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June 20th, 1789 A New Beginning I woke up today, thinking that it would be a new day with the Estates General. With all the yelling, arguing and the feeling of not getting heard, by the King, the 1st and 2nd Estate. Even though the Third Estate makes a lot of noise, it's almost like we're invisible. They don't care that over fifty percent of the citizens in France are starving, or how unfair it is that only Third Estate is paying taxes. While Second and First Estate, don't work, don't pay taxes and are living in luxuries. When we came to our usual meeting room for the Estates General, we found the door locked. All the representatives from the Third Estate including me didn't understand why we were locked out. Was this the King's way of solving problems, did he think that we would give up if he locked us out? If so he should know that the opposite happened. After trying to get into the meeting room for 20 minutes, we decided to leave, even though none of us wanted to end the meeting. I remember Joseph-Ignace Guillotin standing on a chair yelling, "We represent more than 90% of the country, we will never give up!" Everybody cheered, and we left the Estate General, never to return. I remember looking for a meeting place in Versailles, big enough to fit over five hundred people. It was hard, but not impossible. We found an old indoor tennis court close to the palace. Everybody got in and found a place to sit. It was some chairs, but not enough for everybody, so I ended up standing. If you looked up, you could see people in the windows looking in. I even saw a father standing with his son, looking through the window. First, then I realized how important this meeting was. This meeting would change the future forever; if this meeting went well, we would change France's faith. The first speech was by Mirabeau who led this meeting. It was a beautiful speech. He talked about how we had to stick together and support each other because that's the only way we can overthrow the monarchy. Everybody cheered, and for the first time in my life, I felt that France was going to change. After his speech, he said to the king's messenger a sentence that I will never forget, "Go tell your master that we are here by the will of the people and that The Tennis Court Oath was the beginning of the National we shall. be removed only at the point of a Assembly bayonet".

July 14, 1789 A Revolution Has Started The Revolution has started, we won't give up until the old regime is gone and there is justice in this country. For the first time since the Tennis Court Oath, we have rebelled against the government, this time with violence. I have asked myself why I want to fight. After all, I am among the privileged within my estate. Thanks to my family on my mother's side, who were pretty well off, and since I was lucky enough to be born a boy, I have received a good education. Studious and hardworking, I managed to do well in my studies and graduated with honors. My father was more than happy to welcome me as a junior partner in the family law firm. We are highly respected and enjoy a favorable reputation. We can afford the most beautiful silk, the best meat, and have never felt the cold as we sit by our cosy fireplace. Because we don't have a family crest and the title that comes with it, we have no say in the government of our own country. We do not have the right to vote, let alone speak our mind. I've seen some of the pamphlets that are circulating. The ideas they advocate are new and unusual. One talks about separation of powers. The king could still rule, but the people would decide the laws and the court would punish those not respecting the laws. This Montesquieu has it all figured out. To win this battle, we need the support of the farmers. After all, they are the ones that suffer the most at the hand of the king. If only they could see the greatness of these new ideas. How could they though, when they don't know how to read? I have already convinced some of them, but not everybody believes that they are born equal and free. They still think that everything is God's will. However, I won't give up; we must fight side by side, that is the only way we can win. We were a crowd of almost eight hundred people, all from the Third Estate. It was strange standing side by side with people I usually would just pass by without looking at them. Our crowd was a mixture of farmers, laborers, artists, peasants, doctors, writers and lawyers just like myself. We went to storm the terrible Bastille, the prison that symbolized everything that was wrong in the way France was ruled; it was where the King would put any political opponent without a fair trial.

The revolutionaries stormed the Bastille, because they wanted to rebel against the king, but they also wanted to take the gunpowder stored inside the Bastille.

I remember the shock I had when I came to the Bastille, there were a lot more guards than I thought it would be; I thought it was going to be easy conquering the Bastille, mainly since we were so many. The guards didn't attack right away. They waited for us to strike, and that we did.

With a BANG! The first canon had fired off, the Storming of the Bastille had started. I was standing next to my friend Claude, not knowing what to do. We looked at each other in disbelief. Could this be happening? Were the people trying to overthrow the king's guards and thereby the king himself? Some people started running towards the brick wall trying to get in; others started attacking the guards. I saw lightning in people's eyes when they fired off the canons; they didn't seem scared at all. Most of the time I stood by the canons giving out commands, I wasn't an outstanding fighter, but I knew the techniques. I saw how the Bastille started to fall apart. Smoke and dust filled the air. We were winning; the guards slowly started to give up. A sound of a trumpet filled the air; it was the sound of triumph. Our first rebellion against the monarchy had ended in victory. We no longer fear the King and his regime, because we know that if we work together, we can overthrow the king and his stupid regime.

July 28, 1794 What Happened to the Revolution Finally! This madness is about to come to an end. Over 40,000 people are dead, and for what? I have lost a lot of friends, only because they said something against Robespierre, that devil, who only cares about power. Robespierre has changed a lot since the beginning of the Revolution. Before the revolution started, he was this calm listener, with a lot of good ideas on how to overthrow the monarchy. During this last year, he's got drunk with power. Heads are rolling as he punishes his so-called enemies.

I have lived in fear for more than a year. If you say anything against Robespierre, you will risk getting beheaded. I have risked my life two times, and pure luck has kept me alive. The sickest thing is that, instead of rebelling against it, people seem to be entertained by watching people get executed. Families will bring picnic blankets where they sit and enjoy a snack while watching people having their head chopped off. Don't they understand that most of these people are innocent and that they only died because they said something or someone started a rumor about them? The brutality of it all makes me lose faith in our new Republic. Have they already forgotten the power of fraternity? It is their revolutionary brothers and sisters that are being murdered. Figure 1 Over 40,000 people were slaughtered during the Regime of Terror

The only executions I have ever watched was when King Louis xvi got killed, and when Marie-Antoinette was murdered. Both times made me want to puke. It was terrible watching people going up there, knowing that in one minute they would no longer have a head. I couldn't take it, so I left. After Marie-Antoinette's death, I thought that the guillotine never would be used again. However, the opposite has happened. I remember someone telling me about this lady, who tried to stop the execution of her son and ended up getting executed herself. Stories like this make people afraid of speaking their mind and underline how powerless they are in the face of machinery that doesn't care for human beings.

The attack on Hotel de Villa, ended with Robespierre shooting himself.

Everything happened so quickly. First Robespierre got arrested. Then, when the warden of the Luxembourg prison in Paris refused to jail him, he fled to Hotel de Ville. This was a significant change of plans since we in the National Assembly had never thought he would be able to escape. But we didn't give up. Robespierre was going to get the punishment he deserved. We hurried after to Hotel de Villa and attacked. I think Robespierre understood that he had lost because suddenly we heard a bayonet being fired. The scream that followed came

from Robespierre. Apparently, he had aimed at his head but had instead wounded his jaw. Shortly after, the guards captured him and a hundred of his followers.

Today I have witnessed my third execution, Robespierre has been convicted to death without a trial, and it's quite palpable that no one is sad about it. I don't like the guillotine, and I don't like when people are convicted to death, but Robespierre was a murderer who deserved to die. Hundreds of people were gathered around the guillotine, waiting to hear the snap of the blade, I, of course, was waiting to get it over with. The blade fell like a bolt of lightning and with a snap, his head was no longer a part of his body. So much has happened, since the Revolution first started. After Robespierre’s death I hope France can finally get what we have worked for five years to get, equality, fraternity and liberty.

Revolutionary Voices Journal French Revolution  
Revolutionary Voices Journal French Revolution