Short Essay on the Fall of the Fortress of Bastille of France

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The power and authority of the king had decreased to a great extent with the recognition of National Assembly. The commoners now started to misbehave with the nobles and the clergy.

They were not paying regard even to the king and the queen. It was due to this reason that royal family held an inimical attitude towards the National Assembly wanted its total abolition.

The general masses also looked towards acts of king with suspicion and hatred and thus there was tug of between the king and the representatives of National Assembly for survival.

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The following reasons could be held responsible for the fall of the castle of Bastille in the hands of the revolutionaries.

Removal of Necker

With the recognition of the National Assembly by the king, the power and prestige of the representatives of Third Estate grew rapidly and they began to perform their duties with great courage and enthusiasm.

They wanted to end the special privileges of the nobles and the priests and desired equal taxes on all the classes. So far, the nobles, feudal lords and the priests were exempt from all taxes.

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The nobles and priests were terrified with this attitude of the commoners. They along with Queen Marie Antoinette and Count of Ratio pressed the king to dissolve the National Assembly and the king owing to his fickle mindedness and nervous temperament acceded to their request and stationed the units of German and Swiss troops in Versailles.

He also removed Necker, the most famous finance minister, from his office. It alarmed the general masses to great extent and inflamed their passion for revolt.

Lack of Unity in the Members of National Assembly

The chief object of the representatives of National Assembly was to prepare a new constitution for the country but since all the members were inexperienced persons, they did not succeed in attaining their objective.

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Moreover, they had no unity among themselves. Instead of making joint efforts and doing something solid for the well-being of their country, the members accused one another and wasted their precious time. It annoyed the general masses and provided a background for an open revolt.

Unstable Temperament of the King

The king did not possess a strong will. Given to fickle mindedness and vacillating nature he failed to take a solid decision. Sometimes he favoured the causes of third estate and after a moment he supported the acts of the nobles and the priests.

He was himself not certain as to what he should do. It later on became the chief reason of his unpopularity among the masses. The law and order problem was taking a bad shape day by day and people of France began to think in terms of revolution.

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Moreover, the representatives of the National Assembly began to criticise the king’s policies vehemently and the public thus got encouragement and resorted to an open revolt.

Increase of Discontentment amongst the Public

The generality of people who were badly oppressed during the regime of absolute monarchy and the privileged classes, expected some healthy reforms to redress the abuses of the monarchy.

He had a confidence that the feeble economic situation would be improved and their sufferings would come to an end; but the National Assembly did nothing to fulfill their aspirations. Hence the public was dissatisfied all the more and in order to fulfill their wishes they resorted to the Revolution.

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The Revolt of the Paris Mob

In the meantime hundreds of naked and hungry peasantry of France had gathered in Paris. They expected to get something by creating disorder and indulging in robbery and arson.

On this critical occasion, the Duke of Orleans cherished a hope 10 take the advantage of the chaos and confusion and intended to capture the throne of France. He invited a number of ruffians from his estate to create hooliganism in Paris.

The incident of the dismissal of Necker added fuel to the fire and people threw themselves in heated discussions regarding the dismissal of Necker, the most popular finance minister.

The fall of Bastille

At the same time Commille Desmoulin delivered a fiery speech after the dismissal of Necker the second move of the king would be order to German and Swiss soldiers to massacre the inhabitants of Paris and imprison their representatives.

He directed the people of Paris to gather as many weapons as possible in order to save themselves from tyranny of the king. His venomous speech impressed the mob enormously.

They started shouting slogans, looting the people in the streets of Paris and collecting weapons from wherever they could. By 14th of July they could be able to collect a number of weapons along with two big canons.

All these armed persons were in search of gun-powder. At this juncture some one from the mob directed them that there was enough of gun-powder and bombs in the fortress of Bastille which was a prison the political accused.

The mob advanced towards the fortress of Bastille and raided it. De Lawney was in charge of this fortress and his soldiers fought very bravely against the crowd for some time.

About two hundred people were killed in this struggle, and at last De Lawney had to surrender before the mob because there was no more ammunition in the fortress to continue the resistance.

The infuriated mob cut down the in charge of the castle along with this brave soldiers and speared their severed heads paraded them in the streets of Paris. They destroyed the fortress completely and released all the prisoners.

Importance of the fall of Bastille

The fall of the fortress of Bastille has a great importance in the history of Europe. It was a victory of liberal values over the absolute monarchy.

It created an atmosphere of horror and terror in the hearts of the absolute monarchs in Europe, and they began to think of their own fate.

After getting the news of the fall of Bastille Louis XVI said, “This is a revolt,” but the reporter answered, “No, Sire, it is a revolution.” All the people in the world who had faith in democratic form of government expressed their joy at this historical event.

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