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French Revolution

Time Line


The Old Regime: Reign of King Louis XVI (1774-1792)


Marie Antoinette- was born November 2, 1755 in Vienna, Austria.  Marie was the youngest daughter of Francis I and Maria Theresa, Emperor and Empress of the Holy Roman Empire.  Marie Antoinette was brought up knowing that it was her destiny to become queen of France. She married the crown prince of France in 1770. Four years later she became queen when her husband was crowned King Louis XVI (House of Bourbon).


Cardinal Fleury (1653-1743)- Cardinal Andrť Hercule de, was a French prelate and politician who became a cardinal in 1726 and served as prime minister (17261743) under Louis XV.


financial and administrative problems-The financial Crisis of the French revolution was caused by years of deficit spending.   Deficit spending is a government spending more money than it takes in.  When Louis XIV left France, he left it in great debt.  Wars that occurred strained the treasury even more.  In the 1700s costs had risen and the government borrowed more and more money.  By 1789, half of the governments tax income went just to pay interest on the vast debt.


Demands of the Nobility-


Identify "Jacques Turgot" (1727-1781)- Jacques Turgot was a  French minister, born at Parish, 10 May, 1727; died there, 20 March, 1781.  He was an economist, and comptroller general of finances in France.  Turgot recognized the function of the division of labor, investigated how prices were determined, and analyzed the origins of economic growth. Turgot was also a leading Physiocrat and attempted to reform the most stifling of government economic policies



Identify "Jacques Necker" (1732-1804)- Jacques Necker was a Swiss Director of Fianance under Louis XVI.  He was a French financier and statesman, b. Geneva, Switzerland.  Necker  rose rapidly to importance, established a bank of his own, and became a director of the French East India Company.


Explain Louis Reign- The Louis Reign was ruled by King Louis XI who skillfully checked his foreign and domestic enemies and set up an efficient central administration. He used commissions to give his acts the appearance of popular approval. He diminished the prestige of the courts. Despite Louis also intervened freely in church affairs and imposed heavy taxes.  He also encouraged industry and expanded domestic and foreign trade. Louis preferred men of humble origin. Fearing assassination, he spent his last years in virtual self-imprisonment near Tours . He was succeeded by his son, Charles VIII.



The Estates General (1788)- In 18th century France, the monarchy, though accepting no challenge to its absolute sovereignty over the people, did recognize the existence of what it terms "Estates General" These 'estates' were organized bodies that represented the French people and were convened on rare occasions when the King felt a need to consult with his people.

First Estate- The First Estate was the nobility, a class defined by hereditary titles, or by titles awarded to it by the King. In Ethiopia, prior to 1974 the comparable First Estate was a powerful group whose power was based on land. However, the nobility were much more independent of the Ethiopian Emperor than in 18th century France. The land reform of 1975 removed the power of this group, although it still contains minor residual influence due to historical and cultural factors.

Second Estate- The Second Estate was the clergy. The clergy had great influence in political matters due to their wealth, control of land, and control of social relations (such as marriage and divorce). In addition, the clergy were under the control of the Pope, who was not subject to the state.

Bourgeoisie- The bourgeoisie is one of the wealthy classes into which a society is typically divided, according to certain western schools of economic thought, especially Marxism. The term is a French word derived from the Italian borghesia (from borgo, village, in turn from Greek pyrgos). A borghese, then, was a person who had a house in the center of a village. In Marxist theory, the bourgeoisie is defined as that class of society which owns the means of production.  People of villages in Medieval Italy started to become wealthier than the people in the surrounding countryside. This gave them relatively more power and influence in society, moving them closer to the ruling classes and clergy, and further from the rural classes.

Proletariat- The proletariat (from Latin proles, offspring) is a term used to identify a lower social class; a member of such a class is called a proletarian. Originally it was identified as those people who have no other wealth than their sons; the term was initially used in a derogatory sense.


Third Estate- The Third Estate consisted of everyone else - the common people - but in practical terms, it was restricted to men with money or means (i.e. the emerging bourgeois class). In 1789, the French cleric Abbe Sieyes, a defector from the Second Estate, wrote a pamphlet, What is the third estate? He answered his own question: The Third Estate is everything. What has it been up till now in the political order? Nothing.


Peasant life in France- The peasants lived in the country of France and many of them struggled to survive at a subsistence level.  Peasants found themselves paying unfair taxes, taxes that the nobility were exempt from. They had to pay these taxes regardless of failed crops or hard times.


Gabelle- Gabelle was the name given to a tax, especially the salt tax imposed in France before 1790. Since salt was very popular during this time period, the tax on salt allowed to government to gain more money to pay off debts.  In 1790, the Gabelle was levied.

corv'ee- a corvee was a type of tax required by the peasants. Instead of actually paying the government, they worked on public roads without pay.

The Middle Class-The Middle Class rose up very quickly during this period. This population grew very rapidly after the Assembly changed the rule in France.

Urban workers- The third part of the estate was the urban workers who were unskilled.  Since the urban workers were unskilled, they were very poor.


King Louis XVI summons the Estates General (1788)

Identify "Elections for the Estates General"- In the summer of 1788, after weeks of wrangling between the notables and the crown, Louis XVI capitulated and called for the Estates General to meet. Of course, the Estates had not sat since 1614, and no single individual had seen the body function in his lifetime. Elections were to be held beginning in January of 1789, which meant that if new forms were to be used, they would have to be determined quickly before the elections.



Voting By Order-



The Third Estate proclaims itself to be the National Assembly (1789)

Identify "The Tennis Court Oath"- The Tennis Court Oath is where the Third estate is locked out of meeting, declared the National Assembly and vow to continue meeting until a new constitution is made.


Identify "Louis XVI Versus the National Assembly"- The Real Estate Agents then changed their name to the Third Estate which was immediately dissolved by the National Assembly which in turn formed the National Guard open to all young men who wanted to avoid the draft in the upcoming Napoleonic Wars.


A Paris Mob storms the Bastille (1789)


Jacques Necker's restoration- Opposition from the royal court led to Necker's dismissal on July 11, 1789, an event that provoked the storming of the Bastille. After serving again briefly (178990), he retired to Geneva. Germaine de StaŽl was his daughter.


Jean Bailly's promotion (1736-1793)- J. S. Bailly was born on the 15. September 1736 in Paris. Beside his main work, a history of the astronomy, he published a work on the moons of Jupiter (1766) and some biographical work. A list is in Pogg., Vol. 1. He was guillotined on the 12. November 1793.


Marquis de Lafayette's promotion (1757-1834)- French general and political leader. He was born of a distinguished family and early entered the army Lafayette was a member of the Assembly of Notables (1787) and the States-General (1789). Elected vice president of the National Assembly, he was made commander of the militia (later named the National Guard) the day after the fall of the Bastille (July, 1789).


How did the revolt affect most aristocrats?- The revolt affected the aristocrats because they joined the fight, but had to leave their king and queen, will defending themselves with out help.

 Declaration of the Rights of Man The Declaration of the Rights of Man was modeled in part by the American Declaration of Independence.  It stated that all men were born and remain free and equal in rights.


Declaration of the Rights of Women, In 1791- Olympe de Gouges, a butcher's daughter, wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Women, which confronted the inferiority presumed of women by the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Her attempts to push this idea lead to her being charged with treason during the rule of the National Convention. She was arrested, tried, and on November 3, 1793, executed by the guillotine.


Mob Action (1789)- Mobs were formed to protect the rights of the people.  Some mobs that were formed destroyed castles and villages.


Political Clubs- Political clubs were formed by people with different political ideas. Each club had a different opinion on certain matters during this time.


The Jacobins- the most famous political group of the French Revolution, became identified with extreme egalitarianism and violence.  This led to the Revolutionary government from mid-1793 to mid-1794.


The Cordeliers- This club, of the French Revolution was created in 1790 in order to prevent the abuse of power and infractions of the rights of man.


The Feuillants- This was a conservative political club of the French Revolution, which met in the former monastery of the Feuillants, near the Tuileries, in Paris.


The Civil Constitution of the Clergy(1789)- The National Assembly granted freedom to all religious groups. It wanted to weaken the power of the Roman Catholic Church.. By the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, the priests and other officials of the Church were put under state control. Many religious French people believed that this act of the National Assembly went too far.


