French Revolution Key Events

  • Accession of King Louis XVI

    Accession of King Louis XVI
    This was the day Louis Auguste become King Louis XVI of France, after the death of his grandfather Louis XV. He was the last Bourbon king of France.
  • American Declaration of Independence

    American Declaration of Independence
    The United States Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress, and acted a symbol of American independence and freedom from Britain.
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    Meeting of Estates General

    The Estates General of 1789, which was called by Louis XVI, was a general assembly of the three French estates to discuss the financial problem of the French government. This meeting also brought up the issue of of the way the vote.
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    National Assembly

    The National Assembly was a revolutionary assembly formed by representatives of the Third Estate in response to the First and Second Estate locking them out of the meeting hall. The aimed to bring economic reform for the people to make sure they are fed.
  • Tennis Court Oath

    Tennis Court Oath
    The Tennis Court Oath was a vow members of the Third Estate took during the National Assembly, which said "not to separate and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established". This challenged the old order of privilege in France.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    The Storming of the Bastille was a violent attack on the French fortress; the Bastille. The Bastille was used to protect Paris during the Hundred Years War, but the kings who used it to suppress political prisoners turned it into a symbol of monarchical oppression, which angered many French peasants.
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

    Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
    On this day, the human civil rights document Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen was adopted as one of the most important documents of the French Revolution. It defined the individual and collective rights of all the estates as universal.
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    Women's March on Versaille

    The Women's March on Versaille was a protest against the high price and scarcity of bread in France due to its poor economy. This event gave French revolutionaries the confidence in the power of the people over the king.
  • Declaration of Pillnitz

    Declaration of Pillnitz
    The Declaration of Pillnitz was a statement issued by the rulers of Austria and Prussia that aimed unite European powers to restore the French monarchy and prevent a war outbreak after the French Revolution. During the French Revolution, King Louis XVI was reduced to a constitutional monarch.
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Women

    A Vindication of the Rights of Women
    A Vindication of the Rights of Women is one of the most earliest works of feminist philosophy. Mary Wollstonecraft discussed the effects that education had on a woman at that point of time and how much more value a woman could and would have if they received they same level education a man did (and anything that would make them equal).
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    Sans-culettes

    The sans-culotte, which was made up by the lower classes of the French common people, are a group of radical revolutionaries that advocated for direct democracy. As said by there name, they could not wear the culottes that only the wealthier classes of their society wore, which helped shape their identity and strive for political change.
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    September Massacres

    The September Massacres were a series of mass killings in Paris during the French Revolution. Paranoia and suspicion had grown concerning the inmates of the city of Paris, in which they feared that if a foreign or royalist army were to invade and free them, they would end joining them. As a result of this, approximately 1000 prisoners were killed in a matter of 20 hours.
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    Creation of the Republic

    On this day, France was proclaimed as a republic. The monarchy had been abolished and was replaced with republicanism, which was based on the ideas of equality, liberty, and fraternity.
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    Jacobins vs. Girondins

    Jacobins vs. Girondins was a trial that decided the fate of King Louis XVI. The Jacobins believed that he should be executed for the sake of the revolution, while the Girondins said Louis should live. The Jacobins were victorious, which meant that King Louis XVI and the Girondins were sentenced death.
  • Execution of Louis XVI

    Execution of Louis XVI
    By the means of guillotine, King Louis XVI was due for his execution for the good of France. The National Convention had convicted him by majority vote.
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    Committee of Public Safety

    The Committee of Public Safety was a political body of the French Revolution that gained dictatorial control over France during the Reign of Terror. This group of people radically prevented treason of the French people by purging both foreign and domestic enemies and oversaw the French government.
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    Reign of Terror/Robespierre

    The Reign of Terror, which was lead by Maximilien Robespierre, was a period of repression, massacres, and public executions due to accusations of treason by Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety. During this time, Robespierre was a human rights advocate for the Third Estate and sought to rid France of her enemies, but he proceeded to purge everyone who was corrupt.
  • Execution of Marie Antoinette

