French Revolution Timeline

Timeline created by diwakar
In History
  • Meeting of the Estates General

    Meeting of the Estates General
    The French economy was in chaos by the late 1780s. The decades of war had drained the treasury, and the country was nearly bankrupt. To raise maoney, Louis XVI decided that the people, including the French aristocrats, should pay more taxes. But the aristocrats blocked Louis XVI's plan. In desperation, Louis XVI called a meeting of the Estates General to address the economic crisis. In fact, when Louis called the meeting, the Estates General had not gathered in more than 170 years.
  • Formation of the National Assembly

    Formation of the National Assembly
    Members of the Third Estate, were determined to change the system and create a constitution that set out equal rights for all men. The group, led by Mirabeau and Abbe Sieyes, declared themselves the National Assembly, saying that they were the only group who represented the nation. It became an assembly not of the Estates but composed of "the People". Formation of the National Assembly inspired Parisians to storm the Bastille few days later. Citizens of France rose up against nobles and clergy.
  • The Tennis Court Oath

    The Tennis Court Oath
    The Third Estate and some clergy who had joined them went to their meeting hall. But the door was locked. Suspecting a plot, they rushed to a nearby indoor tennis court. There, they swore the Tennis Court Oath, vowing to stay put until they had created a constitution that placed power in the hands of the people. This signified the first time that French citizens formally stood in opposition to Louis XVI. It also inspired a wide variety of revolutionary activity in the months afterwards.
  • Storming of the Bastille

    Storming of the Bastille
    About 600 angry Parisians successfully attacked the Bastille and took control of this symbol of tyranny. This event inspired other French people to take up arms against the king and the nobility. Storming of Bastille became a nationlist symbol, because they helped share a sense of belonging to a nation. It became a central part of their national myth because it said, "We are a nation. We can govern ourselves." It showed how the actions of ordinary citizens can lead to great change.
  • Abolition of Feudalism

    Abolition of Feudalism
    A small group of deputies prepared a suprise move in the assembly with the abolishment of feudalism. A few liberal noblemen, by prearrangement, arose and surrendered their hunting rights, manors, properties, feudal and seigneurial privileges. All personal tax privileges were given up. What was left of serfdom and all personal servitudes was declared ended. With legal privilege replaced by legal equality, it proceeded to map the principles of the new order of France.
  • Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen

    Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
    This declaration abolished traditional privileges enjoyed by the monarch, the clergy, and the aristocracy, sparked a bloody struggle that eventually led to the creation of a French nation based on new principles. It established France as a secular republic. The 17 articles of the declaration set out these principles and became the basis of the new French constitution. It defined the individual and collective rights of all people.The declaration became the catechism of the Revolution in France.
  • Women march to Versailles and the outbreak of the Paris mob

    Women march to Versailles and the outbreak of the Paris mob
    The March on Versailles, was also known as The Bread March of Women. Although the National Assembly had taken the Tennis Court Oath and the Bastille had fallen at the hands of the crowd, the poor women of Paris still found that there was a considerable bread shortage and the prices were very high. Rumors had been spreading in Paris that the royals were hoarding all the grain. A hungry mob of 7,000 largely working-class women decided to march on the Versailles, taking with them weapons.
  • Civil Constitution of the Clergy

    Civil Constitution of the Clergy
    Constituent Assembly confiscated church properties and also prohibited the taking of religious vows. They regarded the church as a form of public authority. This document went far toward setting up a French national church. Under its provisions the parish priests and bishops were elected by 50,000 electors. Archbishoprics were abolished, and all the borders of existing bishoprics were redrawn. All clergy received salaries from the state, and the average income of bishops was reduced.
  • Louis XVI and his family attempt to flee paris

    Louis XVI and his family attempt to flee paris
    It was a significant episode in the French Revolution during which King Louis XVI of France and his immediate family were unsuccessful in their attempt to escape, disguised as the servants of a Russian baroness, from the radical agitation of the Jacobins in Paris. Their destination was the fortress town of Montmédy in northeastern France, a Royalist stronghold from which the King hoped to initiate a counter-revolution. They were only able to make it as far as Varennes.
  • Louis XVI accepts the Constitution formally

