French Revolution Timeline


Louis XVI born


Louis XVI crowned king


Ruler/Governing Body

King is Ruler of France

1774 - June 17 1789

National Assembly

June 17 1789 - July 9 1789

National Constituent Assembly

July 9 1789 - September 1791

Legislative Assembly

October 1 1791 - september 19 1792

National Convention

September 20 1792 - October 26 1795

The Directory

November 2 1795 - November 9 1799


Storming of the Bastille

July 1789

Champ de Mars Massacre

July 17 1791

Anti-Royalist demonstration at the Champ de Mars; National Guard kills fifty people.

Storming of the Tuileries Palace. Swiss Guard Massacred

August 10 1792 - August 13 1792

Storming of the Tuileries Palace. Swiss Guard massacred. Louis XVI of France is arrested and taken into custody, along with his family. Georges Danton becomes Minister of Justice.

Arrest of Girondist deputies to National Convention by Jacobins

June 2 1793

2 Germinal

1 April 1795

: sans-culottes held insurrection against the convention demanding bread. They also wanted the Revolutionary Government itself to be abolished. The Convention rather than be bullied, called in the National Guard which dispersed the crowd but Paris itself was under siege. 26 Montagnard, 4000 Jacobins/Sans-culottes were arrested. Showed the desperation of the people.

The revolt of 1 prairial year III

20 May 1795

It was a Jacobin popular revolt in Paris on 20 May 1795 against the Thermidorian National Convention, then presided over by François-Antoine de Boissy d'Anglas. It was provoked by poverty and hunger resulting from a large hike in prices due to the major depreciation of the assignats. 1 Prairial. The failure of the Germinal uprsing led directly to the last journee of the sans-culottes and changed the course of the revolution. People invades the Tuileries, protesting that they be heard. National Guard ended the protest in whcih 10000 people were exlied. 1700 stripped of thier civil rights. Lefebvre: "This date should mark the end of the Revolution; its mainspring had been broken.


The diamond necklace affair


The diamond necklace affair damages the already tarnished reputation of Marie-Antoinette

Women's March on Versailles - October Days

October 5 1789 - October 6 1789

Outbreak of the Paris mob; Liberal monarchical constitution; the Women's March on Versailles

Flight to Varennes

June 20 1791 - June 25 1791

Louis XVI forced to return to Paris

June 25 1791

Leopold II issues the Padua Circular

July 10 1791

Leopold II issues the Padua Circular calling on the royal houses of Europe to come to his brother-in-law, Louis XVI's aid.

Louis XVI brought to trial

December 3 1792

Louis XVI guillotined

January 21 1793

Queen Marie Antoinette is condemned to be executed

October 15 1793

She is impeached and convicted for treachery against the country,and for incest with her child The Dauphin.

Marie Antoinette guillotined

October 16 1793


Jacques Necker released his compte rendu


The ordinary French people think that the economic situation is stable.

Necker was dismissed


Debt Worsens


Debt gets worse because of 20 years of war and corruption and lack of taxes from the rich meant the crown was receiving little money

Finance minister Calonne informs Louis that the Royal finances are insolvent


Calonne’s publication of his proposals

March 1787

Calonne’s publication of his proposals and the failure to compromise by the Notables leads to a public clash

Louis dismissed Calonne and appoints Brienne

April 1787

Brienne backs down with his legislative demands

September 1787

Civil unrest in the Dutch Republic leads to its invasion by the Prussian army, and increases tensions in Paris. Brienne backs down with his legislative demands, settling for an extension of the vingtieme tax and the parlements were allowed to return to Paris.

