French revolution battle 396f7b8db4

Events of the French Revolution

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    This is the buildup to the revolution, where a multitude of factors pertaining to countrywide debt, underrepresentation of lower classes, and other factors lead to the breaking point of the French people.
  • Treasury is Declared Empty

    Treasury is Declared Empty
    A combination of financing external conflict like the American Revolution, and lavish spending by higher classes has put France in severe debt. The royal treasury is declared empty, and the current Minister of Finance, last name Brienne, calls for an estates-general meeting. This would signal the beginning of discontempt by the French people for the upper classes. Inspired by the American Revolutionary ideas,
  • Jacques Necker

    Jacques Necker
    Brienne resigns and is replaced by one Jacques Necker. Necker is well-respected among French businesspeople, but was also popular with those of the Third Estate. Necker regularly advocated for at-the-time progressive policies, furthering his popularity. He was originally the Director-General of the Royal Treasury from 1777 to 1781, but was dismissed. Necker was brought back following this current financial crisis of France to solve the issue.
  • Necker for the Third Estate

    Finance Minister Necker pushes forward, doubling the representatives of the underrepresented Third Estate at the Estates General. Necker also allowed for the First and Second Estates to sit with the Third Estate. This was one of his first policies which made him popular with the Third Estate, and unpopular with the nobility.
  • The Estates-General

    The Estates-General
    The opening of the Estates-General is held at Versailles. Needless to say, it did not go very well. Even though they had double the representatives of the other Estates, the Third Estate were still neglected, possessing only one vote even though they represent the vast majority of French people. The other Estates would simply outvote the Third Estate, two to one. Further discrimination from the upper Estates, lead to further widespread discontent for the upper Estates.
  • National Assembly Formed

    National Assembly Formed
    After underrepresentation and discrimination of their people at the Estates-General, the Third Estate formed the National Assembly, comprising of 97% of the population.
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    The National Assembly

    French was in debt from war and financing external conflicts, as well as lavish spending by the First and Second estate. Compound that with droughts and bad harvests, starving the peasants while the rich lived with their stockpiles wheat, as well as heavy taxes on the poor. The people of the Third Estate had enough, and resolved themselves to revolt.
  • The Tennis Court Oath

    The Tennis Court Oath
    After being prohibited from using their regular meeting building by King Louis XVI, the National Assembly gathered at a nearby indoor tennis court. They pledged "not to separate and to reassemble wherever necessary until the Constitution of the kingdom is established."
  • Necker is Dismissed

    Necker is Dismissed
    Jacques Necker is dismissed by King Louis XVI. Louis XVI, alongside other nobles felt that Necker was too supportive of the Third Estate, and his progressive policies made him too popular. Necker's dismissal is widely cited as one of the factors behind the storming of the Bastille. This was most likely because of his popularity with the Third Estate, being one of the few on their side.
  • Storming the Bastille

    Storming the Bastille
    The "Bourgeois Militia" was formed and raided the old fortress Bastille for weapons. The storming sparked the violent revolution and served as a symbol of revolt by the Third Estate.
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

    The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
    The National Assembly drafted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The Declaration outlined the values of the French Revolution of the French people, inspired by Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke. It is worth noting that the rights only extended to men, and not other genders.
  • Women's March on Versailles

    Women's March on Versailles
    Because of the shortage of food and high prices of bread, the frustrated women of Paris started a march towards the Palace of Versailles to demand change, plundering weapons along the way. They successfully conveyed their demands to King Louis XVI in a violent confrontation at Versailles. The King and his family were forced to return to Paris by the crowd, now 10,000 strong.
  • The Flight to Varennes

    The Flight to Varennes
    The rise of the radical Jacobin club, a more radical part of the legislative assembly who wanted the King and his family dead, against the moderates who wanted to keep him alive, led King Louis XVI to one conclusion: his reign was over. King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and their family attempted to flee to Montmedy, where they would stage a counter-revolution with royalist officers. They made it to Varennes-en-Argonne before being arrested. After this, his reign was truly finished.
  • The Legislative Assembly is Formed

    The Legislative Assembly is Formed
    On September 30th, the National Assembly was dissolved. The first session of the new government power, the Legislative Assembly, is held on October 1st. Under the order of Maximilien Robespierre, none of the National Assembly's members could be a part of the new Legislative Assembly.
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    The Legislative Assembly

  • Secret Letter to Prussia

    King Louis XVI writes to Frederick William the II of Prussia, requesting military action to take back France from the "evil which is happening here before it overtakes the other states of Europe."
  • Austria & Prussia Agree to Invade France

