The French Revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in France that began with the Estates General of 1789 and ended with the formation of the French Consulate in November 1799. Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of liberal democracy, while phrases like Liberté, égalité, fraternité reappeared in other revolts, such as the 1917 Russian Revolution, and inspired campaigns for the abolition of slavery and universal suffrage. Its values and the institutions it created dominate French politics to this day.
The causes are generally agreed to be a combination of social, political and economic factors, which the existing regime proved unable to manage. In May 1789, widespread social distress led to the convocation of the Estates-General, which was converted into a National Assembly in June. The Assembly passed a series of radical measures, including the abolition of feudalism, state control of the Catholic Church and extending the right to vote.
The next three years were dominated by the struggle for political control, exacerbated by economic depression and social unrest.