French Revolution and Napoleon

  • Excessive spending and poor harvests lead to a financial crisis in France

    Excessive spending and poor harvests lead to a financial crisis in France
    Unfair taxation, poor crop yield, and war were the main causes of the financial crisis that occurred before the French Revolution. France was unable to raise enough taxes because the Third Estate was mainly burdened by taxation. Moreover, France had seasons of poor crops due to colder weather. Finally, France's extensive war involvement contributed to debt growth. This crisis caused Louis XVI to call the Estates General to raise taxes, and it created general unrest among the French population.
  • King Louis XVI calls the Estates General

    King Louis XVI calls the Estates General
    As a result of financial problems from wars, famine, and unfair taxation, King Louis was forced to call the Estates General to raise taxes that could pull France out of a financial crisis. The unfair representation of the Third Estate—which was most of the population yet had the least say—in the Estates General also created unrest among the French population that led to the French Revolution.
  • The Tennis Court Oath

    The Tennis Court Oath
    The Third Estate marched to a neighboring tennis court to organize their own meeting after being barred from the Estates General. While there, they made a promise to stick together and reunite whenever necessary until France's constitution was formed. The tennis court oath exemplified the general unrest of the French populace, and it set a precedent that resulted in the French Revolution.
  • First and Second Estates join the Third Estate in the newly formed National Assembly

    Not long after the National Assembly was formed, the clergy and nobles started to join. As a result, Louis XVI acknowledged the National Assembly. This was an effect of the Tennis Court Oath because noblemen liked the ideals of freedom and equality discussed in it.
  • The storming of the Bastille

    The storming of the Bastille
    To get gunpowder, revolutionaries attacked the Parisian jail known as the Bastille. Fear that the people might be attacked by Louis XVI's forces in France led to this uprising. The jail was breached by revolutionaries, who took advantage of the opportunity to gather gunpowder and free the inmates. As this publicly showed rebellion against France's current government, it set a precedent for showing dissent against the kingdom, sparking events like the march on Versailles.
  • The Great Fear in the countryside

    The Third Estate experienced widespread terror during The Great Fear. Many individuals were terrified that nobility would assault Third Estate citizens. Peasants rioted, attacked lords, and tore up feudal records out of terror. The Great Fear was primarily caused by the defiance that the Third Estate showed by swearing the Tennis Court Oath.
  • The National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen

    The National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
    This declaration highlighted a wide range of rights that the French people ought to enjoy. For instance, it discussed the freedoms of religion, expression, assembly, and the separation of powers. This occurrence was crucial since it marked the beginning of France's constitution, which the Tennis Court Oath promised to establish. This means that the Tennis Court Oath played a major role in the adoption of this document.
  • The Women’s March on Versailles

    The Women’s March on Versailles
    Thousands of women participated in a march from Paris to Versailles during this time to protest the King. Despite the fact that they marched for a variety of causes, the main ones were their displeasure at the high cost of living and rising unemployment. At this time, tensions between the public and the king were mounting, eventually leading to the public execution of Louis XVI at the guillotine.
  • Louis XVI is executed at the guillotine

    Louis XVI is executed at the guillotine
    A hidden cabinet in the Tuileries Palace was found to hold evidence of Louis' counterrevolutionary sentiments and correspondence with foreign governments. He was put on trial for treason and killed by the guillotine in 1793. Mounting tensions also had to do with his execution, as the storming of the Bastille and march on Versailles showed signs of rebellion against him.
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    Robespierre's Reign of Terror

    There was a lot of violence and panic at this time. Numerous individuals were put to death in Paris for opposing the Revolution. The administration was controlled by Maximilien Robespierre, who was to blame for the carnage and devastation that were seen at the time. The main cause of the Reign of Terror was Louis XVI's execution and the gap in power it left, allowing Robespierre to come in and torture the French populace.
  • The Directory is installed

    The Directory is installed
    The Directory was founded under the French constitution. The Council of Five Hundred, which recommended law, and the Council of Ancients, which had the power to approve or veto the proposed legislation, made up the Directory. The five Directors, who had the authority to choose government officials, were also chosen by the Council of Ancients. The establishment of the Directory was an effect of the Tennis Court Oath vow to implement a national constitution.
  • Napoleon's coup d'etat, overthrowing the Directory

    The French Revolution was put to an end by the coup, which also installed General Napoleon Bonaparte as the First Consul of France. The French Consulate took the place of the Directory following this bloodless coup d'état. The coup was possible because of mounting fear against Robespierre's Reign of Terror and was directly affected by it.
  • Napoleon is declared Emperor

    Napoleon is declared Emperor
    In Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, Napoleon proclaimed himself emperor, and the French people approved of him. He removed the crown from the Pope and gave it to himself because he believed himself to be more important than the Church. His crowing as emperor was a result of his coup because he used his power as First Consul to do this.
  • Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo

    Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo
    In the area close to Waterloo, the European allies under the command of Duke Wellington prepare for battle. The British battled all day against Napoleon's invasion. But when the Prussian army showed up, Napoleon was confronted by both forces. Overwhelmed, he and his troops surrendered two days later. Having been defeated for the last time, Napoleonic rule ended all across Europe. His defeat at Waterloo caused him to be exiled to a remote island in the South Atlantic named Saint Helena.
  • Napoleon is exiled to St. Helena

    Once he was defeated by allied European troops, Napoleon was shipped by the British to Saint Helena, where he lived for six years until his death in 1821. His exile here was caused by his defeat at the battle of Waterloo.