French Revolution Timeline

By: Sara Al-Dusari


The Estates General meets

May 5 1789

The estate meetings is a representative assembly of the three estates. On May 5 1789, Louis XVI summons Estates-General for its first meeting since 1614. It summoned to propose solutions to his government financial problems. It came to an end when the third estate formed into a national assembly.

National Assembly declared

June 13, 1789 - July 9, 1789

The national assembly was an assembly that was formed by the representatives of the third estate. The assembly was formed without the King’s permission but the assembly considered itself to be in the king's interest and declared that all their laws subject to be royal approval.In order to pay French debt they kept the old tax laws in place until something better could be devised.

Tennis Court Oath

June 20, 1789

The deputies of the Third Estate meet on the Jeu de Paume which is an indoor tennis court in opposition of King Louis XVI’s order to spread. They took a historic oath not to scatter until a new French constitution had been adopted which is known as the Tennis Court Oath.

Storming of the Bastille

July 14, 1789

A prison known as the Bastille was attacked by an angry and aggressive mob. The prison had become a symbol royal authority. The event became one of the defining moments in the French Revolution. This happened because of the anger of Parisian citizens, who saw the prison as a symbol of an oppressive monarchy.

Declaration of the Rights of Man

August 26, 1789

The declaration of the rights of man is a fundamental document of the French Revolution and in the history of human and civil rights.It is one of the most important papers in the French Revolution. It gives a list of rights, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and separation of powers.

Women March on Versailles

October 4, 1789

A crowd of women demanding bread for their families gathered and marched toward Versailles. They demanded to see "the Baker," "the Baker's wife," and "the Baker's boy". The King agreed to meet with some of the women and promised to distribute all the bread in Versailles to all the women in the crowd. This created a huge problem, some women even got into the Queen's quarters but she was able to escape.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

July 12, 1790

The civil constitution of the clergy was an attempt to reorganize the roman catholic church in France. It caused a separation within the French Church and made many religious Catholics to turn against the Revolution.

Louis attempts to flee France

June 20 1791 - June 21 1791

In October the royal family had to evacuate to the Tuileries Palace after Versailles had been attacked by another mob. They felt they were prisoners and by 1791 they decided that they must escape. They escaped only as far as the small town of Varennes, where they were arrested after they were recognized. The king's attempted flight provoked charges of betrayal that led to his execution in 1793.

France declares war on Austria

April 20, 1792

France declared war on Austria because they worried that Austria would attempt to re-instate King Louis XVI on the throne and they felt that they had to act to defend their new republic. Austria was then joined in the war by Prussia and Sardinia. This war had major effects on France such as food shortages and poverty ran uncontrollably throughout France which almost teared the country apart. Just as the armies of Austria and prussia would defeat France the French armies pulled off a stunning victory.

Tuilerie palace attacked by mobs

August 10 1792

An angry mob got into the Tuilerie palace and found their way to the King. The mob shouted insults and the king tried to remain calm. When they thrust a bottle of wine at him he drank a toast to the health of the nation but he refused to change his position on the clergy. King Louis XVI and the royal family took shelter with the Legislative Assembly which was later then suspended. The formal end of the monarchy was one of the first acts of the new National Convention.

National Convention

September 20 1792 - October 26 1795

The National Convention was elected to provide a new constitution for the country after the overthrow of the monarchy on August 10, 1792. The Convention consisted of 749 deputies, that include businessmen, tradesmen, and many professional men.

Old order (Ancien Regime) abolished

September 21 1792

Under the regime it states that everyone was a subject of the king of France as well as a member of an estate and province. All rights flowed from the social institutions and was divided into three orders: clergy, nobility and the others (known as the third estate).

Louis XVI executed

January 21, 1793

King Louis XVI was executed in the Place de la Revolution in Paris after being convicted of conspiracy with foreign powers. He was sentenced to death by the French National Convention.

Committee of Public Safety Established

April 6, 1793

The committee of public safety was established during one of the crises of the Revolution, when France was in trouble by foreign and civil war. The new committee was made to defend the nation against its enemies, foreign and domestic, and also to oversee the existing organs of executive government.

Levee en Masse

August 23, 1793

The levee en masse also known as “mass levy” was the policy of forced mass military conscription of all strong, unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25.

Reign of Terror

September 5, 1793 - July 28, 1794

The Revolutionary government decided to make “Terror” to take harsh measures against those suspected of being enemies of the Revolution, such as nobles, priests, and hoarders. It was a period of violence that occurred incited by conflict between two rival political factions which were the Girondins and Jacobins. Between June 1793 and the end of July 1794, there were 16,594 death sentences in France, and 2,639 were in Paris.

Marie Antoinette executed

October 16, 1793

Marie Antoinette was convicted of treason by a tribunal and she followed her husband to also be executed.

Robespierre executed

july 28, 1794

Maximilien Robespierre was the planner of the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror, was later overthrown and arrested by the National Convention. As the leading member of the Committee of Public Safety from 1793, Robespierre encouraged the execution of more than 17,000 enemies of the Revolution.

Napoleon overthrows directory

November 9, 1799

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military leader and emperor who conquered much of Europe in the early 19th century. With the help of Sieyes and Roger-Ducos as well his brother Lucien, Napoleon succeeded in ending the Directory and becoming first consul of France. He crowned himself emperor in 1804.

Napoleon exiled

May 4, 1814

Napoleon retreated to Paris where he was forced to renounce his throne because of the lack of support from his military marshals. The European powers exiled him to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean. Napoleon was back on the European continent and was intending on restoring Napoleon to the throne of France. European powers were not going to take any chances and exiled him to the island of St. Helena.

Napoleon’s 100 Days

March 20, 1815

The 100 days marked the period between Napoleon's return from exile on the island of Elba to Paris and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII.