Ashwin 8 3 french revolution keynote
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THE FRENCH REVOLUTION ____________
LA REVOLUTION FRANÇAISEBy : Ashwin Srikanth
INTRODUCTION TO THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
The French Revolution is arguably among the worlds’ most monumental revolutions. Those who witnessed it were scarred for life. Not many of these people even survived this violent time period. This time period was a pivotal moment on which the very hinges of the world turned.
The French Revolution was started when prices skyrocketed, and dissent for the French Government was to be found everywhere. It is disputed as to the exact starting point of the French Revolution; however, it can be agreed that one of the key events that affected the direction of France is The Tennis Court Oath. The Tennis Court Oath was sworn to uphold the idea of a constitution within the third estate. It was sworn in a tennis court because when the members of the 3rd estate arrived, they found the meeting hall locked, as all of the estates were to meet. They quickly convened in a tennis court and 576 of 577 people signed this historic document.
The idea of a constitution spread like wildJire. There were of course, people who supported it and people who disliked the very notion. Many of the supporters of the idea were from the 3rd estate and the peasants; however, there were some clergy who supported the idea of a constitution. At this point, France was hanging by a few loose threads. Treachery ruled on the streets and prices were so high that people could not afford to live.
The character that I wrote as is a man from the clergy of France. His name is Antoine Francois Champollion Frederick Archibeque. As a noble he has many privileges that others do not have. He is also a seasoned politician who is also exposed to great events such as the Tennis Court Oath and the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. He is also a staunch supported of the peasants but is afraid to support them publicly for fear of being cut off from the rest of the nobles. I have chose Jive of the most pivotal moments in the French revolution, and I have written Jive diary entries of Antoine to show what it was like to live in that time period.
The French Revolution was a time period of confusion, hatred, and above all terror. As the story of the French Revolution is entwined with Antoine’s, many difJiculties and complications arise both for Antoine but also for the progression of the French Revolution.
HOPE’S RISE• Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque June 20, 1798
Mon histoire de la revolution Française, partie 1: Ensuite! Today, as the three estates met I was astounded that many ofthe members of the 3rd estate had not attended this meeting. My name is Antoine Francois Champollion Fredrick Archibeque, and I am one of the higher clergy of France. I live by myself, so I had no trouble answering the summons to the meeting. But I was truly astonished that the 3rd estate had not deigned to show up. How could they ignore the summons of our monarch? Do they have no honor, no dignity? As the mighty doors closed around us, we felt that our hopes for a new constitution had been locked out as well.
As the negotiations commenced, we all felt as if we were caught in an endless loop. Many of the well-‐versed politicians like myself were the only people holding back the outbursts of arguments. After hours of negotiations we heard a great wall of sound reverberate through the hall. Every one of us stood and as I looked around, everyone’s faces reJlected the confusion that I felt. Questions whirled through my head as the rest of the Clergy tried to retain the fragile peace that had been violently shaken.
Curiosity overwhelmed us as we rushed outside to investigate the origin of the shouting. As we blindly rushed towards the source of the sound, my ornate jewelry fell off and the dirt and grime on the streets soiled my culottes. Suddenly, our rag-‐tag host screeched to a halt. A tennis court stood before us. What? The sound is coming from a TENNIS COURT? I volunteered to go inside and check. Inside, a bafJling spectacle met my eyes.
The 577 Members of the 3rd estate in the tennis Court
I stood perplexed as 576 politicians from the 3rd estate stood up chanting words that had never before been uttered in France. Nous avons besoin d'une constitution! We need a constitution! As I walked around, I asked many of the people what they were doing here instead of being in the hall. The answer that I received shamed me to no end. When they arrived, it appears that they found the doors locked and so convened in this tennis court. But, I also learnt that there were originally 577 people in the tennis court. Unfortunately a man, Joseph Martin Dauche, did not sign this because he could not agree with anything that the king did not approve of. How could this man be so naïve! Can he not see that the king and his rule is falling apart?
In hindsight, I do believe that France is in need of a constitution because of the grievous mistakes made by Louis XVI. France’s backbone has been broken and its will to live has been shattered. I realized that with this constitution we are given the chance to rebuild our France into the country that it was meant to be.
As they continued with their chant I joined them to let them know, no, to let France know, that I supported them and will continue to do so until France is a changed country. Whatever comes next, I know that it will be the best for France. At this time it is uncertain, as it is uncertain with all great events. We cannot predict what is going to happen next as the future is clouded and uncertain, but what I do know is that I will carry on supporting the people.
