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March on Versailles 1789

[Summary]Women's March on Versailles An illustration of the Women's March on Versailles, 5 October 1789 The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most sig

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Women's March on Versailles

An illustration of the Women's March on Versailles, 5 October 1789

The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands. Encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace, and in a dramatic and violent confrontation, they successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and most of the French Assembly to return with them to Paris.

Women's March on Versailles

An illustration of the Women's March on Versailles, 5 October 1789

The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands. Encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles. The crowd besieged the palace, and in a dramatic and violent confrontation, they successfully pressed their demands upon King Louis XVI. The next day, the crowd compelled the king, his family, and most of the French Assembly to return with them to Paris.

The October March on Versailles

This excerpt from La Révolution française (1989) depicts the October March on Versailles in 1789 and the king's subsequent return to Paris. Among the historical figures shown are Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette and the Marquis de Lafayette. For more information on the October March on Versailles and the French Revolution, visit http://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolut...

The October Days (1789)

The October Days (1789)

In the fall of 1789, speeches filled the air in Versailles, and a river of pamphlets and newspapers flooded Paris; however, grain remained in short supply. On 5 October, several hundred women staged a protest against the high price of bread at the City Hall. Just as in July, this traditional form of grievance took on a new meaning against the background of political events—in this case, the news that royal soldiers at Versailles had desecrated the tricolored cockade to show their contempt for the National Assembly. As the crowd grew to approximately 10,000 women, a decision was made to march to Versailles and present their grievances to the assembly and to the King. Fearing what might happen (or perhaps simply not wanting to be left out of the action), units of the national guard, led by the Marquis de La Fayette, followed them. Overnight, with help from some of the national guardsmen, the crowd of women broke into the royal palace and demanded that the royal family return to Paris to ensure a continuing supply of food. A nobleman, the Marquis de Ferrières, recorded his observations. Although a moderate, he was openly hostile to the demonstration, which he saw as chaotic and violent.

French Revolution

Abolition of the French monarchy

Establishment of a secular and democratic republic that became increasingly authoritarian and militaristic

Radical social change based on liberalism and other Enlightenment principles

Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte

Armed conflicts with other European countries

Palaeolithic

Ancien Régime

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