This week marks the 230th anniversary of the French Revolution, which began with Bastille Day on July 14, 1789, when the Parisian mobs stormed the Bastille (a prison fortress).
The French Revolution is noted for its violence, particularly the Great Fear (when the mobs targeted the nobility), the September Massacres (when thousands of people who were accused of opposing the revolution were killed), and the Reign of Terror (when thousands were sent to the guillotine).
But such violence of the French Revolution was not limited to these three periods. Mob violence was a frequent occurrence during the French Revolution, and virtually anyone could be a victim. Here are some examples:
- October 5, 1789: the Women’s March on Versailles, during which the palace’s royal bodyguards were killed, and some members of the mob advocated killing Marie Antoinette. In fact, one of the women said “we are going to cut off her head, tear out her heart, fry her liver, and that won’t be the end of it.” Intervention by the National Guard resulted in the royal family moving to Paris (which the women had demanded to begin with). But eventually, both Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette would be executed several years later.
- July 17, 1791: the Champ de Mars Massacre. A mob that was protesting Louis XVI retaining the throne via a constitutional monarchy clashed with the National Guard, which resulted in the National Guard opening fire.
- November 1793-February 1794: the Drowning at Nantes, in which thousands of people suspected of not supporting the revolution were bound and thrown into the Loire River.
But the French Revolution was also notorious for its revolutionary ideas, such as the adoption of a new calendar and the introduction of a new system of weights and measures. It was also known for its de-Christianization ideals (particularly against the Catholic Church), which are as follows:
- The murder of various clergymen and nuns.
- The state replacing the church, and the clergy being forced to swear allegiance to it. In addition, their salaries were paid by a government department and not Rome.
- Church property was confiscated by the state.
- An unsuccessful attempt to do away with Sundays, Holy Days, saints, prayers, rituals, and ceremonies.
Although the role of the Catholic Church in France would be restored during the Napoleonic Era, France would become more secular, and continues to be so to this day.
So in conclusion, just be glad the American Revolution was nothing like the French Revolution.
For more information on the violent details of the French Revolution, please check out Ann Coulter’s book Demonic: How the Liberal Mob is Endangering America.