French revolution

The French Revolution

By TaylorO
  • The Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte

    The Birth of Napoleon Bonaparte
    Napoleon was born in Ajaccio, Corsica into a family that, like many people of France at the time, were not wealthy in the slightest. Military schools he attended included Brienne military academy as well as the Military school in Paris. When Napoleon was a teenager, the revolution had already reached epic proportions which no doubt played a role in his involvement in the French Revolution.
  • The War of American Independence

    The War of American Independence
    The struggle for America's Independence lasted from 1775 to 1783. The Thirteen Colonies (what is now the US) were rebelling against the constrictive power Britain (the mother country of the colonies) was forcing upon them, primarily with taxes. The Colonies felt as if their values and ways of life were simply too different from that of the British-being separated by such a distance-and decided that independence apart from Britain would be the only means that would ensure them such freedoms.
  • The Estates General is Called

    The Estates General is Called
    Political unrest is running rampant in the streets of France in this period of time. As a response, King Louis XVI calls an equal number of representatives from each of the three estates to meet at Versailles. The King hoped that these organized meeting would not only generate ideas on how France could begin to pay off its massive debt, but also make himself appear to be this caring and generous leader.
  • The Estates General Convenes

    The Estates General Convenes
    Within the first days of the Estates General commencing, new principles were introduced and one vote would be collected per Estate. The central focus of the meetings was the ineffective tax system of France that had caused the country and its people so much grief. Therefore when Jacques Necker (the director general of finance) proposed that the only way France could solve its financial crisis would be for every citizen to pay taxes, an uproar from the first and second estates arose.
  • The National Assembly is Established

    The National Assembly is Established
    With the new proposed financial reform surfacing, King Louis XVI was heavily criticized, and he quickly put an end to the meetings of the Estates General. This infuriated the Third Estate and they decided to take matters into their own hands. The result was a group of revolutionaries who demanded that it was finally time to have their voices heard (without the King's interference) and became the National Assembly.
  • The Tennis Court Oath

    The Tennis Court Oath
    In fears that his absolute monarchy was beginning to dissolve beneath him King Louis XVI prohibited an Estates General meeting from occurring, which was set to discuss reforms concerning voting. When members of the Third Estate reached the usual meeting room they found it to be locked and were enraged by the King's actions. The Revolutionaries took this as the last straw and they personally moved the meeting to a nearby indoor Tennis Court in Versailles where they pledged to form a constitution.
  • The First & Second Estates join the Third Estate in the National Assembly

    The First & Second Estates join the Third Estate in the National Assembly
    When the National Assembly first established itself, it was composed largely of the Third Estate despite the fact that they had invited the other Estates to join. However ten days after the formation of the Assembly, the First and Second Estates do join the Third Estate which makes the National Assembly a force that even King Louis XVI cannot ignore.
  • Parisians Storm the Bastille

    Parisians Storm the Bastille
    Tensions were heightening in France and with news of the Assembly reaching the King, rumours surfaced that Louis XVI was planning an attack; anarchy broke out in the streets of Paris. Hundreds of Parisians reached the Bastille (a prison that symbolized the King's absolute power) in search of weapons and prisoners. The castle was scarcely guarded and the mob was able to take control of the fortress, later parading the head of Marquis de Launay (the governor of Bastille) on a stake through town.
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man

    The Declaration of the Rights of Man
    This document was formed and passed by the National Assembly and based upon democratic principles and equality. It defended the Revolution as it criticized the Old Regime and it's principles of privilege and served as the underlying principles of a New Era in which all citizens would be treated as equals and possess the rights they deserve. Rights of the individual, Liberty and Democracy were all outlined in the document which even went on to become the basis of the French Constitution of 1791.
  • King Louis The XVI Is Executed

    King Louis The XVI Is Executed
    The execution of the previous leader of France was called upon by the revolutionaries of the New Republic, charging the King with treason towards the Revolution and the People of France. Not only did the death of the King signify the end of the Monarchy and Old Regime, but also the last obstacle standing in the way of the citizens of France and their freedom. Although all of France's hardships cannot be accredited to Louis XVI alone, in the eyes of the French at the time he was solely to blame.
  • The Committee of Public Safety is Established

