The French Revolution

Analysis based on the Brinton's four stages of a revolution

Stage 1

Protagonists negotiate differences - Eventually radicals win control over moderates

A complete revamping of the fiscal and administrative system is proposed


Charles de Calonne, unable to borrow any more money in during times of financial trouble, proposes a complete revamping of the fiscal and administrative system of the state.

First meeting of the Estates General


Nobles, prelates, and magistrates gather and call a meeting of the Estates General at Versailles

National Assembly is formed


First order wants to vote by order, while Third estate wanted vote by head. The Third Estate voted to constitute itself a National Assembly and decided to draw up a constitution.

Tennis Court Oath


Common people stop king's counter revolution efforts

07/1/1789 - 08/30/1789

Common people rise up and save the third estate from the king’s attempt to stop the revolution

Stage 2

Differences Escalate to Violence (revolution and civil war) and radicals win control.

Factional Disputes between Girondins and the Mountain

1792 - 1793

The Girondins came to fear the radical mobs in Paris while the Mountain urged the conviction and killing of the king.

Attacks on the Palace


Including such violence as the Fall of Bastille

Abolition of the Monarchy


Execution of the King Louis XVI


Louis XVI was caught escaping the country, found him guilty of treason and sentenced him to death by the guillotine.

The Commune invades the National Convention

05/25/1793 - 06/5/1793

The Mountain arrest and execute the leading Girondins

Stage 3

Radicals are Successful and Establish a Government based on their values

Committee of Public Safety

04/10/1793 - 06/12/1795

The radical group, the Mountain, seize power and start this group that governs the nation during the reign of terror

Robespierre in Power

08/27/1793 - 08/27/1794

Reign of Terror

09/5/1793 - 07/28/1794

De-Christianization of the Calendar


1880 citizens executed in Lyons


Those who revolted were shut down in this time of the reign of terror. As Robespierre stated, everyone had to agree with the govt.

Stage 4

Government of the radicals is not successful and the government becomes more conservative and the government becomes not too different from the one that was replaced by the revolution.

Thermidorian Reaction


The people revolt against the terrorizing power of the Committee of Public Safety and decide to install the Directory

Execution of Robespierre


Robespierre is kicked out of power, arrested, and executed. The people wanted to go back to what they had before, and were sick of the terror.

The Directory

1795 - 1799

The period of the Directory was an era of materialistic reaction to the suffering and sacrifices that had been demanded in the Reign of Terror and the Republic of Virtue.

New National Legislative Assembly


Constitution of 1795



Napoleon is named captain of the Army


Returns home as a hero and is given command of the army


Napoleon becomes consul


Signs the Concordat with the pope Pius VII


First consul proclaims balanced budget


Takes away "privileges" and demands equality in front of the law