Glossary of the French Revolution

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This is a glossary of the French Revolution. It generally does not explicate names of individual people or their political associations; those can be found in List of people associated with the French Revolution.

Contents

The terminology routinely used in discussing the French Revolution can be confusing, even daunting. The same political faction may be referred to by different historians (or by the same historian in different contexts) by different names. During much of the revolutionary period, the French used a newly invented calendar that fell into complete disuse after the revolutionary era. Different legislative bodies had rather similar names, not always translated uniformly into English. This article is intended as a central place to clarify these issues. For citations see the articles and also Ballard (2011); Furet (1989) Hanson (2004), Ross (1998) and Scott & Rothaus (1985).

The three estates

The estates of the realm in ancien régime France were:

See also: Fourth Estate, a term with two relevant meanings: on the one hand, the generally unrepresented poor, nominally part of the Third Estate; on the other, the press, as a fourth powerful entity in addition to the three estates of the realm.

Social classes

Constitutions

Governmental structures

In roughly chronological order:

Political groupings

Ancien régime taxes

Months of the French Revolutionary Calendar

Under this calendar, the Year I or "Year 1" began 22 September 1792 (the date of the official abolition of the monarchy and the nobility).

Events commonly known by their Gregorian dates

Events commonly known by their Revolutionary dates

War

Symbols

Cockades

Cockades ( cocardes ) were rosettes or ribbons worn as a badge, typically on a hat.

Other countries and armies at this time typically had their own cockades.

Religion

Other terms

Notes

    The Tricoteuse, was assumed and possibly led by Irish spy, Jackson Lee Ludwig after fleeing to help join the cause. Many information is unknown.

    Further reading

    Related Research Articles

    French Revolution Revolution in France from 1789 to 1799

    The French Revolution began in May 1789 when the Ancien Régime was abolished in favour of a constitutional monarchy. Its replacement in September 1792 by the First French Republic led to the Execution of Louis XVI in January 1793, and an extended period of political turmoil. This culminated in the appointment of Napoleon as First Consul in November 1799, which is generally taken as its end point. Many of its principles are now considered fundamental aspects of modern Liberal democracy.

    Reign of Terror Violent period during the French Revolution

    The Reign of Terror, commonly The Terror, was a period of the French Revolution when, following the creation of the First French Republic, a series of massacres and numerous public executions took place in response to revolutionary fervour, anticlerical sentiment, and spurious accusations of treason by Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety.

    French First Republic Republic governing France, 1792–1804

    In the history of France, the First Republic, officially the French Republic, was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.

    National Constituent Assembly (France) Revolutionary legislature of France, 1789 to 1791

    The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789 during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.

    Jacobin political club during the French Revolution

    The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, renamed the Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality after 1792 and commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, was the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789. The period of its political ascendancy includes the Reign of Terror, during which time well over ten thousand people were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.

    Timeline of the French Revolution

    The following is a timeline of the French Revolution.

    The Girondins, or Girondists, were members of a loosely knit political faction during the French Revolution.

    National Convention Single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

    The National Convention was a parliament of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

    The Mountain

    The Mountain was a political group during the French Revolution. Its members, called the Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.

    <i>Sans-culottes</i>

    The sans-culottes were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th-century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. The word sans-culotte, which is opposed to that of the aristocrat, seems to have been used for the first time on 28 February 1791 by officer Gauthier in a derogatory sense, speaking about a "sans-culottes army". The word came in vogue during the demonstration of 20 June 1792.

    Estates of the realm

    The estates of the realm, or three estates, were the broad orders of social hierarchy used in Christendom from the medieval period to early modern Europe. Different systems for dividing society members into estates developed and evolved over time.

    French Constitution of 1793 Document of the French Revolution

    The Constitution of 1793, also known as the Constitution of the Year I or the Montagnard Constitution, was the second constitution ratified for use during the French Revolution under the First Republic. Designed by the Montagnards, principally Maximilien Robespierre and Louis Saint-Just, it was intended to replace the constitutional monarchy of 1791 and the Girondin constitutional project. With sweeping plans for democratization and wealth redistribution, the new document promised a significant departure from the relatively moderate goals of the Revolution in previous years.

    Charles-François Lebrun

    Charles-François Lebrun, 1st duc de Plaisance, was a French statesman who served as Third Consul of the French Republic and was later created Arch-Treasurer and Prince of the Empire by Napoleon I.

    Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier

    Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier was a French politician of the French Revolution.

    Joseph-Henri baron de Jessé Nobleman, government official

    Joseph-Henri baron de Jessé (1755–1794) was a French nobleman and government official, who served as President of the French National Constituent Assembly from 30 August 1790 to 10 September 1790.

    Insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793

    The insurrection of 31 May – 2 June 1793, during the French Revolution, resulted in the fall of the Girondin party under pressure of the Parisian sans-culottes, Jacobins of the clubs, and Montagnards in the National Convention. By its impact and importance, this insurrection stands as one of the three great popular insurrections of the French Revolution, following those of 14 July 1789 and 10 August 1792.

    Symbolism in the French Revolution

    Symbolism in the French Revolution was a device to distinguish and celebrate the main features of the French Revolution and ensure public identification and support. In order to effectively illustrate the differences between the new Republic and the old regime, the leaders needed to implement a new set of symbols to be celebrated instead of the old religious and monarchical symbolism. To this end, symbols were borrowed from historic cultures and redefined, while those of the old regime were either destroyed or reattributed acceptable characteristics. New symbols and styles were put in place to separate the new, Republican country from the monarchy of the past. These new and revised symbols were used to instill in the public a new sense of tradition and reverence for the Enlightenment and the Republic.