The French Revolution Essay

3265 words - 14 pages

The French Revolution
The French Revolution was one of the most violent and chaotic events in history. It took place in France from 1789 to 1795. The end result was a good one, with France’s government being transformed from an oppressive monarchy, to a nationalist state that stood for freedom, equality, and unalienable rights. The process, however, is the interesting part.
Historians have debated many years over the causes of the French Revolution. Most agree that the main reason for the uprising was the Ancien Regime, which was the economic and social system in France. Under this system, the peasants of France had few rights, and the majority of the people lived in extreme poverty. ...view middle of the document...

As a result, the King fired him. This made a political body known as the Third Estate exceedingly angry. The Estates were Frances kind of twisted form of democracy. There was the First Estate, which was the nobles, the Second Estate, which was the Clergy, or Church, and the Third Estate was the common people. The Estates system operated on a two out of three vote on whatever law was being passed, so the Nobility and Clergy always won. The Third Estate held a gathering called the National Assembly, and made a document that was called the Tennis Court Agreement, because it was presented at a tennis court. It stated that the assembly would not stop working until France had a Constitution. When Necker, a supporter of the Assembly, was fired, the Third Estate took this act as a movement against the Assembly, and began open revolution. Paris was overtaken by mobs, riots, and looting, and not just by members of the Third Estate, too. The French Revolution had begun.
The storming of the Bastille fortress might be the turning point of the French Revolution. The insurgents had decided that they needed the large cache of supplies, weapons, and ammunition that the Bastille contained for the Revolution. The mob of angry citizens attacked, and after several hours of fighting, the prison fell. Even though a cease fire had been declared after the mob took over the fortress, Governor Marquis Bernard de Launay, the man in charge of the Bastille, was beaten, stabbed, and decapitated. His head was paraded on a pike around the city. Also, the mob accused the mayor of Paris of treason fro no reason, and subsequently butchered him. The Bastille became a symbol of the hated aristocracy. This violence shocked King Louis XVI into backing down and agreeing to the disbandment of the cruel feudal system.
On the morning of October 5, 1789, a young woman struck a marching drum at the edge of a group of market women in Paris. The women gathered at the Paris market were already angry about the high price of bread. The women then forced a nearby church to toll its bells. As the number of people there swelled, the body of women and men marched to the Town Hall. When they got there, they demanded bread and weapons. The amount of people gathered grew to about 7,000. One of the men outside the building, named Stanislaus Maillard gave the mob some sense of order. He rescued a man who had been strung up from a lamppost for trying to protect the building’s supplies. When the mass ransacked the structure and plundered its weapons, he convinced them not to burn it down. Finally, he led the assemblage of citizens out into the rain. Outside the Town Hall, where the group was joined by deserters of the French guard, they began the march to the Palace of Versailles, home of the Royal Family. Some people were armed with several cannon, and other weapons pillaged from the stores of the Town Hall. The others carried carving knives, muskets, or pikes. They arrived at the palace in about six...

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