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Transcript of French Revolution
A project by Sirtaj Singh & Anjali Aggarwal
March on Versailles
As they left, thousands of National Guardsmen who had heard the news were assembling at the Place de Grève. Marquis de Lafayette, in Paris as their commander-in-chief, discovered to his dismay that his soldiers were largely in favor of the march, and were thinking of joining the march. Even though he was one of France's greatest war heroes, Lafayette could not dissuade his troops, and they began threatening to desert. At four o'clock, in the afternoon, fifteen thousand guards with several thousand more civilian latecomers set off for Versailles. Lafayette reluctantly took his place at the head of their column, hoping to protect the king and public order.
Arthur Wellesley, also known as The Duke of Wellington, was born in Dublin, Ireland, on May 1st 1769.
He was mostly withdrawn from everyone else and for this was sent to a military academy in France
At age 18 he was commissioned into the army and appointed aide-de-camp in the Irish viceroy
Wellesley was commissioned as an ensign in the British Army 1787. An ensign is the lowest rank of an commissioned officer in the British Army. He fought against the French in Flanders, and later, went to India.
This Battle was fought between:
Under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte
The Allied Armies
The Allied armies were commanded by the Duke of Wellington from Britain and General Blücher from Prussia.
Abernathy, A. (2014, December 7). March on Versailles. Retrieved December 11, 2014, from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_March_on_Versailles
BBC. (2014). Battle of Waterloo. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from BBC: bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/battle_waterloo_01.shtml
BBC. (2014). Duke of Wellington (1769 - 1852). Retrieved December 11, 2014, from BBC: bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/wellington_duke_of.shtml
Godechot, J. (2014, March 30). Arthur Wellesley, 1st duke of Wellington. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from Britannica: britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/639392/Arthur-Wellesley-1st-duke-of-Wellington
Humboldt. (2012, August 11). Maximilien Robespierre. Retrieved December 14, 2014, from Wikipedia: newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Maximilien_Robespierre
History.com Staff. (2009). Battle of Waterloo. Retrieved December 8, 2014, from History: history.com/topics/british-history/battle-of-waterloo
Linton, M. (2013). Choosing Terror: Virtue, Friendship, and Authenticity in the French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
New Project: GameDecider. (2010, January 18). All You Need To Know About The Battle Of Waterloo. Retrieved December 9, 2014, from Youtube: youtube.com/watch?v=5Go5nlOCqi4
Phillips Community College. (n.d.). March To Versailles. Retrieved December 12, 2014, from Phillips Community College: pccua.edu/keough/march_to_versailles.htm
Arthur Wellessley went to India in 1796. His brother, Richard, was appointed governor general there in 1797. Wellesley achieved considerable military success, taking part in the Mysore War against Tipu Sultan and also achieved a remarkable victory at Assaye in 1803.
Back in England, Wellesley was knighted and became a member of parliament.
In 1807, he was appointed chief secretary for Ireland, but his political career didn't last long because in the same year, he returned to active service against the French.
In 1808, he gained control of the British, Portuguese and Spanish forces in the Peninsular War (1808 - 1814)
This forced the French to withdraw from Spain and Portugal.
The French defeat at Waterloo drew to a close 23 years of war, beginning with the French Revolutionary wars in 1792 and continuing with the Napoleonic Wars from 1803.
There was a brief eleven-month respite when Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba. However, the state France motivated him to return to Paris in March 1815.
The Allies soon declared war once again. Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo marked the end of the Emperor's final bid for power, the end of his remarkable career.
April 4, 1814: Napoleon abdicates his rule after the fall of Paris
May 4, 1814: Napoleon is exiled to Elba
March 1, 1815: Escaping Elba, Napoleon returns to France
June 18, 1815: Defeated in the Battle of Waterloo by the Allied Armies
June 22, 1815: Abdicates for the second time
October 16, 1815: Napoleon is exiled to Saint Helena
March 5, 1821: Napoleon dies
Allied troops under Prince William of Orange were already positioned around the area and were successful in holding off the French attack. Before the French reinforcements arrived, Wellington had arrived from his meeting and took charge. When French reinforcements arrived, they continued to hold their ground, resulting in stalemate on 16th June. Although the Allied troops won this field of battle, the French prevented them from coming to the aid of the Prussians in the Battle of Ligny. The Allied Troops regrouped at Mont St Jean, North of Quatre-Bras
At Ligny, there were casualties on both sides, but the Prussian Army was forced to commit more troops. The French were victorious, however, they failed to destroy the Prussians completely.
Napoleon had succeeded in his aim of keeping the two armies apart but mistakenly believed that the Prussians were completely destroyed.
Wellington was short of well-experienced infantry, and his army was composed of inexperienced cavalry but Wellington believed in the use of carefully deployed firepower. Wellington observed that his troops were outnumbered by the French, and thought the best way to fight the French would be to stand firm until the Prussian's could come to their aid.
Napoleon tried to make sure the Prussians and Wellington's Army will not meet, knowing that if they did, Napoleon's Army has a high chance of losing the Battle. Napoleon focused on his infantry and cavalry, using aggression and surprise rather than firepower. His main priority was to soften the enemies front lines.
Napoleon first created a diversion, followed by artillery bombardment to soften the Allies defenses before unleashing a full attack.
The Allies regrouped, and forced the French back, winning the Battle of Waterloo. Blücher met Wellington at La Belle Alliance. A fresh Prussian cavalry pursued the retreating French. Blücher wanted to name the battle "La Belle Alliance" but Wellington insisted upon a tradition of his, that it be called after the place where he had spent the night before the battle, Waterloo. Napoleon had been defeated. It was the downfall of his empire.
