French Revolution 1789
Where can I find information about the French Revolution in 1789?
Copperplate engraving of execution of Louis XVI by Georg Heinrich Sieveking on Flickr.
Entry last updated: 12/10/18
The French Revolution often referred to as the Revolution of 1789 took place in France between 1787 and 1799. It was a response to social and political inequalities and led to the development of a constitution and the overthrow of the monarchy. There have been various revolutions in France over time, which include the July Revolution of 1830, June Rebellion of the Paris Uprising of 1832 and the February Revolution of 1848.
This site has general overviews and revision material on a variety of topics including the French Revolution.
- Type your keywords 'French revolution' into the search bar.
- Select a link (eg SparkNotes: The French Revolution (1789–1799)).
- From the list of contents select a chapter such as France's financial crisis.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.
This website has a useful video series on the French Revolution.
- Type your keywords 'French Revolution' into the search bar.
- Select a video such as Reign of Terror.
Tips: Websites that have .org or .net in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the organisation’s mission and values are.
Another great place to look is EPIC. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics and is put together especially for New Zealand school students. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.
This is an information resource for schools with encyclopedia articles, journals and periodicals, multimedia, primary sources, and other learning resources.
- Select a level.
- Do a search using the keywords 'French Revolution'.
- Select a link eg French Revolution ((1789–1799) France).
- You can move up or down a level if you need to.
- Also check the list of related resources including primary sources.
Tips: Search words, or keywords, are the most important words in our question. Usually it's better to leave out small words like the, a and of and just choose the main ones, [eg French Revolution]. We can always change our keywords or add more if we need to.
This database provides an overview of world history that covers including French Revolution
- Do a keyword search eg 'French Revolution'
- Select an article from the results which appear such as Maximilien Robespierre.
Tips: Not all the articles show up in the top layer. Click on the header to see more.
For studying people involved in the French Revolution, this is a good database to use.
- Do a keyword search using the name of the individual such as 'Lafayette' or 'Georges-Jacques Danton'.
- Select an article such as this one on Danton
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
This site has many primary sources, including images, maps and songs as well as essays on the French Revolution.
- Search by keyword e.g. 'Danton' or 'Lafayette'.
- Browse by material type.
- or explore themes like Women and the Revolution.
Tips: A website’s address (URL) can give you a hint about how reliable it is. Look for addresses in the results that include .gov or .edu in the URL. These are quality sites from overseas government or educational organisations.
There have been many books written about the French Revolution - check out your local public or school library to see what they have.
Some recommended titles are:
- The French Revolution by Stewart Ross.
- The French Revolution: from Enlightenment to tyranny by Ian Davidson.
- Liberty or death: the French Revolutions by Peter McPhee.