Old regime
The political and social system that existed in France before the French Revolution
One of the three social classes in France before the French Revolution
First estate
Second estate
Third estate
The rest of the population
Louis XVI
Wanted to improve life for the people but was not a good leader, queen gave him poor advice, increased debt, king of France
Marie Antoinette
Louis XVI's queen, spent a lot of money on herself and parties, from Austria, hated in France
An assembly of representatives from all three of the estates, or social classes, in France
National Assembly
A French congress established by representatives of the third estate on June 17, 1789, to enact laws and reforms in the name of the French people
Tennis court oath
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
Great fear
A wave of senseless panic that spread through the French countryside after the storming of the Bastille in 1789
Legislative assembly
A French congress with the power to create laws and approve declarations of war, established by the constitution of 1791
A person who leaves their native country for political reasons, like the nobles and others who fled France during the peasant uprisings of the French Revolution
In the French Revolution, a radical group made up of Parisian wage-earners and small shop-keepers who wanted a greater voice in government, lower prices, and an end to food shortages
A radical political organization mainly involved in governmental changes in September 1792, a member
A machine for beheading people, used as a means of execution during the French Revolution
Maximilien Robespierre
Jacobin leader, set out to build a "republic of virtue" (wiping out every trace of France's past), created new calendar without a Sunday, thought religion was old fashioned, closed many churches, became leader of the Committee of Public Safety in 1793, governed France as a dictator
Reign of terror
The period, from mid-1793 to mid-1794, when Robespierre ruled France nearly as a dictator and thousands of political figures and ordinary citizens were executed
Napoleon Bonaparte
Born in Corsica, when revolution broke out, he joined the army of the new government, hailed throughout Paris as the savior of the French Republic, lead a French army against Austria and won, won in Italy, did not win in Egypt, seized political power, assumed powers of a dictator
Coup d'état
A sudden seizure of political power in a nation
A direct vote in which a country's people have the opportunity to approve or reject a proposal
A government-run public school in France
A formal agreement - especially one between the pope and a government, dealing with the control of church affairs
Napoleonic code
A comprehensive and uniform system of laws established for France by Napoleon
Battle of Trafalgar
An 1805 naval battle in which Napoleon's forces were defeated by a British fleet under the command of Horatio Nelson
The use of troops or ships to prevent commercial traffic from entering or leaving a city or region
Continental system
Napoleon's policy of preventing trade between Great Britain and continental Europe, intended to destroy Great Britain's economy
A member of a loosely organized fighting force that makes surprise attacks on enemy troops occupying his or her country
Peninsular war
A conflict, lasting from 1808 to 1813, in which Spanish rebels, with the aid of British forces, fought to drive Napoleon's French troops out of Spain
Scorched-Earth policy
The practice of burning crops and killing livestock during wartime so that the enemy cannot live off the land
Village in Belgium, attacked by Napoleon, British and Prussian forces drove French out
Hundred days
The brief period during 1815 when Napoleon made his last bid for power, disposing the French kind and again becoming emperor of France
Congress of Vienna
A series of meetings in 1814-1815, during which the European leaders sought to establish long-lasting peace and security after the defeat of Napoleon
Klemens von Metternich
Foreign minister of Austria, wanted things to stay the same, wanted to prevent future French aggression by surrounding France with strong countries, wanted to restore a balance of power so no countries were a threat, and wanted to restore Europe's royal families to the throne they had before Napoleon
Balance of power
A political situation in which no one nation is powerful enough to pose a threat to others
The hereditary right of a monarch to rule
Holy Alliance
A league of European nations formed by the leaders of Russia, Austria, and Prussia after the Congress of Vienna
Concert of Europe
A series of alliances among European nations in the 19th century, devised by Prince Klemens von Metternich to prevent the outbreak of revolutions