French revolution title photo

The French Revolution

  • Marriage of Louis and Antoinette

    Marriage of Louis and Antoinette
    Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste are married at Versailles.
  • The French Revolution Begins

    The French Revolution Begins
    It all began when in the 1780's when the economy was in decline, this caused alarm to the people of the Third State. One of the reasons was of the extravagant spending of Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette. Louis also inhereted considerable debt from previous kings.
  • Meeting with Louis XVI

    Meeting with Louis XVI
    King Louis XVI declares that the Estates-General will meet in May 1789 to address the financial crisis. The Estates-General, a political body representing the three orders of Clergy, Nobles, and Commoners, had not been assembled since 1614.
  • Loss of American Territories

    Loss of American Territories
    In 1789, when the ideas of the Revolution reached the planters in Saint Domingue, they demanded that the National Assembly give them the same privileges as the people of France. Enslaved Africans in the colony demanded their freedo and a civil war erupted. With the leadership of Toussant L'Ouverture, they seized control of the colony.
  • A Weak Leader

    A Weak Leader
    Rather than cutting expenses, Louis put off dealing with the emergency until he practically had no money left. His solution was to impose taxes on the nobility. However, the Second Estate forced him to call a meeting of the Estates-General, an assembly of representatives from all three estates to approve this new tax.
  • Tennis Court Oath

    Tennis Court Oath
    In a dramatic speech, Emmanuel Sieyés suggested that the Third Estate should name theirselves by The National Assembly and pass laws and reforms in the name of the French people. The delegates of the Third Estate agreed by the majority. On June 17, 1789, they voted to establish the National Assembly. This vote was the first deliberate act of revolution. Three days later, They pleged on a indoor tennis court to stay until they had drawn up a new constitution. This pledge was the Tennis Court Oath
  • The Great Fear

    The Great Fear
    Rumors were that nobles were hiring outlaws to terrorize the peasants. Then the senseless panic came in, and the peasants became outlaws themselves. Armed with pitchforks and other weapons, they ransacked the castles of nobles and destroyed legal pages tha bound them to pay feudal dues.
  • Storming the Bastille

    Storming the Bastille
    In Paris, rumors were that Louis was intent on using military force to dismiss the National Assembly. People began to gather weapons to defend the city against attack. On July 14, a mob stormed the Bastille, a Paris prison. The mob overwhelmed the guard and seized control. The angry attackers hacked the commanders and guards to death. The fall of the Bastille became a great symbolic act of revolution to the French.
  • Riot of Women and Men

    Riot of Women and Men
    In October, 1789, thousands of Parisian women rioted over the rising price of bread. Brandishing weapons, the women marched on Versailles. They demanded that the National Assembly take action to provide bread. Then they turned anger onto the king and the queen. They killed their guards and demanded that Louis and Marie return to Paris. After some time, Louis agreed.
  • Declaration of Pilnitz

    Declaration of Pilnitz
    n response to Louis XVI’s capture the king of Prussia and the emperor of Austria (Marie Antoinette's brother), issued this. They warned that in order to protect the Fench monarchy, they will intervene if needed. This made French Revolutionaries make cautious actions. Subsequently, revolutionaries saw this and prepared for war.
  • Divisions Develop

    Divisions Develop
    In Sep. 1791, the National Assembly completed the new constitution, which Louis reluctantly approved. The constitution created a limited constitutional monarchy. It stripped the king much of his authority. It also created a new legislative body "Legislative Assembly", it had the power to create laws or reject declarations of war.
  • War & Execution

    War & Execution
    Austria and Prussia urged the French to restore Louis to his position as an absolute monarch. The Legislative Assembly responded by declaring war in April 1792. The Prussian commander threatened to destroy Paris if the revolutionaries harmed the royal family, that enraged the Parisians. On August 10, about 20,000 men and women invaded the Tuileries, the palace where the royal family was staying. They massacred the royal guards and imprisoned the royal family.
  • Jacobins Take Control

    Jacobins Take Control
    Most of the people involved in the governmental changes in September 1792 were members of a radical political organization, the Jacobin Club. One of the most prominent Jacobins, as club member were called, was Jean-Paul Marat. During the Revolution he edited a newspaper called "L'Ami du Peuple.
  • Death of the King

    Death of the King
    The National Convention had reduced Louis XVI's role from that of a king to that of a common citizen and prisoner. The Convention found him guilty and sentenced him to death. On January 21, 1793, the former king walked with calm dignity up the stairs of the scaffold to be beheaded by a guillotine.
  • The Terror Grips France

    The Terror Grips France
    In the early months of 1793, one Jacobin leader, Maximilien Robespierre slowly gained power. In July 1793, Roberspierre became leader of the Committee of Public Safety. For the next year, Robespierre governed France virtually as a dictator and the period of his rule became know as the Reign of Terror.
  • End of the Terror

    End of the Terror
    In July 1794, some members of the National Convention turned on Robespierre. They demanded his arrest and execution. The Reign of Terror ended on July 28,1794, when Robespierre went to the guillotine.
  • Napoleon Forges an Empire

