During the Women’s March on Versailles—one of the Revolution’s earliest and most important events—thousands of people besieged the palace, demanding a more fair and favorable price of bread in Parisian markets. The whole march happened because the women were outraged by the bread prices, they were just completely fed up with them. Bad harvests in France had caused the price of flour to increase dramatically, which in turn raised the price of bread, the staple food of most French citizens. What was the Bastille? When the two men stepped out on a balcony an unexpected cry went up: “Vive le Roi!” The relieved king briefly conveyed his willingness to return to Paris. The Women’s March on Versailles was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. Versailles, 12 miles (19 kilometers) from Paris, was practically its own town.It was an opulent palace with extensive grounds, many buildings and 60,000 people living or employed there in the late 18th century. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries, who were seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional mon… Stuart Bowman as Alexandre Bontemps, valet of the king. The south wing was nicknamed “the princes’ wing,” as the princes du sang (“ princes of the blood ”) were given quarters there. On 5th October 1789, a large crowd of protesters, mostly women, began to assemble at Parisian markets. The march began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who, on the morning of 5 October 1789, were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. A month later, in August, feudalism and many of the privileges of the nobility and royalty were abolished with the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen,” modeled on America’s Declaration of Independence and seen as a precursor to forming a new constitution. The Bastille was a fortress built in the late 1300s to protect Paris during the Hundred Years' War. This combination of a bread shortage and high prices angered many French women, who relied on bread sales to make a living. Stories of a plot to destroy wheat crops in order to starve the population provoked the so-called Great Fear in the summer of 1789. Conversely, Robespierre’s impassioned defense of the march raised his public profile considerably. The reasoning behind their march was the increased bread prices and the short term rumors. But they were not satisfied with some food for the day—they wanted the situation of food scarcity to end. The power of the King was irreversibly curtailed, and he never again dwelt at Versailles. On the morning of October 5, a young woman struck a marching drum at the edge of a group of market women who were infuriated by the chronic shortage and high price of bread. Leading up to the March In 1789 France, the main food of the commoners was bread. Armed with sticks and clubs and shouting, “Bread!” a mob of women and men (some dressed as women) marched the 12 miles from Paris to Versailles on the night of October 5, 1789. Although the location existed for centuries before the sovereign, Louis XIV developed a genuine liking for Versailles early on, and decided to extend it beyond the chateau that had grown out of the hunting lodge of brick and stone first built by his father. The royal family briefly attended the affair. Desperate, he made his abortive flight to Varennes in June 1791. Versailles was seen as a glorious symbol of the absolute monarch, of France’s divinely ordained royal family, and of the state itself. Lafayette convinced the king and later the queen to address the crowd, which calmed the participants of the march. Rampant rumors of a conspiracy theory held that foods, especially grain, were purposely withheld from the poor for the benefit of the privileged (the Pacte de Famine). Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. They demanded to see "the Baker," "the Baker's wife," and "the Baker's boy". The Women’s March on Versailles stood as an inspirational example, emblematic of the power of popular movements. Concerned over the high price and scarcity of bread, women from the marketplaces of Paris led the March on Versailles on October 5, 1789. Attempting to escape and join with royalist armies, the king was once again captured by a mixture of citizens and national guardsmen who hauled him back to Paris. Feeding children seemed like an impossible task. The Storming of the Bastille took place in Paris, France on July 14, 1789. Maillard returned to Paris with his status as a local hero made permanent. A new goal began to form among marchers: to bring the king, Louis XVI, back to Paris where he would be responsible to the people, and to the reforms that had begun to be passed earlier. They ended the march on October 7. The royals were effectively trapped in Paris. Some of the crowd returned to Paris, but most remained in Versailles. The Crowd Assembles. He was again called to the Tuileries on February 28, 1791, when several hundred armed aristocrats surrounded the palace in an effort to defend the king. However pleased it may have been by the royal displays, the crowd insisted that the king come back with them to Paris. Fearing for their lives, they agreed, and the palac… These uncertainties added to general anxiety. It gave the revolutionaries confidence in the power of the people over the king. Making their way inside, they searched for the queen’s bedchamber. He led some 15,000 troops and a few thousand civilians to Versailles to help guide and protect the women marchers, and, he hoped, keep the crowd from turning into an uncontrollable mob. Sellers also