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Journal Entries Of The Remarkable French Revolution

Jacques Diary Entries Of The Significant French Revolution

Introductory Paragraph,

My entries below are journal entries that I wrote from the perspective of a third estate peasant named Jacques. My character is a middle-aged man who is a farmer and has been greatly affected by the French revolution. He has experienced hard times when the third estates were starving due to high taxes that went to the King and the expenses of food. He has two lovely kids and a beautiful wife, whom he loves very much. His only wish is to help his family live a better lifestyle and help develop France into a fair society where everyone is equal.

The honorable French Revolution started in Paris, France and soon spread throughout all of France. The French revolution lasted from 1789 till 1799, for one decade. It started with the inequality of the different social classes, and the raging peasants. The peasants were unhappy with the way the King and the government worked. Making them pay high taxes they could barely afford, yet even increasing the bread and food prices tremendously. Causing starvation in the lower class, despite that the King was living in a utopia. He got a big percentage of the money earned by the peasants, as well as the food they collected on the farms. At that time the rich were extremely rich, and the poor were extremely poor.

King Louis XVI’s wife Queen Antoinette was also disrespected and hated by many throughout France. She was very young when she came to France and was a Austrian, a country which France were enemies with. In the meantime, she also liked to spend a large amount of France’s money on useless things like expensive and fancy gowns and accessories instead of donating the money to the ones in need. Another fact was she was selfish and didn’t care that almost all of France was starving, which caused even more hatred. During the Revolution many significant events occurred that modified France into the way it is now. The French revolution was a period of violence and opposition that sparked a new beginning for France.

 

Pre Revolution/Before The Revolution

Before all the drama France encountered during the brutal years of the French Revolution, France was a peaceful and acceptable place to live in. People did their jobs, peasants obeyed their owner’s rules, and things were in order. But as time went on, the peasants were tired of being treated ruthlessly and not getting enough to eat so they gathered together and named themselves the National Committee to demand the King for change.

Me, Jacques

The radian sun shimmers on my face, and I can hear the sound of the chickens clucking outside on the farm. The sound of their clucking is my wake up call. Everyday at six in the morning I get up. I have to be on the farm the latest at six thirty to feed the animals and collect the corns and grains. I wear a big sunhat that blocks all the sun out of my face so that I can work efficiently without having to use one hand to shield the sun out of my face. Normally in the morning I work the fastest and I am very productive. In the afternoon when the sun is at it’s brightest I get tired, and my body slows down it’s pace. Everyday I work for a total of 10 hours on the field, and at late afternoon when I’m done collecting the crops and vegetables I put them in a big basket that is taken away and sent to the King in the morning.

I have been living this kind of lifestyle for all my life, since I was a small kid. My mom and my grandma used to tell me to work hard on the field and be a strong boy. They told me to give everything my best because then I would get something good in return. Though both of them have already passed away I have still kept my promise to their words of wisdom. I have always been a hardworking man since day one. But I feel like the King and the rich are taking advantage of me, and I don’t deserve that. I don’t want to tell my children what the truth is of being a peasant. When I’m around my children I try to hid my despondency because I don’t want them to realize at such a young age that life as a peasant is abysmal. They are still kids and I don’t want them to feel like there is nothing to live for even though it is the truth. I want them to be happy and have hope for a bright future, and my biggest fear is that they will give up on themselves someday knowing that nothing will getting better.

This year taxes and food prices, especially bread prices have increased abundantly. This makes us the ones to suffer with starvation and an empty pocket. Life has gotten much harder during this year since King Louis has paid 1.3 billion to the American army to help them fight England. And guess who’s paying all that money back, we are. Many have tried to send the King letters asking for a better life and lower taxes but the King has done nothing yet, and many of us cannot wait much longer. The King’d better do something fast because we are becoming impatient with the Kings monarchy. And if we have to be the ones to force change from the King we will.

Since I was six years old I have been working on the field with my mom and dad supporting the King, but what has he done for us after all these years of hard work and labor? He has done nothing. And we are tired of always being the underdog. We’re not asking to be moved up to the 2nd estate or 1st estate but at least we should be able to afford to eat and have a nice home to live in where we feel warm and comfortable. But even that the King can’t do. What kind of selfish man is he?

I just hope someday this will all change and we wont be in the situation we are in right now because I believe humans should have equal rights and should all be treated with respect. Although I am just a ordinary third estate I believe I can have my voice heard by many people all over France and together we can make a difference.

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Before the Revolution when third estate peasants still obeyed their owners and worked for them.

Before The Revolution. N.d. Photograph. Naomi Rawlings, n.p.