    The Committee of Public Safety is Established
    After the Execution of the King, France was in dire need of a governmental body and the Committee of Public Safety seized precisely that role. Although revolutionists were fighting for democracy and freedom, the Committee consisted of only nine members who ultimately lead France through a dictatorship. To prevent a possible uprising in France itself, the Reign of Terror was enacted where any individual even suspected of being an anti-revolutionist was sent to the Guillotine.
  • Maximilien Robespierre is sent to the Guillotine

    Maximilien Robespierre is sent to the Guillotine
    The Reign of Terror was finally put to an end after a gruelling year with the execution of the very man who was directly responsible for instilling the fear in the hearts of so many citizens. After the fall of the Committee of Safety, it only made sense that the man who had played such a crucial role in the deaths of over 40 000 citizens during the Terror should have the same fate.
  • The Directory is Established

    The Directory is Established
    With the death of Robespierre, the Committee of Public Safety loses its power and is abolished. The opportunity then arises for the Directory to be the central power of France, and succeeds. The principles were progressively more democratic than that of the previous Committee, as the Directory consisted of five elected members (although only two groups were able to elect the members). In the beginning the Directory was largely effective, but eventually fell to the clutches of corruption.
  • Napoleon leads a Successful Coup & becomes Leader of France

    Napoleon leads a Successful Coup & becomes Leader of France
    With Napoleon's military skills in mind, Abbé Sieyès and Roger Ducos (members of the Directory) called upon Napoleon to help them overthrow the current government. Napoleon was successful in dissolving the Directory in this event that is known as the Coup of 18 Brumaire (Coup d'etat meaning to strike against the state). But what his accomplices did not know was that Napoleon was determined to be the leader of France, which he succeeded in doing when he was named First Consul.
  • Napoleon creates Reforms in France

    Napoleon creates Reforms in France
    From 1800-1804 as the new Leader of France, Napoleon introduced a number of new reforms in France. Such reforms included the lycee school system (an early form of public schooling), a new tax system (required everyone to pay taxes), established the Bank of France, centralized government admin., created the Napoleonic Code (civil laws) and much more that intended to benefit all of society, for the good of the collective.
  • Concordat with Pope Pius

    Concordat with Pope Pius
    Napoleon wanted as much support from the people of France as he could get his hands on, so when the opportunity arose to bring back Catholicism to those who supported it (since religion was practically abolished in the first stages of the Revolution) Napoleon acted swiftly. Not only did this gain support for Napoleon, but with the fine-print laws embedded within the document, he was still able to rule France with full control.
  • Napoleon is named Consul for Life

    Napoleon is named Consul for Life
    By this time Napoleon was widely popular in the country of France, and he was given the title of First Consul for Life. He was even privileged with the freedom to choose who his successor would be in the future.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte is Declared Emperor of France

    Napoleon Bonaparte is Declared Emperor of France
    Apparently First Consul for Life wasn't enough for Napoleon, so instead he named himself Emperor of France. Napoleon was able to do this, as once the people voted him First Consul for life he had the power to crown himself Emperor. Later on in 1804 Napoleon rewrites the Constitution as France became an Empire, with Napoleon being its first Emperor in History.
  • Berlin Decree Establishes the Continental System

    Berlin Decree Establishes the Continental System
    With Britain and Russia being the only two countries left for Napoleon to defeat, his greed became enormous and the degree of his greed ultimately lead to his downfall. As he decided to deal with Britain first, he introduced the Continental System in order to cut off Britain's supply of capital and resources. This meant that any ship leaving the ports of Britain was prohibited from entering any port under French control. The System backfired and left France once again in a state of great debt.
  • Russia Withdraws from the Continental System

    Russia Withdraws from the Continental System
    As the war in Europe was primarily between the French and British, Russia was able to stay pretty neutral (despite secretly trading with Britain); that is until Alexander I made a formal withdrawal from France's Continental System in order to increase trade with Britain. Tensions between France and Russia escalated as not only was Napoleon enraged at the fact that Russia would go against him, but also because the French had not sent the aid they promised to help Russia win its war with Turkey.
  • Grande Armee invades Russia and then is Forced to Retreat