were anxious about the shrinking market for their goods. The king tries to work with the mob by promises to give them the majority of bread in his supply and when he retreats the women believed he lied. He was well known as a leader among the market women and is credited with discouraging marchers from burning down the city hall or any other buildings. On October 5, 1789, women had suffered enough injustice as a result of the economic crisis in France. Thus, they would march to the Palace of Versailles and demand that the king respond. Their invasion of the palace removed all doubt that the monarchy was subject to the will of the people, and was a major defeat for France's Ancien Régime of heredity monarchy. A group of six women were escorted into the king’s apartment, where they told him of the crowd’s privations. One of the men was Stanislas-Marie Maillard, a prominent conqueror of the Bastille who by unofficial acclamation was given a leadership role. These rumors included a royal banquet and the hoarding of … Rumors swirled that foods, especially grain, were purposely withheld from the poor for the benefit of the privileged. Summary. On the morning of October 5, 1789, women in the marketplaces of Paris were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. The people were hungry. A 1789 engraving of the women’s march on Versailles. Lafayette (commander-in-chief of the National Guard), who had earned the court’s indebtedness, convinced the king to address the crowd. ... Summary: "March of the Penguins" is a documentary on the life cycle of Emperor Penguins. On the morning of October 5, a young woman struck a marching drum at the edge of a group of market women who were infuriated by the chronic shortage and high price of bread. The chapel on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles, France, built on two levels, by Robert de Cotte, 1710. The women's march was a signal event of the French Revolution, its impact on a par with the fall of the Bastille. But the crowd did not trust that his queen, Marie Antoinette, would not talk him out of this, as she was known by then to oppose the reforms. The Women's March on Versailles in October 1789 is often credited with forcing the royal court and family to move from the traditional seat of government in Versailles to Paris, a major and early turning point in the French Revolution. Maillard remained a hero, but he died in 1794 at age 31. But before we get to the march, let's talk a little about Versailles and the crisis that fomented the protest. Despite its post-revolutionary mythology, the march was not a spontaneous event. At the end of the Ancien Régime, the fear of famine became an ever-present dread for the lower strata of the Third Estate. In May of 1789, the Estates-General began to consider reforms, and in July, the Bastille was stormed. By the time the marchers arrived at the city hall in Paris, they numbered somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000. This excerpt from La Révolution française (1989) depicts the October March on Versailles in 1789 and the king's subsequent return to Paris. Initially demanding bread, they began, possibly with the involvement of radicals who had joined in the march, to demand arms as well. Infuriated, the rest surged towards the breach and streamed inside. In October, food shortages in the popular markets of Paris fostered discontent and fear, prompting market women and women consumers to show their concern by marching on foot to Versailles and calling upon the king, Louis XVI, to exercise his paternal role by … He was imprisoned and only released by Napoleon in 1797. Some years later he attempted to flee Paris but was again dragged back by a … The angry crowd demanded that King Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and their children return to Paris. In 1789, one loaf of bread cost more than half a day's pay for the common workers. When the king was finally convinced by Lafayette to appear before the crowd, he was surprised to be greeted by the traditional “Vive le Roi!” ("Long Live the King!") The crowd then called for the queen, who emerged with two of her children. For the women of Paris, the march became the source of apotheosis in revolutionary hagiography. Jone Johnson Lewis is a women's history writer who has been involved with the women's movement since the late 1960s. Bread was very difficult to get and very expensive. The “Mothers of the Nation” were highly celebrated upon their return and would be praised and solicited by successive Parisian governments for years to come. This embellished tale of the royal banquet became the source of intense public outrage. The history of Versailles is inextricably linked with the figure of Louis XIV. As a result of the march, the monarchist faction in the Assembly effectively lost its significance,  Robespierre raised his public profile considerably, Lafayette found himself tied too closely to the king; Maillard returned to Paris with his status as a local hero made permanent. A famous illustration of Parisian women marching to Versailles, October 1789. On the 5th of October 1789, the group of working class women were protesting the price of bread and on the 6th of October they marched from Paris to Versailles to confront the king. Hungry, fatigued, and bedraggled from the rain, they seemed to confirm that the siege was mostly a demand for food. They were convinced that the royal family lived in luxury oblivious to the problems … From their starting point in the markets of the eastern section of Paris, the angry women forced a nearby