The French Revolution

Don your liberty cap and learn these words related to the French Revolution. This vocabulary list covers the overthrow of the monarchy, the establishment of a republic, the Reign of Terror, the coup d'etat of Napoleon Bonaparte, and more.
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. absolutism
    a form of government in which the ruler is unconstrained
  2. ancien regime
    a political and social system that no longer governs
  3. Bastille
    a fortress built in Paris in the 14th century and used as a prison in the 17th and 18th centuries; it was destroyed July 14, 1789 at the start of the French Revolution
  4. Bourbon
    a member of the European royal family that ruled France
  5. bourgeoisie
    a socioeconomic group that is neither wealthy nor poor
  6. citizen
    a native or naturalized member of a state
  7. cockade
    an ornament usually worn on the hat
  8. concordat
    a signed written agreement between two or more parties
  9. conscription
    compulsory military service
  10. conservative
    resistant to change
  11. constitution
    law determining the fundamental principles of a government
  12. coup d'etat
    a sudden and decisive change of government by force
  13. emigre
    someone who leaves one country to settle in another
  14. Enlightenment
    a movement in Europe from about 1650 until 1800 that advocated the use of reason and individualism instead of tradition and established doctrine
  15. Estates General
    assembly of the estates of all France; last meeting in 1789
  16. faction
    a dissenting clique
  17. first estate
    the clergy in France and the heads of the church in Britain
  18. French Revolution
    the revolution in France against the Bourbons; 1789-1799
  19. Georges Jacques Danton
    French revolutionary leader who stormed the Paris bastille and who supported the execution of Louis XVI but was guillotined by Robespierre for his opposition to the Reign of Terror (1759-1794)
  20. Girondin
    a member of the moderate republican party that was in power during the French Revolution; the Girondists were overthrown by their more radical rivals the Jacobins
  21. guillotine
    instrument of execution used for beheading people
  22. Jacobin
    a member of the radical movement that instituted the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution
  23. lettre de cachet
    a warrant formerly issued by a French king who could warrant imprisonment or death in a signed letter under his seal
  24. levy en masse
    the act of drafting into military service
  25. liberty cap
    close-fitting conical cap worn as a symbol of liberty during the French Revolution and in the U.S. before 1800
  26. Louis XIV
    king of France from 1643 to 1715
  27. Louis XVI
    king of France from 1774 to 1792
  28. Marie Antoinette
    queen of France who was unpopular
  29. moderate
    a person who takes a position in the political center
  30. monarchy
    autocracy governed by a ruler who usually inherits authority
  31. Napoleon Bonaparte
    French general who became emperor of the French (1769-1821)
  32. nationalism
    the doctrine that your country's interests are superior
  33. nobility
    a privileged class holding hereditary titles
  34. peasant
    one of a class of agricultural laborers
  35. plebiscite
    a vote determining public opinion on a question
  36. radical
    a person who has revolutionary ideas or opinions
  37. reactionary
    extremely conservative or resistant to change
  38. reign of terror
    any period of brutal suppression thought to resemble the Reign of Terror in France
  39. republic
    a political system in which power lies in a body of citizens
  40. Robespierre
    French revolutionary
  41. royalist
    an advocate of the principles of monarchy
  42. second estate
    the nobility in France and the peerage in Britain
  43. secular
    not concerned with or devoted to religion
  44. suffrage
    a legal right to vote
  45. taxation
    imposition of charges against a citizen's person or property
  46. third estate
    the common people
  47. tithe
    a levy of one tenth of something
  48. treason
    a crime that undermines the offender's government
  49. tricolor
    a flag having three colored stripes
  50. Versailles
    a palace built in the 17th century for Louis XIV southwest of Paris near the city of Versailles
Created on January 11, 2017 (updated June 26, 2020)

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