How many French revolutions were there?

How many revolutions did France have? It seems like that question should have a quick and easy answer, and it does: three. But, as with all things historical, there’s also a lengthy and complex answer: It depends. 

“If revolution is a regime change involving collective physical force, then the key dates are 1789, 1830 and 1848,” said Peter Jones, a professor of French history at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. The first revolt is the one we all know as the French Revolution, which ended with Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette losing their heads. The second is usually called the July Revolution, which saw the House of Bourbon dethroned in favor of the House of Orléans. And the third is sometimes called the February Revolution or the French Revolution of 1848, which ended the Orléanists and brought in a period known as the Second Republic.

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