French Revolution

Important Events

Limited Monarchy

In September 1791 the French Assembly wrote a new constitution and King Louis XVI reluctantly approved. This created a limited monarchy which stripped the king of much of his power. The Legislative Assembly had power to create laws and to approve or reject declarations of war. Although this new power came to the legislature, King Louis still held executive power to enforce laws.

War is Declared

The Legislative Assembly declared war in April 1792 due to other European countries taking action against the French assembly. Austria and Prussia urged the French to restore King Louis to his position as absolute monarch. This upset the Assembly and resulted in war.

France at War

Summer of 1792 Prussian forces were advancing on Paris. Citizens were raged and began killing other people and the prisoners in Paris. The Legislative Assembly set aside the constitution and they called for the election of a new legislature. It abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic. Jean- Paul Marat, a very prominent Jacobin Club member, called for the death of all those who continued to support the King. In January 1793 King Louis XVI was executed by the guillotine.

Reign of Terror

Maximilien Robespierre, the Jacobin leader, gradually gained power over France. THey wiped out every trace of France's past by creating a new calendar. They made changes such as dividing the year into 12 months each with 30 days and renaming each month. The new calendar was rid of Sundays because the radicals considered Sundays old-fashioned and dangerous. Also all churches in Paris were closed and soon were all of France. The period of time Robespierre dictated was called the Reign of Terror.

End of Terror

In July 1794 the members of the National Convention turned of Robespierre and demanded his arrest and execution. The Reign of Terror ended on July 28 when Robespierre approached the guillotine. In 1795 the National Convention drafted a new plan of government. It placed power firmly in the hands of the upper middle class. Two houses of legislature and an executive body of 5 men known as the Directory was established. The French also found the right General to command their armies- Napoleon Bonaparte.