Chapter : 1. French Revolution

The Course Of The Revolution

(b) Storming of the Bastille : On the morning of July 14, 1789 the city of Paris was in a state of alarm. A severe winter had meant a bad harvest, the price of bread rose. Bakers exploited the situation and hoarded supplies. Crowds of angry women stormed into the shops.
The army was ordered by the king to move into the city. It was rumored that the army would be ordered to open fire upon the citizens. Thousands of persons gathered and decided to form a people's militia. They broke into a number of government buildings in search of arms. Bastille was a dreaded fortress-prison. It was hated by all because it stood for the despotic power of the king. Protestors stormed into the Bastille in search of arms. The commander of Bastille was killed. the prisoners were released. the fortress was demolished. Louis XVI finally accorded recognition to the National Assembly and accepted the principle that his powers would from now on the checked by a constitution. On the night of 4 August 1789, the Assembly passed a decree abolishing the feudal system of obligations and taxes.
(c) France becomes a Constitutional Monarchy :
(i) The National Assembly completed the drafting of the constitution in 1791. Power was now separated and assigned to different institutions, the legislature, executive and judiciary making France a constitutional monarchy.
(ii) The constitution of 1791 vested the power to make laws in the National Assembly, which was indirectly elected.
(iii) The constitution began with a declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Rights such as the Right of life, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, equality before law were established as 'natural and inalienable' rights.

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