French Revolution Unit Plan
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Though global exploration brought great economic and demographic changes to Europe, the centuries-old feudal social structure that had reigned during the Middle Ages largely remained in place. By the late 18th century, the economic, social and political oppression of the rising middle class engendered by feudalism, combined with Enlightenment ideas of equality, brought these two competing forces to a head. Nowhere was this clash more dramatic, violent and transformative than in France, where, beginning in 1789, the middle class seized power, ended the monarchy and sought to create a new nation based upon a common commitment to the equality of all citizens. The rise -- and fall -- of this revolutionary government serves as a case study for similar movements around the world during the 18th and 19th century, and helps answer the question: How effective is revolution as a means of creating, structuring and maintaining government?