The declaration of the rights of man and of the citizen (Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen”) was a statement of democratic principles inspired from the thinking of the likes of Jean Jaques Rousseau. It was signed on august the 4th, and attempted to replace the old regime with a new system involving freedom of speech, democracy, equal rights and opportunity and representative government. After the “death certificate of the old order”, and the chaos that ensued from the “great fear”, political, economic and social reform was inevitable. However, this reform proved a big challenge for the national assembly, already weighed down by having to work as a legislature during the economic crisis. Rather than being signed right away, it took months and months to create this new political idea, and to abolish all the old, traditional ideas. Issues such as the authority of the king remained strong, his image already weakened by a failed attempt to escape. Questions of responsibility for election of delegates also remained. What importance did the Catholic Church hold? Does the French government have authority over the church? Finally, in September the 3rd in 1791, the establishment of a constitutional monarchy was formed. In this constitution, the king would retain power over subjects such as appointing ministers – a decision which Maximilien de Robespierre did not agree with. Yet again, the popular support for a different government was spurred on, and many even wanted the trial of Louis XVI.
By 1972, European monarchs were suspicious of France. They had witnessed the power of the French people over the monarchy and were worried that this sort of uprising might happen in their country. In France however, the public opinion was for war. Revolutionaries wanted war because they because they had genuine desire to spread the ideas of the Revolution to all of Europe. On April 20, 1792, the Legislative Assembly (France's governing body, formed in 1791) declared war on Austria. Although the French fared poorly at first, the armies became more successful as the war progressed. Then, a group of insurgents lead by the extremist Jacobins attacked the home of the king, who was arrested on august the 10th. The chaos that ensued not only lead to the massacre of hundreds of counterrevolutionaries, but the eventually killing of the king. On January the 21st in 1793, the national convention sent King Louis XVI to his death. Marie-Antoinette (his wife) was also killed.
This was the most violent phase of the revolution, and as the Jacobins seized control of the National Convention, Christianity was eradicated and the “reign of terror” commenced, in which enemies of the revolution were decapitated by the thousands. The reign of terror got so bad that the French people actually revolted against it. It was only in 1799, that France’s new leader Napoleon Bonaparte put an end to the French revolution, and the Napoleonic era began, in which France would grow in strength and dominate much of Europe.