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French Revolution of 1789

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

Week 23 Emergence of Industrial Society IDs


Vive le Revolution!


The French Revolution was a time of political and social change lasting from 1789 to 1799. In an attempt to make Enlightenment ideals a reality, France's absolute monarchy was turned on its ear, and France was plunged into chaos.




  • Economic troubles of France due to: little taxation, excessive spending of Louis XVI, and wars
  • Despondent peasantry due to unemployment and scarcity of food
  • Disillusionment with absolutism
  • Commoners resentment of the nobles
  • Failure of Louis XVI to address any of these problems




The Estates and The National Assembly

  • Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General which consisted of three parts: the clergy, the nobility, and the rest of French society to address France's financial crisis
  • The First and Second Estates worked together to neutralize the efforts of the Third Estate
  • The Third Estate revolted and established its own National Assembly in charge of taxation
  • The people of France started to revolt and in July stormed the Bastille prison and fortress
  • The August Decrees were an attempt to pacify revolutionists. They abolished feudalism, diminishing the power of the First and Second Estates.
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen established due process and sovereignty among the people.
  • In response to the food shortages hundreds of women marched on Versailles. Asa result the Royal family moved to Paris.
  • The Constitution of 1791 established a constitutional monarchy with Louis XVI as little more than a figurehead.


Upheaval and The Reign of Terror

  • In 1792 a New Convention of delegates was elected to oversee the country. They abolished the constitutional monarchy and established the Republic of France.
  • Louis XVI was tried for treason, convicted, and executed in 1793. His wife, Marie Antoinette met the same fate.
  • The Committee on Public Safety was established in 1793 to address external conflicts with Austria and Prussia.
  • The Reign of Terror was unleashed under the administration of Robespierre and the radical Jacobins and 18,000 people were executed.
  • The Thermidorian Revolt was staged against the Reign of Terror and was crushed, resulting in the deaths of many members of the Committee on Public Safety.
  • Robespierre was overthrown and an era of conservatism was initiated.


Entrer Napoleon

  • The Constitution of 1795 restructured the government, establishing a bicameral legislature. It also stipulated that the executive power would be held in the hands of the Directory. The Directory sought to destroy the remaining Jacobins.
  • The French Army had grown under the Committee on Public Safety and had made significant victories.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte, a commander of forces in Italy and Egypt, had won fame for himself.
  • In 1797 a plot was unveiled and squelched to overthrow the Directory which had become corrupt.
  • Learning that France was under considerable militay threat, Napoleaon abandoned his troops and went to France in 1799.
  • Sieyes, a member of the legislature, enlisted the help of Napoleon in a coup to topple the Directory and stabilize the government.
  • On November 9, 1799 Napoleon overthrew the Directory and established himself as military dictator.
  • Napoleon effectively ended the Revolution, imposing a fifteen year military rule.


Liberty Leading the People by Eugene Delacroix is a portrait of the French Revolution.

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