French Revolution


Financial Crisis of 1787-1789

July 1 1787 - 1789

Over many years, the French had gotten themselves into a tremendous amount of debt because the government continued to spend luxuriously and refused to tax the First and Second Estates. Nature also played a role, as they had one of the coldest winters ever as well as a hailstorm and drought which did not at all help with their debt. The Constitution doesn't really apply to this event.

Creation of National Assembly

June 17, 1789

When the Third Estate’s access to the General Estates had been denied, they decided to form a new legislature, calling themselves the National Assembly. They did this with the majority of the population in mind so they could have more say in law-making. I think that this supports the Declaration because they are doing what they think is the right thing to do and they aren’t harming anyone in the process or taking away other people’s rights. But, at the same time they are going against the government so that could be considered treason.

Tennis Court Oath

June 20 1789

The King locked the Third Estate out of the meeting so they instead went to an indoor tennis court where they swore they wouldn't leave until they had written a Constitution. This supports the Declaration because they weren't hurting anyone by doing this and they were doing what they thought would be best for society

Estates General

July 1 1789

This was a meeting of the representatives of the three different Estates. At first, each Estate was granted 1 vote, but the Third Estate was no longer going to follow this rule because this meant they had little say in law-making. I would say that this supports the Declaration because the 2nd Article has to do with how the goal of the government is the "preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man" and the Third Estate was doing what was best and fair for the majority of the population by wanting more votes.

Storming Bastille

July 14 1789

A very mad mob of Parisians went to an ancient prison called Bastille for get some weapons. When the commander would not negotiate with them, they killed him, stuck his head at the end of a stick and marched it around the town. This goes against the Declaration because they didn't have a very good reason at all to kill the commander because he hadn't committed a crime and they got pretty out of control due to their anger, so the mob should have handled their situation differently.

Great Fear

August 15, 1789

This was a panic that struck throughout all of France because of both rumors and facts. It all started when rumors that the king called on foreign soldiers to get revenge on the Third Estate so they started to panic and made up even more stores after that. They were really just scaring themselves. I wouldn't say that the Declaration really deals with this so it neither supports or goes against it.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

August 26 1789

The National Assembly, which was what the Third Estate called themselves after they went against the government, came up with the basic principles for this declaration, those being liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Important Actions of the National Convention

1792 - 1793

The King was put on trial, found guilty, and then executed the next day in public. One guard even held up his bloody head for all to see.I think this goes against the declaration because the government tried to change the majority of the people’s religion even though the 10th Article says “No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinion, including his religious views”.

Creation of National Assembly

September 20, 1792

After the Legislative Assembly felt powerless and voted themselves out of existence, the National Convention was formed. They changed the French from a Monarch to a Republic. This supports the declaration because the people are getting rid of something they think isn’t working and changing it to something they think will work in order to make things better for the people.

Execution of Louis XVI

January 21, 1793

The King was put on trial, found guilty, and then executed the next day in public. One guard even held up his bloody head for all to see. I don't think this supports the Declaration because even though he was given a trial, I don't think it was a fair one and he was found guilty for not really doing anything.

Reign of Terror

June 1793

The group in the National Convention that supported change the most was known as The Mountain, who created a fear throughout the country through accusations, trials, and executions. This goes against the declaration because they were kind of abusing their power by calling for all of the trials and they were making accusations against people based on their opinions, yet the constitution supported opinions of others.

Napoleon's Rise to Power

July 1793

Napoleon Bonaparte was a military genius as well as an ambitious young man when he was noticed after winning a very impressive battle. Other people of higher power noticed him and after a few years, he would rule over most of Europe. This doesn’t really apply to the declaration.


July 1793

Many of the French citizens were growing very skeptical about the course of the revolution and where it was heading. A lot of the new leaders made some very risky moves in order to avoid a counterrevolution, which is when a revolution goes against a government that formed because of a revolution. I would say that his supports the declaration because there wasn’t anything that was actually going against the government because there wasn’t really a counterrevolution, the leaders were just afraid there might be one.

Important Napoleonic Reforms

November 1799

During his rule, Napoleon allowed for much more religious freedom than the Revolution had when he made a negotiation with the Pope that didn’t require anyone to be any particular religion. He established the Bank of France as well as a better tax collection system to regulate the economy. He also made a law code that got rid of a lot of injustices. I think that this both supports the Declaration because of more religious freedom but also goes against it a little bit because his law code got rid of some individual rights like freedom of speech in newspapers.

Invasion of Russia

June 1812

During Napoleon’s rule, he thought it would be a good idea to invade Russia even though it was a hot summer, the troops were not necessarily loyal to France, and they were running low on supplies. Him and 600,000 other troops followed as the the Russian army retreated farther east, and when they did meet and battle, France ended up winning with a large sacrifice of men.I don’t think that the Declaration really applies to this event because it doesn’t have a lot to do with the government in that sense.

Exile to Elba

March 1814

Russia had more hope, especially since Austria, Prussia, and Great Britain had allied with them. After battling in the city of Leipzig, Napoleon and his army were defeated and he was forced to give up his throne. Napoleon was given the tiny island of Elba to rule over. I think that the Declaration doesn’t have a lot to do with this because it was a war and laws don’t really apply to war and battles.

Congress of Vienna

September 1814

Many diplomats came to the city of Vienna to have a meeting called the Congress of Vienna. They redrew the whole map of Europe in order to restore stability after the chaos from the Napoleonic Wars. I think this supports the government because they are trying to get things back to the way they were when there was order and organization in Europe

Battle of Waterloo

June 18, 1815

There had been a lot of battles, but this was the battle that ultimately decided which side would win the Napoleonic Wars. British and French troops met in a small village called Waterloo, and after Prussian troops arrived, Napoleon and the French troops were finally defeated. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the Declaration since it deals with war.