The French Revolution Was Plotted on a Tennis Court

The French Revolution Was Plotted on a Tennis Court

1. Fact: The key meeting to plan the French Revolution took place on a tennis court.

This one’s all true. In May 1789, amid widespread discontent and financial crisis, representatives of France’s nobility, clergy and commoners met at the Palace of Versailles. Tired of being outvoted by the two more privileged estates, deputies of the Third Estate—which made up the vast majority of France’s population—declared itself a National Assembly, which would operate outside the monarchy’s supervision. In response to this act of rebellion, King Louis XVI shut down the Estates-General, and closed the hall in which the deputies were meeting. Thinking fast, the newly created assembly met on June 20 on an indoor tennis court at Versailles called the “jeu de paume,” where they pledged not to disband until France adopted a new written constitution.

A week after the famous Tennis Court Oath, the king was forced to give in and allow the first two estates to join the National Assembly. Humiliated by this defeat and spurred on by his advisers, Louis began assembling army troops (including many foreign mercenaries) around Paris and Versailles, and on July 12 he dismissed his popular finance minister, Jacques Necker. Rumors spread of an impending attack on the Third Estate, and on July 14 a crowd of armed Parisians stormed the Bastille, the medieval fortress on the eastern side of Paris that had become a symbol of the monarchy’s absolute power. The French Revolution had begun.

2. Fiction: The French Revolution was an uprising of France’s poorest citizens.

Contrary to the version of the French Revolution made famous in such works as Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” France’s poorest population played a relatively small role in the rebellion. The leaders who emerged in 1789 to defy the king and form the National Assembly were professionals and intellectuals—lawyers, doctors, journalists and writers—and even some members of the nobility, including the Comte de Mirabeau, the Marquis de Condorcet and the Marquis de Lafayette (hero of the American Revolution). The crowds who stormed the Bastille were largely made up of craftspeople and salesmen, and most of the militant “sans-culottes" (meaning "without pants") who claimed to act on behalf of the poorer classes, were merchants, artisans and clerks.

3. Fiction: Crowds stormed the Bastille in order to free political prisoners being held there.

This one’s also a myth. Beginning in the 17th century, the French monarchy put writers and other people they considered troublemakers behind bars at the former medieval fortress turned prison, and the practice continued throughout the 18th century as well. Perhaps the most famous writer imprisoned in the Bastille for sedition was the Voltaire, whose satirical attacks on French politics and religion earned him nearly a year behind bars in 1717.

But by the time of the French Revolution, this wasn’t really happening anymore, and there were only seven prisoners in the Bastille on July 14, 1789: four counterfeiters, two mentally ill men and a count who had been delivered to the prison by his family for engaging in perverse sexual practices. (Incidentally, the Marquis de Sade was imprisoned in the Bastille from 1784 to just days before the crowds stormed the prison, when he was transferred to an insane asylum after shouting through his window “They are massacring the prisoners—you must come and free them!”)

The revolutionary crowds knew there was a cache of arms and gunpowder stored in the Bastille, and they wanted it. After firing on the mob and killing some 100 people, the men guarding the prison were forced to surrender after the rescue team called to secure the fortress joined the revolutionaries and aimed their cannons at the Bastille instead. Its military governor, Bernard-Jordan de Launay, flew the white flag of surrender; as a reward, the revolutionary mob killed him and paraded his head through the streets on a pike. After capturing the weapons and gunpowder, the crowd began dismantling the Bastille that same night.

4. Fiction: The French Revolution gave birth to the guillotine.

This one’s mostly a myth. The famed guillotine became perhaps the foremost symbol of the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror that followed in 1793-94, during which as many as 16,000 people were executed. But similar devices had been used for executions going back to the Middle Ages, including a nearly identical English device known as the Halifax Gibbet, and the notorious “Scottish Maiden,” used in some 120 executions from the 16th to the 18th century.

What’s more, the man who gave his name to the French device, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, didn’t even invent it—that honor belongs to Dr. Antoine Louis. Guillotin, a French physician and member of the National Assembly, sought to reform the medical profession, and opposed the death penalty personally. As he was resigned to the fact that capital punishment could most likely not be abolished, he sought to make it as painless and quick as possible—unlike sword and axe beheadings, which were easily bungled. Because Guillotin argued in front of the Assembly that Dr. Louis’ device—originally nicknamed the “Louison” or “Louisette”—was a more humane means of execution, he would be forever associated with it. During the Reign of Terror, when use of the guillotine reached its height, Dr. Guillotin narrowly avoided becoming its victim himself, after he was imprisoned in 1794.

5. Fact: French people celebrate Bastille Day.

This is true—sort of. If you see a French person today, just don’t wish them a happy Bastille Day, as that designation is mostly limited to English-speaking countries. While France has celebrated July 14 as its national holiday since the late 19th century, it’s officially known as “La Fête nationale,” and more often referred to simply as “le quatorze juillet” or the 14th of July. The holiday commemorates the storming of the Bastille—and the launch of the French Revolution—on July 14, 1789, as well as a more peaceful event that took place the following year. During the “Fête de la Fédération” on July 14, 1790, a series of spontaneous celebrations broke out throughout France as the country embraced its newfound liberty and unity. Today, celebrations held on the national holiday include a large military parade down the Champs-Élysées, attended by France’s president and other political leaders, and smaller parades, fireworks, dances and celebrations in towns throughout the country.

