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French Revolution Timeline

By: Andrew Kokanoutranon

The Old Regime: Reign of King Louis XVI (1774-1792)


Marie Antoinette- Marie Antoinette was born November 2, 1755 in Vienna, Austria. She was the youngest daughter of Francis I and Maria Theresa; whom were the current monarchs of the Holy Roman Empire.


Cardinal Fleury (1653-1743)- Cardinal Fleury, who was a French Cardinal that served as the chief minister of Louis XV, made many reformations such as reorganizing finances, building roads, and encouraging commerce.


Financial and administrative problems- The French government was spending more money than they had, which lead to a large national debt.


Demands of the Nobility- The high classes demanded a rich and luxurious life while the middle and lower classes suffered, and they also put a burden on the economy.


Identify "Jacques Turgot" (1727-1781)-  Jacques Turgot was a French statesmen and economic, he worked in the church, navy and many different government posts. His major works were enshrined in the 'Reflexions Sur la formation et la distribution des richness'.


Identify "Jacques Necker" (1732-1804)- Jacques Necker was a French Statesmen and the finance minister of Louis XVI. Hhis greatest financial measures were his attempt to fund the French debt and his establishment of incomes under the guarantee of the state.


Explain Louis Reign- Louis XVI is known to be an awful king, by not making the right decisions at the time. He also did very little to lower the incredibly high taxes.


The Estates General (1788)


First Estate – The First Estate consisted of the clergy who lived in prosperity and wealth, they did not have to pay taxes on their lands. 


Second Estate – The Second Estate was made up of the French nobilities. The royal family and the government were part of this estate.


Bourgeoisie - The bourgeoisie were the middle-class of the third estate. They paid taxes, but still had a reasonable style of living; their jobs consisted of being merchants, manufacturers, bankers, and officials


Proletariat - The proletariats were also known as the working class, their income depended on the sales of their labor. They tended to struggle to pay their taxes.


Third Estate - The Third Estate was the ‘common people’ of France, who made up about 98% of the French population. They were at the lowest end of the ladder; most of them lived in poverty and despair.


Peasant life in France- The peasants’ population consisted of 4/5 of the French’s total population, the peasant population was a staggering 26 million people living in poverty and had to pay high taxes.


Gabelle- The gabelle was a tax on salt in France before the 1790s. The government once taxed on all the common necessities, but limited the tax to salt only in hopes of paying off the national debt.


corv'ee- The corv'ee was a form of paying taxes for the peasants that couldn’t pay it off with money, instead the government had them work on public projects such as the maintaining the roads without pay.


The Middle Class- The middle class was a part of the third estate. These people often had simple jobs and received low pay; they were also the highest population of the estates and owned the most land.


Urban workers- The urban workers were the people who had to work in everyday jobs in the city; they still had to pay taxes.


King Louis XVI summons the Estates General (1788)


Identify "Elections for the Estates General"- When in 1788 the Assembly of Notables failed to solve the financial crisis of the French government, King Louis XVI ordered elections for the States-General as his last resort.


Identify "Demands on the Monarchy"- The demands on the monarchy included many demands that they couldn’t fore fill.  Louis was a weak ruler, and the people wanted food and the estates need power


Voting by Order- The ‘voting by order’ meant that all three estates met and voted at the same time, but before each estate would meet separately and would cast one vote so the first two estates would win 2 to 1 every time.


The Third Estate proclaims itself to be the National Assembly (1789)


Identify "The Tennis Court Oath"- King Louis demanded the National Assembly meet at a place that was enclosed and away from the public. They met in an indoor tennis court where the meetings could be kept secret. At the hidden tennis court, they took the Tennis Court Oath, which was not to leave until they gave France a constitution.


Identify "Louis XVI Versus the National Assembly"- The change of name was done by the Third Estate to the National Assembly, they also gained political power which threatened King Louis XVI rule.


A Paris Mob storms the Bastille (1789)        


Describe what happened- At the castle, he people, angry at high taxes and prices, stormed the Bastille and took captured the political leaders.


Jacques Necker's restoration- Jacques Necker’s ideas included a strong tax system and a new financial reform that differed greatly from King Louis’s policy.