 

Tennis Court Oath

The Tennis Court Oath was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. This event took place on June 20, 1789. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of 577 of the members in the third estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates GeneralThe only person who didn’t sign the Oath was a politician named Joseph Martin-Dauch who would not execute decisions not sanctioned by the king. The Tennis Court Oath took place in an indoor tennis court in the Saint Louis district of the city Versailles. Near the Palace of Versailles after the third estates were locked out of the Estates Generals meeting, and became extremely furious. Which eventually lead them to creating their own parliament.

I pushed my way through the crowd of people, until I stepped into a huge room where people stood in small groups talking. The room was filled with noise. People were arguing and laughing, and it felt like there were thousands of emotions floating around me. We all united together in this room because we all have the same goals. We want to build up our own constitution and break from the estates general. We the third estate are called the National Assembly, and are very tired of having no rights as the third estate. I am very happy to be a representative of the third estate, and I will not disappoint my people. We demand change from the King to let us have the rights we qualify for. We are all humans, and I believe we should all be treated and respected the same way. We want to have our voice heard throughout all of France, and make a positive change in France. This is the first time we have stood up to King Louis to make a difference. I don’t know how this will all turn out but I know that we are all here together to support each other and help each other spread the word.

But in the meantime the Clergy and Nobles don’t want us to establish our own constitution because they don’t want us to gain power. They are terribly greedy like the King, and don’t want to share their rights with us. They constantly underestimate us and think inadequately of us. But the more they reject our opinions, the more motivated we will be to create our own constitution. As I signed my name on the Oath I realized I was making a promise to my people. And that I could never leave them because that would be a absolutely disgrace. I am here as a representative of the third estate and people are counting on me to make a difference. If I don’t succeed and bring my people power and freedom I will be very ashamed and the last thing I would want is to be humiliated in front of everyone. I am strong, and if change has to start from me, then I will make change happen. All I need is a chance to prove that I can make a difference.

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The National Assembly’s representatives holding a meeting in a tennis court, wanting to establish their own constitution.

David, Jacques Louis. The Tennis Court Oath. N.d. Photograph. Versailles.

 

Storming Of The Bastille

The Storming Of The Bastille occurred in Paris, France on the morning of 14 July, 1789. The Bastille was a big prison that imprisoned many Nobles of France but also certain enemies coming from different sections of Europe. When the king was disgruntled with someone, he had full right to send them to the Bastille. At the time of the storming, the prison only had seven inmates, but was a symbol of the abuses of the monarchy. On the day the monarchy ended, people thought that tranquility was to pass the lands of France. Unfortunately, it was just the beginning of the revolution France was going to endure for the many upcoming years.

I marched with a big mob of people called the National Assembly to the Bastille, looking for gunpowder. Many famous people had been imprisoned in the Bastille, including many famous writers and painters. Because letters and paintings got sent around very fast. And you never know if something you’ve written had reached the king. If it had and showed any forms of hatred or disagreement towards, you would’ve been sent immediately to the Bastille. The duration of your stay was also to be decided by the king. It could be months, years, and for some people even their whole life.

It was time to take action and demand the king to make changes. We were tired of paying all the loads of taxes, and not getting a single penny in return to keep for ourselves. Also the bread prices were way to high, that we couldn’t even afford to eat on a daily basis. It was the king’s entire fault for spending all of France’s money on helping the Americans during their war. Spending 1.3 billion dollars just so they could join the war and help the Americans fight England, this left our king and France with an empty pocketbook. But even so, how could he be so heartless and make us earn all of the money back?

As I marched up to the large prison I felt a little scared and overwhelmed by the size of the towering building that stood before me. But as I looked around at all the people standing beside me, who were determined as I was to send the message to the King, I felt much better like I was part of a big family. And I knew that these neighbors, friends, or even strangers, would fight with me for the freedom and respectable living conditions we deserved. We didn’t care what it took; we’d make it happen under any circumstance.

We kept marching forward closer and closer to the Bastille until some guards noticed us and started shouting loudly. We stood there looking at what was happening. Suddenly, a moment later a huge orange flam threw itself down at us. I could feel my skin getting hot, and for a moment not being able to see clearly. People brushed passed me and bumped me around on all sides. I didn’t know what was happening, but I could hear the sound of anxiety. People were screaming and shouting and shoving. I felt like my mind wasn’t caught up with what was happening, as I was being struck continuously by heat. I backed up from the fire squeezing through the crowd. I was so scared. I ran and ran into the distance leaving the others behind. It was a horrible feeling turning around and seeing everyone standing there in open fire. I felt like a disgrace for leaving them behind. It was like I was watching all my loved ones slip away into the distance, and not knowing where they disappeared to.

