Sauvignon blanc is a green-skinned grape variety that originates from the Bordeaux region of France. The grape most gets its name from the French words sauvage and blanc due to its early origins as an indigenous grape in South West France, it is a descendant of Savagnin. Sauvignon blanc is planted in many of the world's wine regions, producing a crisp and refreshing white varietal wine; the grape is a component of the famous dessert wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Sauvignon blanc is cultivated in France, Romania, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the states of Washington and California in the US; some New World Sauvignon blancs from California, may be called "Fumé Blanc", a marketing term coined by Robert Mondavi in reference to Pouilly-Fumé. Depending on the climate, the flavor can range from aggressively grassy to sweetly tropical. In cooler climates, the grape has a tendency to produce wines with noticeable acidity and "green flavors" of grass, green bell peppers and nettles with some tropical fruit and floral notes.
In warmer climates, it can develop more tropical fruit notes but risk losing a lot of aromatics from over-ripeness, leaving only slight grapefruit and tree fruit notes. Wine experts have used the phrase "crisp and fresh" as a favorable description of Sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley and New Zealand. Sauvignon blanc, when chilled, pairs well with fish or cheese chèvre, it is known as one of the few wines that can pair well with sushi. Along with Riesling, Sauvignon blanc was one of the first fine wines to be bottled with a screwcap in commercial quantities by New Zealand producers; the wine is consumed young, as it does not benefit from aging, as varietal Sauvignon blancs tend to develop vegetal aromas reminiscent of peas and asparagus with extended aging. Dry and sweet white Bordeaux, including oak-aged examples from Pessac-Léognan and Graves, as well as some Loire wines from Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre are some of the few examples of Sauvignon blancs with aging potential; the first Friday in May is International Sauvignon Blanc Day.
The Sauvignon blanc grape traces its origins to western France in the Loire Valley and Bordeaux Regions. As noted above, it is not clear. Ongoing research suggests, it has been associated with the Carmenere family. At some point in the 18th century, the vine paired with Cabernet Franc to parent the Cabernet Sauvignon vine in Bordeaux. In the 19th century, plantings in Bordeaux were interspersed with Sauvignon vert as well as the Sauvignon blanc pink mutation Sauvignon gris. Prior to the phylloxera epidemic, the insect plague which devastated French vineyards in the 19th century, these interspersed cuttings were transported to Chile where the field blends are still common today. Despite the similarity in names, Sauvignon blanc has no known relation to the Sauvignon rosé mutation found in the Loire Valley of France; the first cuttings of Sauvignon blanc were brought to California by Charles Wetmore, founder of Cresta Blanca Winery, in the 1880s. These cuttings came from the Sauternes vineyards of Château d'Yquem.
The plantings produced well in Livermore Valley. The wine acquired the alias of "Fumé Blanc" in California by promotion of Robert Mondavi in 1968; the grape was first introduced to New Zealand in the 1970s as an experimental planting to be blended with Müller-Thurgau. The Sauvignon blanc vine buds late but ripens early, which allows it to perform well in sunny climates when not exposed to overwhelming heat. In warm regions such as South Africa and California, the grape flourishes in cooler climate appellations such as the Alexander Valley area. In areas where the vine is subjected to high heat, the grape will become over-ripe and produce wines with dull flavors and flat acidity. Rising global temperatures have caused farmers to harvest the grapes earlier than they have in the past; the grape originated in the regions of Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. Plantings in California, Australia and South Africa are extensive, Sauvignon blanc is increasing in popularity as white wine drinkers seek alternatives to Chardonnay.
The grape can be found in Italy and Central Europe. In France, Sauvignon blanc is grown in the maritime climate of Bordeaux as well as the continental climate of the Loire Valley; the climates of these areas are favorable in slowing the ripening on the vine, allowing the grape more time to develop a balance between its acidity and sugar levels. This balance is important in the development of the intensity of the wine's aromas. Winemakers in France pay careful attention to the terroir characteristics of the soil and the different elements that it can impart to the wine; the chalk and Kimmeridgean marl of Sancerre and Pouilly produces wines of richness and complexity while areas with more compact chalk soils produces wines with more finesse and perfume. The gravel soil found near the Loire River and its tributaries impart spicy and mineral flavors while in Bordeaux, the wines have a fruitier personality. Vines planted in flint tend to produce the longest lasting wines. Pouilly Fumé originate from the town of Pouilly-sur-Loire, located directly across the Loire River from the commune of Sancerre.