Jean Bailly's promotion (1736-1793) – Jean Bailly was promoted to the president of the third estate and acted in many of the revolutionary protests.


Marquis de Lafayette's promotion (1757-1834) - Marquis de Lafayette was a French and American revolutionist. He led many acts on both the American and French revolts.


How did the revolt affect most aristocrats? – The aristocrats were in a state of fear after the angry mob stormed the Bastille.


The Great Fear Sweeps the French countryside (1789)


Describe- Numerous amounts of rumors spread among the France citizens that the King’s army would take over their lands, which caused an immense fear that swept across the nation.


Effects- Inflamed by famine and fear, the peasants unleashed their fury on nobles who were trying to re-impose medieval dues.


The National Assembly approves the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the citizen (1789)


Describe the Declaration of the Rights of Man- The Declaration of the Rights of Man is a document that declared all men are born free and equal. Its articles stated the rights to freedom of speech and religion, but however, the document did not include women’s rights.


Declaration of the Rights of Women- A replica of the Declaration of the Rights of Man, women now would have equal rights. It stated the same ideas and concepts of the ‘Man’s version’ except for women.


Mob Action (1789) – The March on Versailles was a protest against the King’s unfair rule and the mobs demanded food from the King. The mob took the royal family prisoner and Louis was in captive for over three years.


Political Clubs - Political clubs were formed by the radicals whom all had different political views. They separated into different clubs which had different opinion on certain matters.


The Jacobins - The Jacobins were the most famous political group during the French Revolution, became identified with extreme egalitarianism and violence.  They took control of the Revolutionary government from the 1793s to mid 1794s.


The Cordeliers- This Cordeliers were a type of club that formed during the French Revolution and was created in 1790 in order to prevent the abuse of power and violations of the civil rights of man.


The Feuillants - The Feuillants were a conservative political group during the French Revolution, they met in the monastery of the Feuillants, in Paris.


The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1789) - The National Assembly granted freedom to all religious groups, they wanted to weaken the power of the Roman Catholic Church. By the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, the priests and other officials of the Church were put under state control.


The National Assembly enacts the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790)


The Constitution of 1791 establishes a constitutional monarchy (1791)


Necker's resignation - After the raid on Bastille, Necker was again recalled. His last resignation came in 1791 and he spent his last years in Coppet, which was his Swiss estate.


Mirabeau – Mirabeau was a French revolutionary who was well-known in the early days of the French Revolution.


Mirabeau's death (1791) - Mirabeau died because of an illness after his election to the National Assembly in 1791. He was buried as a hero because of the publics love towards him.


Louis XVI and family flee but captured- The royal family was forced from Versailles to the Toiletries palace in Paris. Louis lost reliability when he attempted to escape the capital in 1791he was then caught and brought back to Paris.


Louis accepts New Constitution (Sept. 14, 1791) - The queen encouraged Louis to a policy of deception instead of the Constitution of 1791, which he had sworn to maintain.


Other reforms of the National Assembly (1791)


Abolished titles of nobility- The titles of nobility contained a large amount of power and wealth.  The nobles heavily taxed the peasants, during the reform; the National Assembly was able to abolish these titles.


Reorganized local government- The constitution called for 83 departments to replace the old local governments of the French provinces, the reorganization abolished the courts, the laws were improved to protect private property, abolish guilds, and forbade city workers to organize unions.


Laissez faire principals - The laissez faire principles stated that the government should not have to deal with the merchant’s business which made the middle class more supportive of it.


Legislative Assembly convenes (1791-92)


Conservatives – A political group that supported the traditional system, in the case of the French Revolution, it was a monarchy.


Moderates (centrists) – The moderates were a political group that wanted a new system of government besides a monarchy.


Girondists - The Girondists were another popular rival political group of the Jacobins during the early 1790s.


Mountain - Mountain was the name given to the deputies sitting on the raised left benches in the National Convention during the French Revolution.


Intervention of Foreign Powers (1791-92) - The European monarch's army were far more superior than that of the French's army


Austria-Prussia Alliance - The Austrian and the Prussians gained alliance after they both lost battles against the French. They both wanted to destroy Napoleon’s Empire and take back the last lands.