    Louis XVI accepts the Constitution formally
    It was Lafayette's dream to join the constitution and the monarchy, creating a Constitutional monarchy. The oath to the Constitution speech by Lafayette was significant as it brought the citizens of France together, feeling happy for themselves and others around them. Louis XVI accepting the Constitution shows the beginning of the constitutional monarchy. The National Assembly abolished many “institutions which were injurious to liberty and equality of rights” in the Constitution.
  • Formation of Legislative Assembly

    Formation of Legislative Assembly
    Followed by the Constituent Assembly, it provided the focus of political debate and revolutionary law-making between the periods of the Constituent Assembly and of the National Convention. It consisted of 745 members. The members were generally young, and, since none had sat in the previous Assembly, they largely lacked national political experience. The Left, had the dominant 330 members in Jacobins and Girondins. The right, 250 deputies belonged to no definite party. Other 165 were Feuillants
  • Tricolor cockade made compulsory for men to wear

    Tricolor cockade made compulsory for men to wear
    Revolutionaries started wearing red, white, and blue cockades, or badges, to identify themselves as revolutionaries. The red and blue represented Paris, and the white represented the House of Bourbon. This cockade became a powerful symbol that its colours were later chosen for the French flag. La Marseillaise sung by volunteers from Marseilles on their arrival in Paris. Both the tricolor cockade and the song become a nationalist symbol as brings people closer to the idea of a French nation.
  • First session of National Convention

    First session of National Convention
    The National Convention decreed assistance to "all peoples wishing to recover their liberty." It also ordered that French generals, in the occupied areas, should dissolve the old governments, confiscate government and church property, abolish tithes, hunting rights, and seigneurial dues, and set up provisional administrations. Thus revolution spread in the wake of the successful French armies.Prominent members included Robespierre of the Jacobin Club, Marat, Danton of the Cordeliers.
  • Louis XVI is guillotined

    Louis XVI is guillotined
    The Convention put Louis XVI on trial for treason, and unanimously pronounced him guilty. As the revolution took hold in France, the ruling elites in other countries watched with growing fear. They were afraid that the events in France might inspire people in their own country to take similar actions. As a result, created threats. In response to outside threats and to ensure that the gains made during the revolution would not be lost, they executed Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette in 1793.
  • Levée en masse

    Levée en masse
    Levée en masse denotes a short-term requisition of all able-bodied men to defend the nation and has to be viewed in connection with the political events in revolutionary France, namely the new concept of the democratic citizen as opposed to a royal subject. Levée en masse was created and understood as a means to defend the nation for the nation by the nation. From this event the nation understood itself as a community of all people. It was France's ever first victory against the Prussian army.
  • Start of Reign of Terror

    Start of Reign of Terror
    Not everyone in France agreed with the way the revolution was being carried out. Many people were horrified by some brutal acts that were taking place and by the execution of the king and the queen. Fearing opposition within the country, revolutionary leaders began a crackdown that became known as the Reign of Terror. This period lasted for 11 months in 1793 and 1794. The constitution was suspended and anyone who critized the revolution was targeted. About 17,000 people were sentenced to death.
  • Robespierre is guillotined and end of the Reign of Terror

    Robespierre is guillotined and end of the Reign of Terror
    Robespierre arrested, guillotined without trial, along with other members of the Committee of Public Safety. End of the Reign of Terror. Also called The Thermidorian Reaction. Thermidorian Reaction was a revolt in the French Revolution against the excesses of the Reign of Terror. It was triggered by a vote of the Committee of Public Safety. Thermidor were "bourgeois". The Convention closed the Jacobin club, the most radical group. This ended the most radical phase of the French Revolution.
  • 13 Vendémiaire

    13 Vendémiaire
    This is the name given to a battle between the French Revolutionary troops and Royalist forces in the streets of Paris. The battle was largely responsible for the rapid advancement of Republican General Napoleon Bonaparte's career. The Convention quickly realised that it was in severe danger. The defeat of the Royalist insurrection extinguished the threat to the Convention. Bonaparte became a national hero, and was quickly promoted to Général de Division.
  • Directory established

    Directory established
    The first formally constituted French Republic, known as the Directory, lasted only four years. Its weakness was that it rested on an extremely narrow social base, and that it presupposed certain military conquests. Directory was a body of five Directors that held executive power in France following the Convention and preceding the Consulate. With the establishment of the Directory, the Revolution might seem closed. The nation only desired rest and the healing of its many wounds.
  • Battle of the Pyramids

