The French Revolution
The National Assembly
June 17-July 9, 1789
The National Assembly was a body of people from the Third Estate who wanted a change in their government. The king had promised them double the representation, which meant that they could have twice as many delegates as the other two estates. but then they realized that the voting was by "estate" not by "head" and their double representation meant nothing. they wanted more say in the government. they proceeded to hold meetings by themselves, apart from the other two, and called themselves the National Assembly. the members of the National Assembly invited the other estates to join them, but made it clear that they would deal with the nations affairs with or without them. they represented 96% of the nation and they did all of the work to keep it going. they wanted more say on how to live their lives. so they acted on the needs of the people. after the National Assembly separated themselves from the other estates meetings, the government locked them out of the regular meeting house. But the National Assembly just went to a nearby indoor tennis court, where they swore they would not leave until they had written a constitution for the people. many of the members from the other two estates soon joined them and they made many changes in government, including the abolition of the feudal system. These changes lead to the publication of the Declaration of the Rights of Man.
The Great Fear
July 20-August 6, 1789
There was a period between July and August where there were riots and panic throughout France. the Third estate heard rumors of the king would establish a aristocratic government and take away the Third Estate completely, taking away what lithe say the people had in government. the citizens in the Third Estate began to cause riots and unrest. they burned their noble's house and monasteries which contained public records. they particularly targeted places which housed feudal documents, trying to end the three estate system. this unrest quickly spread throughout all of France. it was called The Great Fear. It lead to the sabotage of the Bastille and the Delcaration of the Rights of Man.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man
August 26, 1789
On August 26, 1789 the National Assembly published the Declaration of the Rights of Man. The Assembly believed that the ignorance and neglect of the rights of the people were the cause of the corruptness is the world. They were inspired by the Declaration of Independence and many Enlightened thinkers to write their declaration to the government. This document declared the unalienable rights of man. Some of the principles stated in the Declaration of the Rights of Man are:
-Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.
- The aim of all political association is the preservation of the natural and imprescriptible rights of man. These rights are liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.
-The principle of all sovereignty resides essentially in the nation. No body nor individual may exercise any authority which does not proceed directly from the nation.
-No one shall be disquieted on account of his opinions, including his religious views, provided their manifestation does not disturb the public order established by law.
-The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.
The Declaration of the Rights of Man was a huge step in the French Revolution and led to the freedom of the French people.
The Massacre of the Champ de Mars
On July 15, 1791, the Jacobins (a radical group who wanted to dissolve the monarchy and make a democracy) held a rally at Champ de Mars to let people sign a petition to depose King Louis IV. The petition had up to 6,000 signatures when the a group of the National Guard, led by General Lafayette shot at them. Most of the petitioners were unarmed and up to 50 people were killed. Many historians consider this a high turning point in the war. Because of this brutal attack by the National Guard, the war was split into two sides: the people who wanted to depose the king and make a new government and those who were loyal to the king and wanted the aristocratic government. there was no in-between. After the Massacre at the Champ de Mars, the government really cracked down on the rebels, stopping democratic newspapers and jailing many people.
The September Massacre
The September Massacres were a series of brutal attacks on the prisons in Paris. They started when a group of angry Paris citizens attacked 24 priests being transported to the prison L'Abbaye and brutally killed them. The citizens then began to murder the rest of the prisoners in L'Abbaye. During these terrible massacres about 1200 prisoners were killed, which was half of all the prisoners in Paris. At the prison name Bicetre, 43 of the 162 prisoners killed were under 18. One of the victims killed was a nobility princess names Mm de Lamballe. She was stripped, raped and completely mutilated. After she was dead, one of the people ripped out her heart and ate it. These killing were grotesque and terrible and was caused just by angry citizens. These massacres are considered the worst in the French Revolution.