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French Revolution: A chronology
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French Revolution: A chronology


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A straightfoward chronological presentation of important events in the French Revolution

A straightfoward chronological presentation of important events in the French Revolution

Published in: Education

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  • 1. French Revolution CHRONOLOGY
  • 2. 1789
    • First Estate: Aristocracy
    • Second Estate: Clergy
    • Third Estate: Everyone Else
    • May 5 Estates General opens at Versailles. Debate over voting
    • June 17 National Assembly declared by Third Estate
    • June 20 Tennis Court Oath to establish a constitution National Constituent Assembly
    • July 14 Fall of the Bastille & Urban uprisings
    • July 15 Marquis de Lafayette invents Red White and Blue cockade .
    • August 4 surrender of feudal rights in face of the Great Fear.
    • August 27 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
    • October 5 Parisian women march on Versailles, force Louis XIV to Paris
    • Reorganization of France into départements uniform elected judiciary.
    • Metric System
    • November 2 Confiscation of Roman Catholic property (15% of France)
  • 3. 1790-1791
    • 1790
    • July 12 Civil Constitution of the Clergy
    • July 14 Louis XVI accepts constitutional monarchy
    • 1791
    • Slavery abolished in France
    • Olympe de Gouges' Declaration of the Rights of Woman .
    • June 14 Chapelier Law forbids worker associations.
    • June 20 royal family attempts to flee
    • October 1 Legislative Assembly formed; National Constituent Assembly members barred from seeking office.
  • 4. Some Definitions
    • Jacobins: Radical Enlightenment Party
    • Girondists (a.k.a. Girondins or Brissotins) a subset of Jacobins who pushed for confiscation of émigrés property (denied) and war on Austria. Favored representative government and free economy.
    • Extreme Jacobins called "The Mountain"
    • San-Culottes ("without knee-breeches") were commoners, mostly urban Parisians, hostile to aristocrats and counter-revolutionaries; wanted controls on prices and direct democracy, town meeting style
  • 5. 1792 - Escalation
    • April 20 France declares war on Austria; women enlist in army.
    • July Paris Commune declared sans-culottes led by George Jacques Danton.
    • August 10 Parisians invade palace and engage Swiss Guard king imprisoned and forbidden to exercise authority
    • September 2 September Massacres ordered by Paris Commune: 1200, mostly common criminals
    • September 20 - French army halts Prussians at Valmy.
    • September 21 - Convention meets; Monarchy abolished
    • September 22 - Republic declared First day of First Month of Year I of revolutionary calendar
    • December Louis XVI put on trial; convicted by slim majority
  • 6. 1793 - Rise of Robespierre
    • January 21 Louis XVI executed
    • February 1 France declares war on Great Britain
    • April: Committee on Public Safety formed under control of George Jacques Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, Lazare Carnot France at war with Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, Spain, Sardinia, Holland
    • May Society of Revolutionary Republican Women founded
    • June 22 sans-culottes expel Girondins from Convention Constitution of 1793 adopted.
    • July 13 radical Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat assassinated by Girondist
    • August 23 Levée en masse to wage war in Europe and suppress counter-revolutionary provincial uprisings.
    • September 17 price controls established
    • October 16 Marie Antoinette executed, Reign of Terror tribunals begin
    • October 30 Soc. of Rev. Rep. Women outlawed, women excluded from military, Convention. Olympe de Gouges executed as counter-revolutionary
    • November 10 Cult of Reason declared, de-Christianized revolutionary calendar
  • 7. 1794 - Terrors
    • Robespierre the Incorruptible: "Virtue, without which terror is fatal; terror without which virtue is impotent."
    • slavery ended in French colonies: Haiti Revolts
    • March 24 Reign of Terror Continues: sans-culottes enragés leaders executed
    • April 6 Georges Danton executed
    • May 7 deist Cult of Supreme Being replaces unpopular Cult of Reason
    • June 8 Festival of the Supreme Being (led by Robespierre)
    • June 10 Law of 22 Prairial adopted permitting tribunals to sentence execution without hearing substantial evidence.
    • July 27 Ninth of Thermidor; Robespierre shouted down in Convention.
    • July 28 execution of Robespierre
    • July Thermidorian Reaction, a.k.a. "white terror": execution of Paris Commune leaders, Jacobins; return of entertainment and relegalization of Catholicism.
    • August- September French revolutionary army numbers grows from 650K to 1.17M
  • 8. 1795: Settlement
    • March Peace with Prussia and Spain: Treaty of Basel
    • August 22 Constitution of the Year III : bicameral legislature (250 Elders and The Council of Five Hundred); propertied and military enfranchisement, limited by rule of 2/3 (re-election); Directory (5 person executive committee) supported by army.
    • Long-term results:
      • Transfer of wealth from Church and Aristocracy to professional, commercial, agricultural middle class
      • Equality before the law; social status based on wealth, education, accomplishment
      • Popular sovereignty, Constitutionalism and Representative Government
      • Secular government.
  • 9. Background Image: Renaissance painting - mannerist battle, from Nelson-Atkins collection. Chronology based on Dresner handout "French Revolution Chronology"