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French Revolution

  • The first assembly of Notables

    The raising of taxes is discussed but then rejected. There is still no solution to the financial crisis that Charles Alexandre de Calonne, General of Finances, declared in 1786.
  • Calonne was replaced by Etienne Charles de Lomenie de Brienne

    Etienne Charles de Lomenie de Brienne replaces Charles Alexandre de Calonne as the General of Finances
  • The assembly of Notables is dissolved

    Aristocrats resists the king’s attempt to impose taxes and limit privileges on reforms.
  • Poor Harvests Starts

    A poor harvest to September brings more hunger and financial difficulties.
  • Jacques Necker replaces Lomenie de Brienne

    Jacques Necker is a Swiss citizen who is also a protestant. He replaces Lomenie de Brienne as the Director General of Finances, and tries to solve the financial crisis and create a plan for a successful meeting of the Estates General
  • Second Assembly decides an order gets a vote

    The Second Assembly of Notables demands that the Estates General follow the 1614, and that each order is granted one vote
  • End of 1788

    France is the most populous country in Europe with about 27 million people. Most of the population belongs to the Third Estate. Louis XVI decrees that the third estate will have twice the number of representatives as the Orders of the Nobles and Clergy. Thing is, each order is entitled to only one vote, which gives the Nobles and Clergy the majority vote.
  • Abbe Sieyes writes "What is the Third Estate?"

    Abbe Sieyes’ “What is the Third Estate?” is published. It claims that the Third Estate is what makes the nation.
  • Election of representatives to the Estates General

    One of the traditions of the Estates General was to request cahiers de doleances, or books of complaints.
  • Riots in Paris

    Riots in Paris are directed against two entrepreneurs Reveillon and Henriot
  • Deliberations of the Estates General

    Estates General meet at Versailles.
  • Third Estates becomes The National Assembly

    The Third Estate accepts the proposition of Abbe Sieyes and declares themselves The Nation Assembly. It brings two other Orders to join in this new body of the nation
  • Some join the Third Estate

    Some liberal nobles and many clergy join the movement of the Third Estate.
  • Tennis Court Oath

    Tennis Court Oath
    The king orders the meeting hall of the Third Estate to close. The Third Estate, AKA National Assembly, removes to the Tennis Court of Versailles. They swear not to be disbanded until a constitution is approved.
  • Louis XVI makes proposals

    Louis XVI makes many proposals for reform but demands the Estates General to vote by Orders- one order, one vote. This is rejected by Third estate.
  • Louis XVI concedes

    Louis admits to wrongdoing and orders the Nobles and the Clergy to join the National Assembly.
  • Government Cowards

    The government is concerned by the courage of the Third Estate, and increases the garrisons of mercenaries outside of Paris.
  • The Great Fear

    Lasting till August, Peasants are afraid of revenge from the nobles. Peasants riot in many parts of France.
  • National Assembly drafts a constitution

    The National Assembly appoints a committee of thirty members to draft a constitution.
  • Jacques Necker dismissed

    Jacques Necker, the popular minister who tried to help with the budget crisis, is dismissed by Louis XVI.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    The citizens of Paris arm themselves and storm the fortress of Bastille, weakening the monarchy's power and influence.
  • Period: to

    Great Fear

    Fear of aristocratic conspiracy and anarchy spreads throughout France incredibly quickly.
  • The Decrees

    National Assembly abolished feudalism.
  • National Assembly takes control

    The National Assembly abolishes most feudal privileges still held by aristocrats and the clergy including taxes, tithes, and crop payment.
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

    Guaranteed freedom of speech, thought, religion, due process of law, and that taxes could be imposed only by the consent of the governed. This document forgets about women and slaves.
  • The Women’s March Upon Versailles

    The Women’s March Upon Versailles
    Parisians, led by a large number of women, marched to Versailles and forced the royal family back to Paris. Louis the XVI is considered by many people as a “Prisoner” in Paris.
  • Administrative reorganization

    The Administrative reorganization of France begins.
  • Edmund Burke denounces the Revolution

    Before Parliament, Edmund Burke condemned the revolution as "irrational, unprincipled, proscribing, confiscating, plundering, ferocious, bloody and tyrannical democracy"
  • Abolition of the Nobility

    Hereditary titles of nobility are officially abolished.
  • The Civil Constitution of the Clergy