Tennis Court Oath

On 20 June 1789, the members of the French Third Estate took the Tennis Court Oath (French: Serment du Jeu de Paume) in the tennis court which had been built in 1686 for the use of the Versailles palace. [1] The vote was "not to separate and to reassemble wherever necessary until the Constitution of the kingdom is established". [1] It was a pivotal event in the French Revolution. The Estates-General had been called to address the country's fiscal and agricultural crisis, but they had become bogged down in issues of representation immediately after convening in May 1789, particularly whether they would vote by order or by head (which would increase the power of the Third Estate, as they outnumbered the other two estates by a large margin).

On 17 June, the Third Estate began to call themselves the National Assembly, led by Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau. [2] On the morning of 20 June, the deputies were shocked to discover that the chamber door was locked and guarded by soldiers. They immediately feared the worst and were anxious that a royal attack was imminent from King Louis XVI, so upon the suggestion of one of their members Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, [3] the deputies congregated in a nearby indoor jeu de paume court [fr] in the Saint-Louis district [fr] of the city of Versailles near the Palace of Versailles. There 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate took a collective oath "not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established". [4] The only person who did not join in the oath was Joseph Martin-Dauch from Castelnaudary, who would only execute decisions that were made by the monarch. [5]

History - Class 9 / Grade 9

Ans. The revolutionary wars brought losses and economic difficulties to the people. Large sections of the population were convinced that the revolution had to be carried further, as the Constitution of 1791 gave political rights only to the richer sections of society. Political clubs became an important rallying point for people who wished to discuss government policies and plan their own forms of action. The most successful of these clubs was that of the Jacobins, which got its name from the former convent of St Jacob in Paris.

Q49. How was the church responsible for the French Revolution? Or Why was church responsible for French Revolution?

Ans. The church was responsible for the French Revolution in the following ways:

i. The Church too extracted its share of taxes called tithes from the peasants.

ii. The members of the church, clergy belonged to the First Estate. The clergy enjoyed certain privileges by birth. The most important of these was exemption from paying taxes to the state.

iii. About 60 per cent of the land was owned by nobles, the Church and other richer members of the third estate.

Q50. How did political system work in France under the constitution of 1791? Or Highlight any five features of the constitution of 1791 in France.

Ans. The National Assembly completed the draft of the constitution in 1791. Its main object was to limit the powers of the monarch. These powers instead of being concentrated in the hands of one person, were now separated and assigned to different institutions the legislature, executive and judiciary. This made France a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly, which was indirectly elected. That is, citizens voted for a group of electors, who in turn chose the Assembly.

Q51. What was the condition of women in France before the revolution? Or Describe the condition of women in France in 18 th century. Or Evaluate the status of women in France before the revolution.

Ans. Status of women in France before the revolution

i. Most women of the third estate had to work for a living. They worked as seamstresses or laundresses, sold flowers, fruits and vegetables at the market, or were employed as domestic servants.

ii. Most women did not have access to education or job training. Only daughters of nobles or wealthier members of the third estate could study at a convent.

iii. Working women had also to care for their families. Their wages were lower than those of men.

Q52. What does subsistence crisis mean? What led to subsistence crisis in France?

Ans. Subsistence crisis is an extreme situation where the basic means of livelihood are endangered.

The population of France rose from about 23 million in 1715 to 28 million in 1789. This led to a rapid increase in the demand for food grains. Production of grains could not keep pace with the demand. So the price of bread which was the staple diet of the majority rose rapidly. But wages did not keep pace with the rise in prices. So the gap between the poor and the rich widened. Things became worse whenever drought or hail reduced the harvest. This led to a subsistence crisis.

Q53. What was the significance of ‘Tennis Court Oath’ in French Revolution? Or What was the ‘Tennis Court Oath’ and why was it so important?

Ans. The representatives of the third estate viewed themselves as spokesmen for the whole French nation. On 20 June they assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of Versailles. They declared themselves a National Assembly and swore not to disperse till they had drafted a constitution for France that would limit the powers of the monarch.

The Tennis Court Oath was significant because it showed the growing unrest against Louis XVI and laid the foundation for later events, including: the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the storming of the Bastille.

Q54. Evaluate the countryside condition during French Revolution.

Ans. The countryside condition during French Revolution

i. In the countryside, rumours spread from village to village that the lords of the manor had hired bands of brigands who were on their way to destroy the ripe crops.

ii. Caught in a frenzy of fear, peasants in several districts seized hoes and pitchforks and attacked chateaux.

iii. They looted hoarded grain and burnt down documents containing records of manorial dues.

iv. A large number of nobles fled from their homes, many of them migrating to neighbouring countries.

Q55. What compelled Louis XVI to raise taxes in France? Or Explain the circumstances which compelled Louis XVI to raise taxes in France.

Ans. The following reasons compelled Louis XVI to raise taxes in France.

1. Long years of war had drained the financial resources of France.

2. Added to this was the cost of maintaining an extravagant court at the immense palace of Versailles.

3. Under Louis XVI, France helped the thirteen American colonies to gain their independence from the common enemy, Britain.

4. Lenders, who gave the state credit, now began to charge 10 per cent interest on loans.

5. Regular expenses, such as the cost of maintaining an army, the court, running government offices or universities could not be avoided.

20 June 1789


This illustration depicts the Tennis Court Oath (Le Serment du Jeu de Paume) of Versailles, 20 June 1789. The National Assembly, also known as the Third Estate, was an ancient but little used gathering of nobles, clergy and common people. They were excluded from their regular meeting place by King Louis XVI and met instead at a nearby indoor tennis court. Here they pledged themselves to create a written constitution for France by 1791 they would have one.

