It marked the end of the king's resistance to the tide of reform, and he made no further open attempts to push back the Revolution. This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; GNU Free Documentation License; additional terms may apply; additional licensing terms may not be displayed on the current page, please review the citiational source for the most up to date information. The Paris women were driven by famine; they and their children were hungry. The Women’s March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution.  Stoking their anger even further, the king even stated on 4 October that he had reservations about the Declaration of the Rights of Man. google_ad_slot = "6183751590";
The king was indeed considering this, and when on 18 September he issued a formal statement giving his approval to only a portion of the decrees, the deputies were incensed. Located 12 miles from Paris, Versailles was a sprawling complex of palaces and buildings that housed the king and the royal government since the days of Louis XIV.  Boisterous and energetic, they recruited (or impressed into service) more and more followers as they surged out of Paris in the autumn rain. The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. Bread was very difficult to get and very expensive.  Still others go so far as to assert that the crowd was guided by such important Orléanist allies as Antoine Barnave, Choderlos de Laclos, and the duc d'Aiguillon, all dressed as poissardes in women's clothes. He participated in several later journées, but in 1794 became stricken with illness, dying at the age of thirty-one. Versailles was known as a royal paradise, and many very important people lived there along with the King and his family. Many in the crowd persuasively denounced Lafayette as a traitor, complaining of his resistance to leaving Paris and the slowness of his march. Sexual Content
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The market women and their various allies grew into a mob of thousands and, encouraged by revolutionary agitators, they ransacked the city armory for weapons and marched to the Palace of Versailles. The episode gave him a lasting heroic status among the poissardes and burnished his reputation as a patron of the poor. “The October Days illustrate the delicate balance in the relationship between the people and the monarchy… Constitutional monarchy [was] the only political system really considered at this time, but even violent protestors showed no real hostility to the king’s role. This site is created and maintained by Alpha History. google_ad_client = "ca-pub-2707004110972434";
Following the signing of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, the next major event of the French Revolution saw a mob a Parisian women march to the Palace of Versailles in order to force the royal family to return to Paris. The march on Versailles's main purpose was to obtain bread and force the price of bread down to where it had been. google_ad_height = 90;
In March began among women in the marketplaces of Paris, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and shortage of bread. The royal guards raced throughout the palace, bolting doors and barricading hallways and those in the compromised sector, the cour de marbre, fired their guns at the intruders, killing a young member of the crowd. One loves the master of the house who would not be hurt or offended at seeing his apartment thus occupied if he returned suddenly.”. The crowd had conflicting aims but there was a general consensus that the king must return to Paris and address the food crisis.  The great orator declined this chance at demagoguery but nonetheless mingled familiarly with the market women, even sitting for some time with one of them upon his knee. Optimistic observers such as Camille Desmoulins declared that France would now enter a new golden age, with its revived citizenry and popular constitutional monarchy. The king was requested to take the strongest possible action to improve the free circulation of grain, etc. The celebrated Vauban,... ... he thought of everything, and laid out his plans as though he had been at Versailles. His return was touted as a momentous turning point in the Revolution, by some even as its end. The reformist deputies were well aware that the four hundred or more monarchist deputies were working to transfer the Assembly to the distant royalist city of Tours, a place even less hospitable to their efforts than Versailles. By October 4th, Parisians were taking to the streets in protest, not just about the conduct of soldiers at Versailles but also a chronic shortage of bread and other foods. , With few other options available to him, the President of the Assembly, Jean Joseph Mounier, accompanied a deputation of market-women into the palace to see the king. They refused to accept the king’s assurances, claiming that whatever he promised now would later be reversed by Marie Antoinette.  