In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte returned from the Egyptian Campaign. Successful in suppressing uprisings against the government and victorious in his Italian campaigns, Bonaparte was known as an excellent strategist who had gained the respect of his men through bravery and courage under fire, meticulous planning and an unconventional approach to warfare. Despite defeats in Egypt, Napoleon returned to a hero’s reception. Outmanoeuvring the government and supported by his army he collaborated in a coup d’etat to overthrow the Directory and establish the Consulate. By 1800 Napoleon had become the First Consul of France, and was now in a position of total power
A number of ill-advised financial maneuvers in the late 1700s worsened the financial situation of the already cash-strapped French government. France’s prolonged involvement in the Seven Years’ War of 1756–1763 drained the treasury, as did the country’s participation in the American Revolution of 1775–1783. Aggravating the situation was the fact that the government had a sizable army and navy to maintain, which was an expenditure of particular importance during those times.
Counter revolution was composed of various groups both in and outside of France who were opposed to the French Revolution and wanted to change its course. Western Europe watched the increasing violence in France with alarm.
The Estates-General of 1789 was the first meeting since 1614 of the French Estates-General, a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the clergy (First Estate), the nobles (Second Estate), and the common people (Third Estate). King Louis XVI wanted to find solutions to his government's financial problems.
Over the next two years, the National Assembly took a number of progressive actions to address the failing economy and tighten up the country.
The Tennis Court Oath was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on 20 June 1789. They made a makeshift conference room inside a tennis court.
The medieval fortress and prison in Paris known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris. People stormed the building. The mob paraded through the streets, showing off their captives, and crudely cutting off many heads. The National Guard tried to stop the crowds from looting, but it was useless. Upon learning that the Bastille had been taken King Louis was shocked that this had happened.
These peasant rebellions helped cause a subsequent general panic know as the “Great Fear”. Rural unrest had been present in France since the worsening grain shortage of the spring, and fueled by the rumors of an “famine plot” to starve or burn out the population.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a fundamental document of the French Revolution and in the history of human rights, defining the individual and collective rights of all the estates.
The National Convention was elected to provide a new constitution for the country after the overthrow of the monarchy. The convention was attended by deputies, businessmen, tradesmen, and many professional men.
Louis was arrested, tried for high treason before the National Convention, found guilty by almost all and condemned to death by the majority of people. His execution made him the first victim of the Reign of Terror. He was killed by a guillotine.
The Reign of Terror also known simply as The Terror was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, caused by conflict between rival political factions mass executions of "enemies of the revolution". The death toll ranged in the tens of thousands.
The system of laws was in a state of chaos. Laws were not codified and were based on Roman law He recognized the importance of education in producing citizens capable of filling positions in his bureaucracy and military.Napoleon centralized the government, putting control firmly in the hands of the national government.
The French Invasion of Russia in 1812, also known as the Russian Campaign in France was a turning point during the Napoleonic Wars. It reduced the French and allied invasion forces and triggered a major shift in European politics as it dramatically weakened the French.
Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history, abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished from the Mediterranean island of Elba.
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states and held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.
In 1814, twenty five years of war finally came to an end. Napoleon had surrendered and his banishment to the Mediterranean island of Elba. The European powers began the task of restoring their continent to normality and peace.