Bastille Day July 14th in French: “La Fête Nationale” and “Le Quatorze Juillet”, commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille July 14th, 1789 and the Feast of the Republic, demonstrating the Unity of the French People on July 14th, 1790. The oldest military parade in Europe is held 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris each year.
The Beginnings of the French Revolution
May 19 1789, the King, Louis XVI convened the General Assembly, the Estates-General to resolve his government’s financial crisis. The discussions broke down when the Three Estates, (Social Classes), could not agree on voting procedure. The King wanted the vote to be by Estates which would have given the Catholic Church and the Nobility the edge over the Third Estate, the Common People. The Third Estate wanted to vote all together, (giving the Commons the edge.). The third estate formed a National Assembly on June 17th 1789. They were locked out of the assembly hall by the Kings soldiers on June 20th and reconvened in a nearby tennis court; where they took the Tennis Court Oath, swearing stay in session until a constitution had been established. Delegates of the other estates joined them by order of the King. On July 9th they began to draft a constitution. On July 11 the finance minister, Jacques Necker was dismissed. The people of Paris, fearful of attack by the King’s Army stormed the Bastille, a Fortress/Prison in Paris, to obtain munitions, on July 14, 1789. The seven political prisoners held there were released. During the fighting and aftermath 106 people died. Its surrender betoken the end of the Monarch’s Absolute Rule and the Society of Orders and privileges. The French wasted no time on July 14, 1790 the Feast of the Republic was inaugurated. It is a commemorates both the Storming of the Bastille and celebrates the Unity of the French People. July 14 was made a national holiday in 1880.
On 4 August 4 1789, on 4 August, feudalism was abolished in France. On August 26, 1789 the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed. This document was drafted by General Lafayette, with the assistance of his friend Thomas Jefferson. It holds that the Rights of Man are universal everywhere and at all times. It is worth reading.
On October 1,1789 The King’s body guards trampled on the national cockade, This resulted in the Women’s March on Versailles. In response on October 5, 1789 crowds of women began to assemble at Parisian markets and as many as 7,000 women marched to Versailles, bringing with them cannons and a variety of smaller weapons. The women had not been enfranchised by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, they were responding to the harsh economic conditions and bread shortages. As many as 7,000 women joined the march to Versailles, bringing with them cannons and smaller weapons. They were met by 20,000 National Guardsmen called out to maintain order. General Lafayette prevailed upon the King to acquiesce to the demands of the crowd . The Royal family moved to Paris the next day effectively legitimizing the National Assembly.
“The Right Song at the Right Time Can Change History” – Pete Seeger
The Monarchies of Europe wasted little time in responding to the fervor of the French People. The War of the First Coalition was an effort to stop the revolution. An Allied army of 32,000 under the command of the Duke of Brunswick marched deep into France, headed for Paris. They were met by an army of the French under the command of General Dumoriez near a windmill outside the village of Valmy. The fighting was inconclusive until two separate columns of French militia approached. Each group was singing a different song. The Allied armies hearing this retreated and in so doing were ultimately decimated by disease. The next day the National Assembly abolished the French Monarchy and established The French Republic. It was a NEW WORLD ORDER!
Oh yes the songs the sans culottes sang?