The Storming Of The Bastille essay example

1,059 words
The 14th of July 1789 was the day when a very important event took place playing a large part in the history of France. This was the day that the common people of France attacked a fortress that had been used as a prison for 400 years by past Kings of France and was then still occupied by prisoners. Just under a month ago, Louis XVI had given in to the people and allowed the forming of the National Assembly. The assembly was very precious to them as it was evidence of their victory and they were ready to protect it. Riots were occurring in nearby Paris and opposed a threat to Louis and his control of his capital.

Therefore, with the support of the people closest to him, he ordered 20,000 royal troops to guard areas around Paris claiming that they were there to keep order. The people however, did not trust him and believed the troops were there to take away their precious parliament. Soon after ordering the troops, the King had fired his finance minister, Necker who had advised Louis to tax the more privileged people making him very popular among the Third Estate. Necker was replaced by a man who opposed the Third Estate, causing uneasiness and anger amongst the common people.

People who were supporters of revolution started to become suspicious of the King and his actions and started to search for weapons that they could defend themselves with in case something happened. It was somewhat chaotic as people raided arms stores in the attempt to get themselves better equipped to fight King's troops. Then, there were rumours that a large amount of gunpowder was stored in the old fortress, the Bastille. These people wanted weapons and gun powder, but there was also anger burning inside of them as they approached the great symbol of the King's power and their own lack of rights and privileges. It resembled cruelty and the many stories of the horrible conditions and torture of the prisoners who were kept in there remained in their minds as they stormed in. A man known as de Launay governed the Bastille and there were approximately 110 men guarding the prison.

De Launay was expecting a small attack so he had prepared some extra Swiss guards, but his expectations were nothing compared to what approached the fortress that day. A huge number of enraged people were willing to give their lives to fight for a revolution but when they arrived, they hesitated at the sight of cannons. They heard that they were aiming one of the cannons to be fire at the street of St. Antoine. This put the people of Paris at risk and the mob of besiegers became furious, ordering that the cannon be pointed elsewhere. They also demanded that they have access to the gunpowder and ammunition. Launay refused to surrender and when they were told that the cannons were unloaded, they pushed on.

The army became scared. The common people easily broke through the Arsenal and charged into the courtyard, cut the drawbridge down, and got through the wooden door behind that. They then demanded that de Launay let down the bridges but he refused. Launay came up with the conditions that he would surrender to them if they could withdraw from the fortress peacefully but the people would not work under the conditions of the governor insisting on a fight. This was when the mob got hold of some cannons and aimed them at the gates of the prison.

The members of the army started persuading to surrender. Instead, de Launay sent a note to the leader of the mob, Hulin, informing him that he possessed 20,000 pounds of gun powder and if they did not accept his offer, he would completely destroy the Bastille, together with the garrison, and all the people inside it. Hulin refused the offer and de Launay eventually surrendered, commanding the lowering of the bridges for the besiegers to capture the fortress. The people defending the Bastille were dragged along the dirty streets of Paris as the winners paraded victoriously slicing the heads off their captives as they went. De Launay and two others were considered as being more involved than the rest and had a brief trial before the tribunal at the Hotel de Ville. De Launay was beheaded in extremely barbaric circumstances.

About 100 people were killed, and in the prison they only found seven prisoners but this event meant much more than the death of these men and release of others. It was a symbol of the end to the King's great power. It was the first violent event of the French Revolution. Their great victory proved that the under privileged people of the Third Estate could defeat the wealthy and the people with the benefits. This was the event that started to give the feeling that violence would be necessary in order for the revolution to be a success. The common people became angry and began to have conviction that they would fight for what they wanted.

They were enraged about the fact that the King neglected their hardships, the high prices of bread. The storming of the Bastille was the event that caused anger and troubles to truly boil up. They started to become suspicious of the King and his movements, while the Nobles and privileged people became angry with the revolution supporters for killing their people. People also began to realise that the King could not stay in the same position he was before the storming of the Bastille if they did not regain their trust in him.

The storming of the Bastille was a very important event during the process of the French Revolution. It was the beginning of violence, distrust, hate, and anger among the people. The King began to lose a large amount of power and really got the Revolution under way for the years to come. Without the storming of the Bastille, the French Revolution could have been completely different to what we read as history today.