    Church belongs to the state and all clergyman are to be paid by the state and elected by all citizens. Convents and monasteries were abolished. Clergy is not allowed to accept the power of the pope.
  • Louis and the secret coalition

    Louis XVI secretly searches for a possible coalition with foreign powers to end the Revolution.
  • Louis XVI tries to flee France

    Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and their children are arrested at Varennes and brought back to Paris. This is a major turning point in the Revolution and would play a role in eventually destroying the constitutional monarchy.
  • Declaration of Pillnitz

    Issued by the king of Austria who threatened military intervention to restore order in France. This encouraged the radical revolutionaries to take down the monarchy.
  • Louis XVI is back

    Louis XVI swears to uphold to the new constitution, is now restored to power.
  • Legislative Assembly

    The first Legislative Assembly held under the constitution of 1791.
  • Division

    Debates divide the Assembly on a declaration of war against countries allied against the Revolution. Jacques Pierre Brissot, a Parisian deputy, urges war. Maximilien Robespierre argues against war, fearing that France is ill-prepared. Many believe that the royalists want to plunge the country into war, because military defeat would mean the end of the Revolution.
  • Declaration of the Rights of Woman

    Declaration of the Rights of Woman
    Olympe De Gouges wrote this in response to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen. She is stating that women should be allowed equal rights.
  • French Constitution of 1791

    France's first written constitutuion that was modeled after the U.S. with the ideas of constitutionality and popular sovereignty.
  • Serious Inflation

    Serious inflation begins this year, and food riots occur in Paris through March.
  • Opinions on War with Austria

    Jacques Pierret Brissot argued for war with Austria, while Marat and Robespierre opposed him in order to keep themselves in power.
  • Period: to

    War of the First Coalition

    Attempt to contain France. Alliance of: Austria, England, Netherlands, Prussia, and Spain vs. France. Eventually Britain is left to fight France.
  • First use of guillotine

    The guillotine is first used on Nicolas Jacques Pelletier, a highwayman, as a form of supposedly painless execution.
  • Dismissal of Jacobins

    Louis XVI had dismissed his Jacobin ministers on June 12 and replaced them with more moderate Feuillants. When the Assembly objects, Lafayette sends a letter condemning the Assembly and the Jacobins.
  • Invasion

    On June 20, a large crowd, mostly from the neighborhoods of St. Antoine and St. Marcel, invade the Tuileries. They demand the return of the Jacobin ministers. They force Louis to don a liberty cap and to drink to the health of the people.
  • Brunswick Manifesto

    The Brunswick Manifesto is distributed throughout Paris. The duke of Brunswick warns Parisians to obey Louis XVI.
  • Invasion Again

    The second invasion of Tuileries occurs. This is an attempt to end the monarchy. Forty-seven of the forty-eight sections of Paris had petitioned the Legislative Assembly to abrogate the king's powers. If the assembly didn’t take action, the people would over throw the monarchy. On this day, Tuileries is captured and Louis XVI is stripped from power. A new assembly called the Convention is formed and will write a new constitution to replace the 1791 constitution.
  • Family is Imprisoned

    Louis XVI and his family is imprisoned in the tower of the Temple, which is a former monastery of the Order of the Templars.
  • Lafayette Leaves France

    Lafayette flees France and goes to Austria. Not only that, but on this day, the Prussian army invades France.
  • Prussian Army Seizes Verdun

    The Prussian army takes over Verdun. Widespread fear incited in pamphlets, speeches, and rumors, precedes the September massacre of about 1,500 prisoners
  • Last Night of Legislative Assembly

    Last session of the Legislative Assembly and the Constitutional Monarchy. Also, the French Army defeats the Prussians at Valmy
  • The Convention

    The Convention actually became a provisional revolutionary government. While debating new constitutional principles and new laws, the Convention also carried out a European war, oversaw the daily affairs of the nation, and repressed several revolts. The Convention can be divided into three periods. During the first period from September 21, 1792, to June 2, 1793, the Convention is dominated by deputies called Girondins. These deputies represented interests of the provinces, often in opposition
  • No More Monarchy!

