The French Revolution, which took place from 1789 to 1799, was an accumulation of two different revolutions, or two different stages of the revolution. The first stage, from 1789 until early 1792, dealt with liberty, and new ideas and policies for government. The second stage, from later 1792 until 1799, dealt with democracy and the cry for equality for all. Both stages succeeded in some ways, and failed in others, leading to the French Revolution itself to be both a success and a failure.
From 1789 until 1799, liberty was what the masses were after: the liberty to compete, to own, and to succeed. The creation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen is a perfect example of what the masses were after. The key word is, of course, masses. The Third-Estate long felt that it was time they were heard and taken seriously. The first phase of the revolution became the battleground of the Third-Estate versus anyone with substantial power. The call for liberty spread into all aspects of a Frenchman’s life, the peasantry, aristoc
Maximilien Robespierre came to have some power in 1793 and used it to try and gain more power for himself. France slowly began to take steps towards democracy, starting with stripping the clergy of their power, condemning the ruling family, abolishing absolute monarchy and writing the Constitution of 1791. Robespierre made many enemies however, and he fell in 1795. The first phase can be viewed as both successful and unsuccessful. First off, the ruling family, that is, Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI were executed at the guillotine. The cry for equality and democracy became swallowed in the terror that went with Robespierre"tms philosophies and thinking. racy, and the clergy were all affected. The Reign of Terror was a time of great bloodshed for the people of France. The first phase of the revolution was mainly about discovering new ideas, mostly on the political spectrum. The time for change took to long to come; so many took the problem into their own hands, killing off anyone of power for practically any reason. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, and then later the one written for women, both exemplify the changes that were made during the first phase of the French Revolution. However, the ideas and philosophies of the Reign of Terror passed on important lessons to all involved, creating the atmosphere for change and democracy. After, however, the need for change began to get out of hand and the Reign of Terror began. The end of the revolution came with the start of the Directory, and then later, the rule of Napoleon.