I will never forget the day of the Storming, and the moment looking back and seeing the crowd on fire. It was a horrible sight, I wanted to go back and help the rest of the civilians get away from the fire. But as I stood there longer thinking what to do, I felt like everything had just vanished and I went with the first thing my heart told me to do, which was to run. And that was precisely what I did.

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Guards got the wrong signal and started setting open fire on the crowd thinking that they were protesting for violence.

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The Bastille, a medieval fortress and prison built in Paris France and designed to hold nobles and enemies of France.

Bastille Day. 1789. Photograph. Bastille Prison, Paris, France.

Bastille. 1380. Photograph. Paris, France.

 

Reign Of Terror

The Reign Of Terror, and in French La Terreur lasted from December 24, 1794 after the death of King Louis, until the fall of Robespierre in July 28 1974. It was a period of violence and cruelty that lead to many deaths, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins. The Reign Of Terror was an attempt to purge enemies of the revolution and protect the country from foreign invaders. In those ten months about 17,000 were guillotined. At the end, Robespierre was executed by the National Convention as an enemy of the revolution himself.

France is enduring a big crisis right now. Innocent people are dying everyday, and getting guillotined by the National Committee Of Public Safety, dominated by Robespierre and Jacobins. They are roaming the streets of France, slaughtering anyone who supports revolution. I am terrified. What if someone brings up my name? What if they find out? So I seal my mouth closed and say nothing. If anyone knows I agree to the idea of revolution there will be consequences and punishments. If I’m not careful with my actions and if I don’t control the words that spill out of my mouth, I could be guillotined.

Because of Robespierre’s cruel actions he has turned many people against him. Before he started the Reign Of Terror many of us supported him because he was kind and when France had lost all hope, he had reached out to us. He believed that we, the third estates should have equal rights as the others, and at the time, that was something Queen Antoinette and King Louis XVI wouldn’t agree upon. Almost all of France dislikes King Louis and his greedy wife Queen Antoinette. Queen Marie Antoinette is Austrian, and came to France when she was still a teenager. She likes to spend money on useless things like expensive dresses, and shoes. When in the meantime almost all of France is starving.

Now things have changed. Robespierre has lost our trust, and in our hearts he is no longer a good leader. But the worst thing is, he actually thinks he’s protecting the country and making it a better place when truthfully, he’s doing the exact opposite – destroying France. Killing innocent people who actually have the right to support revolution is not a solution to making France a better place. He should put himself in our shoes. If he was one of us, working everyday from sunrise to sunset he would know how hard life is. As a third estate speaker the question is, “Who would not want revolution”? It’s not fair we’re treated like peasants in the first place while the rich ones get to soak in their gold bathtubs. Without us doing all the work what would King Louis be eating? The answer is nothing! Why don’t people understand and appreciate everything we do for them? Don’t they understand that the only reason they live the way they do is because of our hard work and what we contribute to them?

Sometime I wonder why I wasn’t born rich, why I got separated to live as a third estate peasant. And I wonder what life would be like if I was rich. I would probably be living in a big house with tons of maids at my service. But of course that will never be true. My opinion is that it is wrong to separate people when they are born without clear reasons. When a person is born they should have equal wealth and equal opportunity to succeed in life. Then the way you live and how far you make it in life should depend on how hard you work for a living.

Many have fled the country already hoping to find a safer environment to live in. Except I don’t have the money to move. If I cant even support myself with my own needs how will I move? Where will I find shelter? Where will I get food with the little money I have? The answer to all these questions is “I don’t know” which sadly means I’m not ready to move away. I feel like I’m trapped in between my own little world, not knowing much of what’s going on out there far away, and not knowing how far or how close danger is.

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Supporters of revolution getting guillotined while others stand and watch.

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A realistic painting of Maximilian Robespierre during is old ages.

The Reign Of Terror. N.d. Photograph. Paris, France.

Maximilian De Robespierre. 1790. Photograph. Wikepedia, Musée Carnavalet, Paris.

 

The Execution Of Louis XVI

King Louis the sixteenth was executed by the guillotine on January 21, 1795. This event took place in the Revolution Square, and in French Place De La Révolution.

