A CHRONOLOGY

 

1787-8

1791

1794

1797

 

1789

1792

1795

1798

 

1790

1793

1796

1799

 

On October 5, 1793, a republican calendar devoid of all Catholic religious associations was adopted. It was used officially until January 1, 1806. The following chronology is based on the Gregorian calendar with occasional references to those republican calendar dates associated with certain famous events.

 

The republican calendar year begins on September 22, 1792 (the first day of Year I of the Republic); it provides for months of equal lengths, three weeks of ten days (called decades) in each month, and five extra solar days grouped at the end of the year (known as the sans-culottides or days of the sans-culottes), and a leap-year day every four years.

 

The months were vendemiaire (September-October), brumaire (October- November), frimaire (November-December), nivose (December-January), pluviose (January-February),ventose (February-March), germinal (March-April), floreal (April-May), prairial (May-June), messidor (June-July), thermidor (July-August), fructidor (August-September).

 

 

1787

 
 

February 22

The First Assembly of Notables. Raising taxes is discussed and rejected. Since 1786, when Charles Alexandre de Calonne, Controller General of Finances, announced a financial crisis, solutions had been sought and none had been found. Aristocratic resistance to the King's attempt to impose taxes and limit privileges made reform impossible. On May 25, this Assembly is dissolved.
 
 

April

Etienne Charles de Lomenie de Brienne replaces Calonne as Controller General of Finances.

 

1788

 
 

August 8

No solution to the financial crisis is found without calling the Estates-General (representing the three orders of Nobles, Clergy, and Commoners), which had not been assembled since 1614.
 
 

August 24

Jacques Necker, a Swiss citizen and a Protestant, replaces Lomenie de Brienne with the title of Director General of Finances; he attempts once again to solve the financial crisis and to devise a plan for a successful meeting of the Estates -General.
 
 

July through September

Throughout France a poor harvest augurs more hunger and financial difficulties.
 
 

November through December

A Second Assembly of Notables demands that the Estates-General follow the tradition of 1614, each order granted one vote.
 
 

December 27

At the end of 1788, France is the most populuous country in Europe (about 27 million). Most of the population belongs to the Third Estate. Louis XVI decrees that the Third Estate will have twice the number of representatives as the Orders of the Nobles

and the Clergy. But each Order will be entitled to only one vote, thus giving Nobles and Clergy a combined majority vote.

 

1789

 
 

January

Publication of What is the Third Estate? by the Abbe Sieyes. He claims that the Third Estate is essentially the Nation.
 
 

February

Election of representatives to the Estates-General. One of the traditions of the Estates-General was to request cahiers de doleances or books of complaint from the realm. In accordance with this tradition, the drawing up of the cahiers had been officially decreed on January 24. The cahiers number in the thousands and constitute one of our richest sources of historical information about late eighteenth-century France.
 
 

April 27-28

Riots in Paris directed against two entrepreneurs Reveillon and Henriot.
 
 

May 5 to July 17, 1789: The Estates-General cum National Assembly
 
 

May 5

Deliberations of the Estates-General begin at Versailles.
 
 

June 17

Accepting the proposition of the delegate Abbe Sieyes, the Third Estate proclaims itself The National Assembly. It invites the other two Orders to join in this new body of the nation.
 
 

June 19

A few liberal nobles and many clergy join the movement of the Third Estate.
 
 

June 20

The Tennis Court Oath. The king orders the meeting hall of the Third Estate closed. The Third Estate, still calling itself the National Assembly, removes to the Tennis Court of Versailles (Jeu de Paume). They swear an oath not to disband until a constitution is approved.
 
 

June 23

Louis XVI makes various proposals for reform but continues to demand that the Estates-General vote by Orders-one Order, one vote. This is rejected by the Third Estate.
 
 

June 27

The king concedes and orders the Nobles and the Clergy to join the National Assembly.
 
 

July 1

Concerned by the boldness of the Third Estate, the government increases the garrisons of mercenary troops just outside Paris.
 
 

July 2

Demonstrations and speeches at the Palais-Royal (a fashionable public gathering place) against the menacing increase of government soldiers.
 
 

July 7

The National Assembly appoints a committee of thirty members to draft a constitution.
 
