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1794 (MDCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1794th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 794th year of the 2nd millennium, the 94th year of the 18th century, and the 5th year of the 1790s decade. As of the start of 1794, the Gregorian calendar was 11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.
- February 4 – French Revolution: The French First Republic abolishes slavery.
- February 11 – The first session of the United States Senate is open to the public.
- March 11 – Canonsburg Academy (now Washington & Jefferson College) is chartered by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
- March 12 – General Antoni Madaliński, a commander of the National Cavalry in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, disobeys an order from the ruling Russian Empire and Kingdom of Prussia imposing demobilization, advancing his troops from Ostrołęka to Kraków.
- March 14 – Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.
- March 24 – Tadeusz Kościuszko makes his proclamation, starting the Kościuszko Uprising against the Russian Empire and Kingdom of Prussia, in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Prussian Partition.
- March 27 – The United States Government authorizes the building of the first six United States Navy vessels (in 1797 the first three frigates, United States, Constellation (1797) and Constitution go into service), not to be confused with October 13, 1775, which is observed as the Navy's Birthday.
- April 4 – Battle of Racławice: Polish supporters of the Kościuszko Uprising defeat forces of the Russian Empire.
- April 5 – French Revolution: Reign of Terror – Georges Danton is executed.
- April 17–19 – Kościuszko Uprising – Warsaw Uprising: The Polish people overthrow the Russian garrison in Warsaw.
- April 29–May 1 – Battle of Boulou: The French defeat the Spanish and Portuguese forces.
- May 7 – French Revolution: Robespierre establishes the Cult of the Supreme Being as the new state religion of the French First Republic.
- May 8 – French Revolution: Reign of Terror – Chemist Antoine Lavoisier is tried, convicted and executed by guillotine in Paris, on the same day as with 27 co-defendants also associated with the former ferme générale.
- May 18 – Battle of Tourcoing: French troops defeat British forces.
- May 28–June 1 – The Glorious First of June (Battle of Ushant): British and French ships battle to a draw.
- June 1 - The battle of the Glorious First of June is fought, the first naval engagement between Britain and France during the French Revolutionary Wars.
- June 4 – British troops capture Port-au-Prince in Haiti.
- June 17
- June 24 – Bowdoin College is founded in Brunswick, Maine.
- June 26 – Battle of Fleurus: French forces defeat the Austrians and their allies, leading to permanent loss of the Austrian Netherlands and destruction of the Dutch Republic. French use of an observation balloon marks the first participation of an aircraft in battle.
- January 7 – Eilhard Mitscherlich, German chemist (d. 1863)
- February 11 – Charlotta Eriksson, Swedish actor (d. 1862)
- February 20 – William Carleton, Irish novelist (d. 1869)
- February 21 – Antonio López de Santa Anna, Mexican general and President of Mexico (d. 1876)
- March 5
- April 10 – Matthew Calbraith Perry, American commodore (d. 1858)
- April 11 – Edward Everett, American politician (d. 1865)
- May 17 – Anna Brownell Jameson, British writer (d. 1860)
- May 24 – William Whewell, English scientist, philosopher, and historian of science (d. 1866)
- May 27 – Cornelius Vanderbilt, American entrepreneur (d. 1877)
- June 16 – María Trinidad Sánchez, heroine of the Dominican War of Independence (d. 1846)
- July 5 – Sylvester Graham, American nutritionist, inventor (d. 1851)
- July 7 – Frances Stackhouse Acton, British botanist, archaeologist, writer and artist (d. 1881)
- July 18 – Feargus O'Connor, Irish political radical, Chartist leader (d. 1855)
- July 28 – Charles Longley, Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1868)
- September 24 – Jeanne Villepreux-Power, French marine biologist (d. 1871)
- November 3 – William Cullen Bryant, American poet (d. 1878)
- November 10 – Robert Towns, merchant, founder of Townsville, Queensland, Australia (d. 1873)
- January 4 – Nicolas Luckner, Marshal of France (executed) (b. 1722)
- January 6 – Louis d'Elbée, French Revolutionary leader (executed) (b. 1752)
- January 8 – Justus Möser, German statesman (b. 1720)
- January 16 – Edward Gibbon, English historian (b. 1737)
- January 28 – Henri de la Rochejaquelein, French Revolutionary leader (b. 1772)
- January 31 – Mariot Arbuthnot, British admiral (b. 1711)
- February 12 – Mahadaji Shinde, Maratha emperor of India (1764–1794)
- March 24 – Jacques Hébert, French Revolutionary leader (executed) (b. 1757)
- March 28 – Marquis de Condorcet, French mathematician, philosopher, and political scientist (died in prison) (b. 1743)
- April 5
- April 13
- April 18 – Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden, Lord Chancellor of Great Britain (b. 1714)
- April 23 – Guillaume-Chrétien de Lamoignon de Malesherbes, French statesman (executed) (b. 1721)
- April 27
- May 8 – Antoine Lavoisier, French chemist (executed) (b. 1743)
- June 14 – Francis Seymour-Conway, 1st Marquess of Hertford, Viceroy of Ireland (b. 1718)
- June 17 – Marguerite-Élie Guadet, French Revolutionary leader (executed) (b. 1753)
- June 18
- June 19 – Richard Henry Lee, 12th President of the Continental Congress (b. 1732)
- June 27
- July 13 – James Lind, British pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy (b. 1716)
- July 17 – John Roebuck, English inventor (b. 1718)
- July 23 – Alexandre de Beauharnais, French politician and general (executed) (b. 1760)
- July 25 – André Chénier, French writer (executed) (b. 1762)
- July 28
- August 6 – Henry Bathurst, 2nd Earl Bathurst, British politician (b. 1714)
- August 14 – Jacoba van den Brande, Dutch culture personality (b. 1735)
- August 17 – Countess Palatine Elisabeth Auguste of Sulzbach, politically active Electress of Bavaria (b. 1721)
- September 1 – Catherine Théot, French visionary (b. 1716)
- September 4 – John Hely-Hutchinson, Irish statesman (b. 1724)
- September 15 – Abraham Clark, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (b. 1725)
- September 16 – Hester Bateman, English silversmith (bap. 1708)
- September 25 – Paul Rabaut, French Huguenot pastor (b. 1718)
- October 21 – Francis Light, founder of the British colony of Penang (b. 1740)
- November 3 – François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis, French cardinal, statesman (b. 1715)
- November 15 – John Witherspoon, American signer of the Declaration of Independence (b. 1723)
- November 16 – Jean-Baptiste Carrier, French Revolutionary leader (executed) (b. 1756)
- November 22 – John Alsop, American Continental Congressman (b. 1724)
- November 28
- December 12 – Meshullam Feivush Heller, Austrian Hasidic author (b. c. 1742)
In the graphic adventure game Day of the Tentacle, the character Hoagie is sent "200 years in the past" from 1994. He arrives in Revolutionary America during the writing of the Constitution of the United States.