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I think that the most basic accomplishment of the French Revolution was the lesson that it provided for historical consciousness. The French Revolution taught us that declaring independence is much different than actually maintaining it. The spirit and zeal with which revolution is waged is much different than the careful deliberation and judgment needed to sustain freedom in the modern setting. The French Revolution accomplished the notion of de- Romanticizing revolution, showing it to be an agent of change difficult, but sorely needed to harness and control. The dangers of the Reign of Terror, mob rule, and the guillotine all end up becoming lessons that prove to be the lasting legacy and fundamental accomplishment of the French Revolution. It ends up teaching the lesson that in absences of power structures, individuals or groups of individuals can seize power and actually perpetrate worse crimes than the original causation of the revolution in the first place. In becoming a lesson for all to absorb, I think that the French Revolution's fundamental accomplishment becomes something that is absorbed by historical consciousness.
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