 

July 9

The National Assembly proclaims itself the Constituent National Assembly, with full authority and power to decree law; their primary task is to draw up and adopt a constitution.
 
 

July 11

Jacques Necker, who had become a popular minister and who had zealously sought a solution to the budgetary crisis, is dismissed by Louis XVI.
 
 

July 12-14

The Fall of the Bastille. Parisians, many from the class of artisans and journeyman workers from the Faubourg St. Antoine, are alarmed by the gathering of troops, angry at the dismissal of Necker and the price of grain. They seek to protect themselves from feared attacks of the mercenary troops with 3,000 rifles and some cannon seized from the Invalides. They march to the Bastille and demand that it be opened and its gunpowder delivered to them. The Swiss Guards inside fire on the crowd. About 100 persons are killed. An attack begins and the Bastille falls. Though it held only seven prisoners, the Bastille was one of Europe's most famous symbols of cruel and arbitrary power.
 
 

July 16

Upon the insistence of the Constituent National Assembly, Jacques Necker is recalled to his post as Director General of Finances and Minister of State.
 
 

July 17, 1789 to September 30, 1791: The Constituent National Assembly
 
 

July 17

It can be said that on this date the formal power of the Constituent National Assembly begins. Louis XVI travels from Versailles, with some of his retinue, to the city hall of Paris, where he is received by the new mayor, Jean Sylvain Bailly and an enormous crowd of people crying out "Long live the Nation!" The king places the new national blue and red ribbon on his hat. Thomas Jefferson, Ambassador to France, who had witnessed meetings of the Estates- General, was present also on this day. He would take a great interest in the writing of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. The work of designing the new constitution begins.
 
 

July through August

The period of the so-called "Great Fear," when peasants feared the revenge of the nobles. Peasant riots occur in many regions of France.
 
 

August 4-11

The National Assembly abolishes most feudal privileges still held by the aristocracy and the clergy, including taxes, tithes, obligatory labor on roads and payment of crops.
 
 

August 26

The National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. It is translated into several other languages and quickly condemned by the Spanish Inquisition. This declaration is inspired by the American Declaration of Independence of 1776. The Bill of Rights, in the form of the ten first amendments to the American Constitution, would be passed on September 25, 1789.
 
 

September 12

First appearance of Jean-Paul Marat's L'Ami du peuple (The Friend of the People), an eight-page daily newspaper-pamphlet, one of the most influential and radical publications of the Revolution. At first sympathetic to a constitutional monarchy, and progressively supportive of the sans-culottes and the Commune of Paris, Marat's fiery texts raged against both aristocrats and those who argued for egalitarian distribution of property.
 
 

October 5-6

The Women's March Upon Versailles. Parisians, led by a large number of women, march upon Versailles and force the royal family back to Paris, where they take up residence at the Tuileries. Louis XVI is considered by many a "Prisoner" in Paris. The Assembly, still in Versailles, declares, in the spirit of constitutional monarchy, its inseparability from the king. Its meetings are transferred to a hall close to the Tuileries.
 
 

November 2

All church property is expropriated.
 
 

December 9

The administrative reorganization of France begins. Old provincial boundaries give way to administrative departements.
 
 

December 19

The Assembly issues treasury notes called assignats based on the value of nationalized church property. The assignats would become a form of paper money subject to constant devaluation.

 

1790

 
 

February 13

Monastical vows are prohibited. Religious orders, except the teaching and charitable orders, are abolished.
 
 

June 19

All aristocratic, hereditary titles are abolished.
 
 

July 12

Adoption of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. It provides for the appointment of all church officers, from archbishop down, by the National Assembly; thus, a Gallican Catholic Church is established.
 
 

July 14

The first anniversary of the Revolution is celebrated on the fields of the Champ-de-Mars-the "Fete de la Federation."
 
 

October

Louis XVI secretly explores a possible coalition with foreign powers to end the Revolution. He writes a letter to his cousin Charles IV of Spain, complaining of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.
 
 

November 27

All public officials and priests are required to sign an oath of loyalty to the new French nation.

 

1791

 
 

March 2

All guilds, which regulated entry into artisan crafts, are abolished.
 
 

March 10
 
 

The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy are condemned by Pope Pius VI.
 
 

June 14

Worker unions and strikes are prohibited by the Le Chapelier Law.
 
