Chronology of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Era


May 5 Estates General opens at Versailles.
June 17 National Assembly declared by Third Estate
June 20 Tennis Court Oath to establish a constitution; National Constituent Assembly
July 14 Fall of the Bastille (7 prisoners) to citizen militia. Urban uprisings widespread
July 15 marquis de Lafayette, head of new militia, invents the Red White and Blue cockade.
August 4 surrender of feudal rights in face of widespread rural rioting, known as the Great Fear.
August 27 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
October 5 Parisian women march on Versailles forcing Louis XIV to move to Paris. Reorganization of France into départements and uniform elected judiciary. Metric System
November 2 Confiscation of Roman Catholic property (15% of France)
July 12 Civil Constitution of the Clergy attempts to place church under state control
July 14 Louis XVI accepts constitutional monarchy
1791 Slavery abolished in France
Olympe de Gouges publishes Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Female Citizen.
June 14 Chapelier Law forbids worker associations.
June 20 royal family attempts to flee
October 1 Legislative Assembly formed; National Constituent Assembly members barred from office.
April 20 France declares war on Austria; women enlist and serve in army.
July Paris Commune declared, sans-culottes led by George Jacques Danton.
August 10 Parisians invade palace and engage Swiss Guard; king imprisoned and forbidden to exercise authority
September 2 September Massacres ordered by Paris Commune: 1200, mostly common criminals
September 20 French army halts Prussians at Valmy.
September 21 Convention meets; Monarchy abolished
September 22 Republic declared: First day of First Month of Year I of revolutionary calendar
December Louis XVI put on trial; convicted by slim majority of Convention.
January 21 Louis XVI executed
February 1 France declares war on Great Britain
April Committee on Public Safety formed under control of George Jacques Danton, Maximilien Robespierre, Lazare Carnot; “Mountain” controls France; France is at war with Austria, Prussia, Great Britain, Spain, Sardinia, Holland
May Society of Revolutionary Republican Women founded
June 22 Constitution of 1793 adopted, after sans-culottes expel Girondistes from Convention.
August 23 Levée en masse [national conscription]
September 17 price controls established
October 16 Marie Antoinette executed
October 30 women excluded from military and Convention.
November 10 Cult of Reason and de-Christianized revolutionary calendar declared
1794 Olympe de Gouges executed.
slavery ended in French colonies.
March 24 sans-culottes enragés leaders executed
April 6 Danton executed
May 7 Cult of the Supreme Being declared: deism replaces unpopular Cult of Reason
June 8 Festival of the Supreme Being (led by Robespierre)
June 10 Law of 22 Prairial allows tribunals to sentence execution without substantial evidence.
July 27 Ninth of Thermidor; Robespierre shouted down in Convention.
July 28 execution of Robespierre
July Thermidorian Reaction, a.k.a. “white terror” begins, including execution of Paris Commune leaders, Jacobins; return of entertainment and relegalization of Catholicism.
March Peace with Prussia and Spain: Treaty of Basel
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.

Napoleon Bonaparte


Napoleon commands cannon suppressing Royalist rioting in Thermadorian reaction.


Constitutional Monarchists win majority in Spring elections


Directory takes control of government, imposes censorship, askes for Napoleon’s help.


Napolean concludes the Treaty of Campo Formio



Nelson defeats French navy in Egyptian harbor of Abukir


Constitution of the Year VIII establishes Consulate. Napoleon 30 years old.


French victory at Marengo convinces Austria to leave Second Coalition

Spain returns Louisiana to France. Bank of France established


French-Papal Concordat


Treaty of Amiens bring British-French conflict to brief end.

Napoleon named Consul for Life; revises constitution to enhance power


Britain-French conflict renewed. Louisiana Purchase unloads North American colonies.


Execution of Duke of Enghien. Napoleonic Civil Code issued.

Napoleon crowned emperor. Attempt to retake Haiti fails.



Nelson defeats French/Spanish fleet at Trafalgar, but is killed


Napoleon defeats Russian/Austrian army at Austerlitz


Prussian army defeated at Jena

Berlin Decrees establish Continental System prohibiting trade with England

Confederation of the Rhine results in dissolution of Holy Roman Empire


Russians defeated at Friedland

Treaty of Tilsit brings Russia into Continental System, allied with Napoleon


Attack on Portugal: Spanish begin resistance to Napoleonic domination


Austrian defeat at Wagram. Napoleon marries Austrian Archduchess Marie Louise


Russia withdraws from Continental System and renews relations with Britain


Invasion of Russia; French defeat at Borodino


Great Army departs Iberian penninsula in tatters.

Battle of the Nations (Leipzig)



Treaty of Chaumont established Quadruple Alliance


British, Russians, Prussians occupy Paris. Napoleon abdicates to Elba.


Congress of Vienna convenes



Napoleon returns from Elba




Holy Alliance at Congress of Vienna


Quadruple Alliance renewed


Napoleon dies on Saint Helena


Napoleon’s body returned to King Louis-Philippe (cousin of Louis XVI) for honorable burial

© 2004 — Jonathan Dresner

“By 1795 permanent changes had taken place in France. Assumptions of civic equality had replaced traditional distinctions of rank and birth, and social status was determined by property ownership. Some people who had never been allowed any political power now had it, to a limited degree. Representation had been established as a principle of government, but it was not yet clear which groups would be permitted representation. The post-Thermadorian course of the French Revolution was a victory for holders of property. The property that won the day was not industrial wealth, but the middle-class wealth stemming from commerce, the professions, and land. The largest new propertied class to emerge from the revolutionary turmoil was the peasantry.” WHB 440