Our revolution inspired the French to have their own. The United States was in debt to France for helping us win ours, but we had yet set up a working government. The Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783 was the official ceding of British rule, this after the very definitive siege of Yorktown and the surrender of Cornwallis. It included concessions to Spain and the Netherlands. As France began their marches, America elected its first President, February 1789. His job was now to set up a working government and he had his first full cabinet meeting November 26, 1791 with Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, Attorney General Edmund Randolph. Vice President John Adams did not attend.
The storming of the Bastille Day, July 14, 1789 set off the French Revolution, The medieval armory, fortress, and political prison known as the Bastille represented royal authority in the center of Paris. The prison contained only seven inmates at the time of its storming but was seen by the revolutionaries as a symbol of the monarchy’s abuse of power; its fall was the flashpoint of the French Revolution.
Bastille Then and Now
The Women’s March on Versailles, also known as the October March, the October Days or simply the March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands. Encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace, and in a dramatic and violent confrontation, they successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and most of the French Assembly to return with them to Paris.
These events ended the King’s independence and signified the change of power and reforms about to overtake France. The march symbolized a new balance of power that displaced the ancient privileged orders of the French nobility and favored the nation’s common people, collectively termed the Third Estate. Bringing together people representing sources of the Revolution in their largest numbers yet, the march on Versailles proved to be a defining moment of that Revolution. The Palace at Versailles was open to the public, not just for the King’s entourage or the politicians who lived there. The main floor area of the palace has 700 rooms, 67 staircases, 1200 fireplaces and 2143 windows, about the size of 12 football fields. Toilets, those were in short demand, and led to a very robust perfume industry.
The People’s Palace
What I love about France are the people. When they decide to strike, for whatever reason, the entire city shuts down and the people take to the streets. Most recently, the Yellow Vests Movement has claimed that a disproportionate burden of the government’s tax reforms were falling on the working and middle classes. Just like here, it is mostly peaceful. Police and protesters behaving badly has had the same degree of violence, with one difference. Racism in France is not anything like it is here. The French have different tolerances. Otherwise, we have the same complaints, a wicked government of privileged few.
Stay safe, stay masked up and stay isolating…..clear indication of who does and doesn’t comply. This is where the rubber hits the road.