 

June 20-25

Attempting to flee France, Louis XVI, Marie -Antoinette, and their children are arrested at Varennes and brought back to Paris. The Constituent National Assembly suspends the king's authority until further notice. This is a major turning point in the Revolution and would play a role in eventually destroying the constitutional monarchy, still to be formally established by the new constitution. Louis XVI, though in some ways much loved by the people of France, begins to be thought of by many as a traitor and a danger to the nation. Suspicions grow of conspiracies and foreign invasions.
 
 

July 6

The Emperor Leopold II appeals to other royalty to join with him in demanding respect for the liberty and honor of Louis XVI.
 
 

July 17

The Massacre of the Champ-de-Mars. Ever since the forced return of Louis XVI to Paris, debates rage over establishing a constitutional monarchy or declaring a republic. The Cordeliers Club demands a republic. The Jacobin Club splits on the question; those against a republic quit the Jacobins to form a new faction-the Feuillants. For the second anniversary of the Fall of the Bastille, a grand Altar of the Nation had been erected on the Champ-de-Mars. The Cordeliers come to this altar on the 17th to declare their demands that a republic be established. The Marquis de Lafayette, hero of the American War of Independence and now Commander of the National Guard, orders his troops to fire upon a large crowd that had gathered. About fifty persons are killed. The attempted flight of the royal family and incidents such as this massacre alarm many members of the National Assembly. Many continue to fear internal and foreign conspiracies and think the Revolution is in danger of being crushed.
 
 

August 27

The Declaration of Pillnitz. The rulers of Austria and Prussia agree to halt the French Revolution. They insist that England participate.
 
 

September 3

The Constitution of 1791 is proclaimed.
 
 

September 18

Louis XVI, swearing to uphold the new constitution, is restored to power.
 
 

September 27

Jews in all regions of France are granted full citizenship (those in the Midi had been granted citizenship on January 28, 1790). Slavery in the French colonies is not yet abolished.
 
 

September 30

Last session of the Constituent National Assembly. During its two years, it dismantled feudalist privileges and had begun reordering both government and society. The constitution now in place legalized a constitutional monarchy and a unicameral legislature over whose laws Louis XVI had a veto. It also provided for only a limited franchise for "citoyens actifs," those who paid a certain amount in taxes. And, in effect, only about 50,000 citizens, chosen amongst the richest taxpayers, could elect deputies and representatives to various district councils.
 
 

October 1, 1791 to September 20, 1792: The Legislative Assembly
 
 

October 1

First session of the new Legislative Assembly under the Constitution of 1791.
 
 

October, 1791 to March, 1792

Debates divide the Assembly on a declaration of war against countries allied against the Revolution. Jacques Pierre Brissot, a Parisian deputy, urges war. Maximilien Robespierre argues against war, fearing that France is ill-prepared. Many believe that the royalists want to plunge the country into war, because military defeat would mean the end of the Revolution.

 

1792

 
 

January to March

Serious inflation begins. Food riots occur in Paris.
 
 

March 9-10

Louis removes the Count of Narbonne, Minister of War. All of his other ministers resign. Louis XVI forms a new government, composed mostly of Jacobins.
 
 

April 20

France declares war on Austria. Prussia joins with Austria.
 
 

April 25

Rouget de Lisle composes his War Hymn for the Army of the Rhine and performs it for the Mayor of Strasbourg. In July of this year, it would become La Marseillaise.
 
 

June 20

Invasion of the Tuileries. In the previous weeks, tensions increased over a law on the deportation of refractory priests, the king's veto of this law, the dismantling of the king's constitutional Garde (6,000 men), and the stationing of 20,000 troops by the Assembly in Paris. Louis XVI had dismissed his Jacobin ministers on June 12 and replaced them with more moderate Feuillants. When the Assembly objects, Lafayette sends a letter condemning the Assembly and the Jacobins. On June 20, a large crowd, mostly from the neighborhoods of St. Antoine and St. Marcel, invade the Tuileries. They demand the return of the Jacobin ministers. They force Louis to don a liberty cap (bonnet rouge or bonnet phrygien) and to drink to the health of the people.
 