Brienne begins to consider calling an Estates General

July 1788

Brienne sets date for Estates Generlal

August 1788

After being informed that the royal treasury is empty, Brienne sets May 1st, 1789 as a date for the Estates General in an attempt to restore confidence with his creditors

French government officially declares bankruptcy

August 1788

Brienne resigns and Necker replaces him

August 1788

Necker announces that the representation of the Third Estate will be doubled

December 1788

Prompted by public controversy, Necker announces that the representation of the Third Estate will be doubled, and that nobles and clergymen will be able to stand for the same

Fall of Necker

September 1790

Assembly of Notables

The Assembly of the Notables was constructed


The first Assembly of the Notables

February 1787

The first Assembly of the Notables meets against a background of state financial instability and resistance from the nobility to the imposition of taxes

the first assembly of Notables is dissolved

May 1787

Louis orders the closure of all political clubs in Paris

August 1787

Parisian parlements to Troyes

August 1787

Louis dismisses the Parisian parlements to Troyes to avoid influence from the angry Parisians

Legislation passed at a lit de justice

August 1787

Legislation passed at a lit de justice. Subsequently the parlement declares the registration was illegal. Supported by public opinion, it initiates criminal proceedings against the disgraced Calonne

Arrest of the Duc d'Orleans

November 1787

The vocal opposition of the Duc d’Orleans leads to his arrest by the lettres de cachet

Day of Tiles in Grenoble

June 1788

Civil unrest caused by poor harvests, rising bread prices, de Brienne’s proposal for a new tax to reduce Frances debt. Troops sent to deal with the unrest were attacked by large groups of people, throwing roof tiles.

Political pamphlets start circulating

September 1788

Second Assembly of Notables Convenes

November 1788

Necker convenes a second Assembly of Notables to discuss the Estates General

The second Assembly of Notables is dismissed

December 1788

The second Assembly of Notables is dismissed, having refused to consider doubling the representation of the Third Estate

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès publishes What is the Third Estate?

January 1789

Réveillon Riots

April 1789

in Paris, caused by low wages and food shortages, led to about 25 deaths by troops.

Estates General

May 1789

meets for the first time since 1614, voting to be done by state not head

Tennis Court Oath

June 1789

of dismissed Estates-General members who refuse to adjourn,Third Estate/National Assembly are locked out of meeting houses; the Third Estate chooses to continue thinking King Louis XVI has locked them out and decides upon a declarative vow, known as the The Tennis Court Oath, not to dissolve until the constitution has been established

Camille Desmoulins Speech

July 1789

Camille Desmoulins gives a speech in the gardens of the Palais Royale, urging the citizens of Paris to take up arms.

Estates-General and Constituent Assembly

The Third Estate meets on its own

May 28 1789

Begins to meet calling themselves "communes"

Some priests from the First Estate choose to join the Third Estate

June 13 1789

The Third Estate declares itself to be the National Assembly

June 17 1789

Louis recognises the validity of the National Assembly

June 27 1789

Louis recognises the validity of the National Assembly, and orders the First and Second Estates to join the Third

National Assembly reconstitutes itself as National Constituent Assembly

July 9 1789

Necker dismissed by Louis

July 11 1789

Necker dismissed by Louis; populace sack the monasteries, ransack aristocrats' homes in search of food and weapons

Camille Desmoulins announces the dismissal of Necker to the Paris crowd

July 12 1789

Camille Desmoulins announces the dismissal of Necker to the Paris crowd. The Karl Eugen, Prince von Lothringen-Lambesc appears at the Tuilleries with an armed guard - a soldier and civilian are killed.

National Guard formed

July 13 1789

National Guard formed in Paris, of middle class men.

Lafayette appointed Commandante of the National Guard

July 15 1789

Necker recalled

July 16 1789

Necker recalled, troops pulled out of Paris

The beginning of the Great Fear

July 17 1789

The beginning of the Great Fear, the peasantry revolt against feudalism and a number of urban disturbances and revolts. Many members of the aristocracy flee Paris to become émigrés. Louis XVI accepts the tricolor cockade.

Publication of Desmoulins' La France libre'

July 18 1789

Publication of Desmoulins' La France libre favouring a republic and arguing that revolutionary violence was justified.

August Decrees

August 4 1789

Surrender of feudal rights: The August Decrees

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

August 26 1789

The Assembly adopts The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

Louis earns a suspensive veto

September 1789

The National Assembly grants suspensive veto to Louis XVI; Louis fails to ratify the August acts of the National Assembly.