    Battle of the Pyramids
    Napoleon wins his Egyptian campaign with an army of 38,000. It was a battle fought between the French army in Egypt under Napoleon, and local Mamluk forces. It occurred during France's Egyptian Campaign and was the battle where Napoleon put into use one of his significant contributions to tactics, the massive divisional square. Actually a rectangle, the first and second demi-brigades of the division formed the front and rear faces, while the third demi-brigade formed the two sides.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte overthrows the Directory

    Napoleon Bonaparte overthrows the Directory
    Napoleon overthrows the Directory by coup d'état, trickery, and force. Directory and the French Revolution itself came to an end with the coup d'état in which Napoléon overthrew the Directory and replaced it with the Consulate. Coup d'état is the sudden unconstitutional deposition of a legitimate government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another, either civil or military.
  • Leadership of Napoleon established under the Consulate

    Leadership of Napoleon established under the Consulate
    The Consulate was the government of France between the fall of the Directory until the start of the Napoleonic Empire. During this period, Napoléon, as First Consul had established himself as the head of a more conservative, authoritarian, autocratic, and centralized republican government in France while not declaring himself head of state. It was a new system of government for the Republic. Napoleon was able to transform the aristocratic constitution into an unavowed dictatorship.
  • Napoleon escapes an assassination attempt

    Napoleon escapes an assassination attempt
    Threats against the life of Napoleon Bonaparte were not rare as his manner of ruling France did outrage many on all sides of politics. Royalists were the main plotters, although Napoleon preferred for political reasons to blame the rival Jacobins. Royalist plotters had positioned a horse and wagon bearing a barrel filled with gunpowder and shrapnel on the Rue Saint-Nicaise and lit the fuse as Bonaparte's carriage neared. Speed of the vehicle led to the bomb exploding seconds after he passed.
  • Introduction of Civil Code (Code Napoleon)

    Introduction of Civil Code (Code Napoleon)
    The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified. The Code, with its stress on clearly written and accessible law, was a major step in establishing the rule of law. Napoleon set out to reform the French legal system in accordance with the ideas of the French Revolution because the old feudal and royal laws seemed to be confusing and contradictory to the people. Code established important provisions regard the law
  • Napoleon crowns himself Emperor

    Napoleon crowns himself Emperor
    Napoleon crowns himself Emperor, in the company of the Pope. Napoleon used the plot to justify the re-creation of a hereditary monarchy in France, with himself as Emperor. Napoleon put on the crown himself, shows that he is higher in rank and authority than the Pope. Claims that he seized the crown out of the hands of Pope during the ceremony to avoid his subjugation to the authority. Beethoven a long-time admirer, was disappointed at this turn towards imperialism.
  • Battle of Trafalgar

    Battle of Trafalgar
    It was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was the most decisive British naval victory of the war. British ships led by Lord Nelson defeated Napoleon`s French and Spanish ships. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost. British victory spectacularly confirmed their naval supremacy. Nelson was killed.
  • Joseph Bonaparte becomes king of Naples

    Joseph Bonaparte becomes king of Naples
    Napoleon names his elder brother, Joseph Bonaparte, king of Naples, and appoints other family members to various other posts. He was the king of Naples, Sicily, Spain and the Indies. It is ironic to see how a republican like Napoleon, becomes a monarchist. He creates a law that only his family may rule France, hereditary comes into play. Joseph was a member of the Council of Ancients where he used his position to help his brother overthrow the Directory. He was a lawyer, politician, and diplomat
  • Napoleon's Russian Campaign

    Napoleon's Russian Campaign
    Napoleon ignored the advice of his advisers and launched an invasion on Russia. Napoleon expanded his Grande Armée to more than 450,000 men. The Russians avoided Napoleon's objective of a decisive engagement and instead retreated deeper into Russia. Due to the Russian army's scorched earth tactics, the French found it increasingly difficult to forage food for themselves and their horses. The French suffered greatly in the course of a ruinous retreat, in the end fewer than 40 000 men were left.
  • The Congress of Vienna

    The Congress of Vienna
    Although representatives from all the states which had participated in the wars were invited, the principal negotiations were conducted by the "Big Four," Britain, Russia, France, and Austria. The congress met to reconstruct the map of Europe and develop a balance of power that would prevent another massive take-over by one country. Objective resulted in the redrawing of the continent's political map, and undo changes made by Napoleon in Europe. Napoleon is replaced with Louis XVIII, a Bourbon.