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French revolution journal Ellie Han 3.12


<5 May 1789> Estates to non- estate I still thinking of the event that happened today. Astonishing, startling, and surprising, the fact makes me open my mouth again. Today morning, I would wake up at five am at dawn. In the beautiful land, Calais, I started my day with taking care of the crops from the farm in front of the house. Suddenly, my daughter Martine came to me. Martine’s hair is yellow, eyes are blue, wearing a green shirt and pink pant. My seven years old daughter walked to me. Foot stamping, eyes wondering, Martine starts talking about her curiosity. "Daddy, you always get up at five am in the morning and working so hard but why have nothing to eat, we have not a lot but enough number of crops harvested every day. Why can’t we eat a full meal if ever once!". Not as a dad, but as a peasant, I couldn’t say that we are paying almost fifty percent taxes to the government. I don’t know how to tell the fact to Martine, so I hesitated for few second, "um… Martine, that’s because…" Face chuckling, hands clapping, Maria starts giggling with her cutie sister. "Poor old Martine, I have to tell every single thing to you!" Maria, a fifteen years old kid, interrupted me and answered the question from Martine. "You know the piggy boys don’t pay taxes so the farmer families like us should pay more taxes. Why it is so unfair, Ugh!” Frowning, grimacing, and winkling she shouted, “such a terrible ruler, Louis XVI.” She complained about several more times and went into the room. ‘Well, Maria, there were several more reasons why the government force us to pay more taxes. Our country, France, had supported American Revolution, so we kept provided weapons and foods for them. Not only helping American revolution but also the long-running war with England made us even weaker.' My daughters, two mischievous girls, went in the room. I got a cup of coffee and brought the newspaper," France Issues." I thought of the one day when the king said about to collect taxes from first and second estates. I believed now we are fair. However, my thought was just a start of the delusion. The nobles wanted the cooperation. They suggested bringing together the Estate- General. The first and second estates on the same team because it was more favorable when they bring the Estate- General. My prediction was exactly

Figure 1 Estates- General, in France of the pre-Revolutionary monarchy, the representative assembly of the three “estates,” or orders of the realm

right. The first, second estates and the third estate made conflict in the voting system. The Estate General is legislative and consultative assembly of the different classes. In Estate General, the first two Estates wanted one vote per Estate. On the other hand, we wanted one vote per person, because ninety- eight percent of the French population all belongs to the Third Estate. Read along with the newspaper; I started to imagine about estates- general today. Face frowning, body shivering, one person among the first estate starts to louder his voice. "one vote per one Estate!" A person from the second estate add on to it " Yes, Louis XVI, honorable king, one vote per one estate is fair enough." "Unfair!" I shouted in my mind. Even though I expected the situation to go like this, the fact made me even madder. Annoying, exasperating and irritating, I couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t stop expressing angriness. Nicole, my wife, came to me and said, "Honey, Calm down, here is some water." As I continued to read the newspaper, then I could figure out that we declared to set up national assembly by ourselves which represents no Estates.

<21 January 1793> Chopping the king’s head I am forty-four years old now. Four more years passed after the Estate General. In four years, many events happened and suffered a lot. About one month after the Estate General, the peasants had gathered in the tennis court oath and talked about the unfair situation. I was on the Tennis Court Oath too. I Blamed government a lot. If we want to have the meeting of National Assembly, the government had to provide a Conference hall to us, but they banned us from using the hall. That’s why we had a meeting on the Tennis Court. The meeting sparked the revolution. Now, four years after the Tennis Court and the Storming Bastille, we grew the power so that today was the execution of Louis XVI. This morning at eight am, I went out of my house. Along the street, I could see many shops closed and children, adults, even babies came out from their homes, I could see next town's shop owner, bakery owners, and many neighbors. Théodore Noir, my friend, his wife and their children, came out from their house. "Hey, are you going to see the execution?", Noir asked with full of happiness. "Hey, of course" I replied. He looked surprised and asked, "Where is your child?" "Well, she is in the house, I believed she is not old enough to see the sight of chopping head." He looked Embarrassed and shocked. Few seconds silence and he finally said, " Hum… okay, but I brought my child. We should have to see this amazing scene. See you soon!" My friend and his families tiptoed and got far away from me. After the conversation, I noticed almost everyone was walking towards the same direction, "Revolution Square." When I entered in groups of people, the brownish guillotine was on there, and it gathered many people around it. People crowded and the guillotine surrounded by thousands of people because today is the critical day. Probably in the future, this event remained in France history; "The King Louis XVI's death, 21st January in 1793." I was outraged. As I am a peasant, I cannot forgive him. He and his wife tried to run away from us, instead of saying something that they behaved. Even Marie Antoinette sent the letter to her brother, Joseph II, who is the king of Austria and their relationship declared the war.

