The French Revolution generated a political environment that greatly changed the world. It established liberalism and nationalism to countries that were previously ruled by oppressive monarchies. The Storming of the Bastille was a significant event that contributed to the French Revolution. On 14 July 1789, this momentous event, enabled the Third Estate, the commoners to arm themselves with weapons, ammunition and courage in order to play a vital role in the Revolution. The Storming of the Bastille was deemed an important event, which began France’s journey to democracy. Additionally, it was a pivotal cause of the fall of French Monarchy. Evidently, the Storming of the Bastille was a vital historical event, sparking the French Revolution, in order to create a new era in French history.
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The Storming the Bastille enabled the third estate to acquire resources and valour to gain power and contribute to the French Revolution. Although, the Third Estate was the largest in French society, they had no role in government or decision-making in the Ancien Regime (Jennifer Llewellyn, 2019). They made demands on the monarchy, wanting more say in government. They were worried that the King was plotting an attack against them because of their demands, so they needed to attain gunpowder for their weapons to arm themselves. The gunpowder was stored at the Bastille, a representation of the Monarchy’s tyranny. When the military leader of the Bastille, Governor de Launay, refused to surrender the prison and gunpowder, the Storming of the Bastille began. During the battle, the nobles surrendered the fort and the revolutionaries took control. The capture of the Bastille was successful in gaining arms, ammunition and valour for the revolutionaries, in addition to providing irresistible momentum for the French Revolution. (History.com, 2019)
Additionally, the Storming of the Bastille helped lead to the fall of the French monarchy. After years of living under despotism, the Storming of the Bastille was the first violent attack on the French monarchy by the Third Estate (History Crunch, n.d.). France was in financial upheaval, extravagant spending from King Louis XVI, unfair taxes, poor harvests, famine and the exuberant cost of bread caused social unrest (The British Library Board, 2019). These problems contributed to the citizens storming the bastille, which in turn, began a series of events that led to the overthrow of the king. This catalyst, forced the King to begin concessions and encouraged the people’s movement to overthrow him and later behead him and his wife, Antoinette in the hope of burying the monarchy forever (Platon, 2019). The fall of the Bastille signalled the beginning of the French Revolution and the role that individual citizens would perform during the events of the revolution. (History Crunch, n.d.)
Furthermore, France’s journey to a democratic government, stemmed from the Storming of the Bastille. Before the Revolution, French society was divided, where the majority was treated unjustly. The commoners were extremely poor, while the upper classes were privileged, rich and involved in decision-making (Ducksters, 2019). The Bastille was a symbol of the monarch’s tyranny, imprisoning those who disagreed with the monarch’s rulings, however after the fall of the Bastille it became a significant symbol of freedom. This was important in bringing down a “despotic government and putting a stop to arbitrary rule” (Platon, 2019). The Storming of the Bastille sparked the revolution and helped lead France into a fairer democratic society.
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The Storming of the Bastille was a defining moment that signalled the beginning of the French Revolution. It changed the way of life in France dramatically, caused the overturn of the French monarchy and the ancien regime, gave the third estate resources and courage to fight against the nobles, as well as leading France to a democratic society. The Storming of the Bastille is a significant symbolic historical event that resulted in revolutionary political change.
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- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d.). Constitution of 1791. Retrieved from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Constitution-of-1791-French-history
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