King Louis XVI closed the room and forbade the entrance to the members of the Third Estate. The deputies of the Third Estate agree to constitute in a new assembly, and to be the real representatives of the French people. They found a new place for reunions, the Tennis Court in the Palace of Versailles, this assembly took the name of National Assembly, promising to be together until getting France a Constitution. The King tried to break up the assembly, deputy Mirabeau then said the phrase: “We are here by the will of the people, and that we shall be removed only at the point of a bayonet”. On July 14th, Parisian people supported their representatives, and with the fear of the royal troops arresting them, they assaulted the fortress of the Bastille, symbol of monarchy absolutism, but also strategic spot of the repression of Louis XVI since his canyons aimed to the workers’ neighborhoods. After three hours of battle, the insurgents captured the prison, returning to the town hall, the crowd accused the governor of the prison of betrayal, he was stabbed and received a shot that killed him. He was beheaded and his head was exhibited in the city nailed in a pica. emerging the custom of nailing and parading in a pica the heads of the beheaded, something very common during the Revolution, the Capture of the Bastille gave the parisians a lot of confidence in themselves, what was expressed in the press, Jean-Paul Marat, a physician founder of a newspaper of huge success, became the voice of the Revolution, and a species of leader of the proletariat, with his constant harrassment to the rich. The King finally gave in and invited the nobility and the clergy to join the National Assembly, the assembly took the name of National Constituent Assembly. among the labors that the assembly would do, it can be highlighted the approval of the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen, the supression of feudalism, the appropiation of the goods of the church, the Civil Constitution of the clergy, the Freedom of press, and of course the redaction of a new Constitution. In this assembly the ones defending a parliamentary Monarchy would sit on the right, and in the left, the supporters of a republic that represented the interests of the middle and popular classes. This is how the concepts of political right and left were born. In the late september of 1789, a rumour of the King preparing his troops started to spread, and the journalists, with Marat on top, scared people so that they would react. The people marched to Versailles, camped, organized revolts on the outside of the Palace, and even a group of women entered to the Palace and beheaded members of the Royal Guard. They, later, demanded the King to move his residence from Versailles to Paris, and so he did; a big crowd paraded to Paris and he had to lodge in the Palace of the Tuileries. It was a way to have him more controlled and submit him under the people’s will. The Constituent Assembly, which moved his chamber to Paris, achieves to approve the Constitution in 1791, France would work as a Constitutional Monarchy, the Constitutions established the sovereignty resided on the Nation, and no mor on the King, the King does nothing else but to accept the Constitution, with his immensely weakened power, the King starts to scratch a new plan to recover his power. He knows he only can do this with the aid of a foreign army, his plan is to escape Tuileries, to reach the closest border. The King and Queen dress up as peasants and escape during the night. When they are about to reach the border with Austria, his plan fails, they’re discovered and made prisoners. In this moment, the doctor Guillotin proposed a sofisticated beheading method which he presents to the assembly. The journalist Marat, excited with this artifact, gives this machine the name of guillotine, which will have a very important role. With the King and Queen made prisoners, and the fear of an imminent attack, the assembly gets ahead and declares the war to Austria, the country of the family of Marie Antoinette. Soon Prussia joins Austria. On August 10th, 1792, the masses assaulted the Palace of the Tuileries, and the Constituent Assembly suspended the constitutional functions of the King. The Constituent Assembly convenes elections with the purpose of setting up, by universal suffrage, a new Parliament that would recieve the name of National Convention, The social and political tension in France was increasing, and also it was in war and was giving in territories to its enemies. The new chosen parliament composed almost entirely by the Jacobeans, with Robespierre on top, and the Girondins being more moderate, decide to abolish the monarchy and proclaim the Republic. They opened up a trial against the King for betrayal, who is finally condemned to death, and dies executed in the guillotine. the Queen Marie Antoinette would end with the same luck and would later be executed. The Revolution radicalized. During this period the accounts were squared, between the radical Jacobeans and the moderate Girondines. Bloodthirsty Marat lashes out against the moderates in the newspaper, and publishes alleged lists of traitors to the Revolution. This would end with a murdered Marat, while taking a bath in his house; the consequence, Marat would become a martyr, a legend of the radicals. The National Convention redacted a new Constitution, created also a new calendar, according to which, the year 1792 would become the year 1 of their era. They changed the name of the months: Floréal, Brumaire, Germinal… weeks were deleted with the ideal of supressing the religious connotations of Sunday and each month would divide in three periods of three days. The big orators Danton and Robespierre are the revolutionary figures that took more protagonism in that moment. The Legislative Power of the new Republic was in charge of the Convention, while the Executive power was held by by a newly created body, the Committee of Public Safety, with the purpose of safeguarding the Republic. This body was under the lead of the Jacobean Robespierre. The Jacobeans tied off what now is known as the Reign of Terror, from 1793 and 1794, a species of Jacobean dictatorship. The French republican experiment evolved into a terrorist regime; between 10,000 and 40,000 people were guillotined in face of accusations of anti revolutionary activities. The merciless responsible of the Terror served wrong to the values they pledged to defend. Priests and members of the Nobility were guillotined. Meanwhile, in the war of the border, a young General starts to win battles for the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, but in the interior, a war that evolved into a civil war faced the supporters of the French revolution and the anti revolutionaries. It was named the War in the Vendée. The collective madness made the revolutionary leaders themselves run with the same fate by being accused and condemned because of the jealousy of their rivals or because of their aspiration of a personal dictatorship. Robespierre proposes more terror in a way to virtue, Danton, on the other hand, believes it is time to finish the terror, consequence, Danton is guillotined. The number of executions increases, what is known as Great Fear, Robespierre’s madness could only end one way, beheaded in the guillotine. With the fall of Robespierre, the fear ended, but the Revolution didn’t. As an attempt of moderation, in 1795 the Constitution of the year 3 was enacted, which had elaborated and approved the constitution in the previous years, it was a very different Constitution than that of 1793, and in essence, the principles of the Monarchical Constitution of 1791 returned. The two novelties it featured was that the Legislative power was composed by two chambers, following the British model, and the Executive was integrated by five people that would make up the Directory, name with which the Republican regime would still be known. The Directory is a phase between 1795 and 1799 with a more moderate tone. This period is distinguished by the dissension among the directors and a bad economic crisis. Napoleon Bonapart, returned of his campaign in Egypt, found the motivation so that in 1799 he would execute a coup d’État, on Brumaire 18th. He made himself be called First Consul of the Republic, the first political stage of the Consulate starts. In this period he got to restore the internal order with great support of the French. The economy would grow again. In 1804, he strikes again through a plebiscite, and Napoleon proclaims himself Emperor. For many historians, this is were the Revolution ended, but the cry of Revolution lasts nowadays everywhere. Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. These words transformed the way of Occident forever.