The French Revolution in 1789 overthrew the monarchy and established in its place a republic based on the ideals of 'liberty, equality and fraternity'. This was a monumental event that not only demolished the ancien régime (the former system of monarchical government) in France but shocked the establishments in nations across the world. A new constitution was completed in 1791, with the monarchy still in place, but with the majority of the power resting with an elected assembly. However, this constitution was to last less than a year. Although King Louis XVI outwardly appeared to support the new constitutional order, inwardly he hoped the revolution would fail, and this was soon clear to the public as well. He was brought to trail for treason and executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793.


The word tennis came into use in English in the mid-14th century from Old French, via the Anglo-Norman term Tenez, which can be translated as "hold!", "receive!" or "take!", a call from the server to his opponent indicating that he is about to serve. [11] The first known appearance of the word in English literature is by poet John Gower in his poem titled 'In Praise of Peace' dedicated to King Henry IV and composed in 1400 "Of the tenetz to winne or lese a chase, Mai no lif wite er that the bal be ronne". (Whether a chase is won or lost at tennis, Nobody can know until the ball is run). [a] [13] [14] [15] [16]

Tennis is mentioned in literature as far back as the Middle Ages. In The Second Shepherds' Play (c. 1500) shepherds gave three gifts, including a tennis ball, to the newborn Christ. Sir Gawain, a knight of King Arthur's round table, plays tennis against a group of 17 giants in The Turke and Gowin (c. 1500). [17] [18]

Real tennis Edit

The Medieval form of tennis is termed as real tennis, a game that evolved over three centuries, from an earlier ball game played around the 12th century in France which involved hitting a ball with a bare hand and later with a glove. [19] [20] By the 16th century, the glove had become a racket, the game had moved to an enclosed playing area, and the rules had stabilized. Real tennis spread in popularity throughout royalty in Europe, reaching its peak in the 16th century.

In 1437 at the Blackfriars, Perth, the playing of tennis indirectly led to the death of King James I of Scotland, when the drain outlet, through which he hoped to escape assassins, had been blocked to prevent the loss of tennis balls. [21] James was trapped and killed. [22]

Francis I of France (1515–1547) was an enthusiastic player and promoter of real tennis, building courts and encouraging play among the courtiers and commoners. His successor Henry II (1547–59) was also an excellent player and continued the royal French tradition. In 1555 an Italian priest, Antonio Scaino da Salothe, wrote the first known book about tennis, Trattato del Giuoco della Palla. Two French kings died from tennis related episodes—Louis X of a severe chill after playing and Charles VIII after hitting his head during a game. [23] King Charles IX granted a constitution to the Corporation of Tennis Professionals in 1571, creating the first pro tennis 'tour', establishing three professional levels: apprentice, associate, and master. A professional named Forbet wrote and published the first codification of the rules in 1599. [24]

Royal interest in England began with Henry V (1413–22). Henry VIII (1509–47) made the biggest impact as a young monarch playing the game with gusto at Hampton Court on a court he built in 1530. It is believed that his second wife Anne Boleyn was watching a game when she was arrested and that Henry was playing when news of her execution arrived. During the reign of James I (1603–25), London had 14 courts. [25]

Real tennis is mentioned in literature by William Shakespeare who mentions "tennis balles" in Henry V (1599), when a basket of them is given to King Henry as a mockery of his youth and playfulness the incident is also mentioned in some earlier chronicles and ballads. [26] One of the most striking early references appears in a painting by Giambattista Tiepolo entitled The Death of Hyacinth (1752–1753) in which a strung racket and three tennis balls are depicted. The painting's theme is the mythological story of Apollo and Hyacinth, written by Ovid. Giovanni Andrea dell'Anguillara translated it into Italian in 1561 and replaced the ancient game of discus, in the original text with pallacorda or tennis, which had achieved a high status at the courts in the middle of the 16th century. Tiepolo's painting, displayed at the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid, was ordered in 1752 by German count Wilhelm Friedrich Schaumburg Lippe, who was an avid tennis player.

The game thrived among the 17th-century nobility in France, Spain, Italy, and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but suffered under English Puritanism. By the Age of Napoleon, the royal families of Europe were besieged and real tennis was largely abandoned. [27] Real tennis played a minor role in the history of the French Revolution, through the Tennis Court Oath, a pledge signed by French deputies on a real tennis court, which formed a decisive early step in starting the revolution.

An epitaph in St Michael's Church, Coventry, written circa 1705 read, in part: [28]

Here lyes an old toss'd Tennis Ball:
Was racketted, from spring to fall,
With so much heat and so much hast,
Time's arm for shame grew tyred at last.

In England, during the 18th and early 19th centuries as real tennis declined, three other racket sports emerged: racquets, squash racquets, and lawn tennis (the modern game).

The lawyer and memoirist William Hickey recalled that in 1767 "in the summer we had another club, which met at the Red House in Battersea fields, nearly opposite Ranelagh. The game we played was an invention of our own, and called field tennis, which afforded noble exercise. The field, which was of sixteen acres in extent, was kept in as high an order, and smooth as a bowling green." [29]

The modern sport is tied to two separate inventions.

