What was the basis for the attack on the Bastille
The main reason to storm the Bastille was because it was storing a large amount of weapons and the people of Paris wanted to get those weapons to be able to make a good fight against the King, Louis XVI and the Versaille castle. But how did they get to that day, Tuesday, July 14th 1789 and the beginning of the French revolution (p 110)
Since the French people didn??™t have telephones or anything like it, they really much had to trust each other and the spoken word to find out about things that happen in Paris and all over the country. And that is also the fastest way to hear about something, to tell people you meet on the streets who then pass it on to other people. For this reason The Palais Royal and its courtyard was the perfect place to spread all kinds of rumors. And I can believe that when people are upset they have the tendency to gather together more easily and share stories and experiences. I think that the physical layout of Paris was the greatest reason for the revolution and the attack on the Bastille, mostly because of the narrow streets in the city and all the market places all over, like The Palais Royal. Because that the square was private owned, people could walk around and talk to each other about anything they wanted without any problem because it was outside of police jurisdiction. So if the people started talking about a riot, or even started to plan one, the police couldn??™t do anything about it. I believe it was here that the inhabitants of Paris won their first victory in the French revolution and the attack on the Bastille (p115).
In the narrow streets, where people lived so close to each other you almost always met someone in the stairs up to the apartment or on your way to the well to get water. I know for myself, that the people you live close to become really good friends so when you meet each other you stop for a while and talk about what is going on and so the stories reached out to all people. That is just the human nature that we love new stories and gossip, and we also like to spread these stories to others. So I guess that little by little, when people heard some new stories they immediately passed them on to the next person they met. Picture 4 on page 122 shows a map of one of these small courtyards where the people passed several times a day to go out in the city or home. You can also see that connected to the courtyard was a workshop and a small shop where the craftsmen could sell their work. This was also a natural place for people to converse in. As I have said before, I believe that all this talking was the biggest contribution to the attack/revolution. (p122)
As it says in the text, on page 116, the government kept a good look on the food prices and when looking on the graphs on page 123 you can see that between the years 1788 to 1789 the price of wheat per 100 kilograms in Paris raised from 20 Franc to almost 28 Franc, which was a huge difference at that time. No wonder the people were irritated with the King! And the year after the revolution, the price was steadily sinking towards the old level.
The map on page 125 tells us that in the areas where most people were arrested, killed, wounded or participated in the attack (p126) were in the areas 24, 25 and 26 where 40-49% of the active citizens were eligible. But other surrounding areas did not have that much participant, and those were areas with 50-59% eligible active citizens.
The most common occupation for the Bastille-attackers were traders, people within the army or police, joiners, cabinet makers and locksmiths. And those are all well-respected and wanted occupations, which mean that those workers had a good job with a high salary, so the question is why those wealthy people wanted to storm the Bastille and throw the King of the throne. First of all, they must have been well aware of the rising price of bread that I described before, and an interesting think that I have noticed is that most people with a lot of money get even more cheap, it is as if you are wealthy you do not want to spend your money, while families who has just a little more than enough are the ones spending. So when Louis XVI suddenly raised the price of bread, which was the basic food for all French people during this time, to fill up his treasures to be able to participate in more wars, they made sure their anger was being seen. Secondly, I think that maybe it was those people who actually had the strong will and the resources to go to ???war??? against their king/government. The poor people where probably so low in food that they did not really have the strength to fight or even wanted to lose a day or so to fight instead of working and to earn money. In other words; they had the choice between fighting and losing money, or not fighting and earn money. (p 127)
A lot of aspects were participating in the up rise towards the storming of the Bastille. After reading this chapter and really consider the different evidence that is present here I have got a whole different view towards this historical event. You most often think that it is the lower class people in the society that will revolt against higher food prices, but when looking at the evidence you see that most people actually had good, well-respected and well-paid jobs. I never even realized how effective words are when traveling from one human to another, but that was a great help to make all those people aware of things and to gather them all together.


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