    The Convention abolishes the Monarchy and decrees the establishment of a republic. It begins deliberations on the new constitution.
  • Fighting Back

    Throughout October, the French Army pushes the Prussians out of Verdun and Longwy. It enters Mainz and takes possession of Frankfort. In Mainz, a German Jacobin society is formed. The army under Dumouniez enters Belgium and defeats the Austrians at Jemmapes. The Austrians leave Belgian territory.
  • Jacobin Club

    A Jacobin Club is formed at Naples
  • Protection

    Members in the English House of Commons urge taking up of arms against France to protect Louis XVI from the Convention.
  • Louis XVI executed

    Louis XVI is guillotined in the Place de la Révolution before a large crowd, despite attempts to grant him mercy from some members of the Convention asking for mercy.
  • Riots

    Through March, there are attacks on shops and food riots that occur duing a time of great scarcity.
  • More War

    The convention declares war on Great Britain and Holland
  • Revolts

    Royalist and Catholic Revolt begins in Vendee.
  • Spanish War

    The Convention declares war on Spain
  • Revolt Fails

    A revolt attempted by the Enrages in Paris fails
  • Vendee Revolts

    Beginnings of the Vendee revolt against the Republic. It is composed of royalists, Catholics, aristocracy and peasants, united with the Chouans of Brittany.
  • Period: to

    War of the Vendee

    A Catholic uprising against the Republican government during the French Revolution. The bloodbath caused by the put-down from the government forces has been compared to genocide.
  • General Dumouriez

    General Dumouriez deserts to the Austrians. After several important defeats, General Dumouriez had proclaimed the Convention primarily responsible for them. Like Lafayette before him, Dumouriez had also attempted to urge his army to march with him upon Paris, where he would dissolve the Convention, but the army refused. After being summoned to Paris and refusing, Dumouriez flees to the enemy. This treason would bring in its path great suspicion of his allies in the Convention, the Girondins.
  • The Committee of Public Safety

    The Convention, attempting to deal with the radical movements of the Enrages, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendee and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, and the desertion of its commanding general, creates the Committee of Public Safety. This committee is charged with carrying out a policy of "terrorizing" all of France's enemies within and without.
  • Robespierre creates new Declaration

    Robespierre creates new Declaration
    Robespierre, at the Jacobin Club, proposes a new version of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.
  • Commission of Twelve

    The commission of twelve is created by the Girondins
  • Convention approves the Constitution of 1793

    The constitution is approved, but it is never really applied. It was still inspirational because it invoked the right to work, the right to education, widely extended the franchise and de-emphasized private property in relation to liberty and social order.
  • Period: to

    Reign of Terror

    Shortly after Louis XVI was executed, the Girondins and Jacobins escalated their political conflict. It was a period of violence in which thousands died. Robespierre became the leader of France during this time. France was highly anarchich and antireligious, especially towards the end.
  • Louis XVII is imprisoned

    The Dauphin of France, Louis XVII, is imprisoned to prevent his escape, because he was an heir to the throne.
  • Marat is assassinated

    The French thinker Marat is murdered by Charlotte Corday. She killed him to save the lives of thousands of Girondins.
  • Metric System

    The metric system is decreed the new national standard
  • Toulon is captured

    Toulon, a crucial naval port, falls to the British
  • Law of Suspects

    Designed so that anyone who doesn't show enthusiastic support for the republic could be placed under arrest.
  • Fashion Sense

    All women are required by the Convention to wear the tricolored ribbon, insignia of the Republic.
  • Marie Antoinette guillotined

    Just like Louis XVI before her, Marie Antoinette is executed by guillotine, ending the previous monarchy's symbol of extravagance and luxury in a bloody way.
  • Girondins Executed

    A number of Girondins are executed. Others flee to the provinces.
  • Olympe de Gouges

    Olympe de Gouges
    Olympe de Gouges was executed by guillotine for attacking the Robespierre and for her close relation with the Girondists.
  • Siege of Toulon

    The siege and fall of Toulon. Napoleon Bonaparte's artillery distinguishes itself.
  • Danton executed

    Danton is guillotined because of his fraudelent secrets and alleged planned appropriation of the French East India Company. Before his death, he is quoted as saying, "Don't forget to show my head to the people. It's well worth seeing."
  • Cult of the Supreme Being

    Robespierre passes a law that establishes himself as the Supreme Being, a quasi-God figure.
  • Law of 22 Prairial

