How much do you know about the French Revolution? Quiz

By: Jaclyn Lavine
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Do you remember the French Revolution? Can you recall every battle, every coup d' eta, every execution? Or do you think that Napolean is just a desert with no greater significance? Take this quiz and find out!

Why was the French monarchy in crisis before the start of the revolution?

France sent mass amounts of money and aid to America during the American Revolution. Which is odd, considering how Louis XVI did not support the Revolution happening in his country. Harvest had failed, and people were starving while the king and queen seemed to hemorrhage​ money they didn't have.

How many phases were in there in the revolution?

The first phase of the revolution began after he harvests and the people are starving, open revolt soon follows. In the second phase, the ​fight is between the burgeois (middle class) and proletariat (working class) rather than between the burgeois and the nobility. The third phase was the bloodiest with reactionary gangs beating up revolutionists.

Louis XVI was the last king of what line of monarchs?

House Bonaparte was the last house to rule France before it became a Republican government for the third and last time​ in 1870.

How old was Marie Antoinette when she married Louis XVI?

Marie Antoinette married Louis at age 15, to cement the new alliance between the French and Habsburg thrones. Louise was 16.

What was Marie Antoinette rumored to have done?

However, Marie Antoinette never actually said that the starving poor should “eat cake” if they had no bread. In fact, the story of a ​wealthy fat woman who said “Let them eat cake!” appears in the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions, which was written around 1766 (when Marie Antoinette was just 11 years old).

How were the estates of the realm divided prior the to revolution?

First Estate (clergy); the Second Estate (nobility); and the Third Estate (commoners).

How old was Marie Antoinette when she was sent to the guillotine?

Marie Antoinette died on October 16, 1793. She was 37 years old.

What perentage of the estates were the Third Estate?

Despite the fact that they made up 98% of the Estates, the Third Estate could still be outvoted by the other two bodies. Leading up to the convening of the Estates-General, the Third Estate was frustrated and began to mobilize support.

What did the Third Estate want leading up to the Estates-General?

The Third Estate wanted equal representation and voting by head and not by status. Sounds similar to the American Revolution​, right?

What was the National Assembly?

The Estates-General convened at Versailles​ but quickly erupted into hostility. The Third Estate decided to meet alone and form the National Assembly.

What was the "Tennis Court Oath"

The oath made between the members of the National Assembly during a meeting that occurred when the talks at the Estates-General had stalled. The Third Estate decided to meet at a nearby Tennis Court when they made an oath vowing not to disperse until constitutional reform had been achieved. Within a week, most of the clerical deputies and 47 liberal nobles had joined them, and on June 27 Louis XVI grudgingly absorbed all three orders into the new assembly.

When did the French Revolution begin?

The medieval fortress signified royal authority and the abuse of the monarchy. The prison contained seven inmates at the time of the storming. Rioters were afraid of a military coup and stormed the Bastille​ in an attempt to secure gunpowder​ and weapons.

How was the Bastille torn down?

The revolutionaries didn't have any powerful explosives (or guns, remember that's why they were storming the Bastille!). Men, women, and children that stormed the fortress tore it down by hand. The bricks were later given or sold away as symbols of the breakdown of tyranny.

What does “la Grande peur” mean?

After the storming of the Bastille, a great wave of revolutionary fervor and hysteria swept the country. Peasants looted and burned the​ homes of tax collectors, landlords, and the seigniorial elite.

What was a significant result from the Great Fear and the subsequent revolts?

The historian Georges Lefebvre later called the abolition​ of feudalism as the "death certificate of the old order."

What was the Declaration of the Right of Man and of the Citizen?

The document proclaimed the Assembly’s commitment to replace the ancient régime with a system based on equal opportunity, freedom of speech, popular sovereignty and representative government.

When was France's first written constitution adopted?

Adopted on September 3, 1791, France’s first written constitution echoed the moderate voices in the Assembly, establishing a constitutional monarchy in which the king enjoyed royal veto power and the ability to appoint ministers.