For its inheritors, the march would stand as an inspirational example, emblematic of the power of popular movements. King Louis XVI was officially welcomed to Paris with a respectful ceremony held by mayor Jean Sylvain Bailly. Title: “The October March on Versailles” The women had come to say that Paris was short of bread. Armed with sticks and clubs and shouting, “Bread!” a mob of women and men (some dressed as women) marched the 12 miles from Paris to Versailles on the night of October 5, 1789. Others wanted the plead with the king to leave Versailles and return to Paris, where he would be away from what they perceived as the corrupting influences of the aristocracy. Behind them, at a distance, Lafayette followed with the National Guard. //-->.  Deeper planners in the crowd spread the word that the king needed to dismiss his royal bodyguards entirely and replace them all with patriotic National Guardsmen, a line of argument that had a compelling resonance among Lafayette's soldiers. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. A lot of readers will be familiar with the broad strokes of the French Revolution; the working class felt neglected by the aristocracy, and by the king in particular. Yet, as the queen stood with her hands crossed over her chest, the crowd – some of whom had muskets leveled in her direction – warmed to her courage. It is impossible not to like this careless indifference and freedom from suspicion. His Prisoners fare in tumbrils, or open carts, himself and Guar... ...s riding and marching around: and at the last village, the worthy Mayor of Versailles comes to meet him, anxious that the arrival and locking up were ... ...r. It is Sunday, the ninth day of the month. ARRAS, guillotine at. Armed with pikes, scythes, clubs, muskets and some small cannon stolen from the Hôtel de Ville, they marched out of Paris at noon and trudged the 12 miles to Versailles, arriving shortly after dark. Their carriages were accompanied by the crowd, the procession numbering between 30,000 and 40,000 people.  Well aware of the surrounding dangers, Louis discussed the situation with his advisors. CONSTITUTION, French, completed, will not march, burst in pieces, new, of 1793. The Women's March on Versailles in October 1789 is often credited with forcing the royal court and family to move from the traditional seat of government in Versailles to Paris, a major and early turning point in the French Revolution.  He returned to France the following summer and resumed his place in the Assembly where both he and Mirabeau were officially exonerated of any misdeeds regarding the march. Those who marched on Versailles so for different reasons. “My friends”, he told them, “I shall go with you to Paris, with my wife and children. " The relieved king briefly conveyed his willingness to return to Paris, acceding "to the love of my good and faithful subjects". Only then would the foreign soldiers be expelled, food be reliably available, and France served by a leader who was "in communion with his own people".  Others were more wary, such as journalist Jean-Paul Marat, who wrote: It would take almost two full years until the first French Constitution was signed on 3 September 1791, and it required another popular intervention to make it happen. As the crowd cheered, Lafayette stoked their joy by dramatically pinning a tricolor cockade to the hat of the king's nearest bodyguard.  As the Revolution moved forward into the Terror, the Duke's royal lineage and alleged avarice convicted him in the minds of radical leaders and he was sent to his execution in November 1793.  Their numbers continued to grow and with restless energy the group began to march. The women's march was a signal event of the French Revolution, its impact on a par with the fall of the Bastille. On the morning of October 5, 1789, women in the marketplaces of Paris were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread.  The Hôtel de Ville itself was ransacked as the crowd surged through taking its provisions and weapons, but Maillard helped prevent it from burning down the entire building. On October 4, 1789, a crowd of women demanding bread for their families gathered other discontented Parisians, including some men, and marched toward Versailles, arriving soaking wet from the rain.They demanded to see "the Baker," "the Baker's wife," and "the Baker's boy". When the Commune did not respond, the crowd elected to march on Versailles and take their grievances directly to the king. Historians have long debated which of these reasons was more significant or prevalent. The march of the Market Women to Versailles was one of the most significant events at the beginning of the French Revolution. The royal procession, accompanied by Assembly deputies and the crowd, departed Versailles later that day. Some suggested that the king and his ministers, having lost power to the National Constituent Assembly, had orchestrated the food shortage to starve the people into submission. The rank and file of both the Flanders Regiment and another regular unit present, the Montmorency Dragoons, now appeared unwilling to act against the people. The very next day, while the division was marching out of the town, the General went to the convent to be present at ... ...e Hotel Rambouillet, and the Place Royale to the sixteenth; and lastly, as Versailles was to the seventeenth and the eighteenth. , Although the fighting ceased and the two commands of troops had cleared the palace, the mob was still everywhere outside. Accordingly, the Flanders Regiment (a regular infantry