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French Revolution Discussion Questions

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Would you like to teach your middle school students about the French Revolution? The following discussion questions will be of assistance as they study the many complexities of the historic decade of upheaval.

Why the French Revolution?

Many historians have made note of the parallelism between the American Revolution and the ensuing French Revolution. In fact, both Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette played key roles in both legendary uprisings. However, the leitmotif of liberty soon yielded to chaos as various factions fought for power and control. Your middle schoolers will learn about many of the consequential events, ideals and main figures that made up the historic French Revolution.

Questions About the Timeline

1789

  • Why did King Louis XVI summon the Estates General on May 5th, and how long had it been since it had previously been summoned?
  • Who took the Tennis Court Oath on June 20th, and why did it turn out to be such a pivotal moment?
  • Who was responsible for the Storming of the Bastille on July 14th, and why is that day celebrated in France each year?
  • Why did so many nobles begin to emigrate from France on July 17th, as they began to foretell the future events?
  • How would you evaluate the significance of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen that was adopted on August 27th?
  • How did the people greet the publication of Marat's radical newspaper on September 16th?

1790

  • What were the French clergy required to do on July 12th, and what happened to their special status?
  • What was the significance of the first annual Bastille Day anniversary celebration on July 14th?
  • What happened to the finance minister Necker on September 4th?

1791

  • What occurred on the Day of Daggers on February 28th?
  • How did the passing of The Chapelier Law by the Assembly on June 14th affect the French citizens?
  • What happened when King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette tried to flee to Austria on June 21st?

1792

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