France's Legislative Assembly declares war (April 20, 1792) -


The Legislative Assembly deposes King Louis XVI and calls for the election of the National Convention (1792)


Liberty, Equality, Fraternity – The nobles in the Nation Assembly voted to end their special privileges and be treated the same as a middle classmen after they saw what happened to Bastille.


Radical Takeover- The radical takeover took place after Louis XVI was killed. The National Convention was divided between the Jacobins and the Gerondists.


Robespierre- Maximilien Robespierre was elected to the Committee of Public Safety and he was the founder of the Reign of Terror.


Danton – George Jacques Danton was the son of a wealthy merchant and he led a revolutionary political group, the Cordeliers Club, and he was in office during the collapse of the monarchy.


Marat - Martat was well-known physician who had been a strong believer in the revolution from the very start. He was subjugated and hunted down by the King’s army and was forced to go into hiding.  


Sans-culottes - The Sans-culottes were the working class of men and women whom demanded a republic because they wanted a guaranteed living wage.


King Louis XVI is executed (1793) - He was convicted by one vote for his actions at the convention. He and his family died by being beheaded in front of the French people.


The Reign of Terror begins (1793)


Committee of Public Safety- To deal with the threats to France, the Convention created the committee of public safety. The 12 member committee had almost absolute power as it battled to save the revolution.


Jacobins - The Jacobins were the most famous political group during the French Revolution, became identified with extreme egalitarianism and violence.  They took control of the Revolutionary government from the 1793s to the 1794s.


Republic of virtue- Robespierre believed that France could only become a republic of virtue if all of the criminals were to be beheaded, until he came up with the idea of using the guillotine as a way to execute the criminals.


Justification of extreme violence- Robespierre believed that every criminal should be executed, which changed the way of how people think because now they believed that everyone should have to suffer because they might have done something against the law.


Revolutionary tribunal- The Revolutionary tribunal was when the new idea came up where they believed in quick court trials, in which they would quickly sentence the victim to death.


How many dead? - 40,000 people died during the reign of terror, about 15% were nobles and celery, another 15% were middle classmen and the rest were peasants.


The National Convention abolishes the monarchy (1792)


The War of the First Coalition is fought (1792-1797) – The French Revolutionaries declared war against the European monarch. They battled against the Austrians, then the Prussians, and finally the British.


lev'ee en masse - The Committee of Public Safety composed an army of about 800,000 soldiers in under a year in reaction to the alliance of the European monarchies


Coalition – The coalition were the armies of the European monarchies that were allied to fight against the French army.


French military victories - The military ended up having very few victorious battles against the coalition forces. It wasn’t until Napoleon took over when they began winning numerous battles.


Treaty of Basel - The Treaty of Basel was the first sign of peace from the First Coalition against France and the peace treaty ended up to lasting about eleven  years before conflict began once again.


The Thermidorean Reaction ends the Reign of Terror (1794)


9 Thermidor – On July 27, 1794, Robespierre and Saint-Just were the victims of a conspricy plotted by the committee of public safety.  


Guillotine- The engine of the Terror was the guillotine. Its fast falling blade could kill someone in an instant and was a public favorite during the reign of terror.


The National Convention drafts the Constitution of 1795 (1795)


Who controlled it? – The radicals, the Jacobins, of the French Revolution took control of the National Assembly and formed a new legislative body called the National Convention.


How was it controlled? – The Convention had almost all the power, they abolished monarchy in France and declared France a republic.


Council of Elders - The Council of Elders were the imperial senates which is also known as the conservatives.


Dissolving of the National Convention – Moderates produced yet another constitution called the Directory which had a 5 man and a two house legislature that held absolute power.


The Directory begins to rule France (1795-1799)


Financial crisis – The Directory was a weak dictatorship, they could not solve pressing problems in France, which led to a financial crisis.


Corruption – The Directory gave Napoleon enough power for him to crown himself as the Emperor of France and he took over the whole government.


Exhaustion – The Directory was too weak to support France and relied too much on the military to keep order among the citizens.


Army – The Directory’s army was constantly in use to suppress the numerous revolts in France.

