The French Revolution began with the meeting of the legislative assembly (the States General) in May 1789 when the French government was already in crisis; the Bastille was stormed in July of the same year. The revolution became steadily more radical and ruthless with power increasingly in the hands of the Jacobins and Robespierre; Louis XVI’s execution in January 1793 was followed by Robespierre’s Reign of Terror. The revolution failed to produce a stable form of republican government, and after several different forms of administration, the last, the Directory, was overthrown by Napoleon in 1799
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