Analyzing Four Causes of the French Revolution

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Causes of The French Revolution

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Activity Overview


When they study history, students should be able to draw parallels between historical events and modern day circumstances. History can help individuals see patterns in events over time – these patterns can help us make predictions about future events, based on current conditions. Identifying parallels is especially interesting during a unit on the French Revolution, as students assess whether or not certain circumstances in the world could potentially cause a revolution. The intent of this activity is to wrap-up study of the French Revolution’s opening sequences.

In this activity, students will use a grid to create a storyboard that links the conditions that caused the French revolution to modern day situations. Their storyboard should include three columns:

  • Column 1: Four conditions that contributed to the French Revolution
  • Column 2: A situation that resembles the conditions of pre-revolutionary France
  • Column 3: A prediction about the situation based on their understanding of the French Revolution

This activity will require the teacher to help their students in researching “hotspots” around the globe to find pre-revolutionary conditions, similar to those described on the left hand side of the third column in the chart below. A great place to start researching is the Council on Foreign Relations.

For a scaffolding suggestion, the teacher can provide a partially filled template, with the four conditions that contributed to the French Revolution already in the left-most column. This will allow students to focus on the link to the present conditions.


Extended Activity

A fourth column could be added to this storyboard titled, “Policy Suggestions”. This column would identify policies that would improve the situation in Column Two. Captions for this column would identify the policy, and explain how and why it would work. Students can research policies that exist in other nations or propose their own and explain the reasoning behind their decision.


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard identifying parallels between the French Revolution and modern day events and make a prediction about what could happen.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the first column, identify and describe the four conditions that led to the French Revolution.
  3. In the second column, research, identify, and describe different situations around the world that parallel each of the four conditions.
  4. In the third column, make a prediction of what you believe could happen based on your knowledge of the Revolution.
  5. Create an illustration for each cell using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  6. Save and submit your storyboard.
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