France in Revolution


Louis XVI becomes King

10 May 1774

The National Assembly

June 20th, 1789 - August 10th, 1792

The Legislative Assembly

October 1791 - September 1792

The National Convention

September 20, 1792 - October 26, 1795


The exiled parliaments are allowed to return

Oct 1787

Parlement registers loans but declares lettre de cachets illegal

jan 1788

Paris Parliament issues "Declaration of the fundamental rights of France"

may 3 1788

King order arrest of two members of Parliament

may 4 1788

May Edicts

may 8 1788

aiming to dismantle the power of the parliaments. These are issued via a lit de justice

Call for Paris Parlement to be reinstated

july 1788

by provincial assemblies

The Parlements ban demands for political representation for the 3rd estate

sept 25 1788

Necker proposes 3rd estate representation be doubled

oct 5 1788

Elections for delegates to the Estates General commence across France.

feb 1789

Opening of Estates General

may 5 1789

Voting by order wins debate

may 6 1789

The First Estate (voting 134 to 114) and Second Estate (voting 188 to 46) both endorse voting by order. The Third Estate refuses to meet separately or vote on the issue

3rd estate break away

may 27 1789

Third Estate declare itself the National Assembly

june 17 1789

The Third Estate, now joined by some members of the First and Second Estates, vote 490 to 90 to declare themselves the National Assembly of France.

Tennis Court Oath

jun 20 1789

After being locked out of its meeting hall, the newly formed National Assembly gathers in a nearby tennis court. There they take the famous Tennis Court Oath, pledging to remain until a constitution has been passed.

Seance Royale

june 23 1789

At the seance royale, the king delivers a conciliatory speech to the Three Estates and calls on them to return to their separate chambers. He also proposes a reform package to share the taxation burden. The king’s demands are ignored by the National Assembly.

More people join the National Assembly

june 24 1789

More clergymen and nobles, including the Duc d’Orleans, elect to cross the floor and join the National Assembly.

Louis backs down

june 27 1789

Louis XVI backs down and orders delegates from the First and Second Estates to join the National Assembly. On advice, he also orders the army to mobilise and gather outside Paris and Versailles.

Louis orders mobilisation of troops

july 1 1789

The National Assembly appoints a committee to begin drafting a national constitution.

july 6 1789

Necker dismissed 2nd time

july 11 1789

News of Necker's dismissal reaches Paris

july 12 1789

August decrees

aug 5 1789

The National Constituent Assembly begins to dismantle seigneurial feudalism, with many noblemen in the assembly voting to surrender their own privileges and feudal dues. These reforms are codified in the August Decrees
August 11th: The reforms of August 4th are ratified by the Assembly, albeit with several less-radical amendments.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

August 26, 1789

Kings vetoes August Decrees

Sept 1789

The king uses his suspensive veto and refuses to endorse the August Decrees.

Parlements suspended

nov 3 1789

The National Constituent Assembly votes to suspend the parlements.

France is split into Departments

dec 14 1789

The National Constituent Assembly reforms provincial government, creating 83 new departements.

Lettres de cachet abolished

mar 16 1790

Paris is split into 48 sections

may 21 1790

Noble ranks abolished

june 19 1790

The parlements are formally abolished

sept 6 1790

King is suspended

june 21 1791

June 21st: Responding to the flight to Varennes, the National Constituent Assembly suspends the king.

King is restored

july 16 1791

After three days of debate, the National Assembly rules that the king was abducted and restores his status and privileges, provided he endorses the new constitution. This decision causes outrage in the Jacobin and Cordelier clubs.

Constitution of 1791 ratified by king

sept 14 1791

The Legislative assembly comes into power

oct 1 1791

Emigres Targeted

nov 9 1791

The Legislative Assembly orders all emigres to return to France “under pain of death”. Those who do not return will have their lands confiscated by the state

King vetoes decision on emigres

nov 11 1791

The king vetoes the Legislative Assembly’s November 9th decree on emigres.

Arrest of non-curing priests

nov 29 1791

The Legislative Assembly orders the arrest of all non-juring priests.

king vetoes arrests

dec 19 1791

The king vetoes the Legislative Assembly’s order for the arrest of non-juring priests.

Sieyes proposes 1st and 2nd estate join 3rd

jun 10

Some 1st estate delegates join the 3rd

june 13

Social (ordinary people)

Day of the tiles

june 7 1788

Mobs protest in Grenoble

Emmanuel Sieyes publishes What is the Third Estate?

jan 1789

Louis XVI orders the drafting and compilation of cahiers de doleances

jan 1789

Rumours about wage freezes triggers the Reveillon and Henriot riots in Paris

April 27 1789

Sieyes moves that delegates for the Third Estate affirm their right to political representation.

may 27 1789

4000 people storm prison for ammunition

june 30 1789

Paris insurrection

july 12 1789 - july 14 1789

in response to Necker's dismissal

national guard formed

july 13 1789

Fearing a royalist military invasion, the people of Paris begin to gather arms. Affluent Parisians vote to form a citizens’ militia, the National Guard. The role of the National Guard is to protect the city and prevent property damage and theft.

