• Declaration of Independence of the USA

    Declaration of Independence of the USA
    The colonists proclaimed the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America on 4 July 1776. Great Britain finally recognised the independence of the new nation in 1783. This was a significant triumph for the Enlightenment.

    The United States Constitution was written in 1787. It established a federal republic based on popular sovereignty and the separation of powers. It also recognised the legal equality of all citizens, although in most states suffrage was limited. This meant that only male citizens with a certain level of wealth and property could vote in elections.
  • Calling of the States General

    Calling of the States General
    The calling of the Estates General: in 1789 Louis XVI decided to call together the Estates General in order to increase taxes.
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    The National Assembly: at the meeting of the Estates General, the Third Estate proposed a new voting system in which each representative would have an individual vote. When the king refused, the members of the Third Estate declared themselves the true representatives of the nation. They formed a National Assembly and demanded a constitution.
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    The Constituent Assembly: the king finally agreed to the Third Estate’s demands. A new Constituent Assembly was elected to write a constitution. At the same time, protesters began to riot in the
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    During the The Constituent Assembly, protesters began to riot in the streets of Paris, and on 14 July 1789, they attacked the Bastille (a famous political prison).
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

    Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
    In reaction to these protests, the Constituent Assembly implemented legal reforms, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. The declaration stated that all men are born free and equal in their rights.
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    The Legislative Assembly: a new Legislative Assembly was elected. It was dominated by two groups, the Girondins and the Jacobins. Louis XVI opposed the reforms of the Legislative Assembly and asked Austria for support. In response, the assembly abolished the monarchy in September 1792 and declared France a republic.
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    The Convention: after the election of a new assembly known as the Convention, Louis XVI was accused of treason and then executed in January 1793. One month later, some European countries formed a coalition and declared war on France to prevent the revolution from spreading to other areas. Under the leadership of Robespierre, the Jacobins took control of the government and imposed a dictatorship, known as the Terror: about 42 000 people were executed during this period.