French Revolution

  • Deflict spending by the government and Economic Reform

    France, still clung on to an outdated social system that had emerged in the Middle Ages. Under this ancien regime, or old order, everyone in France was divided into one of three social classes, or estates.
  • Louis XVI Calls the Estates-General

    Louis XVI had left France deeply in debt. The heirs of Louis XVI were not the right men to solve the economice crisis that afflicted France. As the crisis deepened, the pressure for reform mounted. The wealthy and powerful classes demanded, however, that the king summon the Estates-General, the legislative body consisting of representatives of the three estates, before making any changes.
  • Third Stage of the Revolution

    In reaction to the Terror, the revolution entered a third stage. Moving away from the excesses of the Convention, moderates produced another constitution, the third since 1789. The consititution of 1795 set up a five-man Directory and a two-house legislature elected by male citizens of property. The Directory held power from 1795 to 1799
  • Parisians storm the Bastile

    The city of Paris seized the spotlight from National Assembly metting in Versailles. The street buzzed with rumors that royal troops were going to occupy the capital. More then 800 Parisians assembled outside the Bastille, a grim medieval fortress used as a prison for political and other prisoners.
  • Threats from abroad

    The king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria-who was Marie Antoinette's brother-issued the Declaration of Pilnitz. The document said, two monarchs threatened to intervene to protect the French monarchy. Revoultionaries in France took the treat seriously and prepared for war. The revolution was about to enter a new, more radical phase of change and conflict.
  • Monarchy is abolished

    Battle disasters quickly inflamed revolutionaries who thought the king was in league with the enemies. A crowd of Parisians stormed the royal palace of the Tuileries and slaughtered the king's gaurds. The royal family fled to the legislative assembly, escaping before the mob arrived.
  • Spread of Nationalism

    Revolution and war gave the French people a strong sense of national identity. By 1793 France was a nation in arms. From the port city of Marseilles, troops marched to a rousing new song. It urged the "children of the fatherland" to march against the "bloody banner of tyranny." This song, "La Marseillaise", would later becomethe French national anthem.
  • Robespierre and the Reign of Terror

    Robespierre was one of the cheif architects of the Reign of Terror, which lasted from September 1793 to July 1794. Revolutionary courts conducted hasty trials. Spectators greeted death sentences with cries of "Hail the Republic!" or "Death to the traitors!"
  • National Assembly Acts (Rights of Man, Women's March, Church, Constitution

    In late August, as a first step toward writing a constitution, the Assembly issued the Declaration of the Right of Men and the Citizen.
    On october 5, the six thousand women marched 13 miles in the pouring rain from Paris to Versailles. "Bread!" they shouted. They demanded to see the king.