Storming of the Bastille

July 14, 1789

Lafayette appointed head of National guard

15 july 1789

First signs of the Great Fear in rural France

july 17 1789

King gets a suspensive Veto

Sept 11 1789

The National Constituent Assembly votes 673 to 325 to grant the king a suspensive veto.

March to Versailles

Octobre 5, 1789

Hundreds of Parisian citizens, including large numbers of women, march on Versailles, accompanied by the National Guard. During the night a mob invades the royal apartment and threatens the queen.

King leaves Versailles

oct 6 1789

The king agrees to leave Versailles for Paris, accompanied by the mob and the National Guard. The royal family are received in Paris by a cheering crowd, after which they take up residence at the Tuileries

King withdraws veto

oct 6 1789

The king agrees to withdraw his veto and ratify the August Decrees.

The Fete de la Federation

july 14 1790

The Fete de la Federation, a celebration of the revolution and the first anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, takes place in Paris.

First counter-revolutionary assembly

aug 18 1790

Royalists and emigres gathered at Jales in southern France form the first counter-revolutionary assembly.

Lyon - counter-revolution riots

nov 1790

Day of Daggers

feb 28 1791

February 28th: The ‘Day of Daggers’ or ‘Poignard conspiracy’: a group of 400 armed nobles invade the Tuileries to protect the king. The nobles were disarmed by Lafayette and the National Guard.

Royals attempt to holiday

april 18 1791

April 18th: The royal family attempts to leave Paris for a summer palace at Saint-Cloud, but their journey is prevented by a Paris mob.

Self-Denying Ordinance

may 16 1791

May 16th: The National Constituent Assembly passes Robespierre’s self-denying ordinance, preventing its deputies from standing for election to the Legislative Assembly.

Flight to Varennes

June 20, 1791

The royal family attempts to flee Paris to a loyalist stronghold in Montmedy, before being intercepted and arrested at Varennes.

Champ de Mars Massacre

17 July 1791

The Champ de Mars massacre. Jacobins and Cordeliers rally on the Champ de Mars, to construct a petition calling for the abolition of the monarchy. The National Guard opens fire on a rowdy group, killing between 20-50 people.


Poor Harvests

August 1774 - September 1774

Turgot becomes Finance Minister

August 24 1774

Turgot Dismissed

May 1776

Jaques Necker appointed

October 1776

Necker publishes the Compte Rendu

Jan 1781

Necker Resigns

May 19 1781

Calonne appointed as finance minister

Nov 3 1783

Calonne warns the nation is facing bankruptcy

Aug 20 1786

Proposes immediate reforms including land tax, a stamp duty and commutation of the Corvee

Calonne calls for the Assembly of Notable

Dec 1786

Assembly of Notables meet

Feb 22 1787

Louis dismisses Calonne

April 8 1787

Due to the stalemate of the Assembly of Notables refusing to pass reforms

Brienne appointed

may 1 1787

Assembly of |Notables is dismissed

May 25 1787

Brienne send tax reforms to Parliaments

june 1787

Paris Parelement reject Tax reforms

July 1787

Paris and Bordeaux Parlements are exiled by king

Aug 1787

Brienne backs down with his legislative demands

September 1787

The Church provide it's Don Gratuit

june 1788

This is 1.8 million lives which is less than 1/4 of the amount the government asked for,

Severe storm decimates crops

july 13 1788

Brienne Schedules Estates General for May 1789

aug 8 1788

Government suspends loan payments due to bankruptcy

aug 16 1788

Brienne resigns / replaced by Necker

aug 25 1788

Record bad winter

jan 9 1789

Food prices continue to soar

july 1 1789 - july 30 1789

Food prices continue to soar, especially in the cities. In Paris, most workers are spending 80% of wages on bread alone.

Assignats issued

jan 1790

The first release of assignats is circulated. The National Constituent Assembly approves further printings.

Gabelle is suspended

march 16 1790


Jewish restrictions lifted

jan 28 1789

Legal and commercial restrictions on Jews are officially lifted.

Nationalisation of Church Lands

nov 2 1789

The National Constituent Assembly nationalises church lands, passing the Decree on Church Lands and declaring that all ecclesiastical lands are “at the disposal of the nation”.

First sale of church lands

dec 19 1789

The National Constituent Assembly begins the sale of church lands and approves a first release of 400 million assignats, a paper bond backed by income from these sales. The assignats become a de facto paper currency.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

July 12, 1790

CCC - priests now have to swear and oath

nov 1790

November 27th: A decree of the National Constituent Assembly requires all clergymen to swear an oath to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

Constitutional Church

feb 5 1791

February 5th: Juring priests are elected as the first bishops in the new ‘Constitutional Church’.

Pope condemns CCC

march 10 19791

Pope Pius condemns both the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The government later suspends diplomatic relations with the Vatican.


American Revolutionary War

April 1775 - 3 september 1783

Lafayette sails to help American Revolutionaries

July 1777

France offers to help American Revolutionaries

Feb 1778

France declares war on Britain

July 1778

Treaty of Paris - end of American War of Independence

Sept 3 1783

French Revolution is condemned by British Parliament

Feb 1790

Declaration of Pillnitz

august 27 1791

The rulers of Prussia and Austria issues the Declaration of Pillnitz, affirming their support for Louis XVI.