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The French Revolution. By: Marieke Boot. Introduction.

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the french revolution

The French Revolution

By: Marieke Boot

  • France was ruled by an absolute monarchy for over 100 years. This system functioned because the King would take taxes from the citizens to fund the country. However, they would also use the taxes for personal use and therefore lived in extreme luxury. When King Louis XVI came into power, his supported America in their revolution. Because of this, France had a serious debt problem. King Louis XVI raised the taxes to try to fix their problem. In 1788 France lost many crops to a harsh winter. This caused a nation wide famine. However, King Louis continued to increase the taxes and live in extreme luxury. Therefore, the people of France were very upset and mad. My character, a middle class lawyer, had enough money that the taxes did not harshly affect him. However, he life is limited because of the rules and privileges that the King gave to the Clergy and Nobles. Therefore, he supported the revolution and disliked the King.
may 5th 1789
May 5th, 1789
  • Something has to happen. We are going to do something to fix this unjust society we currently live in. 578 representatives of the Third Estate, including me, just returned from the Meeting of the Estate-General. As the Third Estate, we had no say in what happened and as a result our taxes got raised again.
  • I, Nicolas, am a lawyer; therefore, I have seen first hand the unfair division of our society. For example, any member of the clergy could commit a crime and could easy get off free of punishment; however, members of the Third Estate who commit minor crimes areoften executed via the guillotine. Not only that, the members of the First and Second Estate, the people that hold most of the money, are freed from all taxes. Yet, it only gets worse from there.
  • In 1788, a harsh winter destroyed France’s crops. The lack of bread caused a nationwide famine. However, I, being a well-educated lawyer, was not individually affected by this famine. When the prices of bread doubled, I had just enough to support my family. Yet, the famine took a toll on me. All around me people were starving and burdened with high taxes. On my way to work, I passed children on the street so thin it made me shudder. I wished I could help; however, I did not have enough to share. During this time, King Louis XVI and his wife, Queen Marie Antonette, were throwing huge parties, owning an abundance of fancy clothing, and stuffing themselves fat with food that the rest of their nation lacked.I, along with everyone else in the Third Estate, abhorred them.
  • Then there was a chance for change, a sliver of hope. The Estate general called a meting of all the Estates to try to help solve the finance issues of France. I was elected to represent the Third Estate and attend the meeting. However, our opinion was not acknowledged and the final verdict was to raise the taxes of the Third Estate. We were furious! We, the Third Estate, are the reason France is a functioning country. We fund, we feed, and we work. Yet, they treat us terribly.
  • We are furious and will do something. After the meting we all agreed to meet up at the tennis courts, as we were kicked out of our previous meting place. Something will be done about this unjust inequality. I am done watching as people starve to death, I am stopping this.

The Streets of France were covered in starving people.

14th july 1789
14th July 1789
  • I can’t believe we overpowered the impenetrable Bastille. It was a symbol of the monarchy, a tall stone building imprisoning criminals. Yet, today we conquered it. We now have weapons and we are one step closer to a better France. Finally I will be able to be free from our social injustice. Although I work very hard and am relatively wealthy, I never can improve my social status because of the laws and privileges given to the Clergée and Nobilitée. Yet, now there is hope that it all can change.
  • After the meeting with the Estate General, we all met at the tennis courts.There we swore the tennis court oath promising not to leave until we created a constitution. We called ourselves the National Assembly, mostly made up of members of the Third estate. I am proud to be part of the recreation of France, as I am helping to make it a better place for my son to grow up in. Within the constitution, we stated that all people in France should be equal and free; however, women and foreigners were not included in the constitution.I had hope, we all did, that France would change and become a place of fairness and joy.
  • However, that hope was quickly destroyed when King Louis XVI, our ignorant leader, turned his back on our cry for help. Our plea for justice was rejected.
  • The King was trying to disband the National Assembly.Therefore, we had no choice except to flight back. We had weapons; yet, we need gunpowder. Thus we headed for the Bastille, a large stone prison. To our surprise, the Bastille was relatively easy to invade.As time progressed, more and more people joined until there were about 600 people working to conquer the prison; yet, the crowd totaled to over 1000 people. We freed all the prisoners, although there were only seven, and seized the weapons and gunpowder.
  • Today we conquered the unconquerable. We can do anything, even overpower our government, if we all do it together. I have hope for a better France for my son and the future generations. It is not impossible anymore we can change France.

This is us capturing the Bastille.

august 26th 1789
August 26th, 1789
  • We are finally free. We once and for all abolished the unjust system of the Estates. Today King Louis XVI, though reluctantly, accepted our constitution. We are free!
  • In the new constitution, we, the National Assembly, stated that we will elect our leaders and we will all be equal. It was written that everyone would share the burden of tax equally and there will be no more estates. When we brought this constitution to King Louis XVI he accepted and just like that we were all free.
  • Later in October, my wife came home from the market very distressed. She explained to me that the prices for bread, yet again, increased. She saw all the other women and children around her starving and unable to purchase bread. On her way home, with a basket full of bread forus, she was robbed and the bread was stolen. I was upset for my wife but also I was worried for the future because if they continue to raise the bread prices, soon we won’t have enough. I sent my teenage son to accompany my wife to the market for safety.
  • When I came home after work on October 5, my wife had disappeared. I questioned my son who explained to me that she left for the marketplace in the morning and never returned. After talking to many of my friends and co-workers, I found that many other wives were absent too.
  • The next morning, my wife returned explaining everything. She departed to the marketplace to buy bread, when she found that all the other women were near rioting over the outrageous prices of bread.Along with others that joined, the woman stripped the city armory of its weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles.The mob grew to thousands of women. They violently invaded and conquered the palace and demanded bread from King Louis XVI. Then this morning, the mob of now nearly sixty thousand returned to Paris with the king, his family, and most of the French Assembly.
  • Although I was shocked my wife to part in such a gruesome act, I was mostly overjoyed that King Louis XVI finally had been fully stripped of his power. Finally his reign is over and we, the people of France, are free.

