The French Revolution


Estates General (1789)

1789 A.D.

May 5
After bad harvests and costly wars, King Louis XVI is forced to convene this ancient assembly in order to raise taxes.
During the election process, voters traditionally draft petitions of grievance (cahiers de doléances).

National Assembly (1789-91)

1789 A.D. - 1791 A.D.

(3rd Estate declares itself the "Assembly of the Nation," June 17, 1789)
A. July 29: Tennis Court Oath. National Assembly resolves not to disband until it has written a constitution.
B. Sept. 1791: National Assembly issues Constitution; elections are held.

Legislative Assembly (1791-92)

1791 A.D. - 1792 A.D.

(Constitutional Government by elected officials)
A. National Assembly issues Constitution; elections are held.
B. April 20. 1791 France declares war on Austria and Prussia.
C. Sept. 20, 1792: French army stops Prussians and Austrians at Valmy (Belgium).

National Convention/ (1792-95)

1792 A.D. - 1795 A.D.

(elected by universal male suffrage to rewrite constitution)
A. Sept. 21, 1792: Convention abolishes monarchy and declares France a republic.
****Reign of Terror
B. Aug. 22, 1795: New constitution is adopted, forming the Directory.

Reign of Terror (1793-94)

1793 A.D. - 1794 A.D.

Under the National Convention
1. ruled under Maximillian Robiespierre (Committee of Public Safety) and the Jacobins
2. March 1793: "Reign of Terror" by Committee of Public Safety (Robespierre) begins
3. July 28, 1794: "Thermidor:" Robespierre executed, end of terror.

The Directory (1795-99)

1795 A.D. - 1799 A.D.

(New constitution has 2 houses: Council of Ancients and Council of 500)
A. Oct. 5, 1795: Napoleon's "Whiff of Grapeshot" save the Directory from a royalist mob.
B. Nov. 9, 1799: Napoleon's coup d'état abolishes Directory and establishes Consulate.

Napoleonic Code promulgated. (1804)

1804 A.D.