Essay on Fall of the Bastille

Essay on Fall of the Bastille

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Ce n’est pas une revolte, c’est une revolution!

“Your Majesty! They have stormed the Bastille!” exclaimed King Louis XVI’s aide.
     “Is this a revolt?” asked the king.
     “No, sire, it’s a revolution.”

     On July 14, 1789, a huge, angry mob marched to the Bastille, a high security prison that symbolized royal tyranny, searching for gun powder and prisoners that had been taken by the unpopular and detested King, Louis XVI (Time Life 1999). The flying rumors of attacks from the government and the biting truth of starvation were just too much for the fuming crowds. The Bastille had been prepared for over a week, anticipating about a hundred angry subjects. But nothing could have prepared the defenders for what they met that now famous day. Along the thick rock walls of the gargantuan fortress and between the towers were twelve more guns that were capable of launching 24-ounce case shots at any who dared to attack. However, the enraged middle class population of Paris was too defiant and too livid to submit to the starvation and seeming injustice of their government (Time Life, 1999). It was the first time in European history that a group of commoners had overpowered the nobility. The storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789, has inspired other peoples to fight tyranny and gain independence from their oppressors. Given that the masses in other lands and at other times shared many of the problems that the French revolutionaries faced explains the widespread influence and symbolism of the Fall of the Bastille.
     The main cause of the French Revolution involved the differences between the three different social classes in France (Soboul, 1977). This class structure left over from the ancien regime, the Middle Ages, consisted of three orders known as estates. The First Estate, the clergy, made up less than 1 percent of the population but owned about 20 percent of the land. The Second Estate, the nobles occupied about 4 percent of the population and also owned 20 percent of the land. The Third Estate, the working middle class, made up 95 percent of the population and paid all the taxes needed to pay off the debts that Louis XIV had left behind because he had spent his country‘s money to aid the American revolution as to embarrass the British. It is ...


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...he overthrow of the Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran and of President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. In all these instances, the ordinary people of those countries accused their leaders of being completely out of touch with the needs of their people, of living in great luxury while the people suffered from a lack of basic necessities. The French Revolution could also be compared to the Russian Revolution of 1917. The people took over the government and the royal family was executed. Both countries’ economic problems were similar. Both countries’ kings meant to do well for their countries but were deviated from doing so by their naïveté.
     The fall of the Bastille did not start the French Revolution. After all, the revolution had underlying causes which were at work and in evidence long before July 14, 1789. Social discontent, inequality, fiscal crisis, enlightenment thinkers, these all contributed to the making of the French revolution (Hunt, 1992). However, in all events such as the revolution we retrospectively point to a single event that can stand for all the different meanings of the French Revolution, and so we choose the storming of the Bastille.

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Essay on Fall of the Bastille

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