Key dates 1787-1794

Chronology from Le Maitron 1791-1794 of key dates in French labour history

Authors: Stéphane Sirot, additional material by Michel Cordillot, René Lemarquis et Claude Pennetier, and from 1787 to 1790 by Steve Jefferys


May 25 Assembly of Notables called by Louis XVI to support his proposals to raise taxes and put pressure on the 13 local Parlements to endorse them was dissolved after failing to agree to them.


May 5-6 Paris rioted when its Parlement was surrounded by troops after refusing to register the new tax laws and called for the King to call an Estates-General meeting.


January 24 Louis XVI called for elections to the Estates-General, the only body with the power to advise the King to raise taxes directly.

April 28 After a candidate in the Paris elections argued that deregulating the price of bread would allow wage cuts a riot took place around his wallpaper factory and home in the Rue de Montreuil, during which some 25 people were killed by the troops.

May 5 The deputies from the nobility, clergy and Third Estate (everyone else) met in Versailles near the royal chateau.

June 17 The Third Estate deputies voted to declare themselves a National Assembly, representing the people of France.

June 20 After the King ordered the closure of the Assembly’s meeting place the delegates met in a nearby Tennis Court and swore ‘The Tennis Court Oath‘ not to disperse until they had agreed a new French Constitution.

July 13 After Louis XVI began to move troops into Paris, the new Paris Assembly of Voters and its Third Estate deputies decided to create a militia of male voters to defend order and their property.

July 14 When the militia were prevented from taking gunpowder from the Bastille fort/prison for the muskets they had seized, shots were exchanged and a short siege took place before the Bastille governor surrendered.

August 4 The National Constituent Assembly passed the first of 19 decrees carried in just one week that ended the privileges of the nobility and went on to abolish taxes to be paid to the Church and then to end serfdom.

August 26 The Assembly passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

October 5-6 After some 10,000 women marched from Paris to Versailles, under great pressure the royal family agreed to go back with them the next day to live in the Tuileries Palace in Paris.


May 21 The Constituent Assembly established the Paris Commune with each of 48 administrative sections sending three delegates to the new municipal government, voted in by ‘active’ citizens – men aged 25 and over who paid taxes.

June 19 Hereditary peerage abolished by the Constituent Assembly.

July 12 A new Civil Constitution for the Clergy was passed, requiring the clergy to give an oath of fidelity to France.


March 2, March 17 The Allarde Law outlaws corporations and proclaims the principles of the freedom of work, business and industry.

May 22, June 14 The Le Chapelier law outlaws combinations of tradespeople/workers and strikes.

July 20 All agreements on wages and prices are banned.


June 20 The Parisian Sans-Culottes (trouser wearing workers) storm the Tuileries Palace and force King Louis XVI to wear the red phrygian bonnet.

August 10 The Sans-Culottes create a insurrectional commune (Paris government) invade the Tuileries Palace and overthrow the monarchy.

August 11 Universal suffrage is enacted by the Legislative Assembly.


April 6 Committee of Public Safety established by the National Convention.

May 24 The Girondins arrest the ‘Enragés’ Jacques Hébert.

May 31 A Paris insurrection takes place against the Girondins.

July 27 Maximilien Robespierre is elected to the Committee of Public Safety.

September 5 The leader of the Enragés, Jacques Roux, is arrested.


March 13, March 24 The remaining Enragés leaders, known as Hébertists, are arrested, tried and then executed.

July 28 Robespierre is executed in the Place de la Concorde.

PLACES 1791-1794