The French Revolution Quiz


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

It is often called a turning point in the history of humankind, sowing the seeds for democracy and freedom for individuals. How much do you know about the French Revolution?

Which king was largely responsible for the out-of-control spending that nearly sent France into bankruptcy at the end of the 18th century?

A good chunk of that debt was incurred during France's support of the American Revolution.


What faction made up the "third estate?"

The common people decided that the first and second estates had become unnecessary to the well-being of regular citizens.


Which event is often considered the spark that set the French Revolution in full motion?

The Bastille was a symbol of the doomed monarchy and its fall encouraged protesters throughout France.


What was the Bastille?

More importantly, it was a very visible reminder of the monarchy, and it was right in the center of Paris.


How many of the rebellious mob were killed as they stormed the Bastille?

Only one defender died; the lopsided body count was probably attributable to the fact that the soldiers were protected by the fortress.


In 1792, the king was arrested by which group?

He was caught disguised as a servant while trying to escape the country.


Which group made up the "first estate?"

Most of these men were poorer clergy, but about 10% were noblemen who had significant power in society.


What was NOT an element of the Great Fear?

Rich people were worried that the peasants were going to rise against them; poor people feared that aristocrats would do anything to stop the revolution.


What act brought the Great Fear to halt?

The National Assembly declared that feudalism was abolished, instantly making French nobility worried for their futures and their lives.


What was the status of agriculture at the beginning of the revolution?

Years of drought had ruined the food supply, another factor in the revolution.


Which group made up the "second estate?"

They made up less than 2% of the population and their outsized power made them targets of the revolutionaries.


What sorts of people were singled out and killed during the Reign of Terror?

But without any sort of organized system of justice, many people were rounded up and murdered for no good reason.


About how many people may have been executed during the Reign of Terror?

Many others rotted away in prison without ever receiving any kind of trial.


Why were royalist prisoners executed in the September Massacres?

As a preemptive action, the revolutionaries simply murdered them.


If a person was convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal, what was likely to be the next thing that happened to them?

There were no appeals; the Tribunal commonly sentenced people (many innocent) to death by guillotine.


The revolution brought an end to how many years of continual rule by monarchy?

Until the revolution, generation after generation of French citizens had been subjected to royal whims.


What happened to the body of Marie Louise of Savoy, who had been a friend of the queen?

The revolutionaries were not afraid to express their rage in heinous ways.


After the adoption of the first constitution on Sep. 3, 1791, which powers did the king NOT retain?

The constitution didn't go far enough for many revolutionaries, who immediately set about looking for ways to further strip the monarchy's powers.


What was the Declaration of Pillnitz?

Instead of striking fear into the hearts of revolutionaries, it further stoked their desire to destroy the monarchy.


Which person is often described as a driving force behind the Reign of Terror?

Many historians believe that he helped increase the violent excesses of the Reign of Terror.


What was the nickname for the guillotine?

This tool of execution became a feared symbol of the revolution as a whole; it was used to kill both aristocrats and common people.


The guillotine was in use in France until what year?

It wasn't until 1981 that France finally outlawed capital punishment and put the guillotine away for good.


What problem plagued the new "Directory" that was established by the 1795 constitution?

Political corruption turned the organization inside out and it gradually lost power to the military.


What did the Tennis Court Oath entail?

Their persistence paid off, and within a week the king was forced to address their concerns.


Which group sparked the Reign of Terror?

The Mountain (or the Montagnards) were an extremist group within the revolution that in some cases took drastic actions.


The death of which person triggered the Thermidorian Reaction?

The Reaction strove to stop the insanity of the Reign of Terror, creating a calmer environment for the restructuring of society.


What was the name of the document signed by the National Constituent Assembly in 1789?

It has since become a symbol for human and civil rights movements all over the world.


Which American had a hand in the content and tone of the "Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen?"

Jefferson's steadfast ideals and wisdom helped shape the declaration, which in turn influenced generations of freedom-loving people.


Of what crime was King Louis XVI found guilty?

He was executed in early 1793, a permanent end to his reign.


What sort of government did France wind up with at the end of the Revolution?

Napoleon established the Consulate and then the First Empire, and he was the indisputable leader.


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