The French Revolution

By: Cara Chester

The Assembly Reforms France

August 4, 1789 noblemen made speeches, motivated by fear the joined to become members of the National Assembly. Their slogan was "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity". Most of their reforms were focused on the church. The National Assembly restructured the relationship between the church and state. Louis XVI thought that his family was in danger, so he tried to escape. He escaped with his family, but they were caught and returned which caused even more of an uproar.

Divisions Develop

In September 1971, the National Assembly completed the new constitution, which Louis had reluctantly approved. This limited the authority of the king and created a new legislative, the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Assembly had the authority to create laws and to approve or reject declarations of war. Finding solutions to solve all the problems caused the Legislative Assembly to split into three groups. The Radicals, who opposed the idea of a monarchy and wanted changes in the government. The Moderates who only wanted a few changes in the government. Lastly, the Conservatives who didn't really want changes. Emigres and nobles wanted to undo the Revolution and obtain to the Old Regime. The sans- culottes wanted the Revolution to bring greater changes.

War and Execution

Austria and Prussia wanted the French to have Louis back at throne as an absolute monarch. The Legislative Assembly decided to declare war in April 1792. The French began with a rough start. Prussians were beginning to advance on Paris and threatened to harm the royal family. August 10, about 20,000 men invaded the Tuileries, the home of the royal family. The Legislative Assembly put off the Constitution of 1791 due to pressure. Doing this made a election for the new legislature. The new body, the National Convention took office September 21. Jean Paul Marat was a prominent member of the Jacobins. He was a newspaper editor of L'Ami du Peuple. He called for the death of all those who supported the king. The National Convention reduced the kings role of that to a citizen and prisoner. They tried the king for treason and he died January 21, 1793. Great Britain Holland and Spain joined Prussia and Austria against France. February 1793 the Convention ordered a draft of 300,000 citizens.

Terror Grips France

The Jacobins had many who were not in their favor. The way to contain and control these people was a central problem. Early in 1793 Maximilien Robespierre, a Jacobin leader started to slowly gain power. He and his followers built a "republic virtue" and started wiping out France's past. In 1793 and 1794, many of the people who led the Revolution received death sentences for being considered less radical than Robespierre. Thousands of people were sent to their deaths for the dumbest reasons. 40,00 were executed during the Terror and about 85% were peasants or members of the lower class- whose benefit the Revolution had been launched.

End of the Terror

July of 1794 some members of the Convention turned on Robespierre in fear of their own safety. They demanded for him to be arrested. The Reign of Terror ended on July 28, 1794 when Robespierre went to the guillotine. In 1795 leaders of the National Convention drafted a new plan of government. It placed power in the upper middle class, a two house legislature and an executive body of five men known as the Directory. They found the right general to command France's armies- Napoleon Bonaparte.