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French Revolution

Also called Revolution Of 1789, the revolutionary movement that shook France between 1787 and 1799 and reached its first climax there in 1789. Hence the conventional term “Revolution of 1789,” denoting the end of the ancien régime in France and serving also to distinguish that event from the later French revolutions of 1830 and 1848. Although historians disagree on the causes of the Revolution, the following reasons are commonly adduced: (1) France had the largest population in Europe and could not feed it adequately, (2) the rich and expanding bourgeoisie was excluded from political power more systematically than in any other country, (3) the peasants were acutely aware of their situation and were less and less inclined to support the anachronistic and burdensome feudal system, (4) the Philosophes, who advocated social and political reform, had been read more widely in France than elsewhere, and (5) French participation in the American Revolutionary War had completed the ruin of the state's finances.

Encyclopaedia Britannica