French Revolution: History, Cause, Timeline, & Events

6 minute read
French Revolution

Hey, guys! Mr. Owl is here. I see that you want to know about ‘French Revolution’ Hootfully, I’ll be of help to you! Since, we owls are very wise. If you scroll further down this blog, you’ll see all the information you will need!

The French Revolution is an important event in world history, symbolizing the struggle for freedom, equality, and justice. For students preparing for competitive exams or upcoming government exams, understanding the French Revolution is essential. You may face questions related to this topic in exams. In this blog, we’ll explore what was French Revolution. its causes and events. 

France Before the French Revolution

  • Society Conditions: Picture a three-layered cake – the first slice belongs to the clergy, the second to the nobility, and the remaining cake represents the Third Estate, which includes peasants and workers. The clergy and nobility enjoyed privileges from birth and didn’t pay taxes. While the Third Estate, which constituted about 80% of the population, bore a heavy tax burden.
  • Ruling Class: The clergy and nobility, like VIPs in a concert, enjoyed all the benefits without the ticket price. Meanwhile, the regular folks of the Third Estate paid for the show but couldn’t even get close to the stage.

Check Now: ✏️Download French Revolution Notes PDF

Causes of the French Revolution

The major causes that led to the French Revolution are mentioned below:

  • Social Causes: Clergy and Nobility enjoyed extra privileges, while people belonging to the Third Estate were burdened with more tax implementations. This social inequality caused tremendous discontent.
  • Economic Causes:  The French monarchy’s luxurious lifestyle and rising national debt led to major discontentment amongst the common people. Wars and a faulty tax system emptied the national treasury.
  • Political Causes: King Louis XVI’s extravagance and autocratic rule left the people in dire poverty. His lack of ability to govern was also a trigger button leading to the French Revolution.
  • Intellectual Causes: French thinkers like Rousseau rejected the notion of absolute monarchy. They advocated for the equality of all people and the sovereignty of the masses, playing a crucial role in exposing the flaws of the old regime.

Must Read: What Is Nationalism? Definition, History, and Significance

Timeline and Events of French Revolution

Events of French Revolution
  • 1789: The Meeting of the Estate Generals: Clergy and nobility dominate the meeting, paying no attention to commoners and their concerns.
  • 1789-92: The Beginning of the French Revolution: The Third Estate gets tired of being ignored and decides to change things. This is when the revolution truly begins.
  • 1789: The Declaration of Rights of Man: Special privileges of clergy and noblemen are revoked.
  • 1793-95: The Reign of Terror: Unfortunately, the clash for equality goes a bit overboard, leading to a period of extreme fear and harsh measures.
  • 1795: The End of the French Revolution: Finally, the revolution comes to a close with some new rules and a more equal distribution of power and rights.

Did You Know: “The storming of the Bastille is still honoured in France as a national holiday.

Important Roles in the French Revolution

The French Revolution, a tumultuous period in France’s history. It was not a solo act but a complex interplay of various influential figures and groups, along with the masses and women who played crucial roles in shaping the course of the Revolution:

  • Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès: An influential clergyman and political thinker, Sieyès authored the pamphlet “What is the Third Estate?” which galvanized the discontent of the Third Estate. His ideas contributed significantly to the call for a constitutional government.
  • Marquis de Lafayette: A hero of the American Revolution, Lafayette was a moderate voice in the early stages of the French Revolution. He played an important role in drafting the ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’ and also commanded the National Guard to maintain order in Paris.
  • Jean-Paul Marat: Marat, a radical journalist, used his newspaper to fuel revolutionary fervour and was instrumental in promoting the most extreme measures during the Reign of Terror. His writings and influence helped push the revolution towards more radical changes.
  • Olympe de Gouges: A feminist playwright and political activist, de Gouges advocated for women’s rights and authored the “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen.” Her work laid the foundation for later women’s rights movements.
  • The French People: The common citizens of France, often referred to as the sans-culottes, played a significant role. They participated in mass demonstrations, strikes, and uprisings, demanding equal rights and an end to the monarchy. Their collective actions were crucial in shaping the Revolution.
  • French Women: Women in France, inspired by the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality, played a pivotal role. They organized political clubs, participated in protests, and pushed for gender equality. Women’s involvement in the Revolution laid the groundwork for future feminist movements.

Impact of Revolution on France

France’s landscape changed significantly in the aftermath of the French Revolution. The Revolution’s outcomes can be dissected into several key aspects:

  • Constitutional Monarchy: The absolute monarchy of the Bourbon dynasty was dissolved, and France transitioned into a constitutional monarchy under King Louis XVI. The power of the king was severely curtailed, and a system of checks and balances was introduced.
  • The Reign of Terror: The Reign of Terror, characterized by mass executions and the suppression of political dissent, was a dark phase of the Revolution. It aimed to eliminate counter-revolutionaries but often led to the persecution of innocent citizens.
  • The Rise of the Jacobins: The Jacobins, a radical political group, gained significant influence during the Revolution. They were responsible for instituting a new government and further centralizing power.
  • The Execution of King Louis XVI: The Revolution took a decisive turn with the execution of King Louis XVI in 1793. This event marked the end of the monarchy and the birth of the First French Republic.
  • The Napoleonic Era: The French Revolution indirectly paved the way for Napoleon Bonaparte. He emerged as a military leader and later became the ruler of France. His rule had a profound impact on France and Europe, as he implemented a new legal code, the Napoleonic Code, and initiated a series of military campaigns.
  • Social and Economic Changes: The Revolution brought about significant social and economic changes, including the redistribution of land and wealth. The secularization of the state, and the disbandment of many feudal privileges.

Global Impact of French Revolution

Just like a family’s dynamics can influence the neighbourhood, the French Revolution had a profound impact worldwide. It inspired other nations to fight for their rights and shaped the course of history.

Many Nations looked at the French Revolution and thought, “If they can change their rules, why can’t we?” Revolutions and uprisings started in various parts of the world, all inspired by the idea of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

“Kiddos, I’ve answered all your queries with the utmost precision that I was capable of. Now, I’ll be taking my leave, but if you think I might have missed something, do check out the FAQ section or drop a comment. I always respond!”

Also Read: Arab Nationalism: Rise, Fall and Objective


What were the major consequences of the French Revolution?

Below, we have mentioned the pointwise consequences of the French Revolution:
1. End of the absolute monarchy
2. The rise of democratic ideas
3. Declaration of the Rights of Man
4. Inspired many other revolutions around the world.

How did the French Revolution impact the American Revolution?

France’s support was crucial in the American Revolution, and this experience influenced their own revolution by fueling ideas of liberty and equality.

What was the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution?

The Reign of Terror was a period of extreme fear and violence during the French Revolution, characterised by mass executions and the suppression of political dissent.

The French Revolution changed the face of France and inspired people across the world to strive for liberty and equality. Understanding this historical event is not only crucial for competitive exams but also for comprehending the essence of freedom and equality that continues to shape our world today.

Related Blogs

Lord Chelmsford: Colonial Administrator and Military LeaderWarren Hastings: Life, Legacy and Lesson
The Disintegration of USSR | World History Notes – Leverage EduFirst India Pakistan War of 1947-1948: Causes and Aftermath

Hope you have gotten all the relevant information about the ‘French Revolution’! If you want to know more about topics like this, then visit our general knowledge page! Alternatively, you can also read our blog on general knowledge for competitive exams!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *