The French Revolution was a firestorm that brought the traditions of Rome back to Europe. The French Revolution followed on the heels of the American Revolution. Many of the soldiers that fought on the side of the 13 colonies returned to the Kingdom of France, full of revolutionary fevor. They were determined to bring down the autocratic state that was France. This revolution should be remembered for it's successes and its failures.
In 1789 the tennis court assembly began. The assembly was made up of the third assembly, the middle class. The first two assemblies (nobles) and (church) did not participate. It was here that the middle class began the French Revolution that would eventually create the National Assembly and bring down King Louis the 16th. In 1793 the King Louis and his wife were executed. This period is generally known as the beginning of the reign of terror. Maximillian Robspierre took command of the committee of Public Safety. During this period as many as 50,000 French civilians were beheaded. Many were of the noble class, some of the church class. Eventually Robspierre would be overthrown, the directory established, and Napoleon would be crowned Emperor in 1799. This is generally known as the end of the Revolution. During this period several things happened. The church was completely displaced. The church in France had been instrumental for hundreds of years. All church land and property was confenscated by the National Assembly, to start a new, secular state. The nobles who had led France for generations were massacred.
Bloodspread was widespred, but democratic ideals began. The national assembly of Frenchmen was created. Free press was established and an end to the church and noble rule was established. While many died unnecessarily and this should be remembered as a failure, the base for demoracy was established. When Napoleon led his armies out of France to conquer Europe, these ideas were spread. Seeds were sown and in 1848 widespread revolt would occur across Europe in the hopes of establishing democratic governments, these movemetns were chrushed but by 1918 almost all the major Kingdoms had fallen to democracy and secular rule. Napoleon was instrumental in this. While he was an Emperor, his reign saw seeds to democracy sewn across Europe, through conquest. Eventually secularism, and western democracy would begin to flurish.
It is in my opinion that this event was one of the most defining events in the past millenia. It was a dramatic upheaval of the noble and church class. After the revolution people began to turn against their nobles and priests. Revolution was everywhere. And, while the French Revolution failed to accomplish it's goals to an independent democratic French state, eventually France would achieve this goal. France would pave the way for enlightenment principal and eventually Europe would turn against the ancient foundations of Kingdom and Catholicism.