On October 16, 1815, Napoleon was exiled to Saint Helena. On March 5, 1821, Napoleon passes away.
The Duke of Wellington
The defeat of Napoleon ended the First French Empire, and of course the reign of the tyrant Napoleon. The end of the battle also saw the reinstatement of Kind Louis XVIII, and a half century of international peace for Europe since the start of the French Revolution. However there were, as said before, a large number of casualties in the battle from both sides.
22 June. This morning I went to visit the field of battle, which is a little beyond the village of Waterloo, on the plateau of Mont-Saint-Jean; but on arrival there the sight was too horrible to behold. I felt sick in the stomach and was obliged to return. The multitude of carcasses, the heaps of wounded men with mangled limbs unable to move, and perishing from not having their wounds dressed or from hunger, as the Allies were, of course, obliged to take their surgeons and waggons with them, formed a spectacle I shall never forget. The wounded, both of the Allies and the French, remain in an equally deplorable state.
—Major W. E. Frye After Waterloo: Reminiscences of European Travel 1815–1819.
After the Battle of Waterloo, Arthur became the British Prime Minister, and left a large legacy in his place after his death in 1852.
Napoleon's plan was to invade Belgium, starting with the capture of Brussels. He wanted to mount an offensive attack on the Allied troops gathering in Belgium and destroy them. To do this, he needed to divide up the Allied Army, and defeat them separately. He wanted to send Wellington's army back East, and Prussia's army West.
To separate these two armies, Napoleon ordered Marshal Michel Ney to advance on Quatre-Bras (a crossroad between Brussels and and Nivelles and Namur).
On the morning of October 5, 1789, a group of women gathered in the central marketplace of Paris to riot against the chronic shortage, and the high prices of bread. These women started bearing kitchen blades and other makeshift weapons. The mob converged on the Hôtel de Ville where they demanded not only bread, but arms. As more and more women – and men – arrived, the crowd outside the city hall reached between six and seven thousand.
The market women's goals started as a search for bread, but soon took on a much more ambitious goal. The Hôtel de Ville had already opened its plentiful stores to the rioters, but they remained unsatisfied: they wanted not just one meal but the assurance that bread would once again be plentiful and cheap. Along with this,rumors of an "aristocrats' plot" to starve the poor were spreading, and widely believed.
The President of the Assembly, Jean Joseph Mounier, accompanied by six women that were nominated by the crowd, were escorted into the king's apartment where they told the king of the crowd's privations. The king charmed and impressed these women to the point where one fainted at his feet. After this brief meeting, arrangements were made to disburse some food from the royal stores, and more promised, and some in the crowd felt that their goals had been met and took off back to Paris.
Most of the crowd however, was not happy. They stood outside the gates, and rumors fled that the queen would inevitably force the king to break any promises he had made. The king had inadequate preparations for his safety, and the next morning, the crowd found a small gate to the palace that was left unguarded, and attacked.
As the king withdrew from the balcony, the crowd demanded the queen be brought up. Lafayette brought her to the same balcony, accompanied by her young son and daughter. The crowd ominously shouted for the children to be taken away, and it seemed the stage might be set for a regicide. 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. Lafayette knelt and kissed the queen's hand. The demonstrators responded with respect, and many even raised a cheer which the queen had not heard for quite a long time, "Vive la Reine! (Long live the queen!)" The royal family soon returned with the vast crowd to Paris, lead by armed National Guards.
The crowd made their way inside and searched for the queen's bedchamber. The royal guards raced throughout the palace, bolting doors and barricading hallways, and those in the compromised sector fired their guns at the intruders, and one of these shots killed a young member of the crowd. This infuriated the crowd, just adding fuel to the fire.
Soon, a guard's head was ripped off and raised on a pike. As battering and screaming filled the halls around her, the queen ran barefoot with her ladies to the king's bedchamber and spent several agonizing minutes banging on his locked door. The banging was not heard over the screaming, and the queen barely escaped with her life. The chaos continued as other royal guards were found and beaten; at least one more was killed and his head too appeared atop a pike.
Robespierrists is a term used to describe followers or supporters of Robespierre. At the time that this term came about many people had begun losing fervor towards the Revolution. After 5 years of political struggle and warfare they were worn out, and the only dominant emotion now was fear. The Reign of Terror carried on as many Themodorians blamed Robespierre for being the sole cause of it. However this is very contradictory as the whole Committee of Public Safety took a collective part in political decisions, and so the act of terror was caused by them all. Tensions began to arise as many members became suspicious of each other and fearful that they would fall victim to the Reign of Terror. Robespierrists led themselves to their own downfall, and were executed by a coup. Quickly the tables had turned to Robespierre and his followers being the leaders of the Revolution to them being traitors of it. The idea that the Robespierrists alone were responsible for the Reign of Terror as said before, is not completely true but with all the uncertainty around them the myths arose.
Lafayette convinced the king to address the crowd. When the two men stepped out on a balcony an unexpected cry went up, "Vive le Roi! (Long Live The King!)" The relieved king briefly conveyed his willingness to return to Paris and the crowd cheered.
The March of Versailles was quite a significant moment in the French Revolution and it was about on par with the fall of the Bastille. The storming of the palace showed a change in mindset, in which the Third Estate realized that the Monarchy was not as invincible as they thought. Then this lead towards a shift in the balance of power as the old privileges of the French nobility were replaced with power to the Third Estate. Also this was the point at which the King could no longer ignore and push back the Revolution