 

July 28

The Brunswick Manifesto (declared on July 25) is distributed throughout Paris. The Duke of Brunswick, commanding general of the Austro-Prussian Army, in an inflammatory declaration, warns Parisians to obey Louis XVI. It threatens them with violent punishment if they do not. The Assembly is offended and orders the sections of Paris to ready themselves. The Manifesto creates both fear and anger in Paris.
 
 

July 29

At a meeting of the Jacobin Club, Robespierre calls for the removal of the king.
 
 

July 30

Singing Rouget de Lisle's War Hymn of the Army of the Rhine or La Marseillaise, a battalion of troops from Marseille arrives in Paris. Plans are made by a revolutionary committee to proceed toward the overthrow of the king.
 
 

August 10

Second Invasion of the Tuileries. From August 3 to August 10, the procedure to end the monarchy had begun. Forty-seven of the forty-eight sections of Paris had petitioned the Legislative Assembly to abrogate the king's powers. One Parisian section (in the St. Antoine neighborhood) declares that it will bring down the monarchy on August 10, if the Assembly does not carry out the will of the people.

The Legislative Assembly does nothing before August 10; true to their word, citizens-mostly sans-culottes-march towards the Tuileries, which is defended by a contingent of French soldiers and Swiss Guards. The king, realizing that his French Garde is sympathetic to the Revolution (they had cried: "Vive la Nation!" when passing in review), decides to seek refuge at the Assembly. His troops, however, remain in a position of defense, are attacked, and many are killed by the insurgents. The Tuileries is taken and pillaged.

In the afternoon, the Assembly strips Louis of his powers and declares him a prisoner of the nation. It also decrees the formation of a new assembly to be called the Convention. Like the American Constitutional Convention (held in Philadelphia, from May to September, 1787), the National Convention would write a new constitution to replace that of 1791. The French Convention, however, would last for over three years and produce two constitutions.
 
 

August 11

An Executive Council of six ministers is elected by the Assembly to oversee the national election of representatives to the Convention. The Assembly also authorizes the arrest throughout France of suspected enemies of the Revolution. Royalist newspapers are prohibited.
 
 

August 13

The royal family is imprisoned in the tower of the Temple, former monastery of the Order of the Templars.
 
 

August 15

Robespierre asks the Assembly to create a People's Tribunal, but this idea is rejected. In the West of France, Jean Cottereau, known as Jean Chouan, declares for the king and refuses to be inducted into the national army. The revolt of the Chouans, connected to the revolt in the Vendee against the Republic, begins.
 
 

August 19

Lafayette deserts the army and the Revolution and flees to Austria. General Dumouriez takes command of the Armies of the North.

Prussian armies, including French emigres, invade France.
 
 

September 2-7

The September Massacres. In Paris, rumors abound of imminent invasion, the collapse of the Revolution, and of conspiracies mounted by imprisoned aristocrats. On September 3, the Prussian Army seizes Verdun. Widespread fear, incited in pamphlets, speehes, and rumors, precedes the massacre of about 1,500 prisoners.
 
 

September 20

Last session of the Legislative Assembly and the Constitutional Monarchy. The French Army defeats the Prussians at Valmy. Goethe witnessed this battle and said of it: "On this day begins a new era in the history of the world."
 
 

September 21, 1792 to October 26, 1795: The Convention
 
 

The Convention actually became a provisional revolutionary government. While debating new constitutional principles and new laws, the Convention also carried out a European war, oversaw the daily affairs of the nation, and repressed several revolts. The Convention can be divided into three periods. During the first (from September 21, 1792, to June 2, 1793) the Convention is dominated by deputies sometimes called Brissotins, or more commonly, Girondins (from the Gironde, in the southwest of France). These deputies represented interests of the provinces, often in opposition to those of the commune of Paris, dominated by the Jacobins. The Jacobins, organized into a political club and usually supported by radical "sections" of Paris, dominate the second period of the Convention, from June 2, 1793, to July 28, 1794. During this period, France was attacked by foreign enemies and unsettled by internal revolts. There was also popular discontent over food distribution, inflation, and legislative factionalism. Day-to-day administration was given over to two important national committees: the Committee of General Surveillance and the Committee of Public Safety. During this time, the Terror was made official policy up to the ninth of Thermidor (July 27, 1794), when Robespierre and his supporters lost their dominant position in the Committee of Public Safety and in the Convention, were accused, and executed. In the third, or post- Thermidorean, period of the Convention the Revolution began to dissolve into dangerous disputes between radical, liberal, and conservative factions.
 