regiment of the Royal Army) was ordered to Versailles in late September 1789 by the king's minister of war, the Comte de Saint-Priest, as a precautionary measure. The king became a virtual prisoner in the Tuileries – and in many respects, the revolution became a prisoner of Paris. , The crowd traveled the distance from Paris to Versailles in about six hours. Many of the crowd were women from the unruly district of Faubourg Saint-Antoine; a sizeable number were veterans of the attack on the Bastille three months earlier. Deeding children seemed like an impossible task. The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. Bread was very difficult to get and very expensive. There was tight central control in many government affairs. The revolution's capacity for violence was as yet not fully realized.  The violence boiled over into savagery as Tardivet's head was shorn off and raised aloft on a pike. His later rise to become virtual dictator of the Revolution was greatly facilitated by his actions during the occupation of the Assembly.  However pleased it may have been by the royal displays, the crowd insisted that the king come back with them to Paris.  The idea of a march on Versailles was widespread, and was even discussed in the pages of the Mercure de France (5 September 1789). The march symbolized a new balance of power that displaced the ancient privileged orders of the French nobility and favored the nation's common people, collectively termed the Third Estate. In the post-Bastille period, price inflation and severe shortages in Paris became commonplace, as did local incidents of violence in the marketplaces. , At about one o'clock in the afternoon of 6 October 1789, the vast throng escorted the royal family and a complement of one hundred deputies back to the capital, this time with the armed National Guards leading the way. It is to my good and faithful subjects that I confide all that is most precious to me”. google_ad_width = 160;
 A group of six women nominated by the crowd were escorted into the king's apartment, where they told him of the crowd's privations. The king responded sympathetically, and using all his charm impressed the women to the point that one of them fainted at his feet.  Although his efforts were foiled, revolutionaries continued to hold onto the idea of a march on Versailles to compel the king to accept the Assembly's laws. , When the crowd finally reached Versailles, it was met by another group that had assembled from the surrounding area.  Less affectionately, they spoke of the queen, Marie Antoinette, and many had no restraint in calling for her death. Date published: July 27, 2020  Driven by a variety of agitators, the mob converged on the Hôtel de Ville where they demanded not only bread, but arms. The harvest had been gathered in September so supplies should have improved – but this had not eventuated in the capital. At the end of the Ancien Régi… AUCH, M. Martin d’, in Versailles Court. In October 1789, thousands of Parisians, many of them women, embarked on a 12-mile march to Versailles, the residence of the French king Louis XVI and the National Constituent Assembly.  Now their attention was turned to the creation of a permanent constitution. The occupation of the deputies' benches in the Assembly created a template for the future, forecasting the mob rule that would frequently influence successive Parisian governments. Those of the lower classes could come and go freely, as the English chronicler Arthur Young noted with amusement while visiting there: “Again to Versailles. 4. Long live King Orléans! An illustration of the Women's March on Versailles, 5 October 1789, The revolutionary decrees passed by the Assembly in August 1789 culminated in, The women hailed by onlookers on their way to Versailles (illustration c. 1842), Lawsuit about the happenings of 6 October at Versailles; Châtelet Paris 1790, Significant civil and political events by year, Philip Mansel, page 129 "Pillars of Monarchy", ISBN 0-7043-2424-5, Richard Cobb, page 88 "The French Revolution - Voices From a Momentous Epoch", CN 8039, The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Frederick Louis, Prince of Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen, Alexandre-Théodore-Victor, comte de Lameth, Louis Michel le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, List of people associated with the French Revolution, The French Revolution a History Volume Three, Memoirs of Louis XIV and His Court and of the Regency, The Duchesse de Langeais, With an Episode under the Terror, The Illustrious Gaudissart, A Passion in the Desert, And the Hidden Masterpiece.  At four o'clock in the afternoon, fifteen thousand guards with several thousand more civilian latecomers set off for Versailles.  