French Revolution Journal

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French Revolution Journal Kajol Bolaki, Alex Paulino, Sunnie Lee as Selene Girard Period 3

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Journal Entry One: A Day in the Life April 14, 1787 I am Selene Girard: a 17-year-old female living in France. I am part of the wealthy third estate, and I am a tea owner. The other two estates are the First (the highest class) and Second Estate (a class slightly lower than the first). The Third Estate does not have many privileges. We must pay taxes the most and work the hardest. We receive the most unfair treatment from the estates ranked above us. Everyone should pay equal taxes. If everyone was equal, people would be happier. We also would have more money to grow the crops we need to feed our nation. Furthermore, the queen would cease to spend money on extravagant things because she would have to pay taxes. Louis the XVI should not be running Absolutism because he is not fit for the job. Previous incidents show that he is not capable of making proper decisions, and he is very indecisive. These are not the standards of a King running Absolutism. EQUALITY IS NECESSARY Signed, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Two: The Estates’ General May 5, 1789 Our economy is in debt due to the decisions the previous king executed. The only way to change this is to place more taxes on the first and second estate. By taxing these people according to the amount of money they make would get our government to receive a lot of money. This problem has gotten worse with the mounting cost of wars. This forced King Louis XVI to call to order the Estates General. The Estates General is to help the king make decisions. We should be equal in voting because it lets average people from the third estate to be able to speak our opinions alongside the wealthy estates. All the estates should receive the opportunity to pick their representatives. The first and second estates want us to pay the taxes. However, they have more money, and they should be paying the taxes to help our nation. Signed, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Three: The Tennis Court Oath June 20, 1789 The Estates General has done nothing and no one can make any decisions on Louis’ proposals to taxes and the voting system. Stories of our Third Estate have gotten through to many first and second estate citizens. Many have joined us. Now, we are called the National Assembly. The National Assembly represents nearly all of France and only we can create laws. I see this as an act of boldness and strength. We are the ones who will change France for the best. Alarmed at our actions, the first and second estate locked us out of the meeting hall. There, we made our tennis court oath to proclaim that we will create a new constitution. It was the first oath against King Louis XVI, as well as the few nobility and clergy. We were finally moving steps ahead in this revolution. Going against both the nobility and clergy meant that our revolution was going to hurt many people. Our voting system has also changed: we will not be voting by order or Estate, but vote by head. This meaning that every one of us can vote instead of having one person be our representative. Signed, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Four: “The Storming of Bastille” July 14, 1789 France has become much more dangerous than it ever was. Many rumors were going around Paris that Louis was determined to use military forces to dismiss the National Assembly. Other rumors flew around saying that the foreign troops were coming to Paris to massacre French citizens. Either way, the ending would be very bloody and unfortunate. After hearing the rumors, a mob gathered weapons in order to defend the city against any attacks. Today, they searched for gunpowder and arms in the Bastille, a Paris prison. They took control of the entire prison, and killed the prison commander and several other guards. It was a gruesome sight: guards’ heads were stabbed on pikes and the mob walked around the streets with them. The fall of the Bastille is truly the beginning of revolution. I think we will have our revolutionary ideas become recognized soon. Safety is a problem that should be seen by the people of France, but it should not be so much of a problem for many to flee for their lives. Hopefully, many people will not be killed. Sincerely, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Five: “The Great Fear” October 31, 1789 Soon after the storming of the Bastille, wild rumors circulated that the nobles were hiring outlaws to terrorize the peasants. Then came the Great Fear: a wave of senseless panic in France. Soon many peasants became outlaws themselves and kept pitchforks or other farm tools. They broke into nobles’ manor houses, destroyed the old legal papers that bound them to pay feudal dues, and sometimes even burned down the manor houses. My mother was furious about the rising price of bread. She and I marched on Versailles and soon went to the National Assembly to tell them about the problem. Then, we brought weapons and went to the palace. We all demanded that Louis and Marie Antoinette return to Paris and soon later, the king, his family, and servants left Versailles. I think France will become a better place to live on now that the royal family is gone. I was afraid about the bloodshed, but after all, this is for our country– we must live through this. Sincerely, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Six: A New Government September 2, 1781 Many changes have been made since the day King Louis left the palace. The Declaration of the Rights of Man is a statement of revolutionary ideals. This document states that “men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” The rights included “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression.” The document also granted citizens equal justice, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. I agree with this document because it was not fair that the Third Estate was paying the most taxes out of all three estates. Unfortunately, the National Assembly took over church lands and declared that church officials and priests were to be elected and paid as state officials. That led to the Catholic church losing both its lands and its political independence. The pope should rule over a church independent to the state. When the National Assembly completed the new constitution, it created a limited constitutional monarchy and also a new legislative body called the Legislative Assembly. They hold the power to create laws and too approve or reject declarations of war. These events are helping France become more peaceful than before. I’m glad that all of these events are taking place, but on the other hand, many people are dying. Signed, Selene Girard Legislative Assembly