 

September 21-22

The Convention abolishes the Monarchy and decrees the establishment of a republic. It begins deliberations on the new constitution.
 
 

September 28

Georges Danton, one of the most influential of the revolutionary orators, declares at the Convention that the French Revolution is a revolution against all kings.
 
 

October 11

A committee to draw up the new constitution is appointed. Danton and the Abbe Sieyes are members, but the majority are Girondins.
 
 

October

Throughout October of 1792, the French Army pushes the Prussians out of Verdun and Longwy. It enters Mainz and takes possession of Frankfort. In Mainz, a German Jacobin society is formed. The army under Dumouniez enters Belgium and defeats the Austrians at Jemmapes. The Austrians leave Belgian territory.
 
 

November 19

The Convention declares its willingness to help all subjected peoples to achieve their liberty.
 
 

December I

Jacques Roux, a radical popular leader, makes one of several popular speeches in radical "sections" of Paris. Roux would become the leader of the Enrages, who demanded that the "aristocracy of the rich" be treated like the aristocracy stripped of their privileges in 1789. Jacques Roux and the Enrages would be attacked by the Girondists and the Jacobins, who both defended a central principle of the French Revolution, the right of property.
 
 

December 15

Revolutionary policies arc decreed to be valid in all occupied territories of the French Army.
 
 

December 17

A Jacobin Club is formed in Naples.
 
 

December 21

Members in the English House of Commons urge taking up of arms against France to protect Louis XVI from the Convention.

 

1793

 
 

January 21

After a trial by the entire Convention, Louis XVI, is found guilty of conspiring against the nation and guillotined on the Place de la Republique.
 
 

February to March

Attacks on shops and food riots occur during a time of great scarcity.
 
 

February I

The Convention declares war on Great Britain and Holland.
 
 

February 15

Dutch refugees in France begin publication of a newspaper, Batavia, and call for the liberation by the French of Holland.
 
 

February 24

Military conscription is decreed by the Convention, which calls up 300,000 citizen soldiers. Conscription is unwelcome in some regions, especially in the Vendee and in Brittany. It is one of the avowed reasons for revolts against the Republic.
 
 

March

Royalist and Catholic revolt begins in the Vendee.
 
 

March 7

The Convention declares war on Spain.
 
 

March 9

A revolt attempted by the Enrages in Paris fails.
 
 

March 10

The Convention sets in place an "extraordinary criminal tribunal," later to be called the Revolutionary Tribunal. Its purpose is to judge all enemies of the Republic and to transform into institutional authority popular insurrections and attacks upon suspected counter-revolutionaries.
 
 

March 11

Beginnings of the Vendee revolt against the Republic. It is composed of royalists, Catholics, aristocracy and peasants, United with the Chouans of Brittany.
 
 

March 18

The Convention, increasingly wary of the Enrages, decrees capital punishment for anyone who urges agrarian laws and attacks the principle of private property.

Dumouriez's army, suffers an important defeat at Neenwinden in Belgium.
 
 

March 21

Revolutionary committees of surveillance are created in each commune. They are charged with taking account of all those suspected of being enemies or traitors to the nation.
 
 

April

Jacobins begin to increase their influence in the Convention.
 
 

April 5

General Dumouriez deserts to the Austrians. After several important defeats, General Dumouriez had proclaimed the Convention primarily responsible for them. Like Lafayette before him, Dumouriez had also attempted to urge his army to march with him upon Paris, where he would dissolve the Convention, but the army refused. After being summoned to Paris and refusing, Dumouriez flees to the enemy. This treason would bring in its path great suspicion of his allies in the Convention, the Girondins.
 
 

April 6

The Committee of Public Safety. The Convention, attempting to deal with the radical movements of the Enrages, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendee and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, and the desertion of its commanding general, creates the Committee of Public Safety (Comite de Salut Public). This committee is charged with carrying out a policy of "terrorizing" all of France's enemies within and without.
 
 

April 21

Robespierre, at the Jacobin Club, proposes a new version of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. Though he is opposed to the Enrages, his new version puts certain restrictions on the right of property and establishes the principle of the duty of society towards the well-being of its citizens.
 