What happened to he king on August 10, 1792?

The next month, hundreds of accused counter-revolutionaries were executed, and the National Convention proclaimed the abolition of the monarchy and the establishment of the French republic and the king was tried for treason and crimes against the state. ​

When was King Louis XVI sent to the guillotine?

Nine months later, his wife Marie-Antoinette suffered the same fate.

What was the Reign of terror?

In June 1793, the Jacobins seized control of the National Convention and enacted a series of radical measures. They eradicated Christianity and created a new calendar, sending thousands to the guillotine​ in the process.

Who was Maximilien Robespierre?

Robespierre was the leader of the Jacobins and the draconian Committee of Public Safety until his ​execution on July 28th, 1974.

Who was Victor de Riqueti, Marquis de Mirabeau?

Mirabeau was a moderate and di not agree with the extreme views of the Jacobins. Instead, he wanted to follow the English parliamentary form of government with the king serving as a constitutional head. He hoped that the National Assembly would co-operate with the king which made him suspect to the Jacobins who condemned​ him as a "traitor."

Who was Marat (1742-1793)?

Marat was famously responsible from the revolt of May 31, 1793, ​that expelled the Girondist members from their Assembly.He called for their execution and had no problem executing thousands of aristocrat in the name of the Revolution and "the people" he so loved.

Who was Danton (1759-94)?

At the start of the Revolution Danton had no qualms with violent executions but in the end, he attempted to work with the Girondist party and advocated for mercy and respect for government. He was later attacked and arrested by a power hungry Robespierre. On April 5th, 1794 he was executed despite being a supporter, albeit a less violent Jacobin​, of the Revolution.

The guillotine was popularized during the French Revolution. Until what year did the guillotine remain a legal form of execution?

France's last guillotine​ execution was in 1977. It was abolished with all forms of capital punishment in 1981.

Why were Revolutionaries called “sans-culottes"?

The revolutionaries wore long trousers called pantaloons rather than the silk knee breeches of the nobility​.

How is Bastille day celebrate today?

Bastile Day is celebrated very similarly​ to the way the 4th of July is celebrated in America. It is considered the French national pride day and the temporary unity of the French nation at the start of the Revolution.

Who was Louis Antoine de Saint-Just?

St. Just inspired the people of France to take up arms and die for their cause. He moved to the border of France as a commissary to the army. During the reign of terror St. Just was nicknamed "Angel of Death" as he organized the arrests and prosecutions of many famous figures of the revolution. He was arrested and guillotined​ during the Thermidorian Reaction.

What was the Thermidorian Reaction?

The National Convention had voted to execute the power-hungry and violent Robespierre and his friend Saint-Just (amongst other members​ of the revolutionary government).

After the execution of Robespierre, what was the new government called?

The National Convention had created a new constitution in 1795. The new government was the Directory which consisted of an executive council of 5 members. The Directory over​whelmed with corruption, political conflict, and financial problems. Without the army, they had no power.

What important event happened in 1799?

Returning from success in Egypt, Napolean ousted the Directory, established​ the Consulate, and named himself the First Consul. The French Revolution was over.

What happened in 1804?

Napoleon crowned himself emperor making the dreams of the French Republic​ and the revolution nothing but a bloody memory.

What happened in 1812?

Two years later​ he abdicated the throne and was exiled to the island of Elba.

What was the Hundred Days Campaign?

On February 26, 1815, Napoleon made his way back to France to reclaim power. The Great Powers of Europe did not like Napolean and declared him an outlaw. War broke out between the Great Powers of Europe (Austria, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia) and Napoleon. After a horrible defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napolean abdicated once again and was exiled. He died at age 51.

When did France finally become a Republic for the last time?

The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France. It began on October 4, 1958. It replaced the parliamentary government of the Fourth Republic with​ a semi-presidential system.

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