Between 1859 and 1865, in Birmingham, England, Major Harry Gem, a solicitor, and his friend Augurio Perera, a Spanish merchant, combined elements of the game of racquets and Basque pelota and played it on a croquet lawn in Edgbaston. [30] [31] In 1872, both men moved to Leamington Spa and in 1874, with two doctors from the Warneford Hospital, founded the world's first tennis club, the Leamington Tennis Club. [32]

In December 1873, Major Walter Clopton Wingfield designed an hourglass-shaped tennis court in order to obtain a patent on his court (as the rectangular court was already in use and was unpatentable). A temporary patent on this hourglass-shaped court was granted to him in February, 1874, which he never renewed when it expired in 1877. It is commonly believed, mistakenly, that Wingfield obtained a patent on the game he devised to be played on that type of court, but in fact Wingfield never applied for nor received a patent on his game, although he did obtain a copyright — but not a patent — on his rules for playing it. And, after a running series of articles and letters in the British sporting magazine The Field, and a meeting at London's Marylebone Cricket Club, the official rules of lawn tennis were promulgated by that Club in 1875, which preserved none of the aspects of the variations that Wingfield had dreamed up and named Sphaeristikè (Greek: σφαιριστική , that is, "sphere-istic", an ancient Greek adjective meaning "of or pertaining to use of a ball, globe or sphere"), which was soon corrupted to "sticky". Wingfield claimed that he had invented his version of the game for the amusement of his guests at a weekend garden party on his estate of Nantclwyd, in Llanelidan, Wales in 1874, but research has demonstrated that even his game was not likely played during that country weekend in Wales. [33] [34] He had likely based his game on both the evolving sport of outdoor tennis and on real tennis. Much of modern tennis terminology also derives from this period, for Wingfield and others borrowed both the name and much of the French vocabulary of real tennis, and applied them to their variations of real tennis. [35] In the scholarly work Tennis: A Cultural History, Heiner Gillmeister reveals that on December 8 1874, Wingfield had wrote to Harry Gem, commenting that he’d been experimenting with his version of lawn tennis for a year and a half. [36] Gem himself had largely credited Perera with the invention of the game.

Wingfield did patent his hourglass court [37] in 1874, but not his eight-page rule book titled "Sphairistike or Lawn Tennis", [38] but he failed in enforcing his patent. [39] In his version, the game was played on an hourglass-shaped court, and the net was higher (4 feet 8 inches) than it is in official lawn tennis. The service had to be made from a diamond-shaped box in the middle of one side of the court only, and the service had to bounce beyond the service line instead of in front of it. He adopted the rackets-based system of scoring where games consisted of 15 points (called 'aces'). [40] None of these quirks survived the Marylebone Cricket Club's 1875 Rules of Lawn Tennis that have been official, with periodic slight modifications, ever since then. Those rules were adopted by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the first Lawn Tennis Championship, at Wimbledon in 1877 (the men who devised those rules were members of both clubs). Wingfield does deserve great credit for popularizing the game of lawn tennis, as he marketed, in one boxed set, all the equipment needed to play his or other versions of it, equipment that had been available previously only at several different outlets. Because of this convenience, versions of the game spread like wildfire in Britain, and by 1875 lawn tennis had virtually supplanted croquet and badminton as outdoor games for both men and women.

Mary Ewing Outerbridge played the game in Bermuda at Clermont, a house with a spacious lawn in Paget parish. [41] Innumerable histories claim that in 1874, Mary returned from Bermuda aboard the ship S.S. Canima and introduced lawn tennis to the United States, [42] setting up supposedly the first tennis court in the United States on the grounds of the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club, which was near where the Staten Island Ferry Terminal is today. [43] The club was founded on or about March 22, 1872. She is also mistakenly said to have played the first tennis game in the U.S. against her sister Laura in Staten Island, New York on an hourglass-shaped court. [43] However, all this would have been impossible, as the tennis equipment she is said to have brought back from Bermuda was not available in Bermuda until 1875, and her next trip to Bermuda, when it was available there, was in 1877. In fact, lawn tennis was first introduced in the United States on a grass court on Col. William Appleton's Estate in Nahant, Massachusetts by Dr. James Dwight ("the Father of American Lawn Tennis"), Henry Slocum, Richard Dudley Sears and Sears' half-brother Fred Sears, in 1874.

Wingfield borrowed both the name and much of the French vocabulary of real tennis:

  • Tennis comes from the French tenez, the plural imperative form of the verb tenir, to hold, meaning "hold!", "receive!" or "take!", an interjection used as a call from the server to his opponent to indicate that he is about to serve. [44]
  • Racket (or racquet) derives from the Arabic rakhat, meaning the palm of the hand. [45]
  • Deuce comes from à deux le jeu, meaning "to both is the game" (that is, the two players have equal scores). [46]
  • The origin of the use of love for zero is disputed. It is ascribed to derive from l'œuf, French for "the egg", traditionally representing the shape of a zero. [47][48] Another possibility is that it derives from the Dutch expression "iets voor lof doen", which means to do something for praise, implying no monetary stakes. [49]
  • The reason for the numbering of scores being "15", "30" and "40" is unknown. Historical sources suggest the system was originally 15, 30, 45 with the 45 simplified to 40 over time. Common theories are that it originated from the quarters of a clock, or from gambling stakes. [46]

Amateur tournaments Edit

The Four Majors Edit

The four majors or Grand Slam tournaments, the four biggest competitions on the tennis circuit, are Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open. Since the mid 1920s they became and have remained the more prestigious events in tennis. [4] [50] Winning these four tournaments in the same year is called the Grand Slam (a term borrowed from bridge). [51]