 

April 23-24

Marat is arrested but almost immediately liberated by the Revolutionary Tribunal, an event which further intensifies the antagonism between the Girondins and Jacobins.
 
 

May 4

Price control voted for grain, known as the maximum.
 
 

May 18-24

The Commission of Twelve is created on the motion of the Girondins. It is aimed at rooting out "extremist" elements in the Commune of Paris, center of the activity of the Enrages, the Hebertists, led by Jacques-Rene Hebert. This commission further aggravates the Jacobins, much of whose support is in the Commune of Paris. The Commission arrests Hebert and others.
 
 

May 25

Representatives of the Commune come to the Convention to seek the liberation of the Hebertists. In the Convention, the Jacobins demand the arrest of the Girondins.
 
 

June 24

The Convention approves of the Constitution of 1793 or the Constitution of the Year I. Though adopted by national referendum on the following August 4, it would never actually be applied. Still, it was influential in the nineteenth century, admired by the sans-culottes and remembered during the Revolution of 1848. It invoked the right to work, the right to education, widely extended the franchise and de-emphasized private property in relation to liberty and social order. It also specifically enunciated the sacred right and duty of a people to revolt against a government that violates the "rights of the people."
 
 

[Period of Jacobin dominance in the Convention]
 
 

July 13

Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat, powerful journalist, convention delegate, and supporter of Robespierre, but also one of the most important of revolutionary heroes to the people of Paris. His assassination and the subsequent national rite of mourning made him into a revolutionary saint.
 
 

July 23

The French surrender at Mainz.
 
 

July 26

Hoarding is voted a capital crime.
 
 

August 1

The metric system is decreed the new national standard.
 
 

August 23

The Convention decrees a levee en masse, calling upon the entire male population (between 18 and 25, unmarried or widower without children) to defend the country.
 
 

August 27

Toulon, a crucial naval port, falls to the British.
 
 

September 5

An important demonstration of sans-culottes at the Convention. Amongst other things, they demand immediate arrest of suspected enemies and traitors, the establishment of a revolutionary army of 6,000 men and 1,200 artillery to put down revolts. In a state of urgency and fear for the survival of the Republic, the Convention decrees most of what is demanded.
 
 

September 21

All women are required by the Convention to wear the tricolored ribbon, insignia of the Republic.
 
 

September 29

The law of the general maximum is decreed, a system of price controls on essential goods and wage regulation.
 
 

October 2

A decree of the Convention orders the transfer of Descarte's remains to the Pantheon.
 
 

October 5

The Republican calendar is adopted, part of the dechristianizing program of the Revolution.
 
 

October 9

A revolt in Lyon is put down.
 
 

October 16

Marie - Antoinette is guillotined.
 
 

October 31

A number of Girondins are executed. Others flee to the provinces.
 
 

November 10

The Festival of Reason is celebrated in Notre Dame, replacing Catholic symbolism with the secular principles of knowledge, reason, and political liberty. All Catholic churches in Paris would be closed a short time later.
 
 

December

Although it continues sporadically, the important revolt in the Vendee is, for the most part, defeated.
 
 

December 4

The Convention decrees the Law of the 14th Frimaire. This provides a provisional constitutional order, designed to curb the anarchical authority of representatives in mission throughout the country. It centralizes administrative power until a new Constitution can be put in place. The two central revolutionary committees are given complete administrative power. The Committee of Public Safety is charged with prosecuting the war and assigning duties to the representatives in mission sent into the departments. The Committee of General Surveillance is given responsibility for the police and the administration of justice. A single revolutionary army is established. All revolutionary tribunals are suppressed in favor of one tribunal in Paris.
 
 

December 5

Camille Desmoulins publishes the first issue of Le Vieux Cordelier. He favors the ideas of Danton, urging peace negotiations with foreign powers and an end to the official Terror.
 
 

December 19

The siege and fall of Toulon. Napoleon Bonaparte's artillery distinguishes itself.
 
 

December 25

Robespierre delivers an important report on the principles of revolutionary government, which he describes as a necessary and provisional form of war against the enemies of liberty, to be distinguished from constitutional government, which conserves and protects liberty once firmly and peacefully established.

