The French Revolution From 1789-1799

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The French Revolution From 1789-1799

The French Revolution

From 1789-1799

France was the center of Enlightenment and culture of Europe. Change was coming

In France, their economic system was seperated in "Estates"The First Estate: Clergy of Catholic Church, paid no taxes.The Second Esate: Rich nobles (land owners), paid almost no taxesThe Third Estate: 97% of the population, middle class workers, urban workers, and peasants for nobles, paid high taxes. The third estate wanted fair taxing, and would not stand for the corruption for much longer

The Three Estates

Causes for change:

Enlightenment ideas:-Inspired by the American Revolution-Demanded liberty and democracy

Economic Troubles:-Heavy Taxes-Increased cost of living-crop failures-King Louis XVI and MarieAntoinette spent too much on themselves

On June 30, 1789, the 3rd Estate was locked out of meeting room. They broke into indoor tennis court and demanded a new constitution.

Tennis Court Oath

Solutions?King Louis XVI wanted to tax nobility. He called for a meeting of 3 estates. Called for end of monarchy

On July 14th 1789, citizens gathered weapons and broke into the Bastille prison, overtook the guards, and carried thei heads around the city. Symbolic act of Revolution.


After women gather at Versailles and riot over cost of bread, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette escaped. In 1793 they captured and brought back to Paris, where they were executed by Guillotine.


After the fall of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, a group named the Jacobins took over. They established the Committee of Public Safety. A man named Maximilien Robespierre was elected, and ultimately brought terror to France from 1793-1794. The Guillotine was made the execution weapon. Over 40,000 were executed in this time period. 85% of executions were peasants. No one was safe from the Guillotine, not even Robespierre who was executed in 1794. After his death, a two house legislature was creator.

The Reign of Terror

"To punish the oppressors of humanity is clemency; to forgive them is barbarity."- Robespierre

Napoleon Bonaparte was military and political leader who had commanded armies against Prussia and Austria. People wanted him to lead their country and take charge. His first priority was to restore France. Napoleon set up schools, created fair taxing system, dismisses corrupt officials, support of church, and made a uniform set of laws. He limited liberty and individual rights, which is was the revolution was originally against. After making a new constitution in 1799, this is said to be the end of the French Revolution. He increased his power by crowning himself emperor, and began to try to take over all of Europe.

After failed attempts to take Russia and the deaths 40,000 from battle, Napoleon is banished to Elba in 1814. He escaped and returned to Paris where citizens were in need. The final battle was in Waterloo. He was then exiled to St. Helena Island where he spent his final days. The Congress of Vienna met and set up policies to fix Napoleons errors. They agree on a Constitutional Monarchy.

"There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed" -Napoleon


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