VIDEO: [Biographics] Maximilien Robespierre: The Reign of Terror. [Jul 5, 2018]
On the verge of financial collapse, France then experienced a terrible famine in 1788. The people blamed the king. Anti-monarchists referred to Queen Marie Antoinette as Madame Déficit. According to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, when she was told the people did not have bread, her reply was: “Let them eat cake.”
On July 14, 1789, a mob stormed the Bastille Fortress in Paris, which had been used as the state prison. The king, endeavoring to be an enlightened monarch, did not forcibly respond. His benevolence only served to embolden the unruly rioters.
On Oct. 5, 1789, in what started as a Women’s March demanding bread, a mob surrounded the palace at Versailles. The Marquis de Lafayette vainly attempted to moderate the crowd, who had found sympathy with disgruntled soldiers. Finding an unguarded door, rioters barged in, Two guards were killed, with one’s head placed on a pike. The queen fled through a secret passage to the king’s chamber.
With the mob now numbering 60,000, the king and queen were escorted back to Paris, where they became captives in the royal residence called the Tuileries. On June 20, 1791, the Royal family tried escaping by carriage at night, and almost made it out of France, but, tragically, were recognized from the king’s face being on a note of French currency. One again, they were captives in the Tuileries.
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