Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

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Although by law, political power could not pass through the Queen’s body (only male heirs could succeed to the throne in France), there was great political interest in the body of Louis XVI’s Queen, Marie Antoinette, a Habsburg princess whose…

The abolition of the feudal system, which took place during the famous night session of 4–5 August 1789, was precipitated by the reading of a report on the misery and disturbances in the provinces. The voting was carried in a fervor of enthusiasm…

Once they had agreed on the necessity of drafting a declaration of rights, the deputies of the National Assembly still faced the daunting task of composing one that a majority could accept. The debate raised several questions: should the declaration…

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 to provide an authoritative list of human rights that could serve as an international standard for all peoples and nations. An affirmation of…

Despite a show of support for the Revolution, by the fall of 1790, the royal family and its entourage increasingly felt that the changes of the past eighteenth months had cost them their dignity and power. Unable to stop or even control the changes…

Even after the aborted flight of the royal family in June 1791, Emperor Leopold von Habsburg of Austria, brother of Marie Antoinette, continued his efforts to organize a coalition of French émigré nobles and other European powers that would invade…

In response to the "Padua Circular," King Louis’s brother, the Count of Artois, a leader of the émigré nobles, expressed his support for Emperor Leopold II of Austria. Leopold, in conjunction with Prussian King Frederick–William III, then…

Having received news of the alliance of Prussia and Austria with émigré French nobles against the Revolution, the Legislative Assembly considered itself threatened by invasion. Fearing that the King, despite his public acceptance of the…

To increase his control over the German states and definitively destroy the Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon set up the Confederation of the Rhine, grouping together a large number of formerly indepedent states, and forced the Emperor to abdicate his…

In response to his defeat by Napoleon, Prussian King Frederick William I, pushed by his ministers, initiated a series of reforms intended to modernize property relationships and the administration of the state. This edict abolished serfdom.
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