The soil here is flinty with deposits of limestone which the locals believed imparted a smoky, gun flint flavor
Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most recognized red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognized through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, Australia's Margaret River and Coonawarra regions, Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990s. However, by 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon had once again become the most planted wine grape, with a total of 341000ha under vine worldwide. Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France.
Its popularity is attributed to its ease of cultivation—the grapes have thick skins and the vines are hardy and low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects—and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers when from unfamiliar wine regions, its widespread popularity has contributed to criticism of the grape as a "colonizer" that takes over wine regions at the expense of native grape varieties. The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in hot climates the currant flavors can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side.
In parts of Australia the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes. For many years, the origin of Cabernet Sauvignon was not understood and many myths and conjectures surrounded it; the word "Sauvignon" is believed to be derived from the French sauvage meaning "wild" and to refer to the grape being a wild Vitis vinifera vine native to France. Until the grape was rumored to have ancient origins even being the Biturica grape used to make ancient Roman wine and referenced by Pliny the Elder; this belief was held in the 18th century, when the grape was known as Petite Vidure or Bidure a corruption of Biturica. There was belief that Vidure was a reference to the hard wood of the vine, with a possible relationship to Carménère, once known as Grand Vidure. Another theory was. While the period when the name Cabernet Sauvignon became more prevalent over Petite Vidure is not certain, records indicate that the grape was a popular Bordeaux planting in the 18th century Médoc region.
The first estates known to have grown the variety were Château Mouton and Château d'Armailhac in Pauillac. The grape's true origins were discovered in 1996 with the use of DNA typing at the UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology, by a team led by Dr. Carole Meredith; the DNA evidence determined that Cabernet Sauvignon was the offspring of Cabernet franc and Sauvignon blanc and was most a chance crossing that occurred in the 17th century. Prior to this discovery, this origin had been suspected from the similarity of the grapes' names and the fact that Cabernet Sauvignon shares similar aromas with both grapes—such as the blackcurrant and pencil box aromas of Cabernet franc and the grassiness of Sauvignon blanc. In 2016 scientists at the UC Davis announced they had sequenced a draft of the whole genome of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape, the first genome of a commercial wine-producing grape to be sequenced. While not as prolific in mutating as Pinot noir, nor as used in production of offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon has been linked to other grape varieties.
In 1961, a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache produced. Cygne blanc is a white-berried seedling of Cabernet Sauvignon, discovered in 1989 growing in a garden in Swan Valley, Western Australia. Cabernet blanc is a crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and an unknown hybrid grape variety, discovered in Switzerland in the late 20th century. In 1977 a vine producing'bronze' grapes was found in the vineyards of Cleggett Wines in Australia, they propagated this mutant, registered it under the name of Malian, sold pale red wines under that name. In 1991 one of the Bronze Cabernet vines started producing white grapes. Cleggett registered this "White Cabernet" under the name of Shalistin. Compared to its Cabernet parent, Malian appears to lack anthocyanins in the subepidermal cells but retains them in the epidermis, whereas Shalistin has no anthocyanins in either layer; the team that went on to discover the VvMYBA1 and VvMYBA2 genes that control grape color have suggested that a gene involved in anthocyanin production has been deleted in the subepidermis of Malian, subepidermal cells invaded the epidermis to produce Shalistin.
During a ser
Appellation d'origine contrôlée
The appellation d'origine contrôlée is the French certification granted to certain French geographical indications for wines, cheeses and other agricultural products, all under the auspices of the government bureau Institut national des appellations d'origine, now called Institut national de l'origine et de la qualité. It is based on the concept of terroir; the origins of AOC date to the year 1411. The first French law on viticultural designations of origin dates to August 1, 1905, whereas the first modern law was set on May 6, 1919, when the Law for the Protection of the Place of Origin was passed, specifying the region and commune in which a given product must be manufactured, has been revised on many occasions since then. On July 30, 1935, the Comité National des appellations d'origine, with representatives of the government and the major winegrowers, was created to manage the administration of the process for wines at the initiative of deputy Joseph Capus. In the Rhône wine region Baron Pierre Le Roy Boiseaumarié, a trained lawyer and winegrower from Châteauneuf-du-Pape obtained legal recognition of the "Côtes du Rhône" appellation of origin in 1936.
