Bastille Day 2011
Today marks the anniversary of Bastille Day, just one event in 1789 that began the French Revolution. Revolutionaries attacked the Bastille, a prison that had become a hated symbol of the Bourbon monarchy. Tumultuous years followed before the entrenched privileged aristocracy, feudal system and clergy lost much of their power and lots of heads were chopped off along the way!
Louis XVI helped fund the American Revolution, but it didn’t help him at home with the French people. They didn't care for the higher taxes and food prices (remember "Let them eat cake?") that resulted, not to mention the extravagant lifestyle he and Marie Antoinette led.
Sitting in Versailles, Louis knew there was trouble, but was not keenly aware of the thousands rioting in Paris, witness his diary entry for that day: “July 14th; nothing.”
Here’s more about Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and the French Revolution with this selection of history: Citizens : a Chronicle of the French Revolution, Voices of the French Revolution, Paris, The Secret History.