Q:

What did the Bastille represent?

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Quick Answer

The Bastille is a former fortress in Paris, France, that was famously stormed by a crowd during the French Revolution. It was a symbol of the cruelty and mistreatment of the common people by the French monarchy under Louis XVI.

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Full Answer

The Bastille was built in the 1300s and converted into a prison in the 1700s. It was used as a state facility by the kings of France and housed primarily political prisoners and upper-class members of French society. Most of the Bastille’s prisoners were not given a trial but were held under the king’s orders. To the French commoners, the Bastille was a symbol of the tyranny of the French monarchy.

On July 14, 1789, the Parisian commoners stormed the Bastille in response to a political crisis. At the time of the storming, only seven inmates were housed in the Bastille. Regardless, the successful storming was a momentous event and a turning point in the French Revolution.

The Bastille was eventually demolished and replaced by a vibrant city square called the Place de la Bastille. Due to its famous association with the Revolution, the Place de la Bastille is a common site for political demonstrations. In France, the date of the storming of the Bastille is a federal holiday.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why was the fall of the Bastille important to the French people?

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    The Fall of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 did not start out as an important event, but by the end of the attack it became a turning point for the French Revolution because it forced the king to pay attention to the commoners and led to numerous changes of the Revolution. The attack on the Bastille became a symbol of triumph for the Revolution. It was the moment that many called a triumph over despotism and over the king himself.

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  • Q:

    What led to the French Revolution?

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    The massive debt of the French state, the resistance of the nobility and clergy toward any tax increases, the growth of Enlightenment philosophy, and a rise in food prices led to the French Revolution. All of these factors destabilized the Ancien Régime and increased the power of commoners.

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  • Q:

    How did the French Revolution start?

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    The social factors contributing to the start of the French Revolution included social stress from a large population as well as the intrusion of capitalism into everyday life and the consequent social disparities. An economy in crisis following France's involvement in the American Revolution as well as two decades of poor cereal harvest and drought, leading to an explosion in the price of bread, were also to blame.

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  • Q:

    Why did France declare war on Austria, Holland and England?

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    France declared war on Austria, Holland and England shortly after the French Revolution; other European powers wanted to put down the French Revolution and restore the monarchy to power. These countries saw the revolution as a grave threat to their own monarchies.

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