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French Revolution

noun, French History.
the revolution that began in 1789, overthrew the absolute monarchy of the Bourbons and the system of aristocratic privileges, and ended with Napoleon's overthrow of the Directory and seizure of power in 1799. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for French Revolution
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Voltaire had said that about thirty years before the French Revolution.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Partly, no doubt, it was a heritage of the sentiment of the French Revolution.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • As loyal as wise, he was, from 1789, an enemy to the French Revolution.

  • However, it was not to be a French Revolution in the sense of mob-rule.

    Blood and Iron John Hubert Greusel
  • That was in the autumn of 1792, when the French Revolution was just beginning.

    The Fairchild Family Mary Martha Sherwood
British Dictionary definitions for French Revolution

French Revolution

the anticlerical and republican revolution in France from 1789 until 1799, when Napoleon seized power
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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French Revolution in Culture

French Revolution definition

The event at the end of the eighteenth century that ended the thousand-year rule of kings in France and established the nation as a republic. The revolution began in 1789, after King Louis xvi had convened the French parliament to deal with an enormous national debt. The common people's division of the parliament declared itself the true legislature of France, and when the king seemed to resist the move, a crowd destroyed the royal prison (the Bastille). A constitutional monarchy was set up, but after King Louis and his queen, Marie Antoinette, tried to flee the country, they were arrested, tried for treason, and executed on the guillotine. Control of the government passed to Robespierre and other radicals — the extreme Jacobins — and the Reign of Terror followed (1793–1794), when thousands of French nobles and others considered enemies of the revolution were executed. After the Terror, Robespierre himself was executed, and a new ruling body, the Directory, came into power. Its incompetence and corruption allowed Napoleon Bonaparte to emerge in 1799 as dictator and, eventually, to become emperor. Napoleon's ascent to power is considered the official end of the revolution. (See Georges Danton and Jean-Paul Marat.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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