French Revolution

Timeline about the French Revolution.


French Financial Crisis

1783 - 1788

France builds up a massive debt through the support of the American Revolution and the participation in the Seven Years' War. The meetings that occurred in order to attempt to solve this debt problem failed to bear fruit as the attending parties were unable to reach an agreement in regards with the future of the nation’s debt problems. The Crisis occurred because of the violation of the principles of the Citizen because of the unfair taxing that was taking place as well as land management.


1789 - 1815

The Counter-Revolution was composed of groups in and out of France who opposed the French Revolution and the actions that it was taking. Countries such as Prussia, Austria, and Great Britain feared that the Revolution would provide ideas and destabilize the peace within their own countries. These actions were against the Declaration because it was to oppress the rights of the citizens to resist their government when the situation demands it.


May 5, 1789

A general assembly representing the French estates; it was summoned by King Louis XVI to propose solution to his government’s financial problems. The various estates reached impasses, but it was brought to an end when members of the Third Estate formed themselves into a National Assembly. The General Assembly goes against the principles of the citizen in the respect that the wealthier individuals of the First and Second Estate have more influence than the Third Class in the matter of financial powers.

Creation of the National Assembly

June 17, 1789

Because of the power struggle that was taking place as Estate’s squabbled over their political structure instead of coming up with real plans to deal with the national debt problem that was sweeping over them in the Estates-General. Various members of the Third Estate went on to form a National Assembly in order to better discuss and fix the problems that affix France. This goes with the Declaration because it gives the people proper representation in the government instead of all the centralized influence being dispersed within the First and Second Estate.

Tennis Court Oath

June 20, 1789

The Tennis Court Oath was an Oath pledge signed by the members of the Third Estate after they had found out that they had been locked out of the Estates-General meeting on the 20th of June 1789. The Oath is how the National Assembly was formed and they started meeting in a tennis court, and they promised to continue meeting until such a time that the constitution was written. The Oath goes with the Declaration in regards with the representation that is associated with the Assembly, and the write of the people to be represented and make their own decisions.

Storming Bastille

July 14, 1789

Bastille was a medieval fortress and a prison that was a key representation of the Royal Authority in Paris. It was a major beginning to the French Revolution and it ended up becoming a major holiday (July 14). With the storming of Bastille, it allowed for the French Revolutionaries in Paris to successfully arm them and send a message to the King. This supports the principles of the citizen because it maintains their rights to bear arms and to defend themselves from the oppression of the government and other individuals.

Great Fear

July 19, 1789 - August 3, 1789

The Great Fear occurred at the beginning of the French Revolution because of unrest that led to the formation of militias because of the rumors that armed men were roaming the countryside. This fear led to many fearful peasants to arm themselves for self-defense and some to take this opportunity to attack manor houses. This mostly supports the principles of the Citizen because of the citizen’s right to arm them and protect themselves against civil injustices.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

August 26, 1789

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen was a document that was written to define the individual and collective rights of all the estates. It was written to lay forth the unfair treatment by the French Monarchy to the citizens of the Third Estate and to lay down what the proper treatment and rights of every citizen, regardless of Estate should be limited to. This definitely supports the principles of the Citizen because it clearly lays down what the proper rights should be in a just nation under god, and how those rights should be enforced and the method of government maintained.

Important actions of the National Convention

September 20, 1792 - October 26, 1795

The National Convention maintained the rights of the Citizen and elected major individuals in a fair matter. As well as establishing a strong public education system with the future generations in mind. It also developed the social and political gains of the French Revolution.

Creation of the National Convention

September 20, 1792

The National Convention was the legislative assembly that held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic that brought about the writing of the French constitution and followed a system quite similar to that of the American congress. This convention goes with the declaration with the proper representation of the citizens with the method of selection among French citizens.

Execution of Louis XVI

January 21, 1793

The monarch of France at the time: Louis XVI was executed by means of the guillotine in the “Revolutionary Square”. It was a major step in the French Revolution that represented the fall of the monarchy along with Louis’ wife, Marie Antoinette. This occurred due to Louis’ attempt to flee the country in which he was caught and brought back to France to face justice. This example somewhat goes against the Declaration because of the blood-lust of the crowd, proper justice and representation was not given to Louis in this matter that led to his unfortunate death.

Reign of Terror

September 5, 1793 - July 28, 1794

The Reign of Terror was a phase of violence between political factions during the French Revolution that made the Guillotine a major symbol of the Revolution due to the massive amount of individuals that were beheaded. The usage of the Guillotine during the Reign of Terror is against the rights of the citizen because of the brutal usage of the machine without remorse against those without proper representation and law jurisdiction.

Napoleon's Rise to Power

November 1799

Napoleon was born on the island of Corsica and rose through the ranks of the military during the French Revolution before finally seizing political power in France in 1799. Then he crowned himself emperor in 1804, as emperor he launched a series of campaigns and greatly expanded on the power of the French. These actions go against the Declaration because the entire point of the Revolution was to remove that one-seated ruler that controlled France.

Napoleonic Reforms

1804 - 1807

Reforms such as the Napoleonic Code which is a French civil code that was established in 1804 that prevented privileges based on birth, as well as freedom of religion. It was a strong legal system that was a major step in replacing the previous work of feudal laws, along with the various reforms of education for military and philosophical knowledge.

Invasion of Russia

June 24, 1812 - December 14, 1812

The invasion of Russia was a major turning point in the Napoleonic Wars as it managed to majorly reduce the strength of the French military forces and the previous undefeated military prowess of Napoleon was damaged. The French forces suffered many major defeats in the cold Russian mainland and struggled against the constant guerrilla warfare that they faced from Russian peasants. This invasion was against the Declaration as it wasn't in the best interests of the people with the reckless invasion of Russia and harming the rights of the Citizen.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814 - June 1815

The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states to settle the issue arising from the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic Wars. The results of the meeting were a redrawing in the continent’s political map and established the boundaries of France, and the creation of spheres of influence. It was an attempt to balance the power of Europe to ensure peace would last, and served as a model for future organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations. The Congress was supportive of the Declaration with the fair actions and support of the citizen’s right with the peace of European dominance.

Battle of Waterloo

June 18, 1815

The Battle of Waterloo took place in present day Belgium where the Imperial French Army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition. His defeat at Waterloo marked the end of his rule and the return from his exile. After his return the Coalition forces returned and restored the power of France to King Louis XVII. These actions were for and against the Declaration with the removal of power from Napoleon by the Coalition forces and freedom restored, but the country being restored to the monarchy.

Exile to Elba

April 11, 1844

After Napoleon was defeated, he was banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba. The French dominance in Europe came to an end, but when he escaped the island and tried to restore his emperor title, more battles followed such as the Battle of Waterloo. When he was defeated a second time, he was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena where he died at the age of 52. His exile was supportive of the Declaration because he received a fair trial for his actions against the world and the people of France.