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Journal Entry Seven: The September Massacres Sept.,1792 The ideas of the revolution in our country had spread throughout Europe. About in April, Prussia urged us to restore Louis to his position, but the Legislative Assembly declared war immediately. I will stay in France, because I believe that the revolution will be a success and people will be able to live peacefully at the end. Although it is frightening, we must stay strong and brave for our future. During the summer, Prussian forces advanced on Paris. The commander threatened to destroy Paris if any of the members of the royal family were harmed. Many people became livid at this. Thus, many sans-coulottes formed mobs to exert their power on the streets of Paris. Soon, there were rumors about the King’s allies preparing to attack at the prisons. Furious citizens heard these and murdered over 1000 prisoners. Guards, nobles, priests, and many others fell victim to the angry mobs in these September Massacres. Signed, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Eight: “The Reign of Terror” + The Execution of King Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette November 12, 1793 France was split into many fractions of opinions. A fraction of France called the Émigrés, who were the nobles and others who fled France. They hoped to undo the Revolution and restore the Old Regime. I did not flee, and thus watched the chaotic turn of events. A new governing body, the National Convention, abolished the monarchy immediately and declared France a republic. The Convention tried Louis XVI for treason, with the help of the Jacobins. They found him guilty and sentenced him to death. On January 21, 1793, he was decapitated by the guillotine. His last words were “I hope my death benefits France.” His execution was necessary for the revolution to take its toll. The revolution has gone out of control. As the Jacobins took control of France, Maximilien Robespierre slowly gained power. He soon governed France as a dictator and became leader of the Committee of Public Safety. The period of his rule became known as the Reign of Terror. During this period, many people were killed. Approximately 85% of the peasants were sentenced to death, and famous people such as Marie Antoinette and Danton were killed as well. R O B E S P I E R R E Signed, Selene Girard

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Journal Entry Nine: The Execution of Robespierre July 30, 1794 The leader of the Committee of Public Safety, Robespierre, has been executed! Members of the National Convention feared for themselves and turned on Robespierre. Just two days ago, they arrested him and sent him to the guillotine. This execution was, in fact, justified because he executed nearly 40,000 people during the Reign of Terror. Now, the National Convention drafted a new plan of government. It is called for a two-house legislature and an executive body of five men, known as the Directory. This new idea of order is considered conservative. Maximillien Robespierre Signed, Selene Girard The last victims

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Journal Entry Ten: Looking Back on the Revolution January 3, 1795 The revolution achieved its goals in many ways, such as gaining a new government and casting aside our fears. In some ways, the Revolution failed to give peace to our country. It shed more blood than necessary. We should have never let the September Massacres take place, and we absolutely should not have let the Jacobins take control. The Reign of Terror with Maximilien Robespierre dictate France should have never taken place as well. The day Robespierre was beheaded at the guillotine sticks out the most in my memory. He murdered many innocent people and brought the most bloodbath of France’s history. The day of his death marked the day that the Revolution was finally over. We will now live in peace! Signed, Selene Girard

Summary: By Kajol Bolaki, Alex Paulino, Sunnie Lee

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