French Revolution: A chronology


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A straightfoward chronological presentation of important events in the French Revolution

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French Revolution: A chronology

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