Marxists Internet Archive: History Archive: France: French Revolution

Principal Dates and Time Line of the
French Revolution

First phase: Harvests have failed and starvation stalks France, the peasantry are in open and continuing revolt across the country.

June-July 1788:Insurrection at Grenoble.
8th August 1788:Louis XVI convokes État-général on suggestion of former finance minister Jacques Necker, to hear grievances.
5th May 1789:Opening of the État-général at Versailles.
17th June 1789:Representatives of the tiers état form a National Assembly swearing not to leave until a new constitution is established.
23rd June 1789:King rejects Resolutions of the tiers etat.
9th July 1789:National Assembly declares itself Constituent Assembly.
12th July 1789:Necker is dismissed. 50,000 citizens arm themselves with pikes and form National Guard.
14th July 1789:Armed citizens storm and capture the Bastille.
15th July 1789:Lafayette appointed Commander of National Guard.
17th July 1789:‘Great Fear’ begins as peasants revolt across France.
5-11 August 1789:National Assembly decrees abolition of feudalism.
26th August 1789:National Assembly decrees Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
5th October 1789:Women lead delegation to King in Versaille demanding bread. After scuffles, they are fobbed off by the King.
6th October 1789:King returns to Paris.
2nd November 1789:Constituent Assembly decrees expropriation of Church property.
16th December 1789:National Assembly legislates for departments, etc.
28th January 1790:Removal of civil disabilities against Jews.
13th February 1790:Suppression of religious orders and vows.
19th June 1790:Abolition of nobility and titles.
14th July 1790:Civil Constitution, subordinating the Church to the civil government, inaugurated by Louis XVI.
18th August 1790:First counter-revolutionary assembly at Jalès.
30th January 1791:Mirabeau elected President of the French Assembly.
2nd March 1791:Abolition of Royal guilds and monopolies.
15th May 1791:Black citizens of French colonies granted equal rights.
21st June 1791:Louis XVI attempts to flee to Varennes but is recognised and forcibly returned to Paris.
15th July 1791:Assembly declares King inviolable and restores his prerogatives.
17th July 1791:National Guard fires on crowd protesting against restoration of the King.
13th September 1791:King formally accepts Constitution.
30th September 1791:Constituent Assembly dissolves.
1st October 1791:Legislative Assembly commences.
9th November 1791:Civil marriage and divorce instituted. Assembly orders all émigrés to return under pain of death.
11th November 1791:King vetoes Assembly’s ruling on émigrés.
January-March 1791:Food riots across Paris.
9th February 1791:Property of émigrés forfeited.
20th April 1792:France declares war on Austria, but French army flees at sight of the enemy.
20th June 1792:Jacobin Insurrection, again thwarted by gestures by the King, but Jacobins continue to defy the Assembly.
25th July 1792:Duke of Brunswick publishes call for allied attack on France.
10th August 1792:Jacobin masses storm the Tuileries Palace, massacring the Swiss Guard, and the King imprisoned.
19th August 1792:Lafayette flees to Austria.
22nd August 1792:Royalist riots in the Vendée, Britanny; armies suffer setbacks at Langwy and Verdun.

Second phase: Henceforth the struggle is between bourgeois and proletariat, rather than nobility and bourgeoisie.

1st September 1792:General mobilisation, citizens sent to the front.
2nd September 1792:Danton instigates the massacre of about 1,200 Royalists held in Parisian prisons.
20th September 1792:French forces defeat the invading force at Valmy. Henceforth the Revolution would enjoy victory in its military conflicts.
21st September 1792:The Convention elected by the Legislative Assembly commences, abolishes monarchy; day one of the Republican Calendar.
19th November 1792:“Edict of Fraternity” offers aid to “subject peoples.”
11th December 1792:Trial of the king begins.
21st January 1793:Louis XVI executed.
1st February 1793:France declares war on Britain and Holland.
25th February 1793:Food riots in Paris.
6th April 1793:Committee of Public Safety established.
24th April 1793:Marat put on trial for complicity in September massacre but is acquitted.
4th May 1793:Maximum price of bread imposed.
27th May 1793:Uprising of Paris Commune against the Convention
2nd June 1793:Expulsion of the Girondists (the party of compromise) from all offices. The Commune of Paris becomes the centre of power.
24th June 1793:Jacobin Constitution accepted by the Convention.
13th July 1793:Marat, “the people’s friend,” murdered by Charlotte Corday.
17th July 1793:Corday executed amid popular outrage.
1st August 1793:Metric system of measures adopted.
23rd August 1793:Levée en masse (conscription) decreed.
4-5th September 1793:Popular riots in Paris.
17th September 1793:“Law of Suspects” initiates the Terror.
14th October 1793:Marie-Antoinette tried and executed.
23rd October 1793:Republican Calendar decreed.
24th October 1793:22 Girondists tried and executed.
10th November 1793:Festival of Liberty and Reason.
24th March 1794:Robespierre, the Committee of Public Safety and Jacobin Club denounce the Hébertists and Dantonists on framed-up charges and execute all the popular leaders. Robespierre becomes virtually the dictator.
18th May 1794:Robespierre decreed the new religion of the Supreme Being.
8th June 1794:The day of inauguration of the Supreme Being.
10th June 1794:(22 Prairial) procedures for mass trial and execution implemented. Victims will go to the guillotine now in batches of 50 or 60 at a time. An estimated 2,750 are executed of whom the great majority are poor.
27th July 1794:(9th Thermidor) Convention calls for arrest of Robespierre. Robespierre attempts insurrection which flops, is arrested and executed. After about 150 of his supporters are done away with, the Terror is over.

Third phase: The reaction. Limit on price of bread removed. Reactionary gangs beat up revolutionists in the streets.

12th November 1794:Jacobin Club is suppressed by the Convention.
1st January 1795:The Churches re-open for Christian worship.
May-June 1795:White Terror instituted in the South.
8th June 1795:The Dauphin dies in prison, Comte de Provence assumes title of Louis XVIII.
22nd August 1795:Constitution of Year III approved, establishing Directory.
5th October 1795:Royalists attempt a coup and Napoleon Bonaparte makes his name suppressing the move with grapeshot. The popular party gains strength, Gracchus Babeuf is its spokesperson, holding running meetings at the Pantheon.
26th October 1795:The Convention dissolves itself in favour of a dictatorship of the Directorate.
2nd February 1796:Napoleon assumes command of French army in Italy.
26th February 1796:Directorate bans popular meetings at the Panetheon.
10th May 1796:Leaders of Babeuf’s “Conspiracy of Equals” arrested.
7th September 1796:100s of supporters of Babeuf attack palace of the Directorate but are routed.
27th May 1797:Babeuf and his supporters are convicted but take their own lives.
May 1797:Elections produce a Royalist majority. Elections in 1798 and 1799 produce a more radical result and are annulled by the Directorate.
18th June 1799:Directorate resigns.
9th November 1799:(18th Brumaire) Napoleon Bonaparte named “First Consul,” now the effective dictator.
2nd December 1804:Napoleon consecrated as Emperor.