The National Assembly enacts the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790)


The Constitution of 1791 establishes a constitutional monarchy (1791)


Necker's resignation- After the Bastille, Necker was again recalled. His last resignation came in 1791 and he spent his last years in Coppet,  which was his Swiss estate.


Mirabeau- Mirabeau was a French politician and speaker. He was elected to the Estates General from the Third Esate in 1789.


Mirabeau's death (1791) Mirabeau died due to a brief illness, soon after his election to the National Assembly in 1791.  When he was buried he was buried as a hero.


Louis XVI and family flee but captured- The royal family was forced from Versailles to the Tuileries palace in Paris. Louis lost reliability when he attempted to escape the capital in 1791.  He was caught and brought back to Paris.


Louis accepts New Constitution (Sept. 14, 1791)-  The queen encouraged Louis to a policy of deception instead of the Constitution of 1791, which he had sworn to maintain.


Other reforms of the National Assembly (1791)


abolished titles of nobility- The titles of nobility contained a large amount of power and wealth.  The nobles heavily taxed the peasants. One of the reforms of the National Assembly was to abolish these titles.


reorganized local government- the constitution called for 83 departments to replace the old provinces. They got rid of the courts and the laws were improved to protect private property, abolish guilds, and forbade city workers to organize unions.


laissez faire principals- The laissez faire principles said that the government had nothing to do with the economy and a lot of people agreed with these principles.


Legislative Assembly convenes (1791-92)


Conservatives- almost 85% of the National Assembly, of the seats were belonged to conservatives. The elections were held in April of 1791, and returned a majority of the moderates and conservatives to the Constituent Assembly.


Moderates (centrists)- When foreign occupation ended in 1818, France was accepted into the councils of the great powers.


Girondists- Girondins were the moderate Republican fraction that was active in the French Revolution from 1791-1793. They had the name Goridins \ because many of their members represented the department of Gironde. The group first appeared in the Legislative Assembly which was elected in 1791.


Mountain- Mountain was the label applied to deputies sitting on the raised left benches in the National Convention during the French Revolution. They saw themselves as the embodiment of national unity.


Intervention of Foreign Powers (1791-92)- When the French Revolution broke out,  the citizens rebelled against their ruler, King Louis XVI, and demanded reforms. The reforms demanded included elimination of social classes and the establishment of a republic government. The revolutionaries encouraged citizens throughout Europe to do the same. Many monarchs felt hostile toward the French Revolution, fearing for their safety.


Austria-Prussia Alliance- Frederick William greatly increased the size of the Prussian army and rebuilt the organization of the state around the military establishment. To his son, Frederick II, the Great, he left enormous financial reserves and the best army in Europe. Through the military genius of Frederick the Great, Prussia became a major power in Europe. In 1740 he invaded the Austrian province of Silesia and precipitated the war of the Austrian Succession.


France's Legislative Assembly declares war (April 20, 1792)- The constitutional monarchy that had changed by 1791 was as unsatisfactory to the king.  In the Legislative Assembly, they and the Girondins, agitated for a republic at the same time as they engineered a declaration of war against Austria (April 1792). When French forces suffered initial reversals, revolutionary temperatures rose even higher.  In September the newly formed National Convention promptly proclaimed France a republic.


The Legislative Assembly deposes King Louis XVI and calls for the election of the National Convention (1792)


Liberty, Equality, Fraternity- Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. This was the slogan of the French Revolution.


Radical Takeover- The radical takeover took place  after Louis XVI was killed.  The National Convention was divided between the Jacobins and the Gerondists.


Robespierre- Maximilien Robespierre lived from 1758-1794. He was elected to the Committee of Public Safety and was the one who started the Reign of Terror.


Danton- George Jacques Danton was born in France on October 28. He was the son of a wealty merchant and was able to receive a good education. Went to law school and then led a radical group called the Cordeliers Club, and worked for the downfall of the monarchy


Marat- Marat was a French revolutionary and journalist. In 1792 he was elected to the National Convention.


sans-culottes- This was a term that was referred with people of the Third Estate. The term came from the fact that the lower class wore long trousers because they could not afford the knee breeches that were worn by the upper classes.


