10th Grade French Revolution Inquiry

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Common Core Connections Across the Grade 10 Inquiry

Social studies teachers play a key role in enabling students to develop the relevant literacy skills found in the New York State P–12 Common Core Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy. The Common Core emphasis on more robust reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language skills in general and the attention to more sophisticated source analysis, argumentation, and the use of evidence in particular are evident across the Toolkit inquiries.

Identifying the connections with the Common Core Anchor Standards will help teachers consciously build opportunities to advance their students’ literacy knowledge and expertise through the specific social studies content and practices described in the annotation. The following table outlines the opportunities represented in the Grade 10 Inquiry through illustrative examples of each of the standards represented.

Compelling Question

Was the French Revolution Successful?

Common Core Anchor Standard Connections


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text explicitly says and make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.

See Formative Performance Task 3 (p. 23): Students read Robespierre’s justification for the Reign of Terror and identify two key details that support his justification.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6 Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text.

See Formative Performance Task 4 (p.27): Students read two accounts by Napoleon and consider his perspective in shaping his account of his rise to power and the situation in France.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively as well as in words.

See Formative Performance Task 1 (p. 8): Students read a series of diverse documents (political cartoon, graphs, and text-based source) that detail the social, economic, and political problems in prerevolutionary France.


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

See Summative Performance Task (p. 34): Students write an extended, evidence-based argument responding to the compelling question

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.W.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

See Summative Performance Task (p. 34): Students develop an outline of their written argument using an Evidence Chart (p. 37).

Speaking and Listening

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.

See the Summative Performance Extension Task (p. 35): Students work collaboratively to construct an imagined Twitter conversation among three historical figures: an Enlightenment thinker, someone from the French Revolution, and an intelligent 10th grader living today. The topic of the conversation is “Was the French Revolution successful?”

Common Core Anchor Standard Connections


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

See Appendix A: French Revolution Inquiry Vocabulary (p. 42): Students use the vocabulary guide to understand words and phrases in complex texts written by Robespierre (Formative Performance Task 3) and Napoleon (Formative Performance Task 4).

Appendix A: French Revolution Inquiry Vocabulary



absolutism/absolute monarch

Political system in which all power resides with a monarch.

ancien régime/estates of the realm

System of social hierarchy that divided French citizenry into three estates, looked over by the king.

Bonaparte, Napoleon

French military and political leader of Corsican descent who served as the emperor of France (1804–1814, 1815).

Cahiers de Doléances of 1789

List of grievances from the Third Estate that were ordered by King Louis XVI.

Committee of Public Safety

De facto executive government that acted to protect the new Republic from foreign attacks and internal rebellions (1793).

David, Jacques-Louis

Neoclassical French artist who was the official painter of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen

Seminal document of the French Revolution, created in 1789, that lays out the idea that individual and collective rights are universal across the three estates.

Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen

This document was written by Olympe de Gouges to expose the failings of the French Revolution with regards to sexual equality.

divine right of kings

Political and religious doctrine that legitimizes royalty by promoting the idea that a monarch’s power comes from God.


A legislative assembly made up of members from the three estates. The Estates-General had no real power because the king was an absolute monarch; moreover, the Estates-General could only meet at the request of the king.

First Estate

In the French order of social hierarchy, the First Estate was made up of the clergy or formal leaders within the Roman Catholic church.

Gouges, Olympe de

French political activist described as a feminist and an abolitionist. She was also the author of the Declaration of the Rights of Woman and Citizen.


Instrument used to carry out executions through beheading that became popularized during the Reign of Terror.

Louis XVI

King of France from 1774 to 1791.

Marie Antoinette

Queen of France from 1774 to 1792.

Reign of Terror

Period of violence (1793–1794) after the onset of the French Revolution. Citizens who were considered enemies of the Revolution were punished by being imprisoned or executed via the guillotine.

Robespierre, Maximilien

Lawyer and politician who served as a member of the Committee of Public Safety (1793–1794) and as the president of France in 1794.

Second Estate

In the French order of social hierarchy, the second estate consisted of the nobility of France.

Third Estate

The third estate of French society consisted of everyone who did not fall under the categories of clergy or nobility.

Appendix B: Additional Resources for Teaching this Inquiry

Formative Performance Task 1

Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution: A History, 1837. This seminal study of the French Revolution is available online as part of the Gutenberg Project for free and can be found at http://www.gutenberg.org.

Formative Performance Task 2

Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, 1789, from George Mason University. https://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/295/.

Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Citizen, 1791, from George Mason University .https://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/d/293/.

Pauline Paul, I Foresaw it All: The Amazing Life and Oeuvre of Olympe de Gouges. Originally published in Die Zeit, 1989. Can be found online at http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_5.2/paul.htm.

Formative Performance Task 3

Marisa Linton, “Robespierre and the Terror,” History Today. Vol. 56, Issue 8. http://www.historytoday.com/marisa-linton/robespierre-and-terror.

Marisa Linton, The Terror in the French Revolution. http://www.port.ac.uk/special/france1815to2003/chapter1/interviews/filetodownload,20545,en.pdf.

Formative Performance Task 4

PBS Interactive website based on Napoleon and his leadership. http://www.pbs.org/empires/napoleon/home.html.

Website maintained by Foundation Napoleon that promotes the study of his reign. http://www.napoleon.org/en/home.asp.

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