    Austria & Prussia Agree to Invade France
    Austria (i.e. the Holy Roman Empire) and Prussia sign a military convention to invade France under the justification of "defending the monarchy."
  • The Legislative Assembly Declares War on the Holy Roman Empire

    The Legislative Assembly Declares War on the Holy Roman Empire
    The Legislative Assembly declares war on the King of Bohemia and Hungary. (i.e. the Holy Roman Empire).
  • The Fighting Begins

    The Fighting Begins
    Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau invades the Austrian Netherlands, kicking off the War of the First Coalition of the French Revolutionary Wars. Known as the Battle of Marquain, the battle resulted in a French loss.
  • Deportation of Priests

    Deportation of Priests
    The Legislative Assembly enacts the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which states that any priests who have yet to sign the oath to the government would be deported.
  • The Storming of Tuileries Palace

    The Storming of Tuileries Palace
    Armed French revolutionaries storm the Tuileries Palace in opposition to the monarchy. The Insurrection of August 10th marked a turning point in the French Revolution, leading to the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of a republic. The Royal family are imprisoned within the Square du Temple, their power stripped.
  • The Battle of Valmy

    The Battle of Valmy
    Under Generals Dumouriez and Kellermann, the French army gain a victory over Prussian forces at the Battle of Valmy. The battle was the first major victory of the French, resulting in a Prussian retreat.
  • The National Convention Comes to Power

    The National Convention Comes to Power
    The Legislative Assembly loses power and is replaced by the new National Convention. The Convention would abolish the monarchy and make France into a republic. It would serve the Kingdom of France for one day, and the French First Republic for the rest of its existence.
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    The National Convention

  • Robespierre Calls for the King's Execution

    Robespierre Calls for the King's Execution
    The aforementioned Maximilien Robespierre, a powerful radical of the Jacobin club, demands for a trial and execution of King Louis XVI.
  • Declaring the Vote for Execution

    Declaring the Vote for Execution
    Under the proposal of one Jean-Paul Marat, the National Convention declares that each deputy must publicly declare his vote on the execution of the king.
  • Prosecution of King Louis XVI

    Prosecution of King Louis XVI
    The trial of King Louis XVI opens, and Louis XVI is declared guilty on January 15th of 1793. Robespierre declares that "the King must die so that the nation may live." On January 17th, in a vote lasting twenty-one hours, Louis XVI was sentenced to the death penalty. (361 votes for, 360 votes against, winning by one vote)
  • Execution of King Louis XVI

    Execution of King Louis XVI
    At age 38, King Louis XVI is beheaded at the Place de la Révolution. This marks the end of the French monarchy, and the beginning of a new not-so-great era for the French.
  • The Convention Declares War

    The National Convention declares war on England and the Dutch Republic since relations soured after Louis XVI's execution. On March 7th, the Convention declares war on Spain.
  • Marat Elected Head

    Marat Elected Head
    Jean Paul Marat, with his radical ideas, is elected the head of the Jacobin club. Along with Robespierre, Marat and the Jacobin club call for an insurrection against the National Convention. The Jacobin and Paris Commune prepare for the Jacobin Coup d'État.
  • The Jacobin Coup d'État

    The Jacobin Coup d'État
    The Paris Commune storm the halls of the National Convention, calling for its disbandment. The deputies resist, but are ultimately forced to arrest the 29 Girondin deputies and two ministers. The Jacobin and Montagnard Coup d'État is successful.
  • The New Constitution

    The New Constitution
    The French Constitution of 1793 is ratified. The new constitution was designed by the Montagnards, primarily Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Saint-Just, to replace the constitutional monarchy of 1971 and Girondin constitutional ideas.
  • Jean Paul-Marat is Assassinated

    Jean Paul-Marat is Assassinated
    Charlotte Corday, under her anger for the Jacobin rule, assassinates Jean-Paul Marat in his bath. Corday claims that she "killed one man to save a hundred thousand." She was later sentenced to death and executed for Marat's death.
  • Robespierre Elected President of the Convention

    Robespierre Elected President of the Convention
    Maximilien Robespierre is first elected to the Committee for Public Safety, then elected the President of the National Convention. This marks the beginning of Robespierre's Reign of Terror.
  • The Law of Suspects

    The Law of Suspects
    The National Convention adopts the new Law of Suspects, which prosecutes anybody suspected of opposing the Revolution. This new law marks the beginning of the Reign of Terror. It restricts anybody from even thinking counter-revolutionary ideas. Anybody even suspected of harboring such thoughts are typically executed. Even Robespierre's closest allies and friends were not safe from being suspected.
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    The Reign of Terror

    The French have declared war on (most) of their neighbors, Robespierre is in power, and all is well. Except, it isn't. Under Robespierre's leadership, the National Convention makes the old monarchy look appealing. Robespierre's Reign of Terror has begun.
  • Law of the General Maximum

    Law of the General Maximum
    The National Convention pass the new Law of the General Maximum, fixing the prices of many goods and services, as well as enacting maximum salaries. The law is one of the few Montagnard ideals which were ultimately enacted. The Convention believed this would lead to stability in the French economy.
  • The Trial and Execution of Marie Antoinette

    The Trial and Execution of Marie Antoinette
    Marie Antoinette, the former King's wife, is convicted before the Revolutionary Tribunal of treason. She was later executed at the Place de la Révolution, the same place as her former husband. One could say that this was the true end for the French monarchy.
  • Forbidding the Practice of Religion

    Clerics are now forbidden by the National Convention from religious instruction. This was one of the many moves by the National Convention to prevent counter-revolutionary ideas from surfacing.
  • Girondins are Executed

    Girondins are Executed
    The 21 Girondin deputies are arrested and executed alongside suspected Girondin sympathizers. This was, again, one of the many things the Convention would do to enforce the Law of Suspects.
  • Robespierre's Lecture

    Robespierre's Lecture
    An excerpt from Robespierre's lecture on the necessity of terror to the National Convention reads: "The foundations of a popular government in a revolution are virtue and terror; terror without virtue is disastrous; and virtue without terror is powerless. The Government of the Revolution is the despotism of liberty over tyranny." Robespierre claims that one needs both the right ideals and the conviction necessary.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte Promoted

    Napoleon Bonaparte Promoted
    The young-and-upcoming military prodigy Napoleon Bonaparte is promoted to the rank of General. This comes following his triumph driving the British out of Toulon, a pivotal event in the revolutionary wars. Napoleon would go on to win pivotal victories left and right, signaling the beginning for the future emperor of France.
  • Law of 22 Prairial

    Law of 22 Prairial
    The Convention enacts the Law of 22 Prairial, speeding up the trials of the convicted. Witnesses are no longer required to testify under trial. In just a little over a month, 1,376 prisoners are sentenced to the guillotine. For comparison, in the last 14 months, only 1,251 death sentences were given out. This law would also allow the National Convention the exclusive right to arrest its own members.
  • Robespierre Announces "Targets"

    Robespierre Announces "Targets"
    Robespierre announces to the rest of the National Convention that he's demanding the heads of "intriguers" apparently conspiring against the convention, within the Committees of Public Safety and General Security. Robespierre did not name any names at this point, but it was more than enough for those in the National Convention to be wary of Robespierre.
  • Robespierre's Final Speech

    Robespierre's Final Speech
    Robespierre gives his formal speech, denouncing and demanding the heads of those in the Committee of Public Safety and General Security whom he calls "traitors." Little did Robespierre know, this would be his last speech to the Convention. Most in the National Convention had begun to grow tired of Robespierre and his Jacobin supporters, and this was the last straw.
  • Robespierre & Supporters Arrested

    Robespierre & Supporters Arrested
    At noon, as accusations increase, the National Convention votes for the arrest of Robespierre, his brother, and three other powerful Jacobin (Louis de Saint-Just, Georges Couthon, Philippe-François-Joseph Le Bas). Robespierre and the other four are imprisoned and declared criminals.
  • Execution of Robespierre

    Execution of Robespierre
    No trial is held for Robespierre and his supporters as they have been declared criminals. In the evening, Robespierre and his 21 supporters are sent to the guillotine. This marks the end of Robespierre's reign of terror, and the start of the era of a new hero.
  • The Reign of Terror Ends

    The Reign of Terror Ends
    With Robespierre and his supporters gone, the Reign of Terror has ended. A total of 106 Robespierrists were executed the following day. Inmates imprisoned under the Law of Suspects are released, and the reorganization of government in a post-Robespierre world begins. The Jacobin are dissolved by the National Convention. Many other laws enacted by the Robespierrists are reversed; the violence seems to finally be over.
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    The Directory

    The National Assembly has been abolished, replacing it is the new Directory. The Directory are not popular with the people, and the new era is short but also marks the beginning of a new hero.
  • A New Constitution & Government

    A New Constitution & Government
    The Constitution of Year III is ratified. The new constitution takes inspiration from British and American systems of government. The new constitution requires an upper and lower house of parliament, and an executive Directory of five officials elected by the legislature.
  • The Rise of a New Hero

    The Rise of a New Hero
    Napoleon Bonaparte is incredibly popular among the people. Meanwhile, the Directory is not very popular amongst the people. Napoleon's feats in battle make him a hero in the eyes of the French people. His future victories against French enemies mark the beginning of his era: the Napoleonic Era.