    Napoleon Forges an Empire
    Napolean had demonstrated success early on in his life. His military career was prevelant when he drove out British forces out of the French port of Toulon and when he won victories against Austrians. His successes made him ambitious. He became popular in France as a hero. He became a political leader, and installed a Coup d'Etat. He later overthrew a Directory and set up a Consulate. He then took up a title of First Consul for life.
  • Concordat of 1801

    Concordat of 1801
    Napoleon signed a concordat, or agreement, with Pope Pius VII. This established a new relationship between church and state. The concordat gained Napoleon the support of the organized Church as well as the majority of the French people.
  • Napoleon is Crowned as Emperor

    Napoleon is Crowned as Emperor
    In 1804, Napoleon decided to make himself emperor, and the French voters supported him. On December 2, 1804, the Pope waited for him with the crown and he took the crown and placed it on his head. With this gesture, Napoleon signaled that he was more powerful than the Church.
  • The Battle of Trafalgar

    The Battle of Trafalgar
    The Battle of Trafalgar was fought off of Cape Trafalgar on the Spanish coasts. Napoleon and his French army decided to invade Britain. Admiral Nelson tried to stop him. When they all met, Nelson's Royal Navy had 27 ships while the Spanish and French had 33 vessels. The British captured and destroyed most of their vessels. This was Napoleon's only major battle loss.
  • Battle of Austerlitz

    Battle of Austerlitz
    This is known as one of Napoleon's greatest victories. The battle took place near Austerlitz. Napoleon received threats from both Russia and Austria, so he abandoned his ambitions to invade England. Napoleon told his enemies he wanted a truce, since, his army was weak, however, this was his plan to join with his allies. The armies of Napoleon's enemies, Russia and Austria were destroyed.
  • The Continental System

    The Continental System
    In November 1806, Napoleon set up a blockade, a forcible closing of ports, to prevent all trade and communication between Great Britain and other European nations. Napoleon called this policy the Continental System because it was supposed to maked continental Europe more self-sufficient. Napoleon also intended it to destroy Great Britain's commercial and industrial economy.
  • The Peninsular War

    The Peninsular War
    In 1808, Napoleon made a second costly mistake. In an effort to get Portugal to accept the Continental System, he sent an invasion force through Spain. The Spanish people protested this action. In response, Napoleon removed the Spanish king and put his own brother, Joseph, on the throne. For six years, guerillas struck at French armies in Spain. Napoleon lost about 300,000 men. These losses weakened the French Empire.
  • Invasion of Russia

    Invasion of Russia
    Napoleon's most disastrous mistake of all came in 1812. The French and Russian rulers suspected each other of having competing designs on Poland. Because of this breakdown in their alliance, Napoleon decided to invade Russia. In June 1812, Napoleon and his Grand Army marched into Russia. The two armies clashed and France won but later most of the army died by the cold weather and 10,000 soldiers were left to fight.
  • Battle of Borodino

    Battle of Borodino
    The two armies finally clashed in the Battle of Borodino. After several hours of indecisive fighting, the Russians fell back, allowing Napoleon to move on Moscow. When Napoleon entered Moscow seven days later, the city was in flames. On October, he decide to turn back toward France.
  • The suffering of Napoleon's men (November)

    The suffering of Napoleon's men (November)
    As the snows and the temperature began to fall in early November, Russian raiders mercilessly attacked Napoleon's ragged, retreating army. Many soldiers were killed in theses clashes or died of their wounds. Still more dropped in their tracks from exhaustion, hunger, and cold.
  • The suffering of Napoleon's men (December)

    The suffering of Napoleon's men (December)
    Finally, in the middle of December, the last survivors straggled out of Russia. The retreat from Moscow had devastated the Grand Army, only 10,000 soldiers were left to fight.
  • Exile to Elba

    Exile to Elba
    The new alliance of Russia, Britain, Austria, and Prussia went against weak France. Napoleon was forced to step down from power as his enemies confined France. The victors gave Napoleon a small pension and exiled him to an island in the Mediterranean Sea called, Elba.
  • The Hundred Days

    The Hundred Days
    Louis XVIII was king and Napoleon took the throne from him on March 1,1815, when he escaped from Elba. Joyous crowds welcomed him on the march to Paris. And thousand of volunteers swelled the ranks of his army. Within days, Napoleon was again emperor of France.
  • Battle of Waterloo

    Battle of Waterloo
    On June 18,1815, Napoleon attacked. The British army defended its ground all day. The Prussian army arrived later and helped the British. Two days later, Napoleon's troops gave away, and the British and Prussian forces chased them from the field. This defeat ended Napoleon's last bid for power, called the Hundred Days.
  • Napoleon's Death

    Napoleon's Death
    In 1815, the British shipped Napoleon to St. Helena, a remote island in the South Atlantic. There, he lived in lonely exile for six years, writing his memoirs. He died in 1821 of a stomach ailment, perhaps cancer.