Hundreds and thousands of people died and suffered from the war, which leads us full of anger. Marie, my mischievous big daughter, died from the war. Louis XVI, an irresponsible and selfish tyrant, should be executed! When I think the sight, Marie was crying in front of me. I could not forgive myself, Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Joseph II and everybody. Today, the execution is the punishment we were giving to the king. Suddenly, the sounds of the audience getting louder and louder. One soldier came in Two more soldiers arrived in Three peasants came in with Louis XVI Louis XVI looked painful, and everything gave up. People started to shout louder and louder. "Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!" Many of people were adults consisted of man and women. Lots of children were there too. I don’t know their exact thinking, but I believed they are scared enough. I am here to see the Louis XVI's last Figure 2 Execution of Louis XVI, killed by guillotine in scene of his life. Now is the time he Revolution Square, 1793 should be punished. Louis XVI lies the guillotine. Before the sharp knife goes down, he yelled, "I die innocent of all the crimes laid to my charge; I pardon those who have occasioned my death, and I pray to god that the blood you are going to shed may never visit in France." As soon as he finished his last speech, the sharp silver knife went down, red and dark blood came out, separation of his head and his body. The tallest soldier was holding Louis' head to us proudly. The blood drops and the young lady quickly move to the other part of the crowd. People shouted "REPUBLIC!" I could see people enjoyed his death. Clapping, cheering and jumping, no one was full of tears. I couldn’t have enjoyed his death because Louis XVI’s death was horrible. The mood I had was strange and wondered who will be the next leader in France. Even though the king died, I could not rid of the anxious feeling that covers me, something more violence will happen, more terrible events will come.

<July 28, 1794> All duties come with responsibility One year past after the execution of Louis XVI and what I considered was right. Other storming events were coming up. Finding, searching, thinking, we found a person who can be a good leader, Robespierre. Robespierre worked so well that I even wanted to cry. He did lots of work. He changed weight and measures institution to the Metric system, which brought massive influence on us. It was a lot easier than before! Also, the highest institution in a year ago. How could we know the situation flips? Clapping, dancing, jumping, I was proud of him, and I wanted him continuous to lead us in the right way. Now, his behavior changed my thoughts. He killed so many people by using his power. Thousands and thousands of people died in prison. Among them, one of the prisoners was my sister, Julia. With no guilty and no fault, she had to suffer in prison. Robespierre didn’t provide any things to eat, so every time I went to the prison, I gave her things to eat secretly. It happens one year before now; I could remember the sounds from the prisoners. Shouting, yelling, and crying, " That’s mine, that isn't yours, give me that!". The prisoners started to grab my sister's hair and yanked. What I saw the scene was even more horrible than my thought. I got mad towards Robespierre all the time. Fortunately, Julia didn’t die, but she should live rest of her life as an insane woman. That’s why I can't forgive Robespierre and even today, the last day of his life. I felt the same feeling as the execution day of Louis XVI. Both Louis and Robespierre are people I cannot forgive. In the afternoon, we got ready to go to see the execution. When I got ready to get out the house, Martine came up to me and said, "Dad, you know what, I thought everything would be fine when Louis XVI died, but I realized that wasn’t true, another suffers followed me until yesterday. " "Why until yesterday, Martine." Martine smiled, "… because today is the execution day!" Martine asked Nicole. "Mom, you are going to Revolutionary Square, right?" My wife, Nicole replied with full of joy. "Of course, it is." Martine held my hand tightly, and three of us went out of the house.

When we all went out, I could find the man, himself, walked to the Square. While I kept an eye on him, I found myself from him. What I did one year before. 'Did he also think of his children are not old enough to see this nasty scene?' We arrived, at the same time, Jacobins and Robespierre came up to the guillotine. Robespierre done so many violent behaviors so he executed without any trial. Robespierre lied in the same spot, same posture when Louis XVI killed by guillotine. My daughter closed her eyes, and I realized they cut off his head. Not a lot of people cheered like one year before, but they were all smiled. I smiled too. We enjoyed the Robespierre's death.

When I back home, now I am writing my Figure 3 Execution of Robespierre, he was guillotined without a trial, in the Place de journal. la RĂŠvolution, 1794 When the person is the leader, I want them to think about their responsibility. I wondered why all the leaders were nasty and irresponsible. This time, after Robespierre died, I believe the fantastic events will come after experienced sad events. Even though many people suffered and many people killed by the revolution, it was worth it, we declared the rights, we can use the metric system, and the best was we finally get free. This revolution changed the social and political structure of France. I believed it brought new ideas to Europe including liberty and freedom for the commoner as well as the abolishment of slavery and the rights of women even though the economy couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rise a lot, stay in the same. We, peasants, brought the vast change of France. I am happy now, Marie will smile upon the sky. A few decades later, our future generation will learn about Tennis Court Oath, Storming Bastille, execution of king and Robespierre. They will keep and remained these events as history in the future.

Revolutionary Voices Journal by Ellie Han  
Revolutionary Voices Journal by Ellie Han  

Revolutionary Voice Journal