However, some fifty-six monarchien deputies did not come with them, believing the mob threat in the capital to be personally dangerous. AUSTRIA quarrels with France. , Lafayette, though initially acclaimed, found that he had tied himself too closely to the king. When these promises failed to calm the agitated mob, Louis ordered the food stores at Versailles be opened and distributed to the protestors. Food was especially scarce. The following testimony was given by one of the participants, a Madame Madelaine Glain: Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. , The rest of the National Constituent Assembly followed the king within two weeks to new quarters in Paris. T wo days afterwards the seige of Namur was declared. The poorest among them were almost exclusively concerned with the issue of food: most workers spent nearly half their income on bread. Louis attempted to work within the framework of his limited powers after the women's march but won little support, and he and the royal family remained virtual prisoners in the Tuileries. , Following the mutiny of the French Guards a few hours before the storming of the Bastille, the only troops immediately available for the security of the palace at Versailles were the aristocratic Garde du Corps (Body Guard) and the Cent-Suisses (Hundred Swiss). The royal family briefly attended the affair, walking amongst the tables set up in the opera house of the palace. , Quiet Versailles, the seat of royal power, was a stifling environment for reformers. The day has come The unwanted are rising March! In constitutional negotiations they were able to secure a legislative veto power for the king. The Duke was investigated by the crown for complicity and none was proven. Some even penetrated the palace and threatened Marie Antoinette. The women in the fish market would start the march toward Versailles that had been discussed so much in the previous weeks.  Yet most of the Revolution's foremost histories describe any involvement of the Duke as ancillary to the action, efforts of opportunism that neither created nor defined the October march. For revolutionaries, the preservation of their recent legislation and the creation of a constitution were paramount, and a lockdown of the king within reformist Paris would provide the best possible environment for the Revolution to succeed. Meanwhile, the Assembly’s president, Jean-Joseph Mounier, arranged for a deputation of six women to be admitted to the palace. After arriving at the dilapidated Tuileries Palace, abandoned since the reign of Louis XIV, he was asked for his orders and he replied with uncharacteristic diffidence, "Let everyone put himself where he pleases!" All this took place honourably and peacefully – until some members were unwise enough and bold enough to leave their places to go and chat with the women, which led to some disorder. Most of the crowd, however, remained unpacified. Their stronghold was in Paris.  Numerous calls for a mass demonstration at Versailles had already been made; the Marquis of Saint-Huruge, one of the popular orators of the Palais-Royal, had called for just such a march in August to evict the obstructionist deputies who, he claimed, were protecting the king's veto power.  A menacing unrest was in the air, and many nobles and foreigners fled the oppressive atmosphere. It never blares itself out on TV screens. Instead, Louis delivered a message to the crowd, promising that he would endorse the Assembly’s reformist legislation and give his assent to the August decrees and the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. Three months after entering the Musketeers, that is to say, in the March of the following year, the King held a review of his guards, and of t... ...ground. On the afternoon of October 6th the king, his family, his royal retinue and several deputies to the Assembly departed Versailles for Paris. People who are actua... ... concept of public rights, or any common good. , On the morning of 5 October, a young woman struck a marching drum at the edge of a group of market-women who were infuriated by the chronic shortage and high price of bread. This action was simple and justified, for to be hungry is a terrible state. Some publications pondered why royal soldiers were permitted to eat and drink heartily at a time when ordinary Parisians could scarcely find a loaf of bread. The clergy and the aristocracy had lost their priviliges, and feudalism had been abolished, but true change for the working class was slow to come.Ordinary citizens were still struggling to keep themselves fed, with the price of grain having skyrocketed due to droughts in the summer of 1788. On the third day of the march M. le Prince went forward to invest the place. The shortages of bread in early October were unexpected and gave rise to conspiracy theories. The soldiers were given no orders to fire on civilians and many soldiers openly mingled with them. /* 160x600, created 1/5/08 */
Not for the first time or the last, threats of violence had produced a significant political shift. Once the women reached the entrance to Versailles, they were chanting the word bread over and over again to the beat of a drum.  The procession could seem merry at times, as guardsmen hoisted up loaves of bread stuck on the tips of their bayonets, and some of the market women rode gleefully astride the captured cannon. For its inheritors, the march would stand as an inspirational example, emblematic of the power of popular movements.  At the end of the Ancien Régime, the fear of famine became an ever-present dread for the lower strata of the Third Estate, and rumors of the "Pacte de Famine" to starve the poor were still rampant and readily believed. Even so, the royal court in Paris was much more austere.