The French Movement

Home » The French Movement

The French Movement

French Revolution

It could be argued that the movement to end social inequalities in France started with the French Revolution. Here were some of the main events of the era:

1. Estates General

King Louis XVI summoned the Estates-General during May 1789. The goal was to fix the financial crisis of the monarchy. There were 3 classes that the Estates General represented: clergy, nobles, and Third estate that included the remainder of the population.

Each of the estates just had 1 vote. This resulted in the nobility/clergy to always get more votes than the Third Estate. The Third Estate was worried that they would have to deal with most of the burden caused by the country’s financial crisis. This resulted in the group forming a separate body known as National Assembly.

The group was then removed from the Estates General meetings. So the group moved their meetings to a tennis court located indoors. The Tennis Court Oath was pledged there. The group promised to stay there until the country had a brand new constitution.

2. Fall of Bastille

In July 1789 an irate crowd marched toward the medieval fortress Bastille. It’s located in East Paris and mostly housed political prisoners. This was often seen as an emblem of hatred for Louis’ regime. Parisians who were angry, hungry and unemployed went there to share their emotions.

The Bastille’s commanders and his soldiers were able to resist the crowd for a couple hours. However, then they surrendered. After the defeat of Bastille Louis XVI moved his royal troops away from Paris. The National Assembly became the unofficial French government.

3. March on Versailles

There were several Parisians and in other French regions who were angry, hungry, and unemployed. During October a big group of protesters marched from the French capital to the Palace of Versailles. They believed that the French royal family and nobles were living in luxury and didn’t care about the people of France.

The French people forced into Queen Marie Antoinette’s living quarters. She was Austrian and hated by the people. The crowd insisted on being given bread and hoped to bring both the King as well as the royal family back to Paris so they could live with the people. Louis agreed to travel to France’s capital with the big mob. He believed that it just be a short-term issue.

4. Flight to Varennes

The French people’s National Assembly kept working on a brand new French constitution. After a lot of debate the Assembly’s members made the decision to limit the authority of the king. The King could have the power to veto yet the National Assembly could then overrule the veto. This made the French royal family angry and they felt like they were prisoners in Paris.

In June 1791 the royal family left Paris or Austria. However, the king and queen were caught near the border. Louis had also stated that he opposed the revolution.

5. National Assembly’s Dissolution

The constitution was implemented in September 1791. France became a constitutional-type monarchy. The Legislative Assembly took the place of the National Assembly. All new members were elected to the brand new Parliament. This resulted in anyone with political experience being lost.