What Was the French Revolution AP World History?

The French Revolution is one of the most significant events in world history. This period of upheaval and change in France marked a turning point in European history and had far-reaching consequences across the globe. In this article, we will explore what the French Revolution was and why it is still important today.

The Origins of the French Revolution

The French Revolution began in 1789, during a time when France was facing significant economic problems. The country was deeply in debt due to years of war and lavish spending by the monarchy. At the same time, many people were living in poverty while the nobility enjoyed great wealth and privilege.

This economic inequality was compounded by social inequality, as different classes of people were treated very differently under French law. The nobility enjoyed many privileges that were not available to commoners, including exemption from taxes and special treatment under the law.

The Key Events of the French Revolution

The French Revolution was marked by several key events that changed the course of European history. One of these was the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789. This event marked a turning point in the revolution, as it signaled that ordinary people could challenge and overthrow those in power.

Another significant event was the Reign of Terror, which took place between 1793-1794. During this time, thousands of people were executed for their perceived opposition to revolutionary ideals. This period is considered one of the darkest times in French history but also highlights how extreme political ideologies can lead to mass violence.

Impact of The French Revolution

The impact of The French Revolution cannot be overstated. It set off a wave of revolutions across Europe that led to significant political changes across much of Western Europe over several decades. It also inspired movements for independence in places like Haiti and Latin America.

Furthermore, it brought about significant changes within France itself, including the end of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. It also led to the adoption of a new legal code that abolished many of the privileges enjoyed by the nobility and established greater equality under the law.


In conclusion, The French Revolution was a pivotal moment in world history that had far-reaching consequences across Europe and beyond. It was driven by economic and social inequality, as well as a desire for political change.

While it had its dark moments, it ultimately brought about significant progress toward greater equality and democracy. Today, it remains an important event that continues to influence politics and society around the world.