French Revolution Terms
Definition and Significance
Terms in this set (30)
Definition: Extensive landed property especially in the country retained by the owner for his own use.
Significance: A major social class or order of persons regarded collectively as part of the body politic of the country and formerly possessing distinct political rights.
Definition: Tax on property and land, provided permanent income for French royal government.
Significance: An annual direct tax, usually on land or property, that provided a regular source of income for the French monarchy.
Definition: The social class between the lower and upper classes.
Significance: The middle class, including merchants, industrialists, and professional people.
Definition: In the French Revolution, a radical group made up of Parisian wage-earners, and small shopkeepers who wanted a greater voice in government, lower prices, and an end of food shortages.
Significance: A reference to Parisian workers who wore loose-fitting trousers rather than the tight-fitting breeches worn by aristocratic men.
Definition: A person who uses goods or services.
Significance: A buyer of goods primarily intended for personal, family, or household use.
Definition: Intentionally and cruelly excluding someone from a group.
Significance: The right to prevent participation and shutting out.
Definition: King of France executed for treason by the National Convention absolute monarch husband of Marie Antoinette.
Significance: In 1789 he summoned the Estates-General, but he did not grant the reforms that were demanded and revolution followed. Louis and his queen, Marie Antoinette, were executed in 1793.
Tennis Court Oath
Definition: A pledge made by the members of France's National Assembly in 1789, in which they vowed to continue meeting until they had drawn up a new constitution.
Significance: This is the oath that the representatives of the third estate took when they swore that they would never disband until they had proper representation. Vow by members of the 3rd estate not to disband until a constitution was written.
Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
Definition: Adopted August 26, 1789, created by the National Assembly to give rights to all (except women).
Significance: This was the new constitution that the National Assembly wrote that gave all citizens free expression of thoughts and opinions and guaranteed equality before the law.
Olympe de Gouges
Definition: French journalist who demanded equal rights for women.
Significance: A proponent of democracy, she demanded the same rights for French women that French men were demanding for themselves. In her Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), she challenged the practice of male authority and the notion of male-female inequality. She lost her life to the guillotine due to her revolutionary ideas.
Definition: A crucial stage or turning point in the course of something.
Significance: An unstable situation of extreme danger or difficulty.
Definition: Charge against a citizen's person or property or activity for the support of government
Significance: The practice of requiring people to pay taxes to support a government.
Definition: Forced replacement of top government leaders by a new group of leaders.
Significance: A sudden, powerful political stroke, esp. The forcible overthrow of government.
Definition: Of concern to or concerning the internal affairs of a nation.
Significance: Of or involving the home or family.
Definition: Happening or arising or located outside or beyond some limits or especially surface.
Significance: Purely outward or superficial.
Definition: Person appointed to vote in presidential elections for the major candidates.
Significance: Member of a party chosen in each state to formally elect the president and vice president.
Definition: Radical republicans during the French Revolution. They were led by Maximilien Robespierre from 1793 to 1794.
Significance: This was the group of people in the National Assembly that met to discuss the political questions of the day.
Committee of Public Safety
Definition: The leaders under Robespierre who organized the defenses of France, conducted foreign policy, and centralized authority during the period 1792-1795.
Significance: Established and led by Robespierre, fixed bread prices and nationalized some businesses. Basically secret police and also controlled the war effort. Instigated the Reign of Terror.
Definition: Leading figure of the French Revolution; he was known for his intense dedication to the Revolution. He became increasingly radical and lead the National Convention during its most bloodthirsty time
Significance: A member of the National Convention. Led the Mountain side of the National Convention. Had the Mountains join forces with the sans-culottes, as well as joining the Committee of Public Safety. Helped France's financial situation through the concept of planned economy (setting price limits on certain products). Was a very large part of the radicalization of France, but efforts eventually led to the fall of France and take-over by Napoleon Bonaparte. He claimed that the Revolution was over. In a sense he was right; the last reforms were made in 1791. The people strongly disliked him for his views on the disablement of speaking against the republic. He was one of the main contributors to the laws that stated the death penalty for those who went against the revolution.
Reign of Terror
Definition: The historic period (1793-1794) during the French Revolution when thousands were executed.
Significance: This was the period in France where Robespierre ruled and used revolutionary terror to solidify the home front. He tried rebels and they were all judged severely and most were executed.
Definition: Passed a new constitution in 1795 that was much more conservative. Corrupt and did not help the poor, but remained in power because of military strength. By 1797 it was a dictatorship. 1785-1799. Five man group.
Significance: Established after the Reign of Terror/National Convention; a five man group as the executive branch of the country; incompetent and corrupt, only lasted for 4 years.
Definition: Instrument of execution that consists of a weighted blade between two vertical poles.
Significance: A machine for beheading people, used as a means of execution during the French Revolution.
Definition: Government established in France after the overthrow of the Directory in 1799, with Napoleon as first consul in control of the entire government.
Significance: The premises occupied by a consul, an official appointed by a government to reside in a foreign city in order to represent his or her government's commercial interests and to give assistance to its citizens there.
Definition: A strong feeling of pride in and devotion to one's country.
Significance: The aspiration for national independence felt by people under foreign domination.
Definition: A person who favors a political philosophy of progress and reform and the protection of civil liberties.
Significance: A person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets.
Definition: Overthrew French Directory in 1799 and became emperor of the French in 1804. Failed to defeat Great Britain and abdicated in 1814. Returned to power briefly in 1815 but was defeated and died in exile.
Significance: General; Emperor of France; he seized power in a coup d'état in 1799; he led French armies in conquering much of Europe, placing his relatives in positions of power. Defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, he was exiled on the island of Elba.
Definition: Code of laws established by Napoleon which preserved many of the ideals of the French Revolution
Significance: The French legal code fromulated by Napoleon I (1804-1814) in 1804. Also called the Napoleonic Code, it reaffirmed many of the social liberties that had been introduced during the Revolution (1789-99) while at the same time reestablishing a patriarchal system. Property rights, religious liberty, and equal treatment under the law to all classes of men were assured. However, it curtailed many of the rights of women, restricting them to the private sphere of the home and giving males greater authority over them.
Duke of Wellington
Definition: British soldier and statesman; he led the British troops against Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo.
Significance: Prime Minister of England, 1828 to 1830. Tory but very reactionary. No in favor of reforms and made it difficult for tory reformers to get more done. But Tories lost in election of 1830 to Whigs. New Whig government under Earl Grey then introduced the Reform Bill of 1832 which extended the franchise to the middle class. Duke of W had held tories back from championing reform.
Definition: The site of Napoleon's defeat by British and Prussian armies in 1815, which ended his last bid for power.
Significance: Napoleon met his final defeat, Located in Belgium, the place where the british army and the prussian army forces attacked the french. Napoleon's final defeat against the British and Prussians.
Definition: The tiny island that Napoleon was granted after his abdication or exiled. Off of the coast of Italy.
Significance: This island in the Mediterranean Sea off of Italy where Napoleon was initially exiled after he abdicated the throne for the first time. He promised to never leave, but does so and regains power in France for a short period called the Hundred Days.
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