1789-1804 The Revolution & The Consulate

  • © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Angot

    © ATOUT FRANCE/Michel Angot

1789-1804 The Revolution & The Consulate Place de la Bastille Paris fr

The French Revolution (1789-1799) abolished the monarchy. This troubled and eventful period was to engulf France in fire and bloodshed, with major changes in the French people's way of life both socially and politically.

In 1789, following a meeting of the States General, the Assemblée Nationale declared itself a Constitutional Assembly. The Bastille castle prison, a symbol hated by the people, was taken on 14 July, 1789. This date was to become and remain the French national day.

Events occurred in quick succession. The abolition of privileges was voted on 4 August, 1789, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen on 26 August, 1789. Church property was declared the property of the nation and the year 1789 ended with the change of the calendar and the creation of the French départements. After the flight of King Louis XVI to Varennes, the Legislative Assembly in 1791, the National Convention in 1792 and the First Republic were established. Louis XVI was executed in 1793 while the West of the country rose in rebellion with the Chouans.

During the Reign of Terror in 1794, Robespierre sent first to prison and then to the guillotine, thousands of nobles and citizens, while on the frontiers the war continued. The Corsican corporal Bonaparte, came to prominence on the political and military scene and, after the creation of the Directory in 1795, took command of the army in Italy and then in Egypt. The succession of victories ensured the popularity of General Napoleon Bonaparte who became Consul in 1799, thus marking the end of the Revolution. The Consulate put an end to the Terror and kept the country at peace until the First Empire.


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