The Polish Revolution was a period of radical social and political change in Poland and Lithuania, lasting roughly from 1791 to 1802, marking the decline of absolutism and the rise of nationalism and Enlightenment principles. Popular resentment of the privileges enjoyed by the nobility, and of Russian influence over Poland, motivated demands for change. Finally, in 1793 when Russia and Prussia attempted to carry out a second Partition of Polish territory, members of the lower classes rose up against the foreign occupiers and against their weak King and Sejm, establishing a secular and democratic republic in place of the crumbling Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

King Stanisław August Poniatowski abdicated and retired to his country estate shortly after the beginning of the Revolution when it became clear that Russia would not accept his reformed constitution. Immediately afterwards, Russia, Prussia and Austria declared war on Poland to try and keep it a weak buffer state, thus beginning the Polish Revolutionary Wars. In a shocking turn of events, the new Polish state's army of peasant and burgher volunteers defeated the invaders one by one and then proceeded to attack Russia itself. These wars saw the rise of the great general Tadesuz Kościuszko, who later became Consul and Protector of the Republic.

The Revolution is commonly held to have ended in 1802 as Poland's enemies began to make peace and domestic pressure eased. However, hostilities soon resumed, so that the Revolutionary Wars period lasted all the way until 1816.

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