King Louis XVI is executed (1793)- King Louis was tried for treason when proof of his counterrevolutionary scheming was discovered. He was forced to death by the guillotine in 1793, and his dignity during his the trial helped to restore some of his dignity.


The Reign of Terror begins (1793)


committee of public safety-This committee was A 12 member committee had almost absolute power Robespierre formed the Committee of Public Safety. It established revolutionary courts that were empowered to quickly try the opponents of the regime, and turned its attention to domestic opponents of the republic.


Jacobins- - the most famous political group of the French Revolution, which became identified with extreme egalitarianism and violence and which led the Revolutionary government from mid-1793 to mid-1794.  IT was the group where most were middle-class lawyers and intellectuals


Republic of virtue- Robespierre tried to ensure that the republic was a republic of virtue. It is the Belief that France could become a model republic.  The belief said this could only be achieved through force.


Justification of extreme violence- The Law of Suspects was made on September 17 and it said that there had to be a definition for those who could be arrested for treasonable acts.


revolutionary tribunal- The revolutionary tribunal was a court established by the National Convention during the French Revolution. It was in Paris and was used for the trial of political offenders.


How many dead?- The estimated number of deaths was about 300,000 people.  These people were beheaded during the reign of terror.


The National Convention abolishes the monarchy (1792)


The War of the First Coalition is fought (1792-1797)- The war of the first coalition was fought against the alliance of Austria, Prussia, Spain, the Netherlands, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. Napoleon was in charge of north Italy operations against Austria.


lev'ee en masse- The Committee of Public Safety trained an army of about 800,000 soldiers in less than a year in response to the foreign wars.  It was established to train public workers quickly.


coalition- A coalition was formed against France as it was not a very well liked country at this time. The enemys of France united and became very powerful.


French military victories- The military had very few victories before Napoleon took over the forces. At this time they were extremely weak.


Treaty of Basel- The Treaty of Basel was the first major defection from the First Coalition against France. The peace treaty lasted 11 years between the two powers.


The Thermidorean Reaction ends the Reign of Terror (1794)


9 Thermidor- The conspirators of 9 Thermidor became known as the Thermidoreans.


guillotine- The guillotine was developed as a form of execution.  This was a device used to behead people. Many people were forced to death under this device, especially during the Reign of Terror.


The National Convention drafts the Constitution of 1795 (1795)


Who controlled it?- George Danton controlled it. He was a very influential French revolutionary during this time.


How was it controlled?- It was controlled with 371 deputies convening at Tuileries


Council of Elders- The Council of Elders became the imperial senate or conservative. They ended up impeaching Napoleon.


Dissolving of the National Convention- Over time the National Assembly dissolved into the control of the government. People were put under the guillotine for the wrong doings of the National Assembly.


The Directory begins to rule France(1795-1799)


Financial crisis- The Directory was just not strong and stable enough to help France.  One of the problems was that France was also still in war.


Corruption- The people living in France at the time of the Directory were unsatisfied with Directory, but with the help of Napoleon and troops the Directory was overthrown.


Exhaustion- The Directory went to the side of the army after they were exhausted with the riches.  The directory relied greatly on the army. Many people did not have enough money to survive with growing economic problems. 


Army- the Directory was a weak unpopular government.  They had to rely greatly on military. The army was used to suppress any resistance to the directory.

Napoleon Bonaparte is born in Corsica (1769-1821)

birth and childhood- Born in 1769, second of eight children in his family. As a boy he hated France . He joined the artillery at the age of 16 as a second lieutenant.

physical stature (Napoleonic complex)- Napoleon was very short standing at 52. He was very intelligent and people feared him because of this. He was known for a particular way he would stand with his hand in his pocket and the other behind the back.

marriage and political significance- Napoleon fell in love with a woman name Josephine who he married, but she never really felt the same love he did.

Early military successes (1796)-

Napoleon's army defeats the Austrians in Northern Italy (1797)- in 1796 Napoleon was made commander of a French army, and in 1797 he defeated 4 Austrian Generals and forced them to make peace.

