The French Revolution

The Tennis Court Oath
Revolutionary Tradition and Les Mis
Revolution 1789
--The Monarchy
--Tennis Court Oath
--Fall of the Bastille
--October Days
--Declaration of War
--Palace Invaded
--Louis XVI
--Reign of Terror
-- Fall of Robespierre
--At war
1789 in Les Miserables
--The Terror
--The People
--The Students
--The Monarchy
--Place de Concord
--Notre Dame
Daily Sites
--Street Names
--Children's Names and Games
Works Consulted


Faced with financial crisis, the French Government called a meeting of the Estates General (the French parliamentary body) in May of 1789. The Estates General was made up of members of the First (clergy), Second (nobility), and Third (commoners) Estates and met at Versailles. During the following month, the First and Second Estate clashed with the Third Estate on a variety of issues, including the right to vote by head instead of by order.

 The Tennis Court Oath, 17 June 1789. This painting is by David.


On June 17, the Third Estate decided to break from the Estates General and draw up their own constitution. They also dubbed themselves the "National Assembly." On June 20, 1789 they found themselves locked out of their regular meeting place, and so they gathered in an nearby tennis court and vowed that they would continue to meet until they had established a new constitution for France. This was the first step of the French Revolution, as the Third Estate had no right to act as the National Assembly.

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