French Revolution

Main

Financial Crisis

1787 - 1789

Severe economic problems, brought by debt, bankruptcy, and natural causes, affected much of the country leading the financial crisis to be one of the causes of the revolution.

Napoleon's Rise to Power

1789 - 1804

Napoleon was very ambitious and skilled. He rose through many military rankings through this time and seized political power in France in 1799 and crowned himself emperor in 1804.

Estates General

1789

The Estates General is the representative assembly of all three estates. The last meeting was at the beginning of the Revolution when the representation ended because the Third Estate feared they would be overruled. The Estates General goes against the sixth article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen because not all citizens are being treated equally when it comes to taxes (Third Estate).

Counterrevolution

1789 - 1815

The Counterrevolution was a revolution who were against the French revolution and wanted to change its course. It was made up of many groups both in and outside of France, including governments from Prussia, Austria, Russia, and a few others. The Counterrevolution supports the second article of the Declaration because "resistance to oppression" is an "imprescriptible right of man".

Creation of the National Assembly

June 17, 1789

The National Assembly was formed by various historical French parliaments or houses of parliament and, more specifically, by representatives of the Third Estate. The National Assembly supports the second article of the declaration due to the "natural and imprescriptible rights of man".

Tennis Court Oath

June 20, 1789

During a meeting of the Estates General, the Third Estate realized they would be outvoted by the clergy and the nobility. Therefore, they moved to a nearby indoor tennis court and took an oath that they would not separate until a written constitution was written for France. The Tennis Court Oath supports the sixth article of the Declaration because "Law is the expression of the general will."

Storming Bastille

July 14, 1789

The Bastille used to be a church however it was a prison at the time. The Storming of the Bastille was a rebellion against the government. This paved way to further civil disorder and upheaval in France. July 14 became an official holiday in 1880 (Bastille Day). The Storming of the Bastille goes against the tenth article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen because the opinions of the citizens did "disturb the public order established by law".

Great Fear

July 14, 1789

The Great Fear was a period of panic/riot among peasants due to rumors of the Third Estate being overthrown, including the Storming of the Bastille. Peasants rose against their lords during this time and everything was chaos. The Great Fear goes against the fifth article of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen because the acts during this time were hurtful to society and the fifth article states "law can prohibit such actions".

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

August 26, 1789

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was introduced by the Great Fear. It states basic charters of human liberties and contains principles inspired by the Revolution.

Creation of the National Convention

September 20, 1792

The National Convention governed from September 20, 1792 to October 26, 1795. It was elected to provide a new constitution for the country and made up of businessmen, tradesmen, and many more professional men.

Important Actions of the National Convention

September 21, 1792 - September 22, 1792

The National Convention formally abolished the monarchy on September 21 and established the republic September 22. The National Convention was also elected to provide a new constitution for the country.

Execution of Louis XVI

January 21, 1793

Soon after the fall of the monarchy, Louis was arrested and tried or high treason. He was found guilty by almost all and sent to his death by guillotine. Louis XVI was the first victim of the Reign of Terror. The execution of Louis XVI supports the eighth article of the Declaration because the law provided for a punishment when it was "strictly and obviously necessary".

Reign of Terror

September 5, 1793 - July 27, 1794

The Reign of Terror was the period following Louis XVI's execution when the government took "harsh measures" against suspected enemies of the Revolution, killing and arresting thousands of people. The Reign of Terror definitely went against many articles of the Declaration, especially the seventh, eighth, and ninth articles which all have to deal with when it is appropriate for the law to arrest and punish citizens.

Important Napoleonic Reforms

1804 - 1807

Napoleon made reforms in law, government, and education. His reforms in law supported the sixteenth article of the Declaration because his reforms made sure that society observed them. His reforms in government supported the thirteenth article, keeping taxes equally distributed. However, his reforms in in education go against the eleventh article, seeing as not all girls were free to write and print with freedom because they were not provided education unless it was from their mothers.

Invasion of Russia

June 24, 1812

Napoleon lead the Grande Armée soldiers to "finish off" the barbarians from the North so they would not come to busy themselves with European affairs. However, after many months Alexander had still not offered Napoleon anything. Napoleon knew his army could not survive through the harsh winter and they moved out. The Invasion of Russia supports the twelfth article of the Declaration which states "the security of the rights of man and of the citizen requires public military forces."

Exile to Elba

April 11, 1814

Soon after the Invasion of Russia ended, most of Napoleons soldiers had retreated from battle and most of Europe had united against him. Therefore, Napoleon offered to step down for his son. His offer was rejected and he was exiled to Elba. One year after he escaped back to France and fought the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleons exile to Elba supports the eighth article of the Declaration because Napoleons exile was an "obviously necessary" punishment.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814 - June 1815

The Congress of Vienna is the assembly that reorganized Europe after the Napoleonic Wars. The Final Act was completed and lasted for more than 40 years.

Battle of Waterloo

June 18, 1815

The Battle of Waterloo was fought between the French Grande Armée and the Allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington from Britain and General Blücher from Prussia. The Battle was fought after Napoleon decided to return to France due to the instability and the Allies soon declared war and Napoleon was defeated, ending his career.