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The French Revolution officially began on July 14, 1789, when rioting peasants attacked a prison fortress known as the Bastille to secure weapons and munitions. For months, the common people of France had suffered from poor harvests, food shortages, and extreme taxes due to King Louis XVI’s overspending. When the Estates-Generale failed to find a solution, the commoners established the National Assembly, took the Tennis Court Oath, and began to fight against the aristocracy in protests like the storming of the Bastille. In 1791, the National Assembly established a constitutional monarchy with Louis XVI at its head and the Legislative Assembly representing the people. The revolution quickly grew radical, and the Jacobins established a republic with a National Convention, arrested Louis XVI, and sentenced him to death, beginning the Reign of Terror. The Reign of Terror ended with the establishment of the Directory, backed by Napoleon Bonaparte. The new government struggled, especially as it faced insurrection from within and attacks by Great Britain and other countries from without. In November 1799, Napoleon seized power, and the French Revolution came to an end.
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