After World War II the committee became the public-private Institut National des Appellations d'Origine. The AOC seal was mandated by French laws in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. On July 2, 1990, the scope of work of the INAO was extended beyond wines to cover other agricultural products. AOCs vary in size; some cover vast expanses with a variety of climatic and soil characteristics, while others are small and uniform. For example, the Côtes du Rhône AOC "covers some 400 square kilometres, but within its area lies one of the smallest AOCs, Château-Grillet, which occupies less than 4 hectares of land." The INAO guarantees that all AOC products will hold to a rigorous set of defined standards. The organization stresses that AOC products will be produced in a consistent and traditional manner with ingredients from classified producers in designated geographical areas; the products must further be aged at least in the respective designated area. Under French law, it is illegal to manufacture and sell a product under one of the AOC-controlled geographical indications if it does not comply with the criteria of the AOC.
AOC products can be identified by a seal, printed on the label in wines, with cheeses, on the rind. To prevent any possible misrepresentation, no part of an AOC name may be used on a label of a product not qualifying for that AOC; this strict label policy can lead to confusion in cases where towns share names with appellations. If the town of origin of a product contains a controlled appellation in its name, the producer is enjoined from listing anything more than a cryptic postal code. For example, there are a dozen townships in l'Aude that have Cabardès in their names, several of which are not within the geographical boundaries of the Cabardès AOC. Any vineyard that produces wine in one of those towns must not mention the name of the town of origin on the product labels. There are over 300 French wines entitled to the designation AOC on their label. Legislation concerning the way vineyards are identified makes recognizing the various AOCs challenging for wine drinkers not accustomed to the system.
Distinguishing classifications requires knowledge of esoteric label laws such as "Unless the wine is from a Premier Cru vineyard, the vineyard name must be printed in characters no more than half the height of the ones used for the village name"On the other hand, while the process of label approval is enforced to the millimetre, the quality control for the wine in the bottle is much less strict. While a blind taster must approve the wine for it to receive AOC classification, this tasting occurs before the product is bottled, by a local expert who may well have ties to the local vintners. If the taster is objective, the wine sample may not be representative of the actual product, there is no way to verify that the finished bottled product is the same as the original AOC sample. In 1925, Roquefort became the first cheese to be awarded an AOC label, since over 40 cheeses have been assigned AOC status. On August 15, 1957, the National Assembly gave AOC status to the poultry of Bresse. In 2006, it awarded AOC status to salt marsh lamb raised in the Bay of the Somme.
In 1981, the AOC label was given to Haute-Provence Lavender Essential Oil. It refers to a high-quality production and concerns only the essential oil of fine lavender - Lavandula angustifolia; the fields must be located within a specific territory at a minimum altitude of 800 meters. This geographic area covers 284 communities in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Drôme and Vaucluse regions. Lentils from Le Puy-en-Velay have AOC status. Honey from the island of Corsica has been given AOC status. There are six certified varietals of Corsican honey: Printemps, Maquis de printemps, Miellats du maquis, Châtaigneraie, Maquis d'été, Maquis d'automne. France recognizes the Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vendée AOC regions for butter; the Beurre Charentes-Poitou has been assigned AOC status in 1979. Armagnac, Calvados and Martinique Rhum Agricole all have AOC status. Many other countries have based their controlled place name systems on th
Withnail and I
Withnail and I is a 1987 British black comedy film written and directed by Bruce Robinson. Loosely based on Robinson's life in London in the late 1960s, the plot follows two unemployed actors, Withnail and "I" who share a flat in Camden Town in 1969. Needing a holiday, they obtain the key to a country cottage in the Lake District belonging to Withnail's eccentric uncle Monty and drive there; the weekend holiday proves less recuperative. Withnail and I was Grant's first film and established his profile; the film featured performances by Richard Griffiths as Withnail's Uncle Monty and Ralph Brown as Danny the drug dealer. The film is notable for its period music and many quotable lines, it has been described as "one of Britain's biggest cult films". In September 1969, two unemployed actors, flamboyant alcoholic Withnail and contemplative Marwood live in a messy flat in Camden Town, London, their only regular visitor is Danny. One morning, the pair squabble about housekeeping and leave to take a walk.
In Regent's Park, they discuss the desire for a holiday. They visit Monty that evening at his luxurious Chelsea house. Monty is a melodramatic aesthete, whom Marwood infers is homosexual. Withnail persuades his uncle to lend them the cottage key and they leave, they drive to the cottage the next day but find the weather cold and wet, the cottage without food, running water or power and the locals unwelcoming – in particular a poacher, whom Withnail offends in the pub. Marwood is anxious when he sees Jake prowling around the cottage and suggests they leave for London the next day. Withnail in turn demands that they share a bed in the interest of safety but Marwood refuses. During the night, Withnail becomes paranoid that the poacher wants to harm them and climbs under the covers with Marwood, who angrily leaves for a different bed. Hearing the sounds of an intruder breaking into the cottage, Withnail again joins Marwood in bed; the intruder turns out to be Monty. The next day, Marwood realises Monty's visit has ulterior motives when he makes aggressive sexual advances on him.