    Execution of Marie Antoinette
    Marie Antoinette had been convicted of treason, theft, and sexual abuse towards her son and was sentence to execution by means of the guillotine. Marie Antoinette was the queen of England and was the wife of Louis XVI before he was beheaded himself.
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    Thermidorian Reaction

    The Thermidorian Reaction was a liberal-conservative counter revolution that followed Robespierre's death and the end of the Reign of Terror. It aimed to rid the government of Jacobin influence and effects of the Reign of Terror and restore the political, social, and economic values of 1789.
  • Execution of Maximilien Robespierre

    Execution of Maximilien Robespierre
    After a year of his tyrannical rule, revolutionaries had enough of the Reign of Terror, so they turned against him and arrested him. Robespierre, along with many of his supporters, were sentenced to the guillotine. His death marked the end of the Reign of Terror.
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    War of the Second Coalition

    The War of the Second Coalition was a war on revolutionary France that was lead by the European monarchs of Britain, Austria, Russia, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, Naples, Sweden, and various German monarchs. They attempted to halt the expansion of the French Republic and restore the French monarchy but failed to do so, which resulted in a French victory and territorial gains for France.
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    Coup d'etat

    The Coup of 18 Brumaire was a bloodless coup d'etat that brought Napoleon to power as First Consul of France and marked the end of the French Revolution. This event overthrew the Directory and replaced it with the French Consulate.
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    Concordat of 1801

    The Concordat of 1801 was a peace agreement between Napoleon Bonaparte and papal and clerical representative (Pope Pius VII) in both Paris and Rome. It reaffirmed the status of the Catholic Church in France as the great majority, but under the condition that it was the official religion of the country so that the freedom of religion could still be maintained.
  • Napoleonic Code

    Napoleonic Code
    The Napoleonic Code, written by Napoleon Bonaparte, is the French civil doe established under the French Consulate. This made the authority of men over their families stronger and brought equality among one another, deprived the individual rights of women, and reduced the rights of illegitimate children; however, it did allow religious dissent and reintroduced colonial slavery.
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    Confederation of the Rhine

    The Confederation of the Rhine was a confederation between sixteen German states, which Napoleon obtained after defeating Austria and Prussia, of the First French Republic. It served as a satellite and major military ally of the French Republic and a buffer state to prevent further aggravation from Austria, Prussia, or Russia against France.
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    Continental System

    The Continental System was an act of economic warfare that was carried out by Napoleon against Britain. This policy or blockade prevented neutrals and French allies from trading with the United Kingdom; however, this backfired quickly when Britain returned a blockade of their own on European ports, which caused a scarcity of goods that led to a rise in European nationalism.
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    Russian Campaign

    The Russian Campaign was an invasion on Russia that was carried out by Napoleon and his Grand Army. Due to the economic hardships the Continental System had caused, Russia needed to withdraw from it. The Battle of Borodino concluded it in a draw, especially due to the fact that Napoleon was unprepared by the harshness of Russian geography. Afterwards, Prussia and Russia joined the Fourth Coalition.
  • Waterloo

    The Battle of Waterloo was the last battle of the Napoleonic Wars between the French and the Prussian and Russian armies and marked Napoleon's final defeat. This event marked the end of Napoleon's return from his Hundred Days exile and the end of the French Empire, which brought peace to Europe for years to come.
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    Paris Commune

    The Paris Commune was a revolutionary government that consisted of students and workers from Paris. This group united to overthrew the French regime, due to its failure to protect the city from from Prussian siege. Although the revolt was suppressed, it was still known as the first democratic government in France, which influenced many revolutionaries.
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    Treaties of Tilsit

    The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements between France with Russia and Prussia after Napoleon's victory at Friedland. These treaties asked Russia and Prussia to join alongside France in the Continental System and destroy Britain's commerce. Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon held a meeting on a raft in the Niemen River on July 7, 1807 to sign the documents. The other treaty signed by Prussia two days later. (Quick FYI, this isn't a time span, it's just the date of the treaties.)