French Revolution


Moderate Phase

1789 - 1791

The Third Estate met at the tennis court at Versailles in 1789 and formed the National Constituent Assembly. In Paris, a mob stormed the Bastille and sent Paris into a panic. The National Constituent Assembly created a constitution as well as the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The Legislative took control of the government when the king was taken prisoner in 1791.

The Radical Phase

1792 - 1793

Legislative Assembly declared war on Austria in 1792 which was believed that French counter revolutionary alliances were being formed. When the National Convention replaced the Legislative Assembly , they abolished the monarchy and replaced it with a republic. They ordered the beheading of Louis XVI in 1793; Marie-Antoinette would have the same fate 9 months later. Jacobins siezed control of the Convention in 1793, in which they released the "Reign of Terror."

Thermidorian Reaction

1794 - 1795

The Parliamentary revolt initiated on 9 Thermidor year II, resulted in the fall of Robespierre as well as the collapse of the revolutionary fervour and the Reign of Terror. The National Convention arrested Robespierre on 8 Thermidor and had him executed by the guillotine on 9 Thermidor. Coup was the reassertion of the rights of the National Convention, which was followed by by the disarming of the committee, emptying of prisons, and purging of Jacobin clubs.

Napoleonic Phase

1796 - 1815

In 1799 he lead a coup d'etat and was appointed First Consul, and within a few years, named himself Emperor. France fought almost every European power and acquired control over most of Europe by conquest of alliance. The attempted invasion of Russia in 1812 was the turning point at which it marked the downfall of Napoleon.


The Assembly of Notables

1787 - 1788

As a result of Frances mounting debt King Louis XVI decided to try to push out urgent reforms that he could not pass because of parliament. So he summoned the ancient institution of the assembly of Notables which in the end allowed him to pass nothing. It was a gamble that failed.

Adoption of Assignats


Assignats were paper money that were issued by the National Assembly during the time of the French Revolution. These Assignats were backed by the value of property previously held by the Catholic church thus ensuring there value.

Gear Fear of 1789


This term refers to the general panic that took place at the start of the Revolution. People feared that a famine was being plotted because of the grain shortages and in response many people banned together to mobilize.

Tennis Court Oath


The Third Estate, who called themselves the National Assembly, met at the tennis court near the Palace of Versailles. They took an oath at the tennis court that they would not separate until they created a constitution.

Louis XVI calls the Estates General


Because of Frances increasing debt Louis calls the age old Estates General made up off 3 Estates. Before anything could be acomplished the promblem of voting had to be resolved on rather they should vote by estate giving the first two Estates the advantage. This angered the third Estate so they left and formed the National Assembly backfiring on King Louis.

Formation of the National Assembly


This Revolutionary Assembly was formed by members from of all three estates in order to form new laws that would affect the people of France.

Storming of the Bastille


The Bastille was a prison fortress that housed seven prisoners, and represented a symbol of the abuses of the monarchy. The partisans of the Third Estate stormed the Bastille in order to get arms and gunpowder which they received 18 8 lbs guns and 12 smaller arms.

Women's March on Versailles


The Women's March on Versailles began in the marketplace of Paris when women began to riot over the high prices and scarcity of bread that was needed to feed their children. The women then marched to Versailles to make their demands known to the king, which were met along with the royal family's return with them to Paris. This march symbolized a new balance of powers that set aside the orders of the nobility and favored those of the common people.

Constitution of 1791


This was the first constitution created by the National Assembly and was short lived. It kept the monarchy but its power was reduced because of sovereignty within the new found Legislative assembly.

Louis confinement to touleries


After Louis failed escape out of France he was forced to reside in Paris with very little power. This was a symbol of the ever weakening power of the monarch and how split his relationship was with the French people.

Flight to Varennes


King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette attempted to flee France in order to try to initiate a counter-revolution with the help of foreign countries. This signified the break between the King and his people.

Formation of Legislative Assembly

1791 - 1792

The Formation of the Legislative Assembly took place during the uncertain times in the French Revolution. Its main goal was to make laws between the periods of the National Constituent and the National assembly.

Brunswick Manifesto


Charles William Ferdinand issues this proclamation stating that if any harm was to be directed at the French Royal Family all of Paris would be destroyed. This document only spurred more conflict into France and was ignored by the people of Paris.

