8: The French Revolution and Napoleon I (1774–1815)

This section covers the French Revolution starting with its origins in the 1780s and then  the amazing events of 1789 through to the terror and ultimately the rule of Napoleon. The social, economic, political and intellectual causes of the Revolution are examined along with the impact of the revolution and of Napoleon's domestic and foreign policies upon France and France's neighbours.

The specific content for this topic can be divided up under the following headings:

  • The crisis of the Ancien Régime - social, economic and political background to the revolution
  • Monarchy to Republic: events from the Tennis Court Oath to the fall of Robespierre
  • The Directory: its successes and failures
  • Napoleon's rule: domestic and foreign policy

1. Crisis of the Ancien Régime (ATL)

This section looks at the various threats and crises facing the Ancien Régime by 1788.There is a mixture of starter activities on this page plus source activities summary activities, analytical activities,...

2. The establishment of a consitutional monarchy (1789 - 1791)

The ATL on this page involve activities to help students understand the tumultuous events of 1789 through to the establishment of a new constitution.

3. The establishment of a Republic and the Terror

This section discusses why the establishment of a new constitution in 1791 failed to end the Revolution and why France was to be subjected to a period ofT error and bloodshed in the years 1793 to 1794.

4. The Thermidorean Reaction and the Directory (1795–1799)

The ATL on this page involve activities to help students events after the fall of Napoleon: the Thermidorean reaction, the establishment of, nature of, and collapse of the Directory (1795–1799).

5. The rise and rule of Napoleon (1799 - 1814) (ATL)

This topic gives suggestions for ATL on Napoleon's domestic and foreign policies and their impact on France.

6. French Revolution and Napoleon: Essay frames and writing exercises

This page contains a variety of essay writing exercises and essay plans for this topic.

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