The French Revolution


Financial Crisis of 1787-1789

Nov 2, 1787

November 2, 1787 The assembly of Notables convenes, rejects Calonne's debt relief proposals.


1789 - 1815

During the early stages of the Revolution, these conflicts were mostly limited to political debate, rather than armed confrontation. Initially, the revolutionary government was divided between Feuillants, who controlled the ministries, and the Girondists, who dominated the National Assembly. Both factions began as members of the Jacobin Club before breaking off into distinct political groups.

The Great Fear


Was a period of panic and riots by peasants and others amid rumors of an “aristocratic conspiracy” by the king and the privileged to overthrow the Third Estate.

The Estates General

May 5, 1789

Louis XVI summons Estates General for it's first meeting since 1614. Later on in June on the 17 the Third Estate breaks away from the Estates general and establishes itself as the National Assembly

Tennis Court Oath

June 17, 1789 - June 20, 1789

Because of an economic crisis in France the king recalled the estates-general. They overstepped the parameters set by the king and proclaimed themselves the National Assembly, a legislative body equal to the king (like the British parliament). The king locked their meeting hall, so the assembly met on a tennis court. They pledged not to disband until they adopted a constitution.

Creation of National Assembly

June 17, 1789 - July 9, 1789

It was the name of the revolutionary assembly formed by representatives of the Third Estate; thereafter (until replaced by the Legislative Assembly on September 30, 1791) it’s formal name was National Constituent Assembly.

Storming Bastille

Jul 14, 1789

The morning of July 14, 1789 a group of people comprised mostly of craftsmen and salesmen stole 28,000 rifles. When they did this all they got were the rifles because there was no powder so the mob decided to attack the prison of Bastille. At the time the prison was guarded by a few soldiers. The commander Marquis Bernard-Rene de Launay ended up surrendering when the additional support they requested for ended up turning on them and helped the mob instead. Afterwards the prison was raided, the guards killed and the Marquis was beheaded, had his head put on a stake and the mob paraded around the street with it.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

26 August 1789

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen is the document that provided the basis for the French Constitution.

Important Actions of the National Convention

September 20, 1792 - October 26, 1795

The National Convention was elected to provide a new constitution for the country after the overthrow of the monarchy. The convention numbered 749 deputies made up of businessmen, tradesmen and many professional men.

The Creation of National Convention

September 20, 1792 - October 26, 1795

The National Convention was the assembly the governed France from September 20, 1792 to October 26, 1795 during the most critical period of the French Revolution. The National Convention was elected to provide a new constitution for the country after the overthrow of the monarchy.

Execution of LouicXVI

January 18, 1793

Despite the last-minute attempts of the Girondins to save him, Citizen Capet, as he was the called, was found guilty by the National Convention and condemned to death.

Reign of Terror

September 5, 1793 - July 27, 1794

The terror first began after the death of King Louis XVI. Approximately 25,000 people were arrested and beheaded accused of treason and other charges. Maximilien Robespierre, who was incharge of the Committee of Public Safety, led the Reign of Terror.

Important Napoleonic Reforms


Government Reforms: Napoleon centralized the government, putting control firmly in the hands of the national government. It became more efficient.
Education Reforms: Napoleon built many new lycees, schools for boys age 10 to 16. He recognized the importance of education in producing citizens capable of filling positions in his bureaucracy and military. Although he did not create a system of mass education, education was more available to the middle class than it ever had been before.

Napoleon’s Rise to Power

1804 - 1815

Napoleon Bonaparte's actions as a military and political leader in France, can be credited as having shaped the politics of Europe during the 19th century. How did Napoleon rise to power? Trained as an artillery officer, he was prolific at strategy and led two winning campaigns against opposing coalitions. In an orchestrated coup he then installed himself as the First Consul in 1799; within five years the French Senate had proclaimed him Emperor of France.

Invasion of Russia

June 24, 1812 - December 14, 1812

It was the turning point in the Napoleonic wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces (the Grande Armée) to a tiny fraction of their initial strength and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened French hegemony in Europe.

Exile to Elba

April 11, 1814

After being defeated by Russia Napoleons broken forces gave up and Napoleon offered to step down in favor of his son. when this offer was rejected, he was abdicated and exiled to Elba.

Exile of Elba

May 4, 1814 - February 1815

Following the Treaty of Fontainebleau and his forced abdication, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and landed at Portoferraio on the island of Elba on May 4, 1814.

Congress of Vienna

1 November 1814 - 8 June 1815

The goal of the congress was to re-establish a balance of power among the countries of Europe and have peace between the nations. The Congress proved to be highly successful in achieving its goal, for the peace in Europe was left almost undisturbed for nearly 40 years.

Battle of Waterloo

June 1815