After France falls into financial difficulties following the war, King Louis XVI senses the rising trouble and tries to stem it before it can grow any further. This is the first time the Estates-General has been called in almost 180 years, since 1614.
The Tennis Court Oath is sworn by the 3rd Estate
The Third Estate forms the National Assembly, an independent group "of the People," and as the National Assembly--not the Third Estate--they swear to the Tennis Court Oath. This is the first action made by the Third Estate to assert their independence, and the first time they publically opposed the king.
The Storming of the Bastille
The angry mobs swarm the Bastille, not only because of its status as an icon of the monarchy's tyranny, but because of the weapon stores inside. This is the second public opposition against the king, and the first violent one.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen
Inspired by the American Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of the Rights of Man & Citizen is drawn up and outlines equality and independence for all men under the state. Even though it was one of the main documents of the Revolution, women and slaves were not covered under this Declaration.
The Civil Constitution of the Clergy goes into effect
The newest Civil Constitution of the Clergy forces the papacy of the First Estate to swear their primary allegiance to the king, not to religion. The church is also to give its currently owned lands to the state, thus begining the secularization of France.
Royal family tries to leave France
King Louis XVI and his family attempt to flee to Austria to escape the upheaval in France, but are recognized and intercepted at the border and placed under house arrest for attempting to abandon their country.
King Louis XVI is executed
After being put on trial in August of 1792, on Januray 17 King Louis XVI is condemned to death on charges of "conspiracy against liberty." He is executed by guillotine on January 21
The Reign of Terror begins
The most violent era in the French Revolution begins as a massive political battle between the two factions, the Jacobins and the Girondins. Thousands of people were sentenced to death by execution during this period, and thousands more were killed during in surges of violence.
The Directory comes into power
The Directory, created by a new constitution, assumes the role of governing France until November 10, 1799, when it is overthrown by Napolean Bonaparte. During its reign of government, it only held legislative power.
Robespierre is executed
Robespierre, a highly influential supporter of the Jacobins, is executed, and the power of the Jacobins falls with him. The Girondins gain more power as a result and the Jacobin party is eventually banned.