How much do you know about the French Revolution?



9 Questions

What were some of the underlying causes of the French Revolution?

What was the significance of the Estates-General of 1789?

What was the importance of the storming of the Bastille?

What were the August Decrees?

What was the Civil Constitution of the Clergy?

What was the Reign of Terror?

What was the Thermidorian Reaction?

What was the impact of the French Revolution on French society and politics?

What was the Société des Amis des Noirs?


The French Revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in France from 1789 to 1799 that led to the formation of the French Consulate. The underlying causes were a combination of social, political, and economic factors that the Ancien Régime proved unable to manage. The crisis was caused by rapid population growth, regressive tax systems, and resistance to reform by the ruling elite. The French state faced a series of budgetary crises during the 18th century, caused primarily by structural deficiencies rather than lack of resources. The Estates-General of 1789 was divided into three parts: the First for members of the clergy, Second for the nobility, and Third for the "commons". On 5 May 1789, the Estates-General convened in the Menus-Plaisirs du Roi near the Palace of Versailles. On 17 June, the Third Estate declared themselves the National Assembly. On 14 July, the Bastille was attacked, a royal fortress with large stores of arms and ammunition. The Bastille held only seven prisoners, but its destruction was viewed as a triumph. The breakdown of law and order and frequent attacks on aristocratic property led much of the nobility to flee abroad. The Assembly published the August Decrees which abolished feudalism and other privileges held by the nobility. Other decrees included equality before the law, opening public office to all, freedom of worship, and cancellation of special privileges held by provinces.The French Revolution: key events and political divisions

  • The French Revolution began in 1789 with the abolition of feudal dues and tithes, and the suspension of regional parlements.

  • A draft constitution known as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was created with the help of Thomas Jefferson, but without consensus on the role of the Crown, it was impossible to create political institutions.

  • Food shortages and the worsening economy caused frustration at the lack of progress, and the Parisian working-class, or sans culottes, became increasingly restive.

  • The August decrees abolished tithes, and on 2 November the Assembly confiscated all church property, the value of which was used to back a new paper currency known as assignats.

  • The Civil Constitution of the Clergy of 12 July 1790 made the clergy employees of the state, and split the church between those who complied and those who refused.

  • The period from October 1789 to spring 1791 is usually seen as one of relative tranquility, but there were conflicts over the source of legitimate authority.

  • The Legislative Assembly was split into three main groups: constitutional monarchists, republicans, and centrists.

  • Louis XVI was forced to swear allegiance to the constitution, but was generally regarded with suspicion and forced to swear a new decree stating retracting his oath would be considered abdication.

  • The new constitution was opposed by significant elements inside and outside the Assembly, with the sans culottes excluded from the franchise.

  • The Brissotins, a leftist group in the Assembly, focused on two issues to provoke Louis into using his veto: émigrés and non-juring priests.

  • The government ordered non-juring priests to swear the oath or face charges of 'conspiracy against the nation', which was vetoed by Louis.

  • In an effort to mobilise popular support, the government ordered attacks on Austrian and Prussian forces, leading to the French Revolutionary Wars in 1792.The French Revolution: From Monarchy to Republic, Reign of Terror, and Thermidorian Reaction

  • The French Revolution began in 1789 with the calling of the Estates-General, a legislative body representing the three estates of French society.

  • The National Assembly was created in June 1789, followed by the storming of the Bastille on July 14, which marked the beginning of the Revolution.

  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was adopted in August 1789, which asserted the equality of all men and the right to liberty, property, and security.

  • In 1791, a new Constitution was adopted, creating a constitutional monarchy with a unicameral legislature and limited suffrage.

  • Louis XVI attempted to flee France in June 1791 but was captured and brought back to Paris, where he was forced to accept the new Constitution.

  • In August 1792, the monarchy was abolished and the First French Republic was declared after a popular uprising in Paris.

  • The Reign of Terror began in September 1793 with the establishment of revolutionary courts and the execution of suspected counter-revolutionaries, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people.

  • Maximilien Robespierre led the Committee of Public Safety, which governed France during the Terror, but was eventually overthrown and executed in July 1794.

  • The Thermidorian Reaction followed the fall of Robespierre and saw a backlash against the radicalism of the Revolution, with a new Constitution adopted in 1795 establishing a bicameral legislature and limited suffrage.

  • The Revolution had a profound impact on French society and politics, with the overthrow of the monarchy and the rise of the Republic marking a fundamental shift in the country's political system.The French Revolution: A Summary

  • The French Revolution began in 1789 and lasted until 1799, with the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte.

  • The Revolution saw the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, followed by a republic, and ultimately the Directory, a five-member executive government.

  • The Directory faced internal unrest, a stagnating economy, and an expensive war, while hampered by the impracticality of the constitution.

  • Jacobin ideology was hostile to the federalist system, the right to autonomy, and the right to independence for the peoples of the empire, conceiving power only concentrated in Paris.

  • The Revolution initiated a series of conflicts that began in 1792 and ended only with Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in 1815.

  • French state finances had come to rely on indemnities levied on their defeated opponents, and armies were primarily loyal to their generals, for whom the wealth achieved by victory and the status it conferred became objectives in themselves.

  • The most populous French colonies were Saint-Domingue (today Haiti), Martinique, Guadeloupe, the Île Bourbon (Réunion), and the Île de la France.

  • Colonial products accounted for about a third of France's exports.

  • The Société des Amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of Blacks) was formed in France in 1788 with the aim of abolishing slavery in the empire.

  • When the Constituent Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August 1789, delegates representing the colonial landowners successfully argued that the principles should not apply in the colonies as they would bring economic ruin and disrupt trade.

  • The Revolution abolished the provinces, each of which had its identity, and which, for some of them, represented nations, establishing in their place the division into departments, which will be extended to the new conquests made during the revolutionary and Napoleonic eras.

  • The Revolution saw the recognition of only one people, the French people, while there were several nations in the empire, and it sought to destroy the identity of other nations.


Test your knowledge of the French Revolution with our quiz! From the Estates-General to the Reign of Terror, this quiz covers key events, political divisions, and the impact of the Revolution on French society and politics. See how much you know about the causes, consequences, and major players of this period of radical change in French history. Whether you're a history buff or just looking to learn more, this quiz is sure to challenge and educate you. Don't wait - take the French Revolution quiz now!

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