• birth and childhood- He was born in the city of Ajaccio on Corsica on August 15, 1769. He was brought up by his mother and was strongly disciplined.
• physical stature (Napoleonic complex)- Napoleon was short and fat. He is portrayed as someone who is big and strong.
• marriage and political significance- Napoleon married twice, the second time he married was so that he could have a boy. He was a very influential military leader and leader of the country.
• Early military successes (1796)-
• Napoleon's army defeats the Austrians in Northern Italy (1797)- Napoleon marched into Austria and won. Venice was to be free however, but Napoleon captured that.
• Treaty of Campo Formio- It was between France and Austria. It marked the collapse of the first coalition.
• 1798-1799 French extend their control- They expand it through the battle of Egypt. They gain control of that land.
• Napoleon Fights his Egyptian campaign (1798-1799)
• Napoleon's invasion of Egypt/ why?- Napoleon wanted to colonize Egypt. He wanted to protect French trade interests and undermine Britain's access to India.
• Rosetta Stone Discovery- The Rosetta stone was discovered during the invasion of Egypt. It is the key to discovering what the Egyptian hieroglyphics mean.
• Battle of the Pyramids- This was a battle with the Mamluck forces and Napoleon’s army. Napoleon had great success in this battle.
• Lord Horatio Nelson's role (1758-1805)- He was an Englishman, and a British admiral who won fame as a leading naval commander. He was a naval hero for Napoleon and the French.
• Battle of the Nile- This was a naval battle. The French were heavily defeated.
• War of the Second Coalition is fought (1798-1801)
• Describe the war and its participants- Its participants were Austria, Great Britain, Russia, and Turkey. It was the second major concerted effort of multiple European powers to contain revolutionary France.
• Alliance against France- France’s enemies made an alliance with Britain. They wanted to undo what the French army did.
• Napoleon's defeat of the Second Coalition- Napoleon won the battle. France now had even more power than before.
• Treaty of Luneville- The Austrians signed this treaty in February 1801. It accepted French control up to the Rhine and the French puppet republics in Italy and the Netherlands.
• Treaty of Amiens(1802)- It was a treaty between France and Britain. It was the longest break in the war during the Napoleonic period.
• Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power and becomes first consul (1799)-
• How does he come to power?- He leads a coup defeat against the French Directory. He appoints the position himself.
• The Constitution of 1799- The assembly was going to be renewed, but then the guy who was going to renew it died. It was later abolished.
• Consulate- It marks a period of French constitutional history between 1799 and 1804—from the fall of the Directory until the start of the Napoleonic Empire. The fall of the directory made this period possible.
• The Concordat of 1801 establishes a reconciliation between France and the Papacy (1801)
• What did it do?- It took power from the pope. Church land was taken away.
• Pope Pius VII (1800-1823)- The Concordat was between him and France. Authority was rejected from him.
• Civil Constitution of Clergy- Church lands were confiscated. The church became a department of the state.
• Napoleon becomes first consul for life (1802)
• The Napoleonic Empire / Map (1804)
• hereditary emperor- Napoleon appointed people from his family as emperors of other countries. They did not last.
• Eugene de Beauharnais (1781-1824)- He was the first duke of Leuchtenberg. He became the adopted child of Napoleon.
• Napoleon's divorce 1809)- Napoleon got divorced because he wanted a son. He loved Josephine, but he wanted a son.
• Archduchess Marie Louise (1791-1847)- She was the second wife of Napoleon. He bore Napoleon a boy.
• Napoleonic Administration- It was a reform that he introduced. It had to do with the army.
• Financial Reforms- He put in a new tax system. It made the government receive more money.
• Centralized Government- Napoleon was the leader of the government. They had a central government that controlled everything.
• Napoleonic Code 1807 (into effect 1804)- It is considered the first successful codification in other countries. It dealt only with civil law issues.
• Educational Reform/ University of France (1806)- Everyone could get a good education. The University of France was the first University to open in France.
• Napoleonic Wars (1805-1815)-
• War of the Third Coalition (1805-1807)- It was an attack by Napoleon on the British Isles. Napoleon tried to pull the British away from the English Channel, which did not work.
