The period 1786–9 saw the collapse of the old regime, and the rise of a revolution that would transform the nature and practice of politics.
Source: Marisa Linton: Choosing Terror, p. 48.
My question concerns the use of "would" in the above sentence. I suppose that "would" here indicates neither conditional nor "repeated activities, habits or events in the past" ("transformation" was difficult but one-time and completed action). Is "would" used because the mentioned transformation is in the clause in the future from the point of view of the period 1789–9 but in the past from the point of view of our present. – Is it possible to use just simple past tense, i.e. "transformed"?