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French Revolution Timeline: Stone

  • Accession of Louis XVI

    Accession of Louis XVI
    Louis XVI inherited the throne when Louis XV, his grandfather, died. Louis XVI's reign was plagued by his failure to solve France's growing debt, economic problems, and an increased liberalist movement. He was known as a weak ruler and was taken advantage of.
  • American Declaration of Independence

    American Declaration of Independence
    Through this legal document, the 13 colonies separate themselves from their mother country, Great Britain, and show that they wish to be an independent nation. In doing so they grab the attention of France who sides with them against Great Britain and helps American in its revolution. By helping America fight and win this war France goes into debt as well as shows its people, with growing liberalistic ideas, that they can realize a movement from the despotic ruling present.
  • Meeting of the Estates General

    Meeting of the Estates General
    King Louis XVI called for the Estates General to discuss how to best handle the French debt acquired from the American Revolution and the Seven Years' War. Third Estate is unhappy with the results of the meeting and forms its own National Assembly in order to take matters into their own hands
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    National Assembly

    Members of the Third Estate formed an assembly of the people. They urged others to join them and eventually became the effective government of France. During this period a constitution was constructed and laws were made (such as the abolishment of feudalism), but the fiscal problems went unaddressed and France went further into debt.
  • Tennis Court Oath

    Tennis Court Oath
    Members of the Third Estate vow not to disband until they create a constitution for France. This challenges the ancient order of privilege in France by reinforcing the idea that the power should belong to the people instead of a sole monarch.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    The attack on the Bastille, a political prison that was seen as a symbol of monarchial abuse, is a key point in the French Revolution as it declares the French people's desire for change.
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen adopted

    Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen adopted
    Significant document of the French Revolution that lists the rights of man. These included freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. This is a step towards the making of a French constitution.
  • Women's March on Versailles

    Due to the little supply and high price of bread women from marketplaces led a march on the Palace of Versailles. They forced the king to met their demands, which became intertwined with revolutionary ideas of liberal reform. This essentially destroys the independent authority in France as the king loses the little power he had remaining.
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    Jacobins vs. Girondins

    The Jacobins and the Girondins were two revolutionary factions in France with contrasting ideas of how the revolution should be carried out. The Jacobins were more radical, wished for Louis XVI to be executed, and encouraged the bloodshed happening during the time period. On the other hand, the Girondins were much more moderate, wanted to keep the king alive, and denounced the use of violence. In the end, the Jacobins won the struggle for power monopolizing themselves in the National Convention.
  • Declaration of Pillnitz

    Declaration of Pillnitz
    A statement issued by the rulers of Austria and Prussia that they'd go to war with the revolutionaries if the monarch loses his position. They were fearful that a successful revolution in France would lead to one in their own countries. This sets the stage for an anti-France coalition as well as a pro-monarchy movement.
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

    Philosophical work written by Mary Wollstonecraft that fights that women deserve the same political rights, achieved by the revolution in France, as men. One of the first feminist works. It inspired ideas in its time and the future feminist movement.
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    The sans-culottes were members of the poorer classes that formed a radical and militant group. They sought a republican form of government and wanted to increase their low quality of life.
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    Paris Commune

    The revolutionary government of Paris established shortly after the storming of the Bastille. They refused to take orders from the central government of France. The commune is best known for spreading extreme views and ideas as well as attempting to Christianize the churches.
  • September Massacres

    A series of killings in cities, such as Paris, throughout France. This was caused by the suspicion of Prussian invasion and a counter-revolution.
  • Creation of the Republic

    The Legislative Assembly of France abolishes the monarchy and establishes the first French republic. Louis XVI later, hesitantly, accepts a new constitution that strips a majority of his power as a king.
  • Execution of Louis XVI

    Execution of Louis XVI
    Louis XVI was found guilty of high-treason. He had conspired with foreign powers in an attempt to thwart the revolution. The National Convention sentenced him to death by means of the guillotine.
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    Committee of Public Safety

    The National Convention constructed the committee to protect France against its enemies and to oversee the government. Under Robespierre, the committee had near-dictatorial rule over the French government. The revolutionary government introduced the Reign of Terror and purged many of those who disagreed with Robespierre's ideas.
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    Reign of Terror

    A period of violence stemming from conflicts between the Girondins and the Jacobins. The Revolutionary government decided to take harsh measures against those suspected of being their enemies. This period of violence led to rising starvation and prices as the country experienced the destruction of industry furthering the general economic decline already occurring.
  • Marie Antoinette executed

    Marie Antoinette was found guilty by the Revolutionary Tribunal of high treason. Subsequently, she was executed by guillotine, the same as her husband.
  • Robespierre executed

    Robespierre's abuse of power and the introduction and facilitation of the Reign of Terror led to him being overthrown and arrested by the National Assembly. Robespierre and his allies were executed by guillotine without any trial. Marks the end of the Reign of Terror
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    Thermidorian Reaction

    A movement following Robespierre's execution that purged the government of Jacobin influence and attempted to reimplement political, social, and economic values from 1789. The group aimed to create a conservative republic that functioned properly and was free of a central power.
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    War of the 2nd Coalition

    The coalition against France was made up of Britain, Austria, Russia, and several other nations. Their goal was to prevent the expansion of the French Republic and to restore the monarchy in France. Ultimately the coalition fails and France continues to run as a republic.
  • Coup d’etat (Napoleon)

    Coup d’etat (Napoleon)
    The coup overthrew the republic of France known as the Directory and replaced it with the French Consulate. Napoleon Bonaparte rises to power as the First Consul of France. This is seen as the end of the French Revolution as it leads to the age of Napoleon's despotic ruling.
  • Concordat of 1801

    Agreement reached between Napoleon and papal authority regarding the presence of Roman Catholicism in France. Reinstates Roman Catholicism but Napoleon owns the land and can appoint church officials.
  • Napoleonic Code

    First clear and complete codification of French law established under the French Consulate. All men were also granted equal rights under the law and religious freedom.
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    Confederation of the Rhine

    The union of all German states, besides Prussia and Austria, under Napoleon I. Allowed France to dominate the area. The confederation was abolished after Napoleon's downfall.
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    Continental System

    Blockade designed by Napoleon during the Napoleonic wars to prevent Great Britain from trading, therefore crippling its economy. Neutrals and French allies were not to trade with Great Britain. In the end, the blockade did more harm than good to France and failed.
  • Treaty of Tilsit

    Treaty of Tilsit
    Two agreements made between France and Russia as well as France and Prussian. Russia and Prussia were to join the Continental System in an attempt to damage British commerce.
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    Russian Campaign

    The French invasion of Russia that resulted in Napoleon's defeat. Russia retreated, burning the land behind them as they progressed which left little for the French to survive off. Eventually, France was forced to retreat.
  • Battle of Waterloo

    Battle of Waterloo
    The coalition consisting of British, Dutch, Belgian and German soldiers decisively defeat Napoleon's forces. The attempts of European domination by the French emperor were contained. The battle marked the end of the Napoleonic Wars.