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque
The estates meet without the 3rd estate
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque July 14th 1978
Mon histoire de le revolution Française, partie 2:
In the blackness of the deep cell, I was isolated and my senses had withdrawn; but I was still able to hear the mufJled boom of cannons Jiring and guns being shot. The Bastille shook and I was thrown from side to side. It seems only yesterday that I was there at the tennis court chanting with the 3rd estate. The king also imprisoned many of the original signers of the Tennis Court Oath. After swearing the Tennis Court Oath, it seemed as though the peasants regarded us with a new honor. Some were in such a hurry to help us that they would tell us what they thought we wanted to hear, not the truth. I felt as if the king’s oppression would never stop as he continues to terrorize France.
I was imprisoned after Louis XVI heard that we wanted a constitution. His deluded mind interpreted our feelings in the way that he thought that we wanted to overthrow him.
It seemed like an eternity in the cold darkness of the cell. My sight was leveled down to zero and the chill I felt went bone deep. It was by far, the worst experience of my life. What only prolonged my suffering was the fact that the king came down to childishly torment us with his jeers and scalding comments about our honor. It seemed a blessing when I learnt that the fortress was under attack. My spirits plunged however, when I heard that undisciplined peasants were the ones leading the charge. How could mere peasants stand up to the discipline and strength of trained soldiers? It seemed impossible. I was sure that I would rot there, willing the world to change.
FLYING BULLETS AND SPLATTERING BLOOD
The Bastille is Attacked
It seemed like a miracle when some bloody, beaten peasants limped in through the door. They surveyed the room and at Jirst they looked at me in disgust. My last ope hated me! But just then they decided to take me with them and dragged me into the light. The blinding rays of the afternoon seared into my eyes even as I screwed them shut. I tried to turn my head away but it seemed as if the whole world was an explosion of light. All of my senses were overwhelmed. I sat there in a daze for a fewminutes until I began to recover.
Over the short period of an hour, I learnt that the peasants had stormed the Bastille with weapons that had been procured from local armorers. Amidst all of this chaos, the Assembly remained IGNORANT of the monumental events taking place around Paris. How could our governors not be involved with the affairs of the people? Has France sunk so low? And, considering the fact that the country is in a huge Jinancial crisis, the government must pay even more attention to the people. It seems to me that France is only digging itself deeper and deeper into the hole of depression, isolation, and destruction. I have fallen into the world of searing violence and death. I wait the day that the king accepts a pact that enacts the rights of all citizens as well as providing all needed to help France out of this slump.
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque
FLYING BULLETS AND SPLATTERING BLOOD(CONTINUATION)
Peasants destroy the Bastille
BONDS REFORGED AND HOPES REKINDLEDAntoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque August 27th 1789
Mon histoire de le revolution Française, partie 3:
Liberty and equality, they are what we all crave for. Our want for it has formed in us, a gaping cavern of want and despair into which we all fall. It is not a good time for France. Destruction runs rampant through the abandoned streets and fear permeates the very air that we breathe. I sit here in the greatest fear that the king’s soldiers will Jind me.
I removed myself from society as fear overwhelmed me. It seeped into my very being like no frigid wind ever has. After the Bastille episode, I feel as if a piece of me was broken off. Rumor has it, that the Nobles of France can no longer be trusted. Apparently they band together to eliminate any peasants who even remotely seem to be conspiring against their dastardly masters. It only reafJirms my fears that they will come after me next. The entirety of the malcontent shown these days is focused on the peasants who rise up against the tyranny of the higher class. It feels as though I am caught in the middle of two groups of people who need me. My heart wants to go with the peasants of indomitable spirit and Jight for our freedom. In pain, sickness, and through all occurrences I WILL support them in their Jight for truth.
I was forced to attend a meeting. Expecting to be briefed on our “unwavering” loyalty to the king I made my way into the hall with my head down. I did not want to be singled out by anyone. I was surprised to see that the king had not attended. If he was not there, then that means that we were discussing a topic that he did not like. That was either great news or news that could destroy me once and for all. Then Olympe de Gouches, a playwright stepped up and took the stage. She opened her speech with everything that I had been feeling the past few months. I could feel the pain in her voice as she described how France was bleeding from its deep wounds. She then presented a document. It seemed important as it had a golden seal on the top. As she unrolled the paper she read in a powerful voice that Jilled the room. Many of the things she stated threw me off guard. How could she state the terms of equality to these slave owners! I could not bring myself to agree with her in public but in my heart of hearts I was cheering for her.