Palace of Versailles stormed.

October 6 1789

Louis XVI agrees to ratify the August Decrees, Palace of Versailles stormed.

King Louis and the National Assembly removed to Paris

Biens Nationaux

November 2 1789

Church property nationalised and otherwise expropriated

'active' and 'passive' citizens are created

December 1789

National Assembly distinguishes between 'active' (monied) and 'passive' (property-less) citizens - only the active could vote

Assignats introduced

December 12 1789

Assignats are used as legal tender

Creation of the Departments

January 1790

Former Provinces of France replaced by new administrative Departments.

Nobility abolished

May 19 1790

Nobility abolished by the National Assembly.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

July 12 1790

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Demands priests to take an oath of loyalty to the state, splitting the clergy between juring (oath-taking) and non-juring priests.

The parlements are abolished

August 16 1790

First edition of radical newspaper Le Père Duchesne printed by Jacques Hébert.

September 1790

Mirabeau elected President of the Assembly

January 1 1791

Day of Daggers

February 1791

Day of Daggers; Lafayette orders the arrest of 400 armed aristocrats at the Tuileries Palace

Abolition of trade guilds

March 2 1791

Pope Pius VI condemns the Civil Constitution of the Clergy

March 10 1791

Death of Mirabeau

April 2 1791

Louis and Marie-Antoinette prevented from travelling to Saint-Cloud for Easter

April 18 1791

Le Chapelier law

June 14 1791

Le Chapelier law banning trade unions is passed by National Assembly

National Assembly declares the king to be inviolable and he is reinstated.

July 15 1791

Declaration of Pillnitz

August 27 1791

Declaration of Pillnitz (Frederick William II and Leopold II)

Legislative Assembly

Legislative Assembly declares that the fatherland is in danger

July 8 1782

Legislative Assembly meets

October 1 1791

Legislative Assembly meets - many young, inexperienced, radical deputies.

All émigrés are ordered by the Assembly to return under threat of death

November 9 1791

Louis vetoes the ruling of the Assembly on émigrés and priests

November 11 1791

Food riots in Paris

January 1792 - March 1792

Guillotine adopted as official means of execution.

March 20 1792

The people storm the Tuileries and confront the king.

June 20 1792

Brunswick Manifesto

July 25 1792

Brunswick Manifesto - warns that should the royal family be harmed by the popular movement, an "exemplary and eternally memorable revenge" will follow.

News of the Brunswick Manifesto reaches Paris

August 1 1792

News of the Brunswick Manifesto reaches Paris - interpreted as proof that Louis XVI was collaborating with the foreign Coalition

Revolutionary commune took possession of the hôtel de ville.

August 9 1792

Paris commune presents petition to the Legislative Assembly

August 16 1792

Paris commune presents petition to the Legislative Assembly demanding the establishment of a revolutionary tribunal and summoning of a National Convention.

Royalist riots in Brittany, La Vendée and Dauphiné.

August 22 1792

The September Massacres

September 3 1792 - September 7 1792

The September Massacres of prisoners in the Paris prisons

National Convention

French Army stops advance of Coalition troops at Valmy.

September 20 1792

French Army stops advance of Coalition troops at Valmy.

Abolition of royalty and proclamation of the First French Republic

September 21 1792

First day of the French Revolutionary Calendar

September 22 1792

(N.B.: calendar introduced in 1793).

Louis XVI appears before the National Convention

11 December 1792

Robespierre argues that "Louis must die, so that the country may live".

Louis XVI appears before the National Convention

December 23 1792

War in the Vendée.

March 7 1793

Revolutionary Tribunal established in Paris.

March 11 1793

Committee of Public Safety established.

April 6 1793

A revolt breaks out in Lyon

May 30 1793

Jacobins gain control of the Committee of Public Safety

June 10 1793

Ratification of new Constitution by National Convention, but not yet proclaimed.

