French Revolution


Financial Crisis

jan 1, 1787 - jan 1, 1789
  • King Louis created huge debt problems that he was unable to fix.
  • The price of bread was sky high and the third estate starved.
  • The people became angry with the King
  • This goes AGAINST the declaration. King Louis was not treating all French people fairly. The third estate was in poverty, and the 1st and 2nd estates lived in luxury, and King Louis didn't do anything to change that. In the French Constitution it says that all people should be treated fairly, and that is not what the king did.

Counter Revolution

jan 1, 1789 - jan 1, 1815

-Some French leaders feared they would lose control and decided to do anything they could to stop a counter revolution.
The French Constitution says that if the government fails to protect the rights of the people, they have the right to do something about it. And that is what they did - counterevolt

Estates General


-The General was a representative body of each of the three estates. This was the first time they had met in 150 years to approve new taxes on the third state to end the financial crisis The third estate would always be outvoted by the 1st and 2nd estates since votes were cast based on Estates. The third estate which consisted of 98% of the French population fought to vote based on number of people in each estate.
-Nothing that happened in the Estates general that went against the constitution. The french people were coming together to try and solve a problem, but the 1st and 2nd estates were not treated as fairly as the 3rd

Creation of National Assembly

May 5, 1789

-On May 5, 1789 the voting in the Estates General changed from going by head to going by Estates. That meant no matter what, the Third estate would never win a vote, even though they accounted for 98% of the population of France. The third estate was not pleased and proceeded to meet alone. They called themselves the National Assembly.
-This goes with the Constitution because it says if the government fails to protect your rights, then the people have a right to make a change, and that is exactly what the third estate tried to do.

Tennis Court Oath

June 20, 1789

-Third Estate was locked out of the Estates General meeting
-They instead met at a nearby tennis court and agreed that whatever the circumstances, they were not to separate until a Constitution of the Kingdom was established
-This goes along with what the constitution says. It says that if the government fails to protect your rights, the people have the right to do something about it. It also says that all people should be treated equal. King Louis did not follow the French Constitution because he wasn't treating all the people fairly.

Storming Bastille

Jul 14, 1789

-In fear of being punished by king Louis, the people of the third estate raided the prison of Bastille in order to arm themselves with weapons for protection
- During the raid lots of innocent people died. That would mean it was against the constitution. The constitution does not promote violence.
-This does not go against the French Constitution. It says "Liberty consists in being able to do anything that does not harm others" and French people did harm others when they stormed Bastille therefore making what they did unconstitutional.

Great Fear

july 19 1789 - august 3, 1789

-The peasants of the third estate were terrified. They heard rumors that the king’s armies were on their way because of the storming of Bastille. In turn, they attacked and burned manor houses and destroyed records of taxes.
- This does not go with the French Constitution. Nowhere in it does it say violence ever the answer to any problem.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

August 26, 1789

-Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen is very similar to our Bill of Rights. It lays out the rights of the French people. Some rights include; everyone is innocent until proven guilty, all men are born free and equal, and the freedom of speech and the press
- The creation of the constitution doesn't go against or with itself.

Execution of Louis XVI

jan 21, 1793

-On Jan 20, 1973 the National Convention sentenced King Louis to be executed. He was executed the next day on Jan 21, 1973.
- King Louis didn't protect the rights of the people, therefore, the French people had the right to do something about it, because that is what the Constitution says. It also says that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Before he was executed, king Louis was brought to trial and found guilty. If he wasn't proven guilty or brought to trial, that would have been unconstitutional.

Reign of Terror

September 5, 1793 - July 28, 1794

-A time in which some of the revolutionary leaders such as Robespierre feared they would lose control and took drastic measures to ensure that it wouldn't happen. A series of accusations, trials, and executions occurred to stop possible counterrevolution.
-No where in the french Constitution does it say that the government can kill its people because they are afraid of being overthrown. The government is there to protect the peoples rights, not to kill them because they think they will revolt against them.

Napoleon’s Rise to Power

  • He became a great military leader with the execution of Robespierre. He became emperor in 1802, and ruled much of the European continent. He was defeated in the battle of Waterloo on June 15, 1815. Napoleon didn't follow the constitution. He always had a want for more power and land. He went to war and made enemies with a lot of european countries. He focused on gaining power instead of protecting the rights of the people like the government should.

Important Napoleonic Reforms


-He controlled the prices of food, encouraged new businesses, and constructed roads and canals
-He made peace with the Catholic church in 1801
-Elections took place and the people of France had more rights than ever before.
-His goal was to rule the Americas
- Napoleon followed the French Constitution. He treated everyone fairly and did what was best for France. He also protected the rights of the people just like the government should.

Invasion of Russia

June 1812

-Attempted to force Tsar Alexander to follow the terms of treaty Napoleon had proposed to him 4 years earlier and to take over the Russian land to complete his conquest of Europe.
-Was a major loss for the French
This did not follow the French constitution. Napoleon attempted to take another country's land and take over. In the French constitution it says that the role of the government is to protect the rights of the people, not invade other country's and take their rights away.

Exile to Elba

march 1814

-Napoleon was banished to Elba (a small island in the Med. Sea) by the allied powers and was still given the title emperor and ruled over the people of the island.
- He was exiled there because of his defeat by russia
Napoleon was a threat to the French people, therefore, the government had to protect the people and exile him to Elba.

Congress of Vienna


-Many countries met to restore order and stability to Europe after the Napoleonic wars
- They redrew boarders, and restored some of the Monarchies that Napoleon had ended.
- This does go with the French Constitution. The Congress of Vienna helped restore order and stable governments to European countries, Just like the French Constitution did to France.

Battle at Waterloo

june 1815
  • Napoleon attempted to take down his enemies after he had escaped from Elba. -Napoleon was defeated, finally putting an end to the Napoleonic wars -This didn't go against the constitution, it went with it. The battle at Waterloo was an attempt to once again defeat an emperor who didn't follow the French Constitution, so that the rights of the people could be protected. And that is what the constitution says. The main role of the government is to protect the rights of the people.