Visit Your Local PBS Station PBS Home PBS Home Programs A-Z TV Schedules Watch Video Donate Shop PBS Search PBS
Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution
TimelineGlobal Revolution
Royal LifeAbout the Film
Famous Faces

Reign of Terror: 1793-1794

Execution in a public square
Execution in a public square

1793

September 5: The Reign of Terror begins when Robespierre declares Terror "the order of the day." This marks the beginning of almost two years of repressing perceived enemies of the Revolution. It will claim an estimated 18,500-40,000 lives before its end in July 1794.
September 21: The Convention requires all women to wear the Republic's tri-colored ribbon insignia.
Marie Antoinette in front of the revolutionary tribunal
Marie Antoinette in front of the revolutionary tribunal
September 29: Law of the general maximum introduced to control prices and regulate wages.
October 5: Revolutionary Calendar introduced as part of the revolutionary program of dechristianization. Year 1 begins with the declaration of the Republic in September 1792.
October 14: Marie Antoinette is put on trial on charges ranging from treason to her role in the Diamond Necklace Affair and sexually abusing her son, the dauphin.
Marie Antoinette on her way to the guillotine
Marie Antoinette on her way to the guillotine
October 15: Before nine male judges, Marie Antoinette is found guilty on all counts by an all-male jury which unanimously condemns her to death.
October 16: Marie Antoinette is executed by guillotine.
October 31: 21 Girondin deputies who have not gone into hiding are executed by Revolutionary Tribunal. Jean-Marie Roland had escaped, but his wife, Manon Roland, is executed a week later as part of the purge.
Marie Antoinette at the guillotine
Marie Antoinette at the guillotine
November 10: The Festival of Reason is celebrated in Notre Dame Cathedral emphasizing the secular principles of knowledge, reason, and political liberty. All churches will soon be closed.
December 19: Napoleon Bonaparte's artillery distinguishes itself in the siege and capture of the French naval port of Toulon, forcing evacuation of the British. Counterrevolution collapses in the Vendée.
December 25: Robespierre justifies revolutionary government as a necessary but temporary form of war against the enemies of liberty. Constitutional government, he argues, can only protect liberty once this war has been won. and liberty has been peacefully established.

1794

February 4: Slavery is abolished in all French colonies.
February 26-March 3: The Laws of Ventose authorize the seizure and redistribution of property belonging to enemies of the Revolution.
April to May: Military danger from external forces decreases.
June 8: Robespierre presides over Festival of the Supreme Being.
June 10: The Law of the 22nd Prairial accelerates judicial procedures for accused enemies of the revolution. The Terror is re-enforced. 2/3 of all executions by Revolutionary Tribunal occur after this date.
July 23: Another wage and price control law is passed.
Interrogation of Robespierre
Interrogation of Robespierre
July 27-28: The Reign of Terror ends with the fall of Robespierre on July 27. The Convention charges Robespierre and his allies with crimes against the Republic. They are accused, condemned, and guillotined within two days executed.

Timeline

Early Years 1755 - 1775Married to France: 1770-1780Queen as Mother: 1780-1786Financial Failings: 1787-1788Change of Power: 1789A Revolution: 1789-1790New Rule: 1791A Monarchy Falls: 1792Revolution Enemies: 1792-1793Reign of Terror: 1793-1794Aftermath: 1794-1799
Explore Versailles Queen's Chamber

Marie Antoinette's Life
Learn more about the Queen's tragic story.

Robespierre
Read more about the Convention president.

Fact or Fiction Quiz