Throughout history, symbols have had an overwhelming presence among citizens. The French Revolution had many symbols that represented power. Did the events leading up to the storming of the Bastille persuade the French citizens to believe that it was a symbol of power? There are many reasons why the French citizens would believe the Bastille to be a symbol of power. It was a very overwhelming stone structure, which stood robust, surrounded by small villages along with farmland. The architecture and placement of this fortress gave itself a reputation of strength and impregnation. It stood by itself, being the most intimidating structure of its time.
In the medieval year of 1370 Charles V ordered the building of the Bastille, or bastide, which means fortress, as a castle to defend the eastern side of Paris. It had eight towers and was linked by walls that were over one hundred feet tall. The river Sienne River fed its moat, which was eighty feet wide, but in the year 1789 it was dry. It was never meant to be a prison, but in the first half of the 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of Louis XIII, began to send prisoners to the fortress. This remained the Bastille's chief function until the year 1789.
The Bastille wasn't an ordinary prison though; these prisoners were not given a trial. They were just locked up and kept in the prison until the king wished them out. Prisoners were only released after they sworn an oath never to reveal what was inside the prison. This gave the fortress a mysterious reputation. The liberators of the fortress were disappointed to see that the inside was more comfortable than they had imagined. By the year 1789 life inside the Bastille was no longer as the horrors of legend said they were. During Louis XVI's rule, life inside the fortress was very easy. The prisoners had servants who made them meals, used their own furniture, some were given living allowance, and almost all were allowed to play games or walk freely around the fortress.
During 1789, the Bastille held only seven prisoners. These seven prisoners were Jean de la Correge; Jean Bechade; Bernard Laroche; Jean-Antoine Pujade; De Witt; the Count of Solages; and Tavernier. The first four of them were all properly tried and convicted forgers; the Count of Solages was imprisoned on request of his family who suspected him to be guilty of murder and incest; a...
... middle of paper ...
...despotism. They conquered France's symbol of power and won their freedom from despotism and the government.
A History of A Symbol of Despotism and Freedom
Fall semester 1998
1. Godechot, Jacques (1970), The Taking of the Bastille: July 14, 1789, (Jean Stewart, trans.) New York: Charles Scribner's Sons (original work published, 1965).
2. Lusebrink, Hans Jurgen, and Reichardt, Rolf (1997), The Bastille: A History of a Symbol of Despotism and Freedom, (Norbert Schurer, trans.), Durham and London: Duke University Press (Original book published, 1990).
3. Bosher, J.F., The French Revolution, New York-London: W.W. Norton and Company.
4. "Rebellion and Civil War in France", The Times (London), 20-21 July 1789, 2C.
5. Kuburov, Bob, "The History of the French Revolution." Blake's Bastille, http://www.geocitites.com/Athens/Forum/9790/hist.HTM, (29 November 1998).
6. Hooker, Richard, "The First Revolution", http://www.wsu.edu:8000/~dee/Rev/First.HTM, (29 November 1998).
7. Aguilera, "The Revolution Begins", http://panther.chs.chico.k12.ca.us/~eaguiler1/rb.htm, (29 November 1998)
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The French Revolution is a major event in the history of the world. The reason being is it’s revolutionary. There are several key events that truly define what makes it revolutionary. The key events being: the storming of the Bastille, the trial and execution of King Louis XVl, the Reign of Terror, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. The storming and the capture of the Bastille was a big part of what made it revolutionary. There were two parts that made the storming of the Bastille important. The first one being the deeper meaning behind the attack.... [tags: French Revolution, Louis XVI of France]
725 words (2.1 pages)
- The inclination of the crowd to engage in violence as demonstrated by the fall of the Bastille was not an exception, but the norm of the revolution. Less than a month after this monumental event, peasants revolted, destroying a number of medieval documents and forcing feudalism to be abolished. The violence would continue on October 5, 1789 with the March on Versailles, which is perhaps one of the most shocking events of the revolution. Thousands of women marched on Versailles declaring their need for bread.... [tags: French Revolution, Reign of Terror, Guillotine]
2446 words (7 pages)
- The storming of Bastille Overview of the French revolution The French revolution occurred from 1789 – 1795 but some argue that it went up till 1799. King Louis XVI was crowned after the 7 years’ war which plunged France into economical debt and led to rise of corruption. The king’s ignorance led to increase of privileges grasped by nobles and the rich. Years of bad or no harvest led to unrest in France as the rich enjoyed their position in society while the poor suffered. The people were divided into three different classes known as estates, namely third estate – the proletariat, second estate – the clergy and the first estate – the aristocrats or monarchs.... [tags: french revolution, journal, army]
1126 words (3.2 pages)
- Throughout history, symbols have had an overwhelming presence among citizens. The French Revolution had many symbols that represented power. Did the events leading up to the storming of the Bastille persuade the French citizens to believe that it was a symbol of power. There are many reasons why the French citizens would believe the Bastille to be a symbol of power. It was a very overwhelming stone structure, which stood robust, surrounded by small villages along with farmland. The architecture and placement of this fortress gave itself a reputation of strength and impregnation.... [tags: essays research papers]
1885 words (5.4 pages)
- 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.... [tags: essays research papers]
1209 words (3.5 pages)
- The characteristics of a group are determined by its elements. The mob that stormed the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 was a group of citizens that were fierce, enraged, and blood-thirsty. To the people of Paris, the Bastille was a symbol of brutality and totalitarian power. It was hated because of the many stories that had emerged from its walls of horrible torture and brutality. To the people of Paris who stormed the Bastille, the prison which was the symbol of the absolute monarchy which France had been suffering under for so long.... [tags: essays research papers]
515 words (1.5 pages)
- On the afternoon of July 14, 1789 a group of over a thousand Parisians, consisting of people within all social classes, but mostly made up of artisans, wage-earners, and tradesmen arrived at the Bastille. , Legend claims that this riled group of Parisians attacked the Bastille with the sole aim of rescuing prisoners only to find that there were, in fact, only seven prisoners there, and that the Bastille was actually a discreet prison reserved for people of influence and power, which they themselves were not.... [tags: France]
1723 words (4.9 pages)
- “A leading cause of social stress in France during the Revolution was its large population… 90 percent of the peasants lived at or below the subsistence level, earning only enough to feed their families… Many impoverished peasants blamed the tensions between the rich and poor on the country’s vast social differences” (Exploring the Revolution, 2001). To understand the difference between the importance of the Tennis Court Oath and the storming of the Bastille for the course of the Revolution, the proceedings beforehand prior to these events must be understood.... [tags: French Revolution, Estates of the realm]
1624 words (4.6 pages)
- "Bastille Day, on the Fourteenth of July, is the French symbol of the end of the Monarchy and the beginning of the French Revolution" (www.hightowertrail.com). It is very much like Independence Day in the United States because it is a celebration of the beginning of a new form of government. There are several factors that led to the Revolution. King Louis XV and King Louis XVI both led extremely extravagant lives. They spent a lot of the government's money on luxuries even while the government had some financial problems.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1503 words (4.3 pages)
- The Fall of Bastille and its Importance to the Revolution Why was the fall of Bastille a significant turning point in events of the Revolution. The fall of Bastille was very important to the Revolution because the country saw this as a new era. It started on July 11,1789 when the Minister of Finance Jacques Necker was dismissed which angered the people because he was like a hero to the people through his economic strategies. Word had spread that foreign mercenaries were about to massacre the citizens.... [tags: Papers]
479 words (1.4 pages)