The Storming of the Bastille was a huge turning point that some historians point to as the start of the French Revolution. What were the causes, aims and results of the Storming of the Bastille? What was the Bastille? Find out the answers to these questions in this addition to The French Turmoil: Vive la France!
Bringing down symbols of power has been an important part to pretty much every major point in history. The Bastille Prison is a great example of this. Now, France’s population is getting a little worried and anxious about the revolution. Inflation is through the roof, bread is expensive as hell, and rumors are still spreading against Marie Antoinette, the Austrian wife of King Louis XVI. Word started spreading of a Famine Plot. This was basically a rumor that the rich people in the upper estates were, basically, hoarding bread and waiting for the people to starve to death.
Well, it may seem absurd to someone who’s well fed, happy, and sane. However, the people in France were literally starving on the streets due to insane prices caused by inflation. So, the simple idea that the people who were better off than them (especially sense they officially hated them) might be hoarding bread so they would be okay while everyone else died of starvation was a shock. And thus, the people were pissed off. Very.
What were the aims of this? What would storming the Bastille do to help the revolution? Well, Bastille was a prison, and the citizens broke into it for two separate reasons. The major one was to collect weapons, so they would be armed and ready for anything. Because, well, if you have a weapon you can at least protect yourself. And you don’t really have to rely on a…well a stick. The other reason, however, was to release the prisoners of the Bastille. If you remember from our last post, the biggest grievance was the Lettres de Cachet, the documents that said that anyone can be arrested at anytime for any reason, and they didn’t even need a reason. Now, the Bastille held some of those people. Ironically…the massive prison only held seven prisoners, one of which was a young teenager who’s parents told him to go get himself
arrested….but that’s not the point. They were released, and I guess that’s something.
Did they reach their goals? Well, yeah. They got the weapons they really stormed the Bastille for, and they did release the prisoners….even though there was….only seven of them. Okay. Okay, I guess that’s something, right?
However, it wouldn’t be history without violence, am I right? And that’s when the gore comes in. The guards….guarding the….seven prisoners….okay why the hell is this prison being guarded by SEVERAL MEN if there’s only SEVEN prisoners? Anyways, the guards were faced with the slaughter, and the head guard, a man who was just doing his job, was beheaded. His head was placed on a stick and marched around the Bastille. Now That’s the history we all know and were waiting for.
Now, what were the results of this storming of the Bastille? Well, to this day in France there is a national holiday known as Bastille Day, a topic we will fully analyze next week. Also, they did reach the two goals they set, and that did help set the revolution’s path.
Next week, we’ll take a look at what exactly Bastille Day is in today’s world, in Part 2 of the Two Part Post: Bastille, and the next addition of the History Republic Series: The French Turmoil: Vive la France.
Vive la France!