1877: Wimbledon Edit

The Championships, Wimbledon, were founded by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1877 to raise money for the club. [52] The first Championships were contested by 22 men and the winner received a Silver Gilt Cup proclaiming the winner to be "The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World". [53] The first Championships culminated a significant debate on how to standardize the rules. The following year, it was recognized as the official British Championships, although it was open to international competitors. In 1884 the Ladies Singles and Gentlemen's Doubles Championships were inaugurated, followed by the Ladies and Mixed Doubles in 1913. [54]

1877: The Championships

Venue change
1877: Worple Road, Wimbledon
1922: Church Road, Wimbledon

1881: U.S. Open Edit

Tennis was first played in the U.S. on a grass court set up on the Estate of Col. William Appleton in Nahant, Massachusetts by James Dwight, Richard Dudley Sears and Fred Sears in 1874. [55] In 1881, the desire to play tennis competitively led to the establishment of tennis clubs. [4]

The first American National tournament was played in 1880 at the Staten Island Cricket and Baseball Club in New York. An Englishman named Otway Woodhouse won the singles match. There was also a doubles match which was won by a local pair. There were different rules at each club. The ball in Boston was larger than the one normally used in NY. On May 21, 1881, the United States National Lawn Tennis Association (now the United States Tennis Association) was formed to standardize the rules and organize competitions. [56]

The U.S. National Men's Singles Championship, now the US Open, was first held in 1881 at Newport, Rhode Island. [57] The U.S. National Women's Singles Championships were first held in 1887 in Philadelphia. [58]

The tournament was made officially one of the tennis 'Majors' from 1924 by the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF).

Name change
1881: U.S. National Championship
1968: U.S. Open

Venue change (men's championship)
1881: Newport
1915: Forest Hills
1921: Germantown
1924: Forest Hills
1978: Flushing Meadows

1891/1925: French Open Edit

Tennis was predominantly a sport of the English-speaking world, dominated by Great Britain and the United States. [59] It was also popular in France, where the French Open dates to 1891 as the Championat de France International de Tennis. This tournament was not recognised as a Major or Grand Slam tournament until it was opened to all nationalities in 1925.

Name change
1891: Championnat de France
1925: Championnats Internationaux de France
1928: Tournoi de Roland Garros

Surface change
1891: Clay and Sand
1909: Clay

Venue change
1891–1908: shared by Tennis Club de Paris/Ile de Puteaux, Paris/Racing Club de France
1909: Societe Athletique de la Villa Primrose, Bordeaux
1910: Racing Club de France, Paris
1925: Stade Français, Paris
1926: Racing Club de France, Paris
1927: Stade Français, Paris
1928: Stade Roland Garros, Paris

1905: Australian Open Edit

The Australian Open was first played in 1905 as The Australasian (Australia and New Zealand) Championships. Because of its geographic remoteness, historically, the event did not gain attendance from the top tennis players. It became one of the major tennis tournaments starting in 1924 (designated by the ILTF). In 1927, because of New Zealand tennis authorities releasing their commitments to the tournament, it became known as the Australian Championships. For most of the 1970s and the early 1980s, the event lacked participation from top ranked tennis professionals. Since its move to Melbourne Park in 1988, the Australian Open has gained the popularity of the other three majors.

Name change
1905: Australasian Championships
1927: Australian Championships
1969: Australian Open

Venue change
1905: Melbourne
1906: Christchurch and alternated in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. In 1912 at Hastings
1972: Kooyong
1988: Melbourne Park

The Davis Cup Edit

In 1898, Dwight F. Davis of the Harvard University tennis team designed a tournament format with the idea of challenging the British to a tennis showdown. [60] The first match, between the United States and Great Britain was held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1900. [61] The American team, of which Dwight Davis was a part, surprised the British by winning the first three matches. By 1905 the tournament had expanded to include Belgium, Austria, France, and Australasia, a combined team from Australia and New Zealand that competed jointly until 1913.

The tournament initially was known as the International Lawn Tennis Challenge. It was renamed the Davis Cup following the death of Dwight Davis in 1945. The tournament has vastly expanded and, on its 100th anniversary in 1999, 130 nations competed.

International Tennis Federation Edit

1913 also saw 12 national tennis associations agree at a Paris conference to form the International Lawn Tennis Federation (ILTF), renamed in 1977 as the current International Tennis Federation (ITF). [62] The rules the association promulgated in 1924 have remained remarkably stable in the ensuing century, the one major change being the addition of the tie-break system designed by James Van Alen. [63]

The same year, tennis withdrew from the Olympics after the 1924 Games but returned 60 years later as a 21-and-under demonstration event in 1984. This reinstatement was credited by the efforts by the then ITF President Philippe Chatrier, ITF General Secretary David Gray and ITF Vice President Pablo Llorens as well as support from IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch. The success of the event was overwhelming, and the IOC decided to reintroduce tennis as a full medal sport at Seoul in 1988.

The Fed Cup Edit

The idea of a Davis Cup-style tournament for national women's teams is surprisingly old—it was first proposed in 1919 by Hazel Hotchkiss Wightman. After she was turned down, she donated a trophy in 1923 that would be known as the Wightman Cup, awarded in an annual match between the two strongest women's tennis nations of the time, the United States and Great Britain. [64]

Wightman's original idea for a worldwide women's team tournament would bear fruit more than 40 years later in 1962, when Nell Hopman persuaded the ITF to begin sponsoring such an event. The first Federation Cup was played in 1963 as part of the ITF's 50th anniversary celebrations it involved 16 countries and was played over one week. By the 1990s, over 70 nations competed each year, and regional qualifiers were introduced in 1992. In 1995, the ITF introduced a new Davis Cup-style format for the competition and rechristened it the Fed Cup.

