1. Overview

The French revolution is often considered to be the starting point of modern history because the revolutionaries who overthrew the so-called 'Ancien Regime' were the first in Europe to create the type of democratic, meritocratic and pluralist society many Western countries have developed into today. Its example reminds us that the fight for liberty, equality and fraternity goes on and that ordinary people can make a difference.

2. How was French society structured during the 'Ancien Regime'?

In 1774, Louis XVI became the King of France. As an absolute monarch, Louis' legitimacy was not drawn from the consent of his subjects but was founded upon the traditional belief that kings and queens had a 'divine right' to rule. As with all absolute monarchs, Louis' decision on all matters was final and there was no constitution to place limits on his power.

Louis ruled over a largely fuedal society, divided into three sections or 'estates':

  • 1st, Clergy
  • 2nd, Nobility
  • 3rd, Commoners

Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette clip

Click here for larger version

3. The road to RUIN: What were the causes of the 1789 revolution?

  • Reforming aspiration
  • Unfair society
  • Irresponsible government debt
  • Nose-diving standard of living

4. What were the key events of the French Revolution between 1789-95?

Beginnings of the revolution clip

The French revolution is a complex topic. This Prezi takes you through the main events using pictures.

A more intricate overview is provided by the spidergram below.

5. Which political groups vied for control of the Revolution?