It was a tragic moment when I heard that our mighty King, Louis the sixteenth had been executed. I got a peculiar feeling when I was addressed with this news, not knowing if it was a joyful or sorrowful feeling. This news was spread around France at the speed of a rocket. At first only some people were informed about the Kings death, but then      town after town everyone was perceived of this big news. And soon all of France was talking about what had happened to the king. Many opposed to the idea of the King being sentenced to death, but others agreed and thought the King deserved to be guillotined. And the rest had no opinion, just like me. I didn’t know which side to lean on, because I felt like the king did do many bad things but at last he still was the king and earned respect from most people. Also, even after all the bad things he had done I would have still not wanted him dead.

Everyone in our small town is talking about the Death of King Louis the sixteenth, and everywhere I go people spill out his name. I overheard one of my neighbor’s conversations saying that the National Convention executed him because they thought he was not a good King because he could not solve any of the countries problems, and was convicted of conspiracy with other foreign powers and couldn’t be trusted anymore. And it appears that he was watched by 20,000 of his former workers while he met his end. People thought it was enough to have an Austrian in the country and they just couldn’t afford the risk to having another person in the country that had mysterious connections with any outsiders. And because he was the King it meant that he knew many secrets that lie within France, and many things that foreigners should not know of. The National Committee was afraid the King would make foreign friends from other countries and accidentally spill out some of Frances hidden secrets. And they were scared that after those secrets were in public other forces would take advantage of France.

But now since King Louis the sixteenth is dead does that mean the monarchy is going to fall apart? I hope now there will be new rules and regulations. Maybe this could be the day when our lives as peasants will change. I wonder what will happen to Queen Marie Antoinette now, since Louis has died. I hope she will be sent back to where she belongs, which is not in France but in Austria. She has done enough harm to France and should be escorted back to Austria and never come back. I have so many questions in my head right now, but no one can answer them. I feel like King Louis might have not been the best King, but when his dad left France in his hands France was in a very bad situation and I think he did try to control France even though he didn’t do a very good job at it. But at least he tried and I think because he played a big role in our lives we still should save a moment for him and send some prayers.

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Twenty thousand French citizens gather around to see King Louis get guillotined at the Revolution Square.

Louis XVI’s Execution. N.d. Photograph. KISWorldHistory, n.p.

 

Jacques End Of French Revolution Journals

Conclusion Paragraph,

The great French Revolution changed the way people thought, and also many people lives. It modernized France and the Citizens took over the government instead of the monarchy. The French citizens overthrew the monarchy and the Kings way of ruling because it didn’t satisfy them. The Third Estates wanted justice, and they wanted to be treated like the rest of France. The inequality between people was just incredible before the French revolution that the Third estates had no choice but to fight for their rights.

France endured many changes during this period of time. The French Revolution changed the way people thought and the way things worked, and the ones who made all this happen was the Third Estate citizens who imposed change into France. They knew they couldn’t spend the rest of their lives fighting to live everyday. There was enough hard work. Something had to change.

There are many short term and long term affects that happened because of the French Revolution. Short term affects include the pain many citizens of France went through, both physically and emotionally. The French Revolution was known as the most bloodiest and most brutal revolution. Unlike before now France is not ruled by a King anymore and instead it’s ruled by a president called François Hollande. People no longer show hatred against the government because in the world we live in today people are not separated into different social classes. Though today in our world there is still inequality between the rich and the poor, people are no longer pushed around as slaves, and we live in a world of peace and justice. Modern society is a place where people have the permission to do whatever they want, and be whatever they want.

 

Guiding Questions:

- What were the main causes of the French Revolution?

- Who were some fundamental key players of who sparked the idea of Revolution?

- Who was against the Revolution?

- What were some methods of protest used in the Revolution?

- Who initiated the violence at The Storming Of The Bastille?

- What was the main goal of The Storming Of The Bastille?

- What did the Storming Of the Bastille Symbolize?

- Was The Storming Of the Bastille successful?

- Was there someone in charge of the invasion?

- What was ‘The Tennis Court Oath’?

- Why did The Tennis Court Oath happen?

- How did The Tennis Court Oath affect the revolution?

- How did The Tennis Court Oath help unite the 3rd estate?

- What difficulties were there to establish The Tennis Court Oath?

- Was there a clear leader to take action in The Tennis Court Oath?

- Were there people in the 3rd estate who did not sign The Tennis Court Oath?

- What happened during the Reign of Terror?

Vocabulary:

Guillotine, Noble, Clergy, Robespierre, Peasant, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Taxes, Freedom, Bastille, Invaders, Constitution, Wealth, Inequality, Estates General, Pallace of Versailles, Tennis Court Oath, Establish, Change, Executed, Revolution Square, National Convention, Conspiracy, Foreigners, Monarchy, Despondency, Abysmal, Ruthlessly, Obey, Impatient, Violence, Cruelty.

 

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