Was the fall of the Bastile the most significant event of 1789?

Essay by bennittoHigh School, 12th gradeA-, December 2007

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Was the fall of the Bastille the most significant event of 1789?

Some historians believe that the calling of the estates general is the most important event of 17989. This is because it was a very big ordeal for it to be called. The last time it had been called was in 1614. It caused many rifts in the lives of the people involved. The third estate asked the king to have double the numbers and voting by head. This would mean that they had equal voting power as that of the 1st and 2nd estates put together. This was they said because they represented the majority of the country. The abbé Sieyes wrote a pamphlet called 'what is the third estate'. This basically said that the third estate was everything. The cahiers that were created we a very important document. The publishing of these created a very unsuspected result.

The nobility appeared to be very liberal and agreed with the third estate that there were injustices in the current system. That merit should qualify men for top jobs and that some privileges would have to go.

However others believe that the creation of the National Assembly is very important. The proclaiming by the third estate of the creation of the National Assembly came after the king wasted seven weeks on the meeting and voting procedures. The patience of the 3rd estates eventually ran out. This is important because the National Assembly created a direct opposition to the king and his autocratic rule.

The tennis court oath also played a big part in 1789. It showed that the king was finally losing control. It also showed that to keep his authority he was prepared to accept Necker's suggestion to hold a royal session of the three estates on 23 June. On the 20th June the third estate found their meeting locked and guarded. They took to the only place big enough to support such a large gathering, a tennis court. Under the leadership of Mounier and Mirabeau they took the tennis court oath. This is important because this act hardened Louis attitude and made him reject Necker's advice. The creation caused the 1st and 2nd estates to divide themselves up into those who would support the king and those who would join the National Assembly. On June 27th the king backed down, however things were not merry he had stationed soldiers in and around Paris, then suddenly ordered another 4800 troops then a further 11,500

The fall of the Bastille could also be seen as an important event. The storming of the Bastille was for the supposed arms and munitions. He was forced to resign himself , and accept the changes and wear the revolutionary cockade. The crowds gave Louis a hostile reception. This showed that the crowed were no longer afraid to stand up and speak against the king.

Some think that the great fear is important because it added urgency to the National Assembly debates. That France needed a constitution very quickly. The development of the great fear frightened the assembly, where the mainly bourgeois and liberal noble deputies grew concerned for their own property.

The August decrees were a very important event because it was the abolishment of the Feudal System. The majority of the nobles show the influence of the enlightenment by saying that they would renounce their feudal rights. They also agreed that their was unfair taxation and that office could not be bought that it should be earnt. All this signifies the end of the Ancien regime.

The Declaration of the rights of man was also an important event of 1789. This was because it said that the French people should be allowed freedom, equality, brotherhood and it laid down the corner stone to what the Assembly was trying to achieve. However it did not create an equal society.

I believe that in today's society the fall of the Bastille is the most important event of that time because the result of which if still celebrated today. This shows that it was viewed most higher over the other events. However in 1789 I do not think that it was the most important event because each of the events led to the next, without each of them individually the whole thing would not have happened.

By Alex Bennett