The professional circuit Edit

In 1926, promoter C.C. Pyle established the first professional tour with a group of American and French players playing exhibition matches to paying audiences. [4] [65] The most notable early professionals were American Vinnie Richards and Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen. [4] [6] Once a player turned pro, he or she could not compete in the major (amateur) tournaments. [4]

Before the Open Era, the leading professional players were under contract with a professional promoter who controlled their appearances. For example, in 1926, Lenglen and Richards toured North America along with Paul Féret and Mary K. Browne under contract to Charles C. Pyle. The main events of the professional circuit comprised head-to-head competition and by-invitation Pro Championships, which were the equivalent of the Grand Slam tournaments on the professional circuit.

Suzanne Lenglen was the leading player in the first year of the professional circuit, and after she retired in February 1927, few female players played on the professional circuit before the Open Era.

Pro tours Edit

In the years before the Open Era, professionals often played more frequently on head-to-head tours than in tournaments because tours paid much better than tournaments and the number of professional tournaments was small. For example, Fred Perry earned U.S. $91,000 ($1,638,211 today) in a 1937 North American tour against Ellsworth Vines but won only U.S. $450 ($8,273) for his 1938 victory at the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships. Vines probably never entered a tournament in 1937 and 1938. In 1937, Vines played 70 matches on two tours and no tournament matches. Even in the 1950s, some professionals continued to play tour matches. During his first five months as a professional (January through May 1957), Ken Rosewall played 76 matches on a tour against Pancho Gonzales but only 9 tournament matches. Joe McCauley determined that for 1952, only 7 professional tournaments were played by the top international players, and 2 other professional tournaments (the British Pro and the German Pro) were reserved for domestic players. Only during the 1960s did professional tournaments become more significant than tours.

Pro Championships (Pro Slams) Edit

In addition to head-to-head events several annual professional tournaments were called championship tournaments. The most prestigious was usually the Wembley Championship, held at the Wembley Arena in England, played between 1934 and 1990. The oldest was the U.S. Pro Tennis Championships, played between 1927 and 1999. Between 1954 and 1962, it was played indoors in Cleveland and was called the World Professional Championships. The third major tournament was the French Pro Championship, played between 1930 and 1968. The British and American championships continued into the Open Era but devolved to the status of minor tournaments after the late 1960s.

The Tournament of Champions was held between 1956 and 1959, the 1956 edition taking place in Los Angeles and the 1957, 1958 and 1959 editions taking place at Forest Hills, Queens. There was also the Wimbledon Pro tournament held in August 1967, the first tournament where professional tennis players were allowed to play at Wimbledon.

Jean-Sylvain Bailly

Jean-Sylvain Bailly (1736-93) was a scientist with moderate political views. He was best known for administering the Tennis Court Oath and serving as the first mayor of the revolutionary Paris Commune.

The son of an artist, Bailly was a brilliant student who as a teenager wrote tragedies in his spare time. His interest was in the sciences, however, particularly astronomy. He joined the Academy of Sciences in 1763 and within a few years had become France’s most notable astronomer.

Bailly was always alert to politics and from 1789 his time and fate were tied to the revolution. He stood as a candidate to the Estates-General and was elected to represent the Third Estate of Paris. When Bailly’s fellow Third Estate deputies resolved to form the National Assembly on June 17th 1789, he was elected its first president. It was in this role that Bailly oversaw and administered the Tennis Court Oath on June 20th.

After the Estates-General, Bailly was returned to his native Paris. On July 15th, he was elected to head the newly formed Paris Commune, becoming the city’s first mayor. Two days later Bailly, as mayor, presented Louis XVI with a tricolour cockade and the keys to Paris, famously declaring that “the people have reconquered their king”.

Bailly’s bold leadership and gestures made him popular with the people of Paris, who routinely cheered his public appearances. But for all his early popularity, Bailly remained a political moderate and a constitutional monarchist at heart. As mayor of Paris, he supported the National Constituent Assembly while ignoring or suppressing radical political demands. Bailly’s moderate position made him a frequent target for radical journalists like Jean-Paul Marat and Georges Danton, who ran against Bailly for the mayorship in 1790.

Popular affection for Bailly was shattered by the events of July 17th 1791, when he authorised the deployment of National Guard troops at the Champ de Mars, resulting in between 30 and 50 deaths. The people of Paris considered Bailly’s decision to call out the troops against them a betrayal of the revolution. He endured months of criticism before resigning as mayor in November 1791.

Bailly retired to Nantes and returned to his scientific research but was arrested during the Reign of Terror. He was returned to Paris and placed on trial, chiefly for his role in the killings of July 17th 1791. Bailly was convicted and guillotined on the Champ de Mars in November 1793.

History - Class 9

Q48. Explain the conditions which led to the rise of Jacobins.

Q49. How was the church responsible for the French Revolution?

Why was church responsible for French Revolution?

Q50. How did political system work in France under the constitution of 1791?

Highlight any five features of the constitution of 1791 in France.

Q51. What was the condition of women in France before the revolution?

Describe the condition of women in France in 18 th century.

Evaluate the status of women in France before the revolution.

