Chapter : 1. French Revolution

The Course Of The Revolution

In 1789 the French government found itself in the grip of huge financial crisis. The King Louis XVI, summoned a meeting of the ‘Estates General’ to get their consent to impose new taxes. During that period there were three estates. The First and the Second estate consisted of the upper class and the Third estate was of the commoners. The commoners (Third Estate) was in majority. They demanded that the matters before the Assembly should be decided by a majority of votes but other two estates were against this.
(a) The Tennis Court Oath : Voting in the Estates General in the past had been conducted according to the principle that each estate had one vote. Members of the Third Estate demanded that voting now be conducted by the assembly as a whole, where each member would have one vote. When the king rejected this proposal, members of the Third Estate walked out of the assembly in protest.
The representatives of the Third Estate on June 20, 1789 assembled in the hall of an indoor tennis court in the grounds of Versailles. They declared themselves a National Assembly and swore not to disperse till they had drafted a constitution for France that would limit the powers of the monarch. While the National Assembly was busy at Versailles, the rest of France seethed with turmoil, on 14 July the agitated crowd stormed and destroyed the Bastille.

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