He drives them into town to buy wellington boots but they end up spending the money he gives them on drink. Monty is hurt, though he puts it out of his mind during a boozy round of poker. Marwood is terrified of what Monty might try to do and wants to leave but after much argument Withnail insists on staying. Late in the night, Marwood tries to avoid Monty's company but is cornered in the guest bedroom as Monty insistently demands they have sex. Monty reveals that Withnail, during the visit in London, claimed that Marwood was a closeted homosexual. Marwood lies that Withnail is the closeted one and that the two of them are in a committed relationship, which Withnail wishes to keep secret from his family and that this is the first night that they haven't slept together in years. Monty, a romantic, leaves after apologising for coming between them. In private, Marwood furiously confronts Withnail; the next morning, they find Monty has left for London, leaving a note wishing them happiness together.
They continue to argue about Monty. A telegram arrives from Marwood's agent with a possible offer of work and he insists they return; as Marwood sleeps, Withnail drunkenly speeds most of the way back until pulled over by the police, who arrest and fine him for driving under the influence. The pair return to the flat to find a friend named Presuming Ed squatting. Marwood calls his agent and discovers that he is wanted for the lead part in a play but will need to move to Manchester to take it; the four get high smoking a huge cannabis joint but the celebration ends when Marwood learns they have received an eviction notice for unpaid rent, while Withnail is too high to care. Marwood packs a bag and leaves for the railway station, turning down Withnail's request for a goodbye drink. In Regent's Park, Marwood confesses that he will miss Withnail but insists that they part ways there. Bottle of wine in hand, Withnail performs "What a piece of work is a man!" from Hamlet, seen only by the wolves in a nearby zoo enclosure walks home alone in the rain.
Richard E. Grant as Withnail Paul McGann as Marwood Richard Griffiths as Uncle Monty Ralph Brown as Danny Michael Elphick as Jake Eddie Tagoe as Presuming Ed Daragh O'Malley as Irishman Michael Wardle as Isaac Parkin Una Brandon-Jones as Mrs Parkin Noel Johnson as General The film is an adaptation of an unpublished novel written by Robinson in late 1969. Actor friend Don Hawkins passed a copy of the manuscript to his friend, the wealthy oil heir Moderick Schreiber in 1980. Schreiber, looking to break into the film industry, paid Robinson a few thousand pounds sterling to adapt it into a screenplay, which Robinson did in the early 1980s. On completing the script, producer Paul Heller urged Robinson to direct it and found funding for half the film; the script was passed to HandMade Films. After he read it, George Harrison agreed to fund the remainder of the film. Robinson's script is autobiographical. "Marwood" is Robinson. He lived in the im
Corinne Mentzelopoulos-Petit is a French-Greek businesswoman who owns and runs the prestigious Bordeaux wine estate, Château Margaux. Her wines have won Bordeaux's Wine of the Vintage, she has been cited as one of the leading women in the wine industry. Daughter of the successful Greek supermarket magnate André Mentzelopoulos, Corinne Mentzelopoulos was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. After graduating with a degree in classics, she attended the Institut d'études politiques de Paris where she received her master's degree in 1979, her only brother died at a young age leaving her the sole heir to the Château Margaux estate left by her father. She contributed to its further development. After first working for the Havas advertising agency, Mentzelopoulos moved into the family business heading the Primistères holding company which controlled her father's Félix Potin retail grocery chain. In 1977, her father decided to move into the wine sector and purchased the Château Margaux estate for 72 million francs.
On his death in 1980, his widow Laura and daughter Corinne Mentzelopoulos inherited the estate and proceeded to make substantial improvements to the winery. Corinne said of this, "At first we continued my father's work out of pride. We didn't have the right to let it fail." In 1990, the Agnelli group became the principal shareholder but in 2003, she gained ownership after buying up the Agnelli shares. Interviewed by Rose Hoare in 2012, she emphasized how she credited her father with her success: "I think he was a genius... His major coup Château Margaux: it had been on sale for two years and he was the only one who realized what that name held."At the time the Mentzelopoulos family bought Château Margaux, the vineyard's reputation had been tarnished by middling vintages, a scandal over labels, low wine prices. To tackle these issues, Corinne worked with general manager Philippe Barré, consultant oenologist Professor Emile Peynaud in managing the vineyard, her 1983 appointment of Paul Pontallier as the replacement manager to Barré turned out to be an inspired choice.
