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Meredith Bosson French- 150 French Portfolio: Part III A Historic Even in French History: The French Revolution

France was for a very long time in history, ruled by a monarch. It wasnt until the late 1700s that the status changed. For a little over ten years, from 1778-1799, France fought for their freedom from the monarch and for a new government; this was named the French Revolution. What started out as a riot from the lack of bread, an inept monarch, and a new wave of knowledge on the revolution in America, turned out to be one of the most horrific events in French history. The year 1787 started the events of the French Revolution. An assembly of nobles was called to order to address the countries debt and spending problems. The idea was to increase the tax of the privileged class. Of course, the assembly being mostly rich and privileged people refused. In response, the Estates-General was called in 1788. The Estates-General was a representation of clergy, nobility, and even the third estate (or the common people). By 1789 the Estates- General was meeting at Versailles for a vote. Arguments were abundant and no decisions could be made. The third estate, becoming annoyed and ready for change, declared themselves the National Assembly (French Revolution). When Louis XVI tried to kick them out, that was the final straw. They met up on the Kings tennis court and together made the Tennis Court Oath; swearing not to leave until a new constitution for France was created. On July 14, 1789 the Revolution took a turn. Peasants rose to overpower the nobles and the government with the storming of the Bastille. This was a turning point in

the Revolution where it was no longer a non-violent reform, but a call to action and a forced revolution. Peasants took to the streets killing and imprisoning nobles. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was soon created. Similar to Americas Declaration of Independence, The Declaration of the Rights of Man stood for equality and liberty (French Revolution). At this moment, when the monumental Declaration of the Rights of Man is created, the revolution becomes real; they are finally creating the freedom they so longed for. In the early 1790s the revolution took a different turn. A new government assembly moved in called the National Convention who goal was to new constitution. A new politically active group immerged as well. Their name was the Jacobins and their leader was no other than Maximillien Robespierre or the nicknamed incorruptible. Robespierre, along with several other Jacobin leaders started the Committee of Public Safety (French Revolution). They believed that in order for people to be safe the people who were enemies of the revolution needed to be executed. This prompted the Reign of Terror. The reign of terror was mass beheadings in the city of Paris. Anyone was fair game to be executed in the reign of terror, most were known supporters of the king, past officials, nobles people, or anyone thought to be against the revolution were beheaded. The king himself along with his wife, the Queen Mary Antoinette were just 2 of the 17,000+ executed in the reign of terror (Reign of Terror). Soon people began to doubt Robespierre and his Committee of Public Safety and in 1794, his own people turned against him. He was executed by beheading on July 27th. Robespierre was the last victim of the terror. Shortly after the execution the rules put into place by the Committee of Public Safety were abolished (Reign of Terror). As the

revolution began to decline and the royalists tried to gain back power a new powerful man began to rise up. Napoleon Bonaparte. The French revolution ends as the Napoleon years begin. As the Napoleon rises to power, the revolution has succeeded; they are now free of a monarch and a whole new era in French history can begin.

Works Cited "French Revolution." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopdia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013. "Reign of Terror." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopdia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2013