the French Revolution
A backdrop of blood (cont)

If things seemed to happening too quickly, they were confused still further when a new calender was introduced that would be used until 1805. The new calendar had 12 months of 30 days (Vendémiaire, Brumaire, Frimaire, Nivôse, Pluviôse, Ventôse, Germinal, Floréal, Prairial, Messidor, Thermidor and Fructidor). The five extra days were designated as feast days called sans-culottides and in leap year, the last day of the year was Revolution Day. Every 10th day was a day of rest.

Marie Antoinette was executed in October; churches in Paris were closed the next month and, by the end of the year, the Revolutionary Government was established. Slavery was abolished the next year but the turmoil of the Revolution meant that the revolutionaries were merely in charge of a hurricane.

In April, Danton was arrested on charges of conspiracy and guillotined. Robespierre might have been a truly frightening figure, with excesses that frightened the people; but people power prevailed and he was arrested, tried and executed in July. With his overthrow, the Reign of Terror ended.

In the years that followed, France was in turmoil. The Reign of Terror might have been ended, the Government might have been reorganised, but the country was plagued by corruption and was essentially bankrupt. Enter Napoleon Bonaparte, who had risen during the Revolution. He gained in power until establishing his empire in 1804. The bourgeoisie had triumphed in the end.


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