Wednesday, July 15, 2009

King Louis XVI Accepts the French Revolution

On July 15, 1789, King Louis XVI rushed to Paris. He stood on the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) before his subjects. He recognized the power of the National Assembly. In addition to wearing his customary white – the color of the Bourbon Monarchy - he also wore red and blue – the colors of Paris. These colors quickly became the colors of France’s first Republican flag:

Supporters of the Revolution commenced wearing the red, white, and blue cockade pinned to their hats, like this revolutionary, who plays the bagpipe over the fallen lion of the absolute monarchy as another revolutionary menaces a priest.

With the King’s blessing, the National Assembly got right to work to declare the new rights of all French citizens under the new French Republic. In August, the Assembly gave France what people the world over believed to be the most important document of the 18th century: The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen.

For those with food in the cupboard, the publication of the Declaration fueled optimism for the future of France. But those with no bread on the table and winter on its way wondered what good their new rights were in this new Constitutional Monarchy. They would rise up once again.

Check back in October for the continuation of the people's struggle for Egalité, Liberté, Fraternité.

The French flag, or tri-colore (three color), courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. A French revolutionary wearing a tricolor cockade, courtesy of

Towle, Sarah B. Time Traveler Paris Tours: Beware Madame La Guillotine. In development.

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