Q52. What does subsistence crisis mean? What led to subsistence crisis in France?

Q53. What was the significance of ‘Tennis Court Oath’ in French Revolution?

What was the ‘Tennis Court Oath’ and why was it so important?

Q54. Evaluate the countryside condition during French Revolution.

Q55. What compelled Louis XVI to raise taxes in France?

Explain the circumstances which compelled Louis XVI to raise taxes in France.


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French Revolution

June 17 - The Third Estate (commoners) declares the National Assembly.

June 20 - Members of the Third Estate take the Tennis Court Oath demanding certain rights from the king.

The Storming of the Bastille
The Beginning of the French Revolution
Author: Unknown

July 14 - The French Revolution begins with the Storming of the Bastille.

August 26 - The National Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of man and of the Citizen.

October 5 - A large group of women (and men) march from Paris to Versailles to demand lower bread prices. They force the king and queen to move back to Paris.

October 6 - The Jacobin Club is formed. Its members become some of the most radical leaders of the French Revolution.

June 20-21 - The "Flight to Varennes" occurs when the royal family, including King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, attempt to flee France. They are captured and returned to France.

September 14 - King Louis XVI formally signs the new constitution.

October 1 - The Legislative Assembly is formed.

March 20 - The guillotine becomes the official method of execution.

April 20 - France declares war against Austria.

September - The September Massacres occur between September 2 - 7. Thousands of political prisoners are killed before they can be freed by royalist troops.

September 20 - The National Convention is established.

September 22 - The First French Republic is founded.

January 21 - King Louis XVI is executed by guillotine.

March 7 - Civil war breaks out in the Vendee area of France between revolutionaries and royalists.

April 6 - The Committee of Public Safety is formed. It will rule France during the Reign of Terror.

July 13 - Radical journalist Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated by Charlotte Corday.

Maximilien de Robespierre (1758-1794)
Author: Unknown French painter

September 5 - The Reign of Terror begins as Robespierre, the leader of the Committee of Public Safety, declares that terror will be the "order of the day" for the revolutionary government.

September 17 - The Law of Suspects is decreed. Anyone suspected of opposing the revolutionary government is arrested. Thousands of people will be executed over the next year.

October 16 - Queen Marie Antoinette is executed by guillotine.

July 27 - The Reign of Terror comes to an end as Robespierre is overthrown.

July 28 - Robespierre is executed by guillotine.

May 8 - Famous chemist Antoine Lavoisier, the "father of modern chemistry", is executed for being a traitor.

July 14 - "La Marseillaise" is adopted as the national anthem of France.

November 2 - The Directory is formed and takes control of the government of France.

November 9 - Napoleon overthrows the Directory and establishes the French Consulate with Napoleon as leader of France. This brings an end to the French Revolution.

The Royal tennis court

Built in 1686 to meet the needs of the court of Versailles palace, the Royal Tennis court (royal tennis is the ancestor of tennis) was the scene of the Oath of June 20, 1789, which is when 578 deputies of the Estates General (which consisted of 1118) self-proclaimed themselves the National Assembly and swore not to break up before they had given France a constitution. The French Revolution was launched…

During the Revolution, the idea was raised to replace the Royal Tennis court with a commemorative monument, but nothing was done before 1880, when the hall was turned into a museum in preparation for the centenary of that decisive event.

Make sure you wear something warm, as the room is not heated!

Exceptionally closed : Saturday 25 December 2021

Note that on Thursday 09/11 the Jeu de Paume will be closed to the public from 5 pm

July 1763-July 28, 1794 - Robespierre's Reign of Terror

Maximilien Robespierre, the leader of the Jacobin Club, became the head of the Committee of Public Safety for the National Convention. In this role, he was free to decide who France’s enemies were. Some of these people were revolutionary leaders who challenged his leadership. Other people were killed for petty things. This fear of execution was called the Reign of Terror. No one was safe from Robespierre, as he ruled like a dictator in France. On July 28, 1974 they finally executed him and brought peace to Paris.

Everyone was scared by the Reign of Terror. 3,000 people were executed, most of them normal folks and supporters of the original revolution. The price of bread skyrocketed to all time highs. People were tired of the insecurities of democratic government. They wanted more stability and firm rulers.

10 Important French Revolution Dates

The French Revolution is one of the most important moments in French history. It also had a major impact on the rest of Europe, due to decades of wars that would follow the Revolution. It also inspired other nations’ revolutionary movements and led to the end of inequalities in Europe such as feudalism, upper-class privileges, and inequalities in general.

There were many aspects that led to the French Revolution, such as a corrupt monarchy with serious debt, unfairly high taxes, bad harvests, as well as the American Revolution. French citizens were inspired by the measures that the Americans took to free themselves from the British, and aspired to free themselves from the French monarchy.

There are several important French Revolution dates! Keep reading to find out the 10 most important!

1. Meeting with the Estates-General, May 5, 1789

The opening of the Estates-General May 5, 1789, in the Salle des Menus Plaisirs in Versailles by Isidore-Stanislaus Helman & Charles Monnet – WikiCommons

The Estates-General was an assembly that represented the three classes, or “estates” in France at the time: the clergy, or the First Estate, the nobility, or the Second Estate, and the commoners, or the Third Estate.

The Estates-General had already met several times, but due to the fact that each Estate was granted one vote, the clergy and the nobility often ganged up against the commoners, leaving them powerless.

