Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution
TimelineGlobal Revolution
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Change of Power: 1789

Opening of the Estates General
Opening of the Estates General


January: The Abbe Sieyes publishes "What Is the Third Estate?," which claims that the Third Estate alone (everyone but the Nobility and the Clergy) is the French nation. "What has it been?" he asked: "Nothing." – "What shall it be? Everything!"
May 5: The Estates-General begins to meet at Versailles. It is made up of representatives from France three traditional estates: the clergy, the nobility, and the Third Estate (everybody else).
May: The Jacobin Club is formed during the Estates General meeting. Initially moderate, it become increasingly radical as the Revolution progresses and leaders of the Reign of Terror emerge from it.
Marie Antoinette and her children Marie Therese and Louis Joseph
Marie Antoinette and her children Marie Therese and Louis Joseph
June 4: Marie Antoinette’s son, the Dauphin Louis Joseph, dies of tuberculosis.
June 17: The Third Estate defects from the Estates-General and declares itself The National Assembly. They urge the other two Orders to join them.
June 19: A few nobles and several clergy join the National Assembly.
The Oath of the Tennis Court
The Oath of the Tennis Court
June 20 The Third Estate is locked out of their meeting hall, so the group (now calling itself the National Assembly) meets in an abandoned indoor tennis court. They vow not to disband until a constitution is created and approved. The vow is known as the Tennis Court Oath.
June 23: The Third Estate defies Louis XVI's order that the three estates continue to meet separately.
June 27 The king concedes and orders the Nobles and Clergy to join the Third Estate as the National Assembly.
July 1: The government, concerned by the National Assembly’s aggressiveness, starts gathering troops outside Paris.
Demonstrators at the Palais-Royal
Demonstrators at the Palais-Royal
July 2: Demonstrators gather at the Palais-Royal in the center of Paris for a mostly peaceful but passionate rally against the increased military presence.
July 7: The National Assembly, which now includes clergy, nobles, and commoners, creates a thirty-member committee to draft a new constitution.
July 9: The National Assembly proclaims itself the Constituent National Assembly and sets forth to create and adopt a constitution.
July 11: King Louis XVI, dismisses finance minister Jacques Necker. His removal is one of the events that inspires the attack on the Bastille.


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

The Third Estate
Learn more about Abbé Sieyes, author of "What is the Third Estate?"

Tennis Court Oath
Explore the King's Tennis Courts, site of the Tennis Court Oath.

Fact or Fiction Quiz