June 24 1793

Slavery is abolished in France until 1802

Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday

July 13 1793

Charlotte Corday gets guillotined after her trial for murdering Marat

July 17 1793

Robespierre elected to Committee of Public Safety

July 27 1793

Convention proscribes 21 Girondist deputies as enemies of France

July 28 1793

Levée en masse (conscription) order

23 August 1793

Start of Reign of Terror

September 5 1793

Establishment of sans-culottes paramilitary forces - revolutionary armies

September 9 1793

Law of Suspects passed

September 17 1793

A new calendar is introduced. September 22, 1792 is the start of year I

September 22 1793

Convention passes the General Maximum

September 29 1793

fixing the prices of many goods and services

1793 Constitution put on hold

October 10 1793

decree that the government must be "revolutionary until the peace"

An anti-clerical law passed, priests and supporters liable to death on sight

October 21 1793

Trial of the 21 Girondist deputies by the Revolutionary Tribunal

October 24 1793

The 21 Girondist deputies guillotined

October 31 1793

Law of 14 Frimaire (Law of Revolutionary Government) passed

December 4 1793

; power becomes centralised on the Committee of Public Safety

Anti-Republican forces in the Vendée finally defeated

December 23 1793

and 6000 prisoners executed

Final 'pacification' of the Vendée - mass killings, scorched earth policy

February 1794

Hébert and his supporters arrested

March 19 1794

Hébert and leaders of the Cordeliers guillotined

March 24 1794

Danton, Desmoulins and their supporters arrested

March 30 1794

Danton and Desmoulins guillotined

April 5 1794

National Convention passes decree to establish the Cult of the Supreme Being

May 7 1794

National Convention, led by Robespierre, passes decree to establish the Cult of the Supreme Being

Festival of the Supreme Being

June 8 1794

Law of 22 Prairial

June 10 1794

the Revolutionary Tribunal became a court of condemnation without the need for witnesses

The White Terror - reaction against remaining Jacobins.

July 1794 - July 1795

Night of 9-10 Thermidor

July 27 1794 - July 28 1794

Robespierre arrested, guillotined without trial, along with other members of the Committee of Public Safety. Commune of Paris abolished. End of the Reign of Terror. Also called The Thermidorian Reaction

Closure of Jacobin Club

November 11 1794

Suppression of the Paris Revolutionary Tribunal

May 31 1795

Marseillaise accepted as the French National Anthem

July 14 1795

1795 Constitution ratified - bicameral system, executive Directory of five.

August 22 1795

13 Vendémiaire - Napoleon's "whiff of grapeshot" quells Paris insurrection

October 5 1795

The Directory

Marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais

March 9 1796

Coup d'état of 18 Fructidor revives Republican measures

September 4 1797

Coup of 30 Prairial Year VII

June 18 1799

removed Directors, left Sieyès as dominant figure in government

The Coup d'État of 18 Brumaire: end of the Directory

November 9 1799

Constitution of the Year VIII

December 24 1799

leadership of Napoleon established under the Consulate. French Revolution may be considered ended


Seven Years' War

1756 - 1763

compounded the debt situation.

Start of the American war of independence


French Soldiers join American war of independence


France declares war against Britain – national debt worsens


Treaty of Paris


Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain on one side and the United States of America and its allies on the other. The success of the American colonists against a European power increases the ambitions of those wishing for reform in France.

Alliance of Austria and Prussia

February 1792

France declares war against Austria

April 20 1792

France invades Austrian Netherlands (Belgium).

April 28 1792

Austria and Prussia begin invasion of France.

July 1792

The tricolor cockade and La Marseillaise created

july 1792

The tricolor cockade made compulsory for men to wear. La Marseillaise sung by volunteers from Marseilles on their arrival in Paris.

Lafayette flees to Austria.

August 19 1792

Lafayette flees to Austria. Invasion of France by Coalition troops led by Duke of Brunswick

Fall of Verdun to Brunswick's troops

September 3 1792

French forces defeat Austrians at the Battle of Fleurus

June 26 1794

Battle of Lodi (Napoleon in Italy)

May 10 1796

Alliance between Russia and Britain

December 24 1798

Napoleon leaves Egypt

August 24 1799

Napoleon returns to France

October 9 1799