The French Revolution and Napoleon

The French Revolution was the reaction to many actual and percieved injustices that existed in French society. French nobles tried desparately to keep many feudal systems in place, ensuring political and economic power. The rest of French society, strenghtened by the Enlightenment and the success of the American Revolution, yearned for more freedom. This clash of ideologies and the myriad of leaders made the French Revolution one of the most complex revolutions in history.



Bastille Natural Rights First Estate Second Estate Third Estate
Estates General Bourgeoisie Parlements National Assembly Tennis Court Oath
Great Fear of 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen Civil Constitution of the Clergy Declaration of Pillnitz Committee of Public Safety
Flight to Varennes Reign of Terror Thermidorean Reaction Directory Napoleon's Civil Code
Continental System Battle of Waterloo Concordat Hundred Days Elba



Abbe Sieyes Olympe de Gouges Jacobins Robespierre Napoleon



  1. Explain the start of the French Revolution. Was it caused by social/political inequality, or poor economic management on the part of the king?
  2. Explain the inequalities that existed in the French Estate system.
  3. To what extent was the French nobility responsible for the French Revolution?
  4. Describe the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Why is it such an important document?
  5. What role did women play in the Revolution?
  6. Explain how the Committee of Public Safety came to power and what its core beliefs were.
  7. Why did France declare war against Austria and other nations once the French king had been deposed?
  8. Why did other countries around France worry about the French Revolution?
  9. What different groups ruled France between 1789 and 1800? Why was there such a high turnover in leadership?
  10. What problems in France contributed to the rise of Napoleon?
  11. How did Napoleon try and reconcile with the Catholic church?
  12. Describe Napoleon's foreign policy.
  13. Why was Napoleon not able to conquer England? What role did the Continental System play in that failure?
  14. What was Napoleon's downfall?
  15. What type of government was established in France after Napoleon was ousted from power?


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