• British Naval Victory at Trafalgar- The British won this naval battle and did not lose a single ship. This was a pivotal event for the British.
• French Victories on Land- The land battles started against Austria and then a whole bunch of other countries joined in. the French were hard to defeat on land.
• Treaty of Pressburg- It was a treaty between France and Austria. The treaty was for peace, but it also took land away from Austria.
• Napoleon creates the Confederation of the Rhine and abolishes the Holy Roman Empire (1806)
• Describe what it did.- It was a military alliance. The countries that joined had to supply men, but they would be safe from attack.
• Treaties of Tilsit- They were 2 agreements between France and Tilsit. It ended war between Russia and France.
• Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825)- He was the emperor of Russia. He signed the Treaties of Tilsit.
• King Frederick William III (1797-1840)- He was the king of Prussia. He also signed the Treaties of Tilsit.
• Napoleon's brothers Kings- Napoleon made his brothers kings of other countries. They did not last very long as kings.
• Joseph (1768-1844)- He was Napoleon’s eldest brother. He was king of Naples and Sicily.
• Louis (1778-1846)- He was king of Holland. He was the 3rd brother.
• Jerome(1784-1860)- He was king of Westphalia. He was the youngest of the brothers.
• Napoleon establishes the continental system (1806)
• Describe what it did.- It was an embargo. It made any of France’s allies unable to trade with the British.
• Berlin Decree of 1806- It installed the continental system. It forbade trade with Britain.
• Milan Decree 1807- It was issued to enforce the Berlin Decree. It declared that any vessel that submitted to search by the Royal Navy on the high seas were to be considered lawful prizes if captured by the French.
• The Peninsular War- It began in 1808. It was the Spanish, British, and Portuguese fighting against the French.
• Sir Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852)- He was the leader of the British Army. He was the first duke of Wellington.
• Conflict on Other Fronts(1808-1810)
• Austria- Austria was involved in many conflicts with Napoleon and the French. They lost a lot of people and land.
• Battle of Wagram (July 1809)- It happened on the isle of Lobau. The French defeated the Austrians.
• Treaty of Schonbrunn (Oct. 1809)- It was a treaty between France and Austria. It ended the 5th Coalition during the Napoleonic Wars.
• Plans to restore the French Empire in America (1803)- The French wanted more land, in America. They wanted to contest with the British.
• Louisiana territory (1803)- It consisted of the land from the Louisiana Purchase. It had 5 subdivisions.
• War of 1812
• Describe the happenings of the War- It was between the Americans and the British. It was basically a tie, but it had many lasting affects.
• Napoleon fights his unsuccessful Russian campaign (1812)
• Invasion of Russia- It greatly reduced the French army. Russia defeated the French.
• Prince Mikhail Barclay de Tollay (1761-1818)- He was a Russian field commander and minister of war. He helped Russia defeat the French.
• Marshal Mikhail Kutuzov- He was a Russian field marshal. He saved the Russians from defeat by the French.
• Battle of Borodino- It was the largest and bloodiest single-day war during the Napoleonic Wars.
• Grand Army entered Moscow- The Russians were not able to set up until they got to Moscow. Here the French were defeated.
• French Retreat (Oct 19, 1812)- The French lost. They retreated because they lost many lives and could not win.
• Russia, Prussia, and Austria defeat Napoleon in the Battle of Nations (1813)
• Battle of the Nations- Napoleon was defeated. This was the last line for Napoleon and his army.
• Napoleon abdicates and goes into exile on the island of Elba (1814)
• Describe Napoleon's exile.- He was overthrown. He did not even stay there for a year before leaving.
• Louis XVIII (1814-1824)- He was king of France. he was king from 1814-1824 except when Napoleon came back.
• Napoleon returns to power, beginning the Hundred Days (1815)
• Describe the 100 Days- It was the Waterloo campaign. Napoleon came back for the final part of the Napoleon Wars.
• Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo (1815)
• Describe the Battle of Waterloo.- Napoleon came back to fight in it. He lost.
• Duke of Wellington- Arthur Wellesey was the 1st duke of Wellington. It is a hereditary title.
• Gebhard Von Blucher (1742-1819)- He was a Prussian general that defeated Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo. He is an honorary citizen of Berlin.
• Napoleon dies on Saint Helena (1821)

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