The French Revolution

Pre-listening vocabulary

  • revolution: a movement that leads to change in a political system
  • unrest: a state of anger among the population, often leading to protests
  • reign: the period of time where a king or queen is in power
  • assembly: a group of people with the power to make decisions for a country
  • commoner: a person of lower social status; not a royal or a noble
  • abolish: to put an end to a system or law
  • monarchy: a political system where power is passed down through a family

Listening activity

Gapfill exercise

The French Revolution was a political movement that took place in the late 18th century. The unrest in France began during the reign of King Louis XVI, whose spending had led the country into debt. In order to solve this problem, Louis XVI called on an assembly of French citizens to vote on what to do. However, poor citizens found that higher-class citizens had the power to outvote them. This led to the decision to place higher on commoners. Angered by this decision, the commoners created their own assembly, and began to revolt. After invading Louis XVI’s palace, the revolutionaries gained of France. The new government abolished the monarchy and executed both the king and his wife, Marie Antoinette. But while the king was no longer in charge of France, the French Revolution would for years after his execution, as the new government waged war against other European countries that were afraid their citizens would follow France’s example.

Comprehension questions

1. France was in debt because

Correct! Wrong!

France was in debt because Louis XVI had made poor spending decisions.

2. The commoners were angry because

Correct! Wrong!

The commoners were angry because the higher-class people voted to tax them more.

3. France was at war with other European countries because

Correct! Wrong!

France was at war with other European countries because some leaders were afraid that their people would follow France's example.

Discussion/essay questions

  1. France was one of the first countries in Europe to abolish their monarchy. Many other countries began to do the same thing as time went on. Today, most European countries have elected leaders. Do you think this would have been different if the French Revolution had never happened?

Transcript

The French Revolution was a violent political movement that took place in the late 18th century. The unrest in France began during the reign of King Louis XVI, whose spending decisions had led the country into debt. In order to solve this problem, Louis XVI called on an assembly of French citizens to vote on what to do. However, poor citizens found that higher-class citizens had the power to outvote them. This led to the decision to place higher taxes on commoners. Angered by this decision, the commoners created their own assembly, and began to revolt. After invading Louis XVI’s palace, the revolutionaries gained control of France. The new government abolished the monarchy and executed both the king and his wife, Marie Antoinette. But while the king was no longer in charge of France, the French Revolution would continue for years after his execution, as the new government waged war against other European countries that were afraid their citizens would follow France’s example.

Written and recorded by Jaksyn Peacock for EnglishClub

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