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The French Revolution certainly did go through stages. The first stage was the rejection of the Bourbon monarchy, the emancipation of all slaves and the lifting of restrictions upon those practicing Judaism. The next stage is the most infamous Reign of Terror between 1792-1795. With the execution of Marie Antoinette, queen, and Louis XVI, king of France, then the execution of Robespierre and around 150 of his followers in 1794 this period waned. The third stage saw a calmer period in which the churches were reopened, but because France lacked a leader and the government was destabilized, the time was ripe for Napoleon Bonaparte, who crowned himself Emperor of the First Republic. While most consider the end of the French Revolution as 1799, some date it as 1804 when Napoleon became First Consul. Still others date it as 1815 when the monarchy was restored with the reinstatement of Louis XVIII to the throne of France, even if for only 100 days.
In the final analysis, the French Revolution ended in a manner that reflected the adage that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Robespierre and the Jacobins assumed control after the overthrow of the French Monarchy. Robespierre, for all purposes, consolidated his control and through the Jacobins and the Committee of Public Safety began to identify his own aims as those of "the public's." At this point, the Revolution began to betray its initial causation, confirmed with the Reign of Terror, where public safety became confused with violence and mass executions. After garnering much in the way of political opponents, Robespierre, himself, was overthrown and lost his own head, both literally and politically. After much in the way of political fumbling, Napoleon, a French General who distinguished himself with tactical brilliance, assumed power in a coup d'etat. In Napoleon assuming control, the French Revolution, designed to eliminate monarchy, had managed to deliver a singular ruler to political power in France. In some respects, this became one of the best historical examples of "Meet the new boss/ same as the old boss."
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