Treaty of Campo Formio- The treaty of Campo Formio said that France could keep what it had won in conquests, Napoleon strengthened Northern France by sending millions of Frances treasures.

1798-1799 French extend their control- Napoleon had been very successful in defeating many cities and armies and gained a lot of strength for France , yet in 1799 he failed to capture Syria .

Napoleon Fights his Egyptian campaign (1798-1799)

Napoleon's invasion of Egypt / why?- Napoleon invaded Egypt in attempt to mess up trade routs of his enemies in attempt to try to take over Britain .

Rosetta Stone Discovery- While in Northern Egypt , Napoleon and his men discovered a black slab of stone with small symbols engraved into it, later known as the Rosetta Stone with hieroglyphics of ancient people.

Battle of the Pyramids- While in Egypt , he came across an army and crushed them and started the campaign of the battle of the pyramids.

Lord Horatio Nelson's role (1758-1805)- When Napoleon planned to take over Egypt , Lord Horatio defeated his troops at the Nile River . He was one of the best naval officers Britain had ever seen.

Battle of the Nile- the fight between Napoleons troops and Lord Horatio at the Nile River in Egypt , where Napoleons fleet was defeated.

War of the Second Coalition is fought (1798-1801)

Describe the war and its participants- the war of the second coalition was when British navy troops invaded French troops. The participants were Naples , Turkey , Austria , Russia , Britain , and Portugal .

Alliance against France- While Napoleon was away in Egypt , Austria declared war on France . The made a truce, but later in December, French armies forced Austrian forces out of France .

Napoleon's defeat of the Second Coalition- A battle between the Swiss and Napoleons forces.

Treaty of Luneville- after the Austrian armies were forced out of France , they formed a treaty with France called the treaty of Luneville.

Treaty of Amiens (1802)-

Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power and becomes first consul (1799)-

How does he come to power?-

The Constitution of 1799-


The Concordat of 1801 establishes a reconciliation between France and the Papacy (1801)

What did it do?-

Pope Pius VII (1800-1823)-

Civil Constitution of Clergy-

Napoleon becomes first consul for life (1802)

The Napoleonic Empire / Map (1804)

hereditary emperor-

Eugene de Beauharnais (1781-1824)-

Napoleon's divorce 1809)-

Archduchess Marie Louise (1791-1847)-

Napoleonic Administration-

Financial Reforms-

Centralized Government-

Napoleonic Code 1807 (into effect 1804)-

Educational Reform/ University of France (1806)-

Napoleonic Wars (1805-1815)-

War of the Third Coalition (1805-1807)-

British Naval Victory at Trafalgar-

French Victories on Land-

Treaty of Pressburg

Napoleon creates the Confederation of the Rhine and abolishes the Holy Roman Empire (1806)

Describe what it did.-

Treaties of Tilsit-

Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825)-

King Frederick William III (1797-1840)-

Napoleon's brothers Kings

Joseph (1768-1844)-

Louis (1778-1846)-


Napoleon establishes the continental system (1806)

Describe what it did.-

Berlin Decree of 1806-

Milan Decree 1807-

The Peninsular War-

Sir Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852)-

Conflict on Other Fronts(1808-1810)


Battle of Wagram (July 1809)-

Treaty of Schonbrunn (Oct. 1809)-

Plans to restore the French Empire in America (1803)-

Louisiana territory (1803)-

War of 1812

Describe the happenings of the War

Napoleon fights his unsuccessful Russian campaign (1812)

Invasion of Russia-

Prince Mikhail Barclay de Tollay (1761-1818)-

Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov-

Battle of Borodino-

Grand Army entered Moscow-

French Retreat (Oct 19, 1812)-

Russia, Prussia, and Austria defeat Napoleon in the Battle of Nations (1813)

Battle of the Nations-

Napoleon abdicates and goes into exile on the island of Elba (1814)

Describe Napoleon's exile.-

Louis XVIII (1814-1824)-

Napoleon returns to power, beginning the Hundred Days (1815)

Describe the 100 Days-

Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo (1815)

Describe the Battle of Waterloo.-

Duke of Wellington-

Gebhard Von Blucher (1742-1819)-

Napoleon dies on Saint Helena (1821)

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