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The Events and Timeline of French and American Revolution

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“A revolution can be neither made nor stopped. The only thing that can be done is for one of several of its children to give it a direction by dint of victories.” (Napoleon Bonaparte). The American Revolution was a major event in history that sparked many revolutions globally. This Revolution was an inspiring event, which encouraged values of freedom and equality. One of the events the American Revolution inspired was the French Revolution. The French Revolution was one of the most gruesome moments in history and was different from the revolution that inspired it.

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The French Revolution did not occur suddenly, it had been building up for quite some time before. King Louis the XVI was the King of France before the Revolution started. King Louis’ reign was not very eventful until France assisted America in their revolution. Taxes in France were suddenly raised by King Louis XVI. (History.com Editors) (The National Archives). King Louis XVI raised the taxes in France because they were in major debt from helping pay for the American revolution. The tax laws though, were very unfair. The common people of France were the ones who had got pay the taxes. The common people made up ninety percent of the citizens in France, so mostly all citizens of France were effected by this. The only people unaffected were the noble people or royal family, who did not have to pay any taxes at all. The taxes were not low for the common people either, they were actually quite high. The common people were very upset with this tax raise. Along with a tax raise, there had been famine, which meant that food was very expensive. Along with that, cattle disease was at an all time high, meaning that there was little to no meat to eat. Many of the poor were suffering and dying due to the extreme lack of food. Many of the common people tried to express their anger towards the tax raise by rioting, but their anger still went unnoticed but the king.

Even after King Louis XVI’s tax raise, France was still in major debt. King Louis XVI called together a meeting to try and find an alternate solution to paying off the debt. At the meeting, each social class had a few representatives to represent their social class. The nobles and royal family thought to raise the taxes even more, but the representatives for the common people, also known as the Third Order, disagreed. The common people talked about making taxing all people equally, that all people should have to pay equal taxes. They even threatened to proceed without the other two orders. King Louis XVI responded to this by locking all the common people out of the meeting. (Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannia). The commoners of France decided to hold their own meeting to discuss the events of the one held by King Louis XVI. Since they did not have an official place to meet the clergy met at a tennis court (Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica). The people agreed to not give up until a constitution was formed (History Crunch). This agreement would later be called the Tennis Court Oath.

To make a statement to the King, the commoners decided to storm the local Bastille. On July 14, 1789, now known as Bastille Day, the local prison was raided. A mob of commoners agreed the best way to do this was to raid the Bastille (The National Archives).  The commoners had a list of reasons to be angry at the king, but the main one at the time was that King Louis XVI had sent troops to France to make sure that no common people rebelled. (Encyclopedia Britannica). This lit the fire under the commoner’s feet, and the Bastille was quickly stormed. The commoners gathered many weapons from the Bastille and released all of the prisoners. There were actually only nine people imprisoned at the time though. The Bastille being raided had a large effect on the country and marked the beginning of the French Revolution (The National Archives). The French Republic rose very quickly after the Bastille was raided.

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