Declaration of Rights of Man and of Citizen
BONDS REFORGED AND HOPES REKINDLED(CONTINUATION)
We were herded outside to see the public’s reaction to the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen. As we stepped outside, I was bafJled to see the size of the crowd that was present. As Olympe presented the declaration to the crowd, A roar went up hat was so loud, it nearly blasted my eardrums to shreds. It felt as if though the whole of France was cheering. The sound wave washed over us paralyzing us and eliminating any chance for us to speak. It was the most unbelievable spectacle I have ever witnessed. ‘
Now as I sit here writing this, I feel a sense of foreboding. Already Robespierre has seized a lot of power, and thousands have lost their heads to the blade of the guillotine. It is not for me to predict the future of France and her people. What I do know is that the guillotine has not seen its last men.
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque Olympe de Gauches before the meeting
TERROR IS JUST THE BEGINNING
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque July 27 1794Mon histoire de le revolution Française, partie 4:
Terror is the founding father of all that is sinful. Those that are consumed by it can never return to their previous lives, and they become slaves to it. Terror is a hole into which people pour their belongings, their family, and their very soul. It starts as a small Jlicker at the back of your mind and then grows into an inferno of blazing heat that Jlashes through your mind, searing your thoughts and shattering your being. It stays with you until your death. This terror will always remain with me. It is the Reign of Terror.
France is on the brink of destruction. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that it would come to this. Robespierre is plowing through all those who attempt to stop him with a vengeance that I have never seen in a politician. His killing spree has not abated over the years. More and more men have lost their lives to theguillotine. The Jacobin has brought nothing but terror since 1791. Robespierre has executed already 40,000 people. Whenever someone was executed, we were forced to stand outside and watch as his head was unceremoniously chopped off. There seemed to be an endless line of executionees. There is no limit to the people that he is willing to execute. He even killed one of the clergy a dear friend of mine. Anyone could be his next target; it doesn’t matter if he is clergy, or a peasant. After my friend’s execution I had to keep on my feet. I can’t afford to settle in one spot for fear that I might be the next one.
A portrait of Robespierre Guillotining someone
TERROR IS JUST THE BEGINNING(CONTINUATION)
Dissent for the Jacobin grew among the three classes and reached such a level that the very mention of their name enticed a Jlurry of spitting and cursing. Les Conards! (The Idiots) is what they were referred to these days. It was then that we learnt that Robespierre was to be executed. Ha! Finally, a punishment that is actually deserved. The entire city of Paris gathered to watch this historic moment. The fanfare of trumpets echoed against the stone of the houses lining the square. As Robespierre started his solemn march to the guillotine, he received a lifetime of jeers and insults. I almost felt sorry for him. Then I remembered the pain and suffering that he had caused the people of Paris. He deserved it. As his head rolled off into the woven basket, cheers went up from the crowd. Now they wouldn’t be punished needlessly!!In that moment, the world seemed right again. But then, we were dragged back into reality when we realized that the Jacobin were still in power. Later even as we thought this, we heard that the Jacobin had fallen. Happiness overrode our grief and sorrow like a healing wave.
Now France has hope. Hope for the future to be a bright one. We have seen the ending of a life that was orchestrated by the gods themselves.
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque
A Portrait of Robespierre
THE END OF THE REVOLUTION AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW CHAPTER
Antoine François Champollion Fredrick Archibeque November 9th 1799Mon histoire de le revolution Française, partie 5:
Power is ever corrupting. It worms its way into peoples’ minds and hearts, ensnaring them in its grasp. There is only power and those who are too weak to seek it. Strength comes from within, it is not given nor can it be bought. But there are people who are born with both a physical and mental strength, and those are the people eligible to lead France back to greatness.
After Robespierre’s death France seems like a better place. Price controls were lifted, prices dropped to much more acceptable rates, and a constitution was set up by Jive men called the directory. Life Jinally started to get back on track. Also, the new government reforms have also had a positive impact on the people. I took a walk through the streets today, and I can already tell the difference. The streets no longer reek of rotting Jlesh, sewage, and other unsavory things. Also, when I pass others they stop and smile, some even strike up conversation. Even with these new changes to society, the biggest question on everybody’s mind is WHO WILL BECOME THE NEXT LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY?
