Wednesday, September 28, 2016


                          The French Revolution 

At the start of The French Revolution, France was divided into three main categories of people, known as Estates -- clergy, nobles, and the commoners. The Revolution was started by the commoners of France who were revolting against the king, Louis XVI and who wanted to destroy the monarchy of France. 

      Several years prior to the French Revolution, King Louis XVI and France was in debt. He had lent money and soldiers to America's Revolution and had been in a war of his own, The French and Indian War. Also the King's wife, Marie Antoinette, spent money frivolously on her extravagant parties, jewels, and clothing. The King was not much better. Louis XVI was a slow-witted person and was not even interested in possessing the throne of France. As we will discover later, there were many protests, which Louis XVI blatantly ignored. The fourth and finale contribution to the beginning of the French Revolution, was a severely poor harvest.  

      The people of France had become angry at their King's ignorance. To show their wrath, they stormed the French prison, the Bastille, freed prisoners, and gathered multiple weapons. In the process, they severed the Bastille's prison guards' heads and speared them on pikes. This occurred on July 14, 1789, the official start of the French Revolution. 
  A month later, in August, 1789, the Rights of Man and Citizen was established. This was an important document of the French Revolution and in the history of human and civil rights.  Because the commoners' need for food was not met, on October 5, 1789, the women of France marched to the palace of Versailles and demanded bread for their famished families. The Women's  Bread Riot, as this was called, was accepted by King Louis XVI, and he granted their wish.

     Although King Louis XVI had granted the peasants' wish, they were still angry at him. To add to their vexation, King Louis attempted to flee France with his wife and children. They were disguised as servants to their real servants, who played as nobles. According to legend, they were discovered by either Louis XVI's distinguished nose, or the stench of the queen's perfume. Either way, they were captured, and dragged back to Paris, France. The commoners had suspected his plan of contacting Austria to help destroy the Revolution and restoring the monarchy back to his power. By the way, Austria was being ruled by Queen Marie Antoinette's brother. They locked away the whole royal family into the Temple, which was being used as a prison until they decided what to do with them. A bit later, the Revolution supporters put Louis XVI on trial. Once votes were taken, it was shown that between exile and death, there was a mere 50 vote difference. The death votes won. Robespierre scheduled King Louis XVI's death on January 21, 1793.  Soon enough Marie Antoinette, wife of King Louis XVI, was also beheaded. 

     One of the staples of the French Revolution was the Reign of Terror. This lasted from September 5th 1793-July 28th 1794. In summary, this terrible time period consisted of the mass killings of aristocrats, who were nobles of France. The leader of this cruel time was Maximilien Robespierre. He thoroughly believed that there shouldn't be a king of France.  Although Robespierre was liked and followed by the commoners at the beginning, they later disliked his over-the-top executions, and eventually voted for his execution. Robespierre was led to the guillotine on July 28th 1794. His death symbolically ended the Reign of Terror.

    After many of the main figures of the French Revolution were dead, Napoleon seized power of France, and declared himself emperor. Thus, the French Revolution came to an end.  It is an important piece of French history because it completely changed the  political and social structure of France. 

King Louis XVI 


Queen Marie Antoinette. 

The guillotine killing Ariosto.