The French Revolution: Key Figures and their Role

Investigate the major players and the ways in which they influenced the French Revolution. Explore the fascinating history of this revolutionary era, from Marie Antoinette through Maximilien Robespierre. In our in-depth guide, find more about the leaders and their influence on the revolutionary cause.

FigureRole
Louis XVIKing of France
Marie AntoinetteQueen of France
Maximilien RobespierreLeader of the Committee of Public Safety
Georges DantonRevolutionary leader, orator
Jean-Paul MaratPolitical theorist, journalist
Napoleon BonaparteMilitary general, later Emperor
Charlotte CordayAssassin of Jean-Paul Marat
Olympe de GougesWomen’s rights advocate
Jacques-Louis DavidNeoclassical painter
Jean-Jacques RousseauPhilosopher, influential thinker
Marquis de LafayetteMilitary officer, key supporter of the Revolution
Camille DesmoulinsJournalist, leader in the early Revolution
Louis Antoine de Saint-JustRevolutionary leader, politician
Louis-Philippe IIDuke of Orléans, later King of the French
Georges CouthonMember of the Committee of Public Safety
Jacques NeckerFinance minister, key reformer
Antoine LavoisierChemist, prominent scientist
Madame de StaëlWriter, salonnière
André-Jacques GarnerinBalloonist, made first parachute descent
Toussaint LouvertureLeader of the Haitian Revolution
François-Noël BabeufPolitical theorist, advocate of egalitarianism
Charles-Maurice TalleyrandDiplomat, key negotiator
Théroigne de MéricourtWomen’s rights advocate, political activist
Jean-Baptiste CarrierRevolutionary leader, known for the Noyades
Germaine de StaëlWriter, political theorist
Louis XVIIIKing of France, Bourbon restoration
Abbé SieyèsClergyman, key figure in the early Revolution
Madame RolandPolitical activist, salonnière
Abbé GrégoireClergyman, advocate of religious and racial tolerance
François-Marie ArouetPhilosopher, known as Voltaire
Louis-Philippe IKing of the French, July Monarchy
Louis XVKing of France
Napoleon IIIEmperor of the French

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