The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Era

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  • Excessive spending and poor harvests lead to a financial crisis in France

    Excessive spending and poor harvests lead to a financial crisis in France
    France enters debt due to excessive spending during the American Revolution and the Seven Years War. The French instability weakened the economic reforms. This event can be seen as a long term cause of the French Revolution and can be connected to the Women's March on Versailles. Because France was experiencing poor harvests and could not produce enough grain, the price of bread increased. This is was sparked the march to the Palace of Versailles.
  • King Louis XVI calls the Estates General

    King Louis XVI calls the Estates General
    Significant because it was called by Louis XVI for the first time since 1614. It consisted of a meeting between the three Estates: the clergy, nobility, and commoners. It was called to discuss the financial crisis at the time, relating to the excessive spending during the American Revolution and poor harvests through the years.
  • The Tennis Court Oath

    The Tennis Court Oath
    This event was also a pivotal moment in the history of France, as it was the first time the Third Estate formerly agreed to oppose the king. The king had called the Estates General to discuss fiscal and social issues, but when the representatives of the Third Estate approached the meeting hall, it was locked. They took this as a hostile gesture, and pledge to not separate until a new constitution was forced on the king.
  • The Storming of the Bastille

    The Storming of the Bastille
    This event was the first major violent attack on the government by the people of France. It set off a series of events that led to the revolution and, eventually, the abdication of the king. The Storming of the Bastille can be connected to the Tennis Court Oath, as it is one of the long term cause of the event. After the oath, the king dismissed Jacques Necker, who was admired by the Third Estate. The Third Estate was outraged, rand stormed the Bastille to get ammunition.
  • The Great Fear in the countryside

    The Great Fear in the countryside
    The Great Fear was a rural panic at the beginning of the French Revolution. It was fueled by rumors of an aristocratic plot to starve people of the Third Estate, resulting in peasants rising up in self defense in the form of arms. The is related to the financial crisis due to the French help during the American Revolution and poor harvests, as part of the unrest was caused by the fear of crop shortages and economic instability.
  • The Women’s March on Versailles

    The Women’s March on Versailles
    A crowd of women marched towards the Palace of Versailles demanding bread for their families. It is one of the most significant events of the French Revolution because the people were being listened to, and compelled the king to take some action. This event is related to poor harvesting in France, as they did not have enough grain to produce bread, preventing the women from feeding their families.
  • Louis XVI is executed at the guillotine

    Louis XVI is executed at the guillotine
    This was an important event of the French Revolution as it marked the end of the Old Regime and Louis XVI's tyranny. The execution was a result of his trial, in which he was accused of treason. An event that suppressed the freedom of the people, resulting in the execution of the king, was the shut down of the Estates-General in June 1789. This attack on the sovereignty of the people resulted in the Tennis Court Oath, where the Third Estate vowed to force a new constitution upon the king.
  • Robespierre's Reign of Terror Begins

    Robespierre's Reign of Terror Begins
    The government of France was constantly shifting, civil war was breaking out and the revolutionary movement was spreading. The Committee of Public Safety and the Jacobins, led by Robespierre, took over and began the Reign of Terror. This period was characterized punishing those who were against the revolution.
  • Napoleon's coup d'etat, overthrowing the Directory

    Napoleon's coup d'etat, overthrowing the Directory
    This event resulted from the regime losing control over most of the country of France. The government--under the directory--was bankrupt, with taxation, inflation, and unemployment at an all time high. The Coup of Brumaire was a bloodless overthrow of the directory, the governing committee of France. This event was significant because it is seen as the end of the French Revolution. It lead to the rise of Napoleon as First Consul, and eventually, as emperor.
  • Napoleon is declared Emperor

    Napoleon is declared Emperor
    Napoleon crowned himself emperor at Notre Dame de Paris. He took the crown from Pope Pius VII and placed it on his own head, symbolizing his belief that no one could command him. This was an act of arrogance, an overreach that would bring his downfall as he attempted to control Russia. This event is important as it led to Napoleon establishing the French empire, and losing Spain.
  • Napoleon is defeated in Russia

    Napoleon is defeated in Russia
    Napoleon wished to be "master of the world", and needed to defeat Russia to accomplish that. The Russians, rather than fight as the French entered their land, retreated into the Russian interior. They knew that the Grande Armee of France was not prepared for a long march on Russian land. The French lost over 300,000 people, half the men they started with. This event stopped Napoleon's march across Europe, and resulted in his first exile to Elba in the Mediterranean.
  • The Continental System is implemented

    The Continental System is implemented
    The Continental System was a blockade instilled by Napoleon as an attempt to harm Great Britain's commerce. All ties to Great Britain were cut throughout Europe, however, the Continental System was not very powerful as the British were still able to smuggle goods. The economy of Great Britain suffer little damage. Extensive trade remained in Spain and Russia, leading Napoleon to invade both countries. The failure of these invasions contributed to his abdication, sending him to Elba
  • Napoleon is exiled to Elba

    Napoleon is exiled to Elba
    After his defeat in Russia, Napoleon offered to step down in favor of his son. This was denied, leading him to abdicate. He was sent to Elba. This event allowed the restoration of the Bourbon Dynasty. His defeat in Russia prompted his exile, as people grew discontent over the wars.
  • Napoleon is exiled to St. Helena

    Napoleon is exiled to St. Helena
    In order to prevent him from regaining power, the European powers exiled Napoleon the island of Saint Helena. The island was far from any other land, making it difficult to repeat the Elba incident. Napoleon died on the island, the reason is said to be from stomach cancer.
  • Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo

    Napoleon is defeated at Waterloo
    Eventually, Napoleon escaped Elba and returned to France. He grew an army and began his second rule, known as the Hundred Days. Many states opposed, and formed the Seventh Coalition. Napoleon's army retreated in Waterloo, with over 33,000 casualties. The Battle of Waterloo marked the end of Napoleon's military career, and ended the Hundred Days.
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    French Revolution

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    Napoleon's Reign

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    Brief Napoleonic Rule