 

1794

 
 

February 4

Slavery is abolished in some of the French colonies.
 
 

February 5

Robespierre reports on the principles of political morality that should be respected by the Convention, in which he declares that the revolutionary government is based on both virtue and terror-"... virtue without which terror is evil, terror without which virtue is powerless."
 
 

February 26-March 3

The Laws of Ventose. They authorize the seizure and redistribution of all property belonging to those suspected of working against the Republic.
 
 

March 24

The Hebertists are judged to be extremists and anarchists by Robespierre and the Jacobins. They are accused of conspiracy and collusion with foreign powers. Most are executed.
 
 

March 29

The arrest of Danton and the dantonists ordered by the Committee of Public Safety and the Committee of General Security.
 
 

April to May

Military danger from without recedes.
 
 

April 5

Danton, Camille Desmoulins, and other dantonists are guillotined.
 
 

June 4

Robespierre is elected president of the Convention. The Abbe Gregoire submits his report on the necessity of eliminating regional dialects and patois, in order to establish French as the national language.
 
 

June 8

The Festival of the Supreme Being is celebrated.
 
 

June 10

The Law of the 22nd Prairial. Judicial procedures are accelerated in all accusations against enemies of the revolution. The Terror is re-enforced.
 
 

June 26

A Republican victory at Fleurus liberates Belgium from the Austrians.
 
 

July 23

Another wage and price control law is passed.
 
 

July 25

The poet Andre Chenier is executed.
 
 

July 27-28

The fall of Robespierre. The events of these days are often referred to simply as "Thermidor" (the month of July-August in the republican calendar). Robespierre and his political allies are charged in the Convention with crimes against the Republic. Reaction against them had been developing for many weeks in the Committee of Public Safety and the Convention. They are accused, condemned, and guillotined within two days.
 
 

The Post- Thermidorean Convention

In this period, the Republic recovers from both the major military threats from the Alliance, its internal revolts in the Vendee and the Southeast, and the Terror.
 
 

September 18

A separation of Church and State is effected with the decree of the Convention that it will no longer pay salaries or expenses of the Church.
 
 

September 21

The remains of Marat are transferred to the Pantheon.
 
 

October 5

Gracchus Babeuf publishes the first issue of his newspaper, Le tribun du peuple, devoted to explaining the principles of an ideal agrarian communist society.
 
 

October 11

The ashes of Jean-Jacques Rousseau are transferred to the Pantheon.
 
 

November 12

The Jacobin Club is ordered closed.
 
 

November 19

The American and British governments sign a treaty in London agreeing to blockade French shores, this despite a treaty of Franco-American alliance signed in 1778.
 
 

December 24

Wage control and price control laws are repealed.

 

1795

 
 

February 21

Separation of Church and State and freedom of religion are officially decreed.
 
 

March 21

It is decided that the Constitution of 1793, the most liberal of all the revolutionary constitutions, will be set aside. A committee is charged with drafting a new constitution.
 
 

April I

Food shortages and riots Occur throughout Paris. Sans-culottes demand solutions to the food shortages and the application of the Constitution of 1793.
 
 

April 5

A peace treaty is signed with Prussia.
 
 

April 24

The so-called White Terror had been developing throughout April, since the first decree on April 10 calling for the disarming of all "terrorists," or Supporters of Robespierre. In Lyon, many Jacobin prisoners are massacred.
 
 

May 16

A peace treaty is signed with the Netherlands.
 
 

May 20-23

Riots in the sans-culottes sections of Paris. The Convention is also invaded by demonstrators calling for bread and the enforcement of the Constitution of 1793. The army puts down these insurrections.
 
 

June 8

Louis XVII, dauphin of France, dies in the Temple. Many legends have developed since about the survival of the dauphin.
 
 

June 23

A new Constitution is reported on by Boissy d'Anglas. It is accompanied by the assertion that those most worthy of governing are those who own property.
 
 

June 26

The Chouans Join 4,000 emigres landed oil the shores of Brittany by an English fleet. They, would be defeated by General Hoche on July 21.
 
 

July 22

A peace treaty is signed with Spain.
 
