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The disappointed reactions of the enraged Third Estate members who stood knocking violently at the door of the Hotel des Menus when they were locked out on June 20, 1789. The reason the Estates General was going to meet on this day was because of a recent voting conflict between the Estates General that had put the estates in deadlock for days. The Third Estate desired a change in the voting in the Estates-General, from voting by order, which the First and Second Estates wanted, to voting by head. As the Third Estate stood outside the meeting hall talking about what they would do next, after they had found out that the king had canceled the royal session because his son died and he found out about the formation of the National Assembly, which put him in great mourning, the sky began to rain. Once the rain was poring and drenching the Third Estate members, they sleeked shelter across the street in a nearby indoor tennis court. Inside the tennis court, Bailly, one of the main leaders of the Third Estate, stood on a table and voiced the ideas of Mounier, another leader. This proposal voiced by Bailly was that the Third Estate would not leave Versailles until there was a constitution which they agreed upon. This idea of Mounier’s was taken in favor of a more radical reform plan proposed by Sieyes. Of the 577 members, all but one accepted this oath. This oath, which would change Mother France forever, was known as the Tennis Court Oath. Another key player in the Tennis Court Oath was Mirabeau. On June 23, 1789 he reminded King Louis XVI of the oath the Third Estate had taken on the 20th and also said that the Third Estate would not leave the meeting hall till the Estates General could vote by head or were forced out by bayonets. The King said to let them sit, but was bluffing, and finally gave way to their proposal, and said that the Estates General would vote by head. Later, on June 27, the King ordered his “loyal clergy and nobility” to join the National Assembly. It seemed as if the Third Estate had won, and everyone at Versailles was yelling “Vive Le Roi”, as if the Revolution was over. But what they didn’t know was that the King had sent troops to regulate in Paris. These troops would soon, even though they didn’t know it, be part of the storming of the Bastille where several soldiers and Parisians would be killed and help promote the French Revolution.*BR*

The Storming of the Bastille

On July 14, 1789. A huge, bloodthirsty mob marched to the Bastille, searching for gun powder and prisoners that had been taken by the unpopular and detested King, Louis XVI. Even elements of the newly formed National Guard were present at the assault. The flying rumors of attacks from the government and the biting truth of starvation were just too much for the angry 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 Paris Commune was too defiant and too livid to submit to the starvation and seeming injustice of their government. The Bastille was governed by a man named de Launay. On July 7th, thirty-two Swiss soldiers led by Lieutenant Deflue, came to aid de Launay, helping him to prepare for a small mob. Rumors were flying everywhere. De Launay was *I*expecting*/I* a mob attack, but certainly not a siege! The entire workforce of the Bastille had stealthily and furiously been repairing the Bastille and reinforcing it, all to prepare for a minor attack from a hundred or so angry citizens. At three o’clock that afternoon, however, a huge group of French guards and angry citizens tried to break into the fortress. There were over three hundred people ready to give their lives to put an end to their overtaxing and overbearing government. However the Bastille was threatened by more than the numerous crowds: three hundred guards had left their posts earlier that day, out of fear and from the rumors. The besiegers easily broke into the Arsenal and into the first courtyard, cut the drawbridge down, and then quickly got through the wooden door behind it. They boldly demanded that the bridges be lowered, but they were refused. The Marquis de Launay said he would surrender if his troops were allowed to leave peacefully, but he was simply rebuked. They wanted de Launay on a noose or with his head in a basket.The vicious crowds shouted for him to lower the bridges. De Launay sent a note to a mob leader named Hulin, claiming that he had 20,000 pounds of gunpowder and if the besiegers did not accept his offer, he would annihilate the entire fortress, the garrison, and everyone in it! Yet they still refused. The bridges were finally lowered on de Launay’s command, and he and his soldiers were captured by the crowds and dragged through the filthy streets of Paris.The mob paraded through the streets, showing off their captives, and crudely cutting off many heads. The National Guard tried to stop the crowds from looting, but it was useless. They continued marching on, making their way to the Hotel de Ville.*B* */B*Upon learning that the Bastille had been taken, King Louis XVI, who was residing at Versailles, was reported to have asked an informer: “Is this a revolt?” and La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt said, “No, Sire, it is a revolution.Little did Louis know that the mob’s next plan was to march to Versailles, take him away with them.*/BLOCKQUOTE**BR*

The March To Versailles

It was early in the morning on October 5 when groups of women had gotten together and made a big crowd in the central marketplace of Paris The march to Versailles, with its angry women and*B* */B*their threatening behavior, was one of many violent disturbances that occurred during the French Revolution. The march on Versailles’s main purpose was to obtain bread and force the price of bread down to where it had been. Versailles was known as a royal paradise, and many very important people lived there along with the King and his family. Versailles was also known as a great big paradise where there were a lot of parties held and the King did nothing but hunt and have fun. It was a very huge surprise to have all of these working class people march into the palace and demand bread from the King.*BR*

Bread was the main diet of the French people at this time. In fact, working people back in the revolutionary days spent about half of their wages to buy bread for food. However, in August of 1789, the price of the bread that these people had been purchasing all this time, increased greatly. The people had so much trouble trying to get food, that at Versailles, a mad crowd of people killed a baker who was trying to sell his bread at 18 sous, which was very costly for the people. This incident showed exactly how much bread meant to the people in Paris.The women got to the Hotel de Ville where they numbered around 6,000, while the men were encouraging the women to perform the march. The men started screaming at the women to march. So the women began their march to Versailles. As they marched through the streets, more women came out of their houses and off the street to join them. The women were armed with pitch forks, muskets, pikes, swords, bludgeons, crowbars, and scythes as they marched through the rain. When the women reached Versailles, they stormed through the gates. The women demanded bread while they stood in the palace of Versailles sopping wet and muddy. The King was scared and overwhelmed by group of people that stood before him. Since the national assembly had most of the power in the country of France and the king had very little, the king gave in to the women’s demands. He then told the women that he would have all of the bread in Versailles ordered out to them. But more than bread arrived in Paris. The King decided to move his court to Paris was well, a decision that would have dire consequences as the revolution unfolded.


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