    Law states that trials are now limited to deciding only on liberty or death, with defendants having no rights. Broadly written, that it could be anyone.
  • Fleurus

    French wins at Fleurus by defeating the Austrians. This opened the way to Belgium.
  • Robespierre Speaks

    Robespierre Speaks
    Robespierre gives a speech about new plots and conspiracies, but many felt threatened.
  • Robespierre is caught

    Robespierre is arrested by the Convention
  • Period: to

    Thermidorian Reaction

    The Thermidorian Reaction was a counter-revolution to the Reign of Terror and its insanity of constant bloodshed.
  • Robespierre executed

    Robespierre executed
    Robespierre is executed, ending the Reign of Terror and beginning the Thermidorian Reaction.
  • The Republic of Virtue

    (1971-1974) Time period where Maximilien Robespierre remained in power. An attempt to de-Cristianize France occured.
  • More Riots

    There are bread riots due to inflation.
  • Revolt of Prairial

    A Jacobin revolt against the Thermidorian National Convention.
  • Louis XVII dies

    Louis XVII dies of medical causes while in prison. He had spent the last six months of his eight-year-old life in solitary, with no vistors.
  • French Constitution of 1795

    Established the Directory and was in effect until 1799.
  • National Convention dissolved

    Now that the Constitution was in place, there was no more need for the Convention, and it was dissolved in favor of the Directory.
  • The Directory

    (1795-1799) 5 member executive, established by the National Convention to run the government.
  • Marriage of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine

    Napoleon marries Josephine de Beauharnais, a widow of a counter-revolutionary aristocratic suspect.
  • Burke dies

    Edmund Burke dies of natural causes.
  • Treaty of Campio Formio

    The peace treaty of Campio Formio is signed with Austria.
  • Second Coalition

    A Second Coalition uniting Russia, Great Britain, and eventually Austria against France is formed.
  • Period: to

    French invasion of Egypt

    Napoleon invaded Egypt and Syria to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India. At first, the French won, but similarly to the later invasion of Russia, the loss in troops led to the eventual defeat of the French.
  • Fall of Cairo

    Napoleon takes over Cairo, Egypt.
  • Battle of Aboukir

    Under the command of Admiral Nelson, the British fleet destroys the French navy.
  • Period: to

    War of the Second Coalition

    Russia, Britain, Austria, Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, Vatican fight off Napoleon's expansionist efforts.
  • 18 Brumaire

    About the Coup d'etat by Napoleon taking over the French Directory.
  • Constitution of the Year VIII

    Drafted by Sieyes. Established the Consulate. The Coup gave all power to Napoleon Bonaparte which some argue ended the French Revolution.
  • Austrian Treaty

    Napoleon creates a treaty with Austria signed at Luneville.
  • Italian Campaign

    Napoleon leads his army across the Alps in the Second Italian Campaign,
  • Battle of Morengo

    Napoleon wins the Battle of Marengo against Austria.
  • End of Schism

    Signing of the Concordat between France and Rome ends schism between the French government and the Catholic Church.
  • The Concordat of 1801

    Papacy lost claims over church lands seized during the Revolution and allowed to nominate bishops.
  • Treaty of Amiens

    Treaty of Amiens signed with Britain.
  • Education

    Napoleon restructures French educational system.
  • American Territory

    France sells Louisiana territory to U.S.
  • Treaty Broken

    England violates Treaty of Amiens.
  • Code Napoleon

    Uniform legal system in place.
  • Napoleon crowned Emperor

    Napoleon crowned himself Emperor Napoleon I at Notre Dame.
  • Period: to

    War of the Third Coalition

    Great Britain, Russia and Austria are soundly beaten by Napoleon and France.
  • The Battle of Trafalgar

    The Battle of Trafalgar marks yet another naval defeat to the British under the command of Admiral Nelson.
  • Battle of Austerlitz

    Napoleon gets a victory in the Battle of Austerlitz against Austria and Russia.
  • Brother Rules

    Brother Rules
    Napoleon names his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, king of Naples, and appoints other family members to various other posts
  • Period: to

    War of the Fourth Coalition

    The French fight Prussia, the UK, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Sicily, because the other countires feared a rise in French power after the defeat of Austria in the War of the Third Coalition. France was fairly successful in fending off attacks and gaining a few new pieces of territory.
  • Continental System