 

August 22

The Constitution of the Year III is approved. Its preface is now a declaration of the rights and duties of man and of the citizen. It decrees voting privileges only to those who pay indirect taxes. It provides for a bicameral legislature, a Council of Five Hundred, which proposes laws and a Council of the Elders (250 members), which adopts or rejects them. All administrative power is placed in a Directory of five members, elected by the two councils for five years. Paul Barras would be the emerging leader of the Directory.
 
 

October 5

Napoleon is instrumental in Putting down a royalist revolt ill Paris.
 
 

October 26

Napoleon is named commander-in-chlef of all armies within the boundaries of France.
 
 

The Directory

October 27 1795 to November 10, 1799
 
 

December 5

An order for the arrest of Gracchus Babeuf is proclaimed. He goes into hiding.

 

1796

 
 

February 19
 
 

Assignats, having become hugely inflated in value, are suppressed.
 
 

March 2

Napoleon is named commander-in-chief of the French Army in Italy.
 
 

March 27

Napoleon takes command of the army, and begins to prepare his Italian campaign.
 
 

March 30

The Conspiracy of the Equals organized by Gracchus Babeuf. The goal is a Coup d'etat and the end of the Directory ill order to set a communist government ill its place.
 
 

December 15-24

Sailing from Brest, a French expeditionary force tries to reach Ireland and join with rebel forces there, but a storm scatters its ships. The expedition falls.

 

1797

 
 

March 4

John Adams is elected American President. During Ills regime the Franco-American alliance would come to all end. Adams favored expelling all French "Jacobins" from the United States.
 
 

May 27

Gracchus Babeuf is guillotined. His conspiracy had little effect, but his ideas are part of the development of nineteenth-century socialism.
 
 

August 22

The beginnings of the independence movement in the slave colony of Santo Domingo, present-day Haiti. A revolution there is led by Toussaint- L'Ouverture. He would finish his days imprisoned in France.
 
 

September 2

A group of moderate and rightist delegates to the legislative Councils of the Five Hundred and of the Elders, members of the political club of Clichy, plan a coup d'etat against the Directory.
 
 

September 4

The three dominant members of the Directory (Barras, Reubell, La Revelliere-Lepeaux), aware of the conspiracy, have the chief conspirators arrested. Many are exiled to Guyana. This is known as the Coup d'etat of the 18th Fructidor.
 
 

September to December

Dominique Ramel de Nogaret, Minister of Finances, liquidates the public debt by two-thirds with a system of coupons that, in effect, simply invalidates two-thirds of what is owed to various public creditors.
 
 

October 17

The peace treaty of Campio Formio is signed with Austria.
 
 

December 29

A Second Coalition uniting Russia, Great Britain, and eventually Austria against France is formed. The War of the Coalition continues to 1801.

 

1798

 
 

May 11

The so-called coup d'etat of the 22nd Floreal, Year VI. The two councils invalidate totally or partially the elections in forty-eight out of ninety-six departments. A good many of the excluded are Jacobins.
 
 

July 1

Napoleon launches his Egyptian campaign.
 
 

August 1

Admiral Nelson defeats the French fleet at Akoubir Bay.

 

1799

 
 

June 18

After attacks and threats of accusation from the two Councils, two members of the Directory resign (La Revelliere-Lepeaux and Douai). Barras and Sieyes remain.
 
 

August 23

Napoleon begins his return to France.
 
 

October 14

Last battles of the rebel Chouans and Vendeens.
 
 

October 16

Napoleon arrives in Paris.
 
 

October 23

Lucien Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, is elected president of the Council of the Five Hundred.
 
 

November 1

Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, the former Abbe Sieyes, author of What Is the Third Estate?, prominent leader at every stage of the Revolution, meets with Napoleon. They plan together a coup d'etat, which Sieyes thinks (erroneously) will allow him to institute the rational constitution he had been elaborating for years.
 
 

November 9-10

On the 18th Brumaire, Napoleon stages his military coup d'etat. He becomes First Consul of The Consulate.
 
 

December 15

A new constitution, known as the Constitution of the Year VIII (the fourth since 179 1) is proclaimed and submitted for approval in a plebiscite. This constitution is not preceded by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. In a preface announcing the new constitution the following is declared: "Citoyens, la Revolution est fixee aux principes qui Pont commencee: elle est finie." [Citizens, the Revolution is established upon its founding principles: the Revolution is over.]

 

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