The women’s march of the Palace of Versailles.

may 7th 1794
May 7th, 1794
  • I live in never-ending fear. Robespierre, now declared the Supreme Being, has been taking public safety too far. He claims that he is trying to rid France of all traders; yet, he is now just killing innocent people. It has been almost two years and already over 40,000 people have been guillotined. He must be stopped.
  • It all started when the National Convention, which I joined, unanimously voted that King Louis XVI was guilty. Robespierre stated that the King was a trader and in order for France to be a functioning nation, all traders must be executed. We all immediately agreed. Thus the King was executed via the guillotine. Soon after that Marie Antoinette, the queen and therefore a trader, was also executed. All of France rejoiced in her death, as she was notorious for living in extreme luxury while her people starved.
  • I joined theJacobins, supporting Robespierre and the idea of a Republic, and believed that the executions were necessary for the better of France. Yet, as time progressed more and more people were being executed. It was not only royalty or supporters of monarchy anymore, it was anyone who spoke out against the republic. Although I thought possibly it was over extensive, I still entirely supported Robespierre.
  • Then everything changed. One afternoon, word came to me that my son had been taken. Because he was carrying a book with the king’s seal on it, he was going to be executed. Just like that my world crumbled, my only son was going to die as a result of a group I am part of. Without thinking I rushed to la Place de la Bastille, where the guillotine was located. There, I watched my beloved son mount the platform and place his neck in the hole. I wanted to do something, anything to help my only child. At the last moment I looked away, unable to watch as the executioner took the life from my boy. However, I could hear the blade disconnect my son’s head from his body. When it was over, I raised my head and saw as the next victim mount the platform. The air was heavy with the revolting smell of blood.
  • I trudged home, unable to think clearly. Behind me some people were talking. They were saying that too many people have died as a result of the revolution. Just like that guards grabbed them and took them away to be executed. I broke out into a run and sprinted home. When I arrived, I noticed my neighbors were missing. My heart pounded in my chest fearing I would be next.
  • After that day I becamegirondin, a supporter of the revolution; yet, believe all the bloodshed is unnecessary. Me and everyone else in France lived constant fear. They executed my friends, my co-workers, and many others. I burned all my books with the king’s seal and was careful about what I said in public. Everyday I woke up fearing it would be my last.

Endless people being executed by the guillotine.

november 9 1799
November 9, 1799
  • Today Napoleon crowned himself emperor. Although France is with another monarch, Napoleon is a sensible and peaceful ruler. Unlike Robespierre, he does not kill to get what he wants. I believe under Napoleon’s rule France is on its way to become a better nation.
  • One summer morning, the Committee of Public Safetycalled everyone to the city center. There we all gladly watched as Robespierre, the cause of thousands of deaths, mounted the platform to the guillotine. Robespierre lay across the blood stained wood and prepared for his death. I thought of all the people he has taken from me and raised my voice to cheer with the endless crowd. Then came the distinct sound of the blade as it came down removing his head from the rest of him. My heart stopped, as that sound brought me back to the day I lost my son to the guillotine. I pushed the thought from my mind and continued to clap and cheer with the crowd. Finally he is gone. I felt a heavy weight lift from my shoulders, as we did not need to live in fear anymore.
  • However, I was wrong if I thought France was just going to get better. After Robespierre was executed, the Directory ruled France. They were bankrupt and very inefficient. Although they did a terrible job and were widely disliked, they achieved military success for France.
  • Just when he was needed most, Napoleon stepped in. France was a dirty, water deprived, dangerous country with many prostitutes. Yet, Napoleon promised to help solve our problems. He was cleaning up our city, adding water fountains and created a flourishing military. Today he crowned himself emperor. Most citizens are content with this, as Napoleons promises everything we want for France.
  • Life is starting to look up. Napoleon is going to fix our many problems, my wife is pregnant with another child, and the mass executions have stopped. I truly believe things will get better.

A picture of Napoleon, our new leader.

  • Because of the unstable government during the French Revolution, Napoleon was able to come into power. Napoleon cleaned up France. Before it was a dirty, crime filled nation; however, Napoleon fixed a lot of that and turned France into what it is today. He also brought water to the French citizens. Although the French Revolution started with a monarchy and ended with a monarchy, it had a long-term impact on France. It ended the absolute monarchy in France and shaped France into the place it is today.
  • Throughout the revolution, France changed a lot. It physically changed. The population decreased because of the Reign of Terror and most importantly it became a place of beauty. It started as a place that was dirty and the citizens were starving. Yet, Napoleon changed it to a flourishing nation. The government also changed because of the revolution. It changed from an absolute monarchy to just a monarchy. However, it was still a monarchy. The revolution was about trying to abolish the monarchy; however, it ended with Napoleon crowning himself monarch.
  • France during the revolution and France today are very different. Their methods for solving problems are very different. During the revolution, if there were a conflict people would be executed. However, today the death penalty has been abolished. Also the government in France has changed. Before and after the revolution France had a monarchy; yet, currently it is a republic. Currently, unlike during the revolution, everyone’s voice is heard and recognized. Yet, some things are the same such as patriotism of the French people. The French were proud of their Nation just like they are today.
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  • "Red Splat." Welcome to PrintCourt. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
  • "Napoleon Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.