Under his leadership, a new cellar was added, drainage was improved and a second underground cellar was created to accommodate second-year barrels. Paul Pontallier died in 2016; the British architect Norman Foster has been commissioned to redesign the cellars as well as to build a winemaking hall and a library of vintages, to be completed by 2015. Mentzelopoulos runs the business from an office in Paris, her business acumen can be judged by her increasing fortune. In 2012, she was deemed to be worth 600 million euro, up from some 300 million in 2004. Mentzelopoulos received the distinction of Officer of the Legion of Honor in 2012, she is married to Hubert Leven. The youngest of her three daughters, Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos, joined Château Margaux in the autumn of 2012, is expected to take over the business one day. Mentzelopoulos' mother, remarried Alexis Mersentes. For the Coffeeland Landmine Victims Trust, a Polus Center Project, in Nicaragua, Columbia, Vietnam and Cambodia, a "Fine Wine Dinner" featuring the wines of Château Margaux was organized in which Mentzelopoulos of Château Margaux was the featured guest.
Her donation for the cause was the Château Margaux wines from her own cellar in Bordeaux. The dinner raised $100,000 for the trust
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history; the causes of the French Revolution are still debated among historians. Following the Seven Years' War and the American Revolution, the French government was in debt, it attempted to restore its financial status through unpopular taxation schemes, which were regressive.
Leading up to the Revolution, years of bad harvests worsened by deregulation of the grain industry and environmental problems inflamed popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the aristocracy and the Catholic clergy of the established church. Some historians hold something similar to what Thomas Jefferson proclaimed: that France had "been awakened by our Revolution." Demands for change were formulated in terms of Enlightenment ideals and contributed to the convocation of the Estates General in May 1789. During the first year of the Revolution, members of the Third Estate took control, the Bastille was attacked in July, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was passed in August, the Women's March on Versailles forced the royal court back to Paris in October. A central event of the first stage, in August 1789, was the abolition of feudalism and the old rules and privileges left over from the Ancien Régime; the next few years featured political struggles between various liberal assemblies and right-wing supporters of the monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.
The Republic was proclaimed in September 1792 after the French victory at Valmy. In a momentous event that led to international condemnation, Louis XVI was executed in January 1793. External threats shaped the course of the Revolution; the Revolutionary Wars beginning in 1792 featured French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had eluded previous French governments for centuries. Internally, popular agitation radicalised the Revolution culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins; the dictatorship imposed by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror, from 1793 until 1794, established price controls on food and other items, abolished slavery in French colonies abroad, de-established the Catholic church and created a secular Republican calendar, religious leaders were expelled, the borders of the new republic were secured from its enemies. After the Thermidorian Reaction, an executive council known as the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795.
They suspended elections, repudiated debts, persecuted the Catholic clergy, made significant military conquests abroad. Dogged by charges of corruption, the Directory collapsed in a coup led by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. Napoleon, who became the hero of the Revolution through his popular military campaigns, established the Consulate and the First Empire, setting the stage for a wider array of global conflicts in the Napoleonic Wars; the modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. All future revolutionary movements looked back to the Revolution as their predecessor, its central phrases and cultural symbols, such as La Marseillaise and Liberté, fraternité, égalité, ou la mort, became the clarion call for other major upheavals in modern history, including the Russian Revolution over a century later. The values and institutions of the Revolution dominate French politics to this day; the Revolution resulted in the suppression of the feudal system, emancipation of the individual, a greater division of landed property, abolition of the privileges of noble birth, nominal establishment of equality among men.
The French Revolution differed from other revolutions in being not only national, for it intended to benefit all humanity. Globally, the Revolution accelerated the rise of democracies, it became the focal point for the development of most modern political ideologies, leading to the spread of liberalism, radicalism and secularism, among many others. The Revolution witnessed the birth of total war by organising the resources of France and the lives of its citizens towards the objective of military conquest; some of its central documents, such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, continued to inspire movements for abolitionism and universal suffrage in the next century. Historians have pointed to many events and factors within the Ancien Régime that led to the Revolution. Rising social and economic inequality, new political ideas emerging from the Enlightenment, economic mismanagement, environmental factors leading to agricultural failure, unmanageable national debt, political mismanagement on the part of King Louis XVI have all been cited as laying the groundwork for the Revolution.
Over the course of the 18th century, there emerged what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas called the idea of the "public sphere" in France and elsewhere