    Grande Armee invades Russia and then is Forced to Retreat
    When Napoleon heard news of Russia's withdrawal from his Continental System he immediately orders his Grande Armee (the largest military to that date with approx. 500 000 soldiers) to invade. This was a terrible mistake on Napoleon's behalf as the more he and his men progressed into Russia, the farther the Russian soldiers retreated burning everything in their path, to allow no protection or supplies to the French, Upon the arrival of winter, Napoleon was forced to retreat with only 100 000 men.
  • Battle of Nations

    Battle of Nations
    This historic battle also referred to as the Battle of Leipzig, involved basically every power in Europe as the French alone attempted to take on Sweden, Russia, Austria and Prussia all at once. Although all odds were against them, the French put up an extraordinary fight (at times even winning against the opponents) but as the sheer numbers of the allied enemies surrounded France from all directions it was inevitable that the French were forced to withdrawal.
  • Napoleon Abdicates

    Napoleon Abdicates
    With France's defeat in the Battle of Nations, Napoleon was forced to Abdicate (to renounce one's throne). Although it seemed impossible that such a vicious military figure could be defeated, this wasn't the end of Napoleon Bonaparte's story.
  • Napoleon is Exiled to Elba

    Napoleon is Exiled to Elba
    Upon abdicating, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Elba off the coast of Italy by the European Powers who had forced him to give up his power over France. As it would be expected of the Napoleon Bonaparte, he barely seems effected as his stay on the island lasts less than a year.
  • The Congress of Vienna

    The Congress of Vienna
    The main powers of Europe decided that with the downfall of Napoleon, they needed to begin rebuilding and restructuring Europe from the way Napoleon had left it. The main goal of the Congress was to establish peace throughout all of the nations of Europe. Results of the decisions of the Congress included the removal of French Territory gained by Napoleon, as well as the rule of King Louis XVIII was implemented in France once again.
  • Napoleon Escapes from Elba

    Napoleon Escapes from Elba
    Once again Napoleon manages to amaze, as not only does he manage to sneak onto a ship, but he then proceeds to remain undetected by the French, Austrian and British guards on his way back to France. Napoleon had learnt that the people of France were extremely dissatisfied with the new King Louis XVIII (via newspapers) and decided it was time to act. Upon returning to France Napoleon was flocked with supporters and regained his power (Louis XVIII had fled) in a period known as the Hundred Days.
  • The Hundred Days

    The Hundred Days
    Upon Napoleon's arrival back to France from escaping from Elba, he once again was in control of France as Emperor in the period known as the Hundred Days that lasted from March 20th 1815 to July 8th 1815. The Battle of Waterloo is what brought this reign of Napoleon's to an end.
  • The Battle of Waterloo

    The Battle of Waterloo
    This battle marked the end of a very violent period for Europe, in which the creator of that violence was finally defeated; Napoleon himself. With word spreading of Napoleon's return enemy countries began building up their armies-and so did Napoleon. The resulting battle took place at Waterloo in what is now Belgium with France on one side, and Prussia, Britain, and other member of the coalition all on the other. After all the gore the result was that Napoleon had lost his last Battle.
  • Naploeon is Exiled to St.Helena

    Naploeon is Exiled to St.Helena
    Napoleon once again abdicates and is exiled to the remote island of St. Helena in the South Pacific Ocean. Unlike the last time (when exiled to Elba and accompanied by one thousand men), only a few men accompany him this time. After slipping into a slump of depression, it is here that Napoleon Bonaparte finally dies.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte dies on St. Helena

    Napoleon Bonaparte dies on St. Helena
    The specifics of Napoleon's death are not 100% clear, as there have been numerous theories developed over the years. Some of the most popular theories include stomach cancer (the most widely believed cause of his death, and explained by his hand always touching his stomach in photographs) and arsenic poisoning by either a guard or the paint in the walls of Longwood Manor where he resided in St. Helena (high arsenic levels found in his hair strands, but that was fairly common at the time).