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14. French Revolution

The French Revolution began in 1789 and ended in the late 1790s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. During this period, French citizens razed and redesigned their country’s political landscape, uprooting centuries-old institutions such as absolute monarchy and the feudal system. Like the American Revolution before it, the French Revolution was influenced by Enlightenment ideals, particularly the concepts of popular sovereignty and inalienable rights. Although it failed to achieve all of its goals and at times degenerated into a chaotic bloodbath, the movement played a critical role in shaping modern nations by showing the world the power inherent in the will of the people.


•    May 05, 1789  - A meeting of the Estates-General was called by Louis XVI in Versailles to discuss and approve a new tax plan.

•    June 17, 1789 - Three Poitevin curés decide to join the Third Estate, leaving the Chambers of the Clergy. Accepting the proposition of the delegate Abbé Sieyès, the Third Estate proclaims itself "The National Assembly." A few liberal nobles and many clergy join the movement of the Third Estate. Tennis Court Oath: After being locked out of their meeting room, deputies of the Third Estate assembled on a tennis court and swore not to separate until a constitutional regime was established.

•    July 7 – 13, 1789 - The National Assembly appoints a committee of thirty members to draft a constitution. The National Assembly proclaims itself the Constituent National Assembly, with full authority and power to decree laws; their primary task is to draw up and adopt a constitution. Necker is dismissed. Demonstrations and speeches take place at the Palais–Royal. The electors of Paris form a standing committee and a citizens’ militia.

•    July 14,1789 - The storming and fall of the Bastille.

•    August 04,1789 -  The end of feudalism and serfdom in France was announced by the National Assembly.

•    August 27,1789 -  The Declaration of the Rights of Man was issued by The National Assembly.

•    October 5,1789 -  The women of Paris invaded Versailles. Parisians, led by a large number of women, march upon Versailles and force the royal family back to Paris, where they take up residence at the Tuileries. Louis XVI is considered by many a "Prisoner" in Paris. The Assembly, still in Versailles, declares, in the spirit of constitutional monarchy, its inseparability from the king.

•    1790 - The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was passed.

•    1791 - The Constitution of 1791 was adopted.

•    June 20,1791 - Louis XVI and his family were arrested while trying to flee from France but were arrested.

•    April 20, 1792 -  France declared war on Austria.

•    September 1792 - The First meeting of the National Convention was held.

•    December 1972 - Commencement of the trial of Louis XVI.

•    January 21, 1793 - Louis XVI sentenced to the guillotine.

•    August 1793 -  A National Draft was issued calling for all able-bodied men to enlist in the army.

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