National Convention

1792 - 1795

The National Convention was the assembly that governed France during the most critical period. The conventions goal was to create a constitution for France in order to overthrow the monarchy. The convention would be replaced by the Directory in 1795.

Jacobins gain Prominece


During the constitutional monarchy there were two main groups that were fighting for control, these were the Gridirons and the Jacobins. At first the Gridirons were the more dominant of the two but then the more radical Jacobins took control because they had gained support after the execution of the French King. The Jacobins went as far as to betray the leaders of the Gridirons having 22 of them sent to death.

Vindication of the Rights of Women


The Vindication of the Rights of Woman was written by Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792 in response to education and political theorist who believed that. women should not have an education. She explains that she believes that women deserve the same rights as man and should be considered equal to them.

Invention of the Guillotine


The Guillotine is a quick and effective capital punishment tool that was used extensively during the French Revolution. This killing machine decapitates it's victim in a virtually painless way. This was the device that killed King Louis XIV and mny others during the revolution.

Committee of Public Saftey


The Committee of public Safety was setup during the crises of the revolution when France was was at a civil war and being attacked by foreign invaders. The main goal of this Committee was to provide a defense against the enemy's of the nation and to oversee the already existing parts of government.

Deceleration of Rights of man


This is the fundamental document of the French Revolution and guaranteed certain rights to men. It was greatly influenced by what people believed to be universal rights and by the writings of Thomas Jefferson.

Reign of Terror

1793 - 1794

The Reign of Terror was the result of conflict between the Jacobins and the Girondins in which those who were suspected of being enemies of the revolution. It was during this Terror that Robespierre was executed along with his followers and allies.

Execution of Louis XVI and Maria Antoinette


The execution of King Lois XVI happened in Revolution Square by Guillotine which marked the start of a new era in France. Both he and his wife were charged with treason and sentenced to the death which was a very controversial issue between the Jacobin's and Gridirons.

Notre Dame Converted to Temple of Reason


Notre Dame was converted to the Temple of Reason in order to to replace Christianity with the Cult of Reason. The Cult of Reason was based on the ideals of reason, liberty, and virtue. It was created to be universal and which would allow for the spread of revolutionary ideas.

Revolutionary Calendar Created


The Revolutionary Calendar was created in order to remove all religious and royalist influences from the calendar. The calendar was used for 12 years by the French Government.

Robespierre Executed


Robespierre was arrested on 9 Thermidor by the National Convention, but when the jailer refused to jail him he fled to Hotel de Ville, where supporteds were armed and ready for him to lead them. He refused to lead them. When he heard that the National Convention had declared him an outlaw, he attempted to commit suicide, but only wounded his jaw bone with the gun shot. National Convention troops attacked the Hotel and captured Robespierre. The next day he was executed by the guillotine. This caused the Committee of Public Safety to lose its leader.

Republic of Virtue


The Republic of Virtue was a speech given by Robespierre in 1749 that gave his political theory while advocating the Terror in the defense of democracy. The Republic of Virtue was a part of the dechristianization of the French Revolution. Robespierre also associated virtue with the Terror.

The Directory Formed


The Directory was a 5 member committee that replaced the Committee of Public Safety in 1795 but was overthrown by Napoleon and replaced by the Consulate 1799. The Directory was able to end the Jacobins Reign of Terror within its first two years.

Conspiracy of Equals


The Conspiracy of Equals was an organization constructed by Babeuf and his followers. Its goals were to provoke an armed uprising of the plebeian people against the bourgeois nobles.

Napoleons Rise to Power

1799 - 1804

Napoleon was a French military leader who rose quickly through the ranks at which he became general. He was ale to seize political power through the coup d'etat in 1799 in which he declared himself emperor in 1804.

Coup d’état


This coup was a sudden overthrow of the existing government in which the Directory lost its power making way for Napoleon Bonaparte. This event is viewed as the effective end of the French Revolution.



The Concordat was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Paul VII that sought to peace between revolutionaries and Catholics. It also solidified the Roman Catholic church as the head of religion in France. It remained in affect until 1905.

Napoleonic Code Created


The Napoleonic Code gave France its first coherent set of laws concerning property, colonial affairs, family, and individual rights post-revolution. It took him four years of debate and planning to put the code into effect.