On 14 July 1789 hundreds of French city workers stormed the Bastille fortress in Paris. This marked the beginning of the French Revolution, which would last for 10 years. The Revolution destroyed the Old Order in France that determined every single person's position and rights. Workers who had long been denied rights and privileges grew frustrated and angry that the higher classes would never be fair to them. They decided to challenge the ruling order to force change.

In this topic we focus on what the conditions in France were like before the revolution. We outline the causes, the course of the revolution, and the rise of Napoleon. Our focus is on how the foundations of modern democracy were established and we examine the concepts of liberty, equality, fraternity and individual freedom that were expressed in France in the late 18th century.

There may be minor changes to the curriculum from year to year, teachers always check with your Curriculum Advisor and students, check with your teacher.


For a list of classroom worksheet and homework activities on the French Revolution visit www.schoolhistory.co.uk.


Brits, J. P. (1995). The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Historical and Political Terms, Johannesburg: Penguin Books.Perry, M. (1996). Western Civilization. A Brief History, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.|Wright, E. (1992). An illustrated history of the Modern World, London: Chancellor Press.|Moore, R (date unknown) The French Revolution [online], available at: www.napoleonguide.com

Collections in the Archives