In the last chapter, features that reflected and sustained stability earlier in the century, such as the importance of co-operation in the political system, the limited influence of radicalism, and the dominance of traditional patterns of beliefs, views, expectations and practices, are stressed. More generally, trade and the spread of the money economy are seen as compatible with privilege, rather than as necessarily sapping the ancien régime. It is reasonable then to ask why a major revolution brought war, disorder and fear to much of Europe in the 1790s. The French Revolution, whose beginning is commonly dated to the storming of the Bastille, the Parisian fortress-prison that symbolised arbitrary royal power, on 14 July 1789, was only the most prominent challenge to established authority in the last two decades of the century. Other important episodes included the political strife in Geneva in 1781–2, the rebellions against Joseph II in the Austrian Netherlands and Hungary, and the Irish rebellion of 1798. In Russia, there were major disturbances in 1796–8; urban and peasant uprisings that were attributed to the impact of radical ideas.
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