The French Republics

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  • Storming of Bastille

    On July 14th, 1789 French revolutionaries stormed the fortress and prison Bastille. This storming symbolized the official start of the Revolution. Years of unrest, poor harvests, and rising food prices finally culminated in this attack and attempt to gather weapons for the budding revolution.
  • The First French Republic

    After the finale of the Revolution the group of people who represented the people of the Revolution, the National Convention, met and decided to end the French monarchy. This is when they decided to create the very first French Republic.
  • Louis XVI Executed

    Louis XVI was put on trial by by the National Convention. They tried him for 33 crimes against France. He was then convicted of treason and executed by guillotine in the Palace de la Revolution.
  • The Reign of Terror

    The Revolutionary government decided that it needed to take action and began a brutal wave of executions. The goal of these executions was to get rid of anyone who was a suspected enemy of the Republic. During this time almost dictatorial control was held by the Committee of Public safety
  • The Coup of 18 Brumaire

    Napoleon, a well known and powerful general, assisted in a coup d'etat in an attempt to gain control of France. They were successful and a consulate with three members was formed. Napoleon was first Consul and therefore was France's leading political figure.
  • Napoleon Crowned Emperor

    Napoleon was crowned Emperor in the Notre Dame in 1804. Pope Pius VII handed Napoleon the crown, who then put it on his own head. This was the first time a Frenchman had been considered an Emperor in around one thousand years.
  • Battle of Waterloo and Fall of Napoleon

    After a reign characterized by brutal expansion through military action, Napoleon's army was finally defeated. At the Battle of Waterloo the British and Prussian forces worked together to take down Napoleon, and they succeeded. In October of 1815 Napoleon was exiled to the Island of Saint Helena, where he eventually died at the age of 51.
  • Start of the Second Republic

    The Revolution of 1848 toppled the monarchy of King Louis-Phillipe. A monarchist majority was elected to the French legislative assembly and Louis-Napoleon won the election to become president. This began the Second French Republic.
  • End of the Second French Republic

    The legislative assembly of the second republic passed many conservative measures restricting rights, which helped give power to them and took it away from Louis-Napoleon. He realized this and performed a coup d'etat, Louis-Napoleon then reduced the power of the assembly and began petitions to restore the empire. Louis-Napoleon was then instated as emperor in early 1852.
  • The Start of the Third French Republic

    Napoleon III, formerly Louis-Napoleon, was defeated at Sedan. Immediately after this the new Third French Republic was formed in France. The early days of this Republic were rough due to France's continued involvement in the Franco-Prussian War. There were thoughts of reinstituting the monarchy, although they decided against it due to no one person having a solid claim on the throne.
  • May 16th, 1877 Crisis

    The crisis of May 16th, 1877 was a crisis that concerned the distribution of power between the legislature and the President. The President Patrice MacMahon dismissed Prime Minister Jules Simon, resulting in parliament refusing to support the president. They were promptly dissolved by the president and new elections were held. This crisis sealed the failure of the royalist movement and was the direct cause of the longevity of the Third French Republic.
  • The Fall of The Third French Republic

    Nazi Germany was a massive threat to France during the late 1930's, and this eventually led to France signing the Second Armistice at Compiègne after the battle at Dunkirk. The Third Republic officially met its end when Marshal Philippe Pétain was granted full powers by the French Parliament.
  • The Beginning of the Fourth French Republic

    In many ways the Fourth French Republic was just a continuation of the pre-war Third Republic, even though 96% of people voted not to return to the pre-war regime. This era was known for renovation, change, and economic regrowth.
  • Fall of the Fourth Empire

    Right wing activists who were displeased with the current rule of France began to conspire to change things in a way that they were favorable of. On May 13th 1958 they got their chance. Activist groups took to the streets and had control of the city extremely quickly. An emergency government was set up and after a few weeks former president De Gaulle was given full power.
  • The Fifth Republic of France

    The Fifth, and current, Republic of France was established when de Gaulle took power and reshaped the government into one he believed would be more successful. The power of the National Assembly was reduced to increase executive power. The President would now be elected by local notables and not parliament, and he now had the power to elect the prime minister. The Fifth Republic officially came into being when de Gaulle took his presidential functions.