The entire government is buzzing with the prospect of having a new leader. I applied for the prestigious post myself, but I didn’t think that I would get it. My competition was very tough. My biggest worry was Napoleon Bonaparte. He is a military leader and politics to him just means beat adversaries with military force. I thought to retract my application for the best, and in the end, the pressure cracked me and I withdrew my application. I began to quake in my boots as Napoleon’s diminutive Jigure got up and walked to the podium. He wasted no time in launching into a passionate speech about the fragile state of France and how it must be “built up to its previous strength.” He was truly a man whose mettle clearly extended beyond the limits of his miniature body. I will never forget what happened next. He clapped his hands as well and over one hundred soldiers burst into the room carrying riJles that gleamed in the torchlight.
I was frozen on the spot. They all rushed to positions as if this event had been orchestrated. Then the fog was cleared from my mind when I saw all of the soldiers’ head towards the place where the directory was seated. This must have been an elaborate scheme to kill them! Napoleon’s hate for the directory was well known. Then fear descended upon us as we realized that they were going to kill them. The stories circulating about Napoleon’s antics were truly horriJic. I covered my eyes as they lowered their weapons. The boom echoed around the hall but what was even more frightening was the wet splash of blood hitting the walls and Jloor. It was almost Jive minutes before I deigned to open my eyes again. This must be what they call a coupe d’état an attack on a government party using military force. It cannot be disputed anymore; anyone who even thinks of defying Napoleon will be shot. It was evident then that Napoleon was our new consul, and nothing that we could do can change that.
It was a shocking revelation that hit me like a wave of icy water. Now, it seemed as though Napoleon is our new consul. He was the head of a new conservative, authoritarian, autocratic, and centralized republican government. Nothing that we can do will stop him. It is deJinitely a time of dramatic change for France, for good or for bad I cannot tell. I
Napoleon on his Egypt Campaign
CONCLUSION Now at the ending of a powerful time period, we can see the entire complexity that the French Revolution was orchestrated with. Those that stood against the chief political parties were viciously torn down. At the end of this terrible revolution, we can realize the intensity of the violence and horror present during the French Revolution. We can feel the pain that the families of the deceased must have felt when their wives, husbands or even children, were unceremoniously executed by the savage strength of the Guillotine. It is hard to imagine living in that time period of terror and pain.
The French Revolution effected many people in many different ways. There were short-‐term affects and long-‐term effects of this monumental revolution. Some of the short-‐term effects were that France was made into a republic, and that the population of France was practically reduced by half. Another short-‐term effect of the French Revolution was that it opened the path for other political leaders to take charge of France seeing that it needed to have a strong leader. Well, France de)initely had a strong leader after the French Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte.
Along with the many short-‐term causes their came many long-‐term ones as well. We already know that the French Revolution continues to inspire and frighten many people now as we read and research about this time period. Another reason why we can signal out this revolution out of the multitudes of others is because of its gruesome occurrences during the revolution as well as the circumstances under which this revolution occurred. We now know that the French Revolution was one of the most gruesome and bloody in history. This is one of the reasons that we take notice of it.
Nothing is permanent except for change. Change brings new opportunities, but it can also bring new dilemmas. Change in an environment has the power to drastically alter a person’s life. Many things changed during the French Revolution, but some things also stayed the same. Many of these are obvious but many more are deeper and lie under the words like a Jine layer of dust under a carpet. When the government changed, so did the peoples’ mindset and their feelings. This ushered in a new era of peace.
There were only a few things that stayed the same during this conJlict. This was because of the titanic scale of the revolution. One such thing that did not change would be the border of France. In other words, France’s territory remained the same. Of course people could say that no one ever actually wanted for liberty, in truth we all want more freedom to do what our hearts please.
To truly understand the signiJicance of the French Revolution we can compare it to our world today. One similarity that is obvious is the fact that revolutions still occur today albeit using many different forms of warfare and technology. Another similarity would be that people still crave for freedom as multitudes are still enslaved by either mind or body. A difference between the world of the French Revolution and the world today is that in our world, we have more materialistic views instead of viewing to give more to others. Another difference is that corruption is not a wild and uncontrollable as it was then.
This revolution started as nothing but a few paltry riots but grew into a full-‐scale revolution that changed the fate of the world. It cannot be argued that the French Revolution was like a wave of realization crashing through the minds of the leaders of the world.
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