    Napolean places a wide-scale embargo on the United Kingdom and its goods in order to weaken its power. While the UK never suffered too much because of its navy, Napoleon fought many wars trying to enforce the Continental System onto all of continental Europe. It ended after Napoleon's first abdication and exile.
  • Battle of Friedland

    France defeats Russian troops, and ended the 4th coalition.
  • Treaty of Tilsit

    Czar Alexander I makes peace with Napoleon in the Treaty of Tilsit.
  • Creation of Poland

    Napoleon creates the Grand Duchy of Warsaw (Poland), to be overseen by France.
  • Period: to

    Peninsular War

    Napoleon wars with Portugal for refusing to accept the Continental System. Luckily for Portugal, England and Spain defend the Portuguese land and altogether decimate the French army. This war has been said to be one of Napoleon's biggest mistakes.
  • France in Portugal

    Beginning of French occupation of Portugal.
  • Army in Spain

    Napoleon sends the French marshal Joachim Murat to lead an army in Spain.
  • Rebels

    The Spanish rose up against France in rebellion
  • Revolt in Spain

    Unsuccessful Spanish revolt against French army under Murat.
  • New Kings

    Napoleon names Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain, and Murat King of Naples.
  • Period: to

    War of the Fifth Coalition

    The French Empire wars with the United Kingdom and Austria. The French win the war, leading to Napoleon's alliance with Austria.
  • Napoleon divorces Josephine

    After much rumor of Josephine's infidelity and Napoleon's waning interest, Napoleon divorced her so that he could marry again.
  • Napoleon marries Marie-Louise of Austria

    Napoleon soon married Marie-Louise of Austria to secure a tenuous alliance with Austria. However, this did not happen, as Austria soon joined other coalitions against France.
  • Napoleon's Son

    Napoleon's son is named, "King of Rome".
  • Period: to

    French invasion of Russia

    Russia planned an assault on Poland, and withdrew from the Continental System. Both actions caused Napoleon to invade Russia, which while the battles themselves had no clear winner, the French exhausted their troops and were the losing side. This defeat signalled the downfall of the entire Napoleonic Empire.
  • Moscow Surprise

    Grand Army enters Moscow to find the city abandoned and set aflame by the Russians. While retreating in the cold of a frigid winter, the army suffers devastating losses. :(
  • War with Prussia

    Prussia declares war on France.
  • Period: to

    War of the Sixth Coalition

    The War of the Sixth Coalition was fought to stop Napoleon's ruthless expansion. France stood no chance against the combined strength of Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden, the UK, Spain, and Portugal. The war ended with the taking of Paris.
  • Battle of Dresden

    Battle against Germany; Napoleon joins with Polish reinforcements and ends up coming out on top.
  • Leipzig

    This is the largest battle before World War I, but Napoleon is defeated.
  • Invasion of France

    Anti-French coalition army enters France. The Coalition consists of Austria, Prussia, Russia, Sweden, and Great Britain.
  • Paris falls.

    Paris falls.
  • Paris is occupied

    Many allies occupy Paris.
  • End of Napoleon

    Senate proclaims end of the Empire; Napoleon's wife and son flee Paris.
  • Another Louis

    Another Louis
    Napoleon abdicates his rule and Louis XVIII, a Bourbon, is restored to the French throne.
  • Napoleon exiled to Elba

    Napoleon is exiled to the island of Elba after his defeat during the War of the Sixth Coalition.
  • Battle of Vitoria

    The French fall to Spain in the Battle of Vitoria.
  • Napoleon returns to Paris

    Napoleon surreptitiously leaves Elba and returns to Paris, crossing the Alps on the way.
  • Period: to

    Hundred Days

    This period began with Napoleon's return from Elba, and covers his entire French campaign. It culminates with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, thus ending Napoleon's last chance of control in Europe.
  • Battle of Waterloo

    It was the last battle of the Waterloo Campaign. The defeat at Waterloo put an end to Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French and marked the end of his Hundred Days' return from exile. The French lost to the Seventh Coalition, made up of the UK, Prussia, the Netherlands, Hanover, Nassau, and Brunswick.
  • Napoleon abdicates for the second time

    Napoleon is forced to abdicate again from the position of Emperor.
  • Napoleon exiled to St. Helena

    Napoleon is exiled a second time, now to St. Helena. He lives here for the rest of his life.