The Estates-General of 1789 was called by King Louis XVI in order to address the monarchy’s financial crisis. In learning more about the crisis and recognizing that the two other Estates could easily place the burden of solving the crisis on the commoners through taxes, the Third Estate formed their own National Assembly. On May 5, 1789, the new National Assembly attempted to negotiate with the clergy and the nobility, but an agreement couldn’t be reached.

2. The Tennis Court Oath, June 20, 1789

When the National Assembly and the First and Second Estates butted heads over the financial crisis, King Louis XVI decided to close the hall where the National Assembly held meetings.

Undeterred, the National Assembly gathered on a tennis court to make a plan. The group agreed to stay together until they could come up with a new constitution for France. Their agreement was dubbed “The Tennis Court Oath.”

3. The storming of the Bastille Prison, July 14, 1789

The storming of the Bastille in 1789 by Jean-Pierre Houël – WikiCommons

By July, revolutionaries were fed up with the monarchy’s resistance to change. Plus, the general director of finances named Jacques Necker was fired by the king. Necker was sympathetic to the National Assembly, and the French saw his dismissal as a direct attack on the Assembly.

In response, a group of angry French citizens stormed the Bastille Prison in Paris on July 14, 1789. The revolutionaries stole gun powder and weapons in order to be able to defend themselves against the monarchy. The Storming of the Bastille is often considered to be the debut of the French Revolution.

4. Declaration of the Rights of Man, August 26, 1789

On August 26, 1789, the National Assembly released “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.” The document contained the basic beliefs of the revolutionaries. It boasted 17 articles, the most important declared that all men were born free and equal. The charter would inspire the new French constitution.

5. Women’s march on Versailles, October 5, 1789

A contemporary illustration of the Women’s March on Versailles by Gallica Digital Library – WikiCommons

Due to irresponsible spending and poor harvests, the people of France were going hungry. Plus, the king raised the price of bread to make up for his financial problems. This only served to fuel the revolutionaries’ fire and there was much unrest. Groups of women began to protest in the Parisian markets, with little to no response from the monarchy.

On October 5, 1789, a group of mostly women marched from Paris to Versailles. They were frustrated that the royal family seemed to live in a world of luxury completely separate from their own. The group killed several palace guards and demanded that the king live in Paris amongst the people. Left with no choice, the royal family was forced to follow the mob back to Paris where they were placed under the watchful eye of the new National guards.

6. The Royal family attempts to escape, June 20, 1791

Louis XVI is brought back to Paris, by Duplessi-Bertaux – WikiCommons

Newly installed in Paris, the king began to fear for his own life and his family’s. He came up with a plan to flee from France and set up camp in Austria to wait out the Revolution.

On June 20, 1791, the royal family disguised themselves as servants and were able to sneak out of the Tuileries Palace where they were being held by the National guards. However, the very next day the king was recognized in Varennes. He and the rest of the family were quickly arrested and brought back to Paris.

7. The King’s execution, January 21, 1793

The execution of Louis XVI by Georg Heinrich Sievking – WikiCommons

After the royal family’s attempt to flee France, popular opinion really began to turn against King Louis XVI and the French considered him a traitor. On August 10, 1792, a group of around 20,000 angry Parisians stormed the Tuileries Palace demanding justice. The king and the queen were arrested and placed in jail.

On September 21, 1792, the monarchy was officially abolished and France was officially a new Republic. The Republic charged the king with treason, and he was found guilty. On January 21, 1793, the King was executed in front of a crowd in Paris by guillotine.

8. The Reign of Terror, September 1793-July 1794

Many lost their lives during the Reign of Terror – WikiCommons

The Reign of Terror is one of the darkest periods in French history. Before it began, in March 1793, the National Assembly was replaced by the National Convention. Within the Convention was a group called the Committee of Public Safety, which was created to protect the new Republic against traitors. The head of the committee was a man named Maximilien Robespierre.

Robespierre arrested 500,000 suspected traitors. 17,000 were executed by the committee, and 25,000 died in custody.

9. Robespierre’s execution, July 27, 1794

The execution of Robespierre and his supporters on 28 July 1794 by History Stack – Flickr

Ironically, Robespierre let his newfound power go to his head and began to get out of control. Other members of the committee and the new government began to fear for their lives in the midst of Robespierre’s killing spree.

On July 27, 1794, Robespierre was guillotined like so many of his victims, bringing an end to the Reign of Terror.

10. Coup d’état, November 9-10, 1799

Napoleon Bonaparte, 1805 by Unknown – WikiCommons

After Robespierre’s death, a new constitution was written. This new document created a group of leaders called the Directory which was made up of 5 members. But, as more time went on the Directory became corrupt and began to experience financial difficulties due to mismanagement.

On November 9-10, 1799, a coup d’état forced out the Directory and replaced it with three “consuls,” one of whom was Napoleon Bonaparte. This coup is sometimes called the Coup of 18th Brumaire (in reference to the date according to the new French Revolution calendar), and many historians consider it to be the end of the French Revolution.


You’ve likely already heard of the French Revolution, and now you know the most important dates of the movement! This inspiring moment in French history would go on to have an impact on France and Europe for decades to come, so it’s important to know at least a little bit about the details!

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Molli is a writer who lives and breathes Paris. When not writing, you can find her in a cafe with a coffee in her hand and her nose in a book. She also enjoys reading and long walks on the beach as she actually grew up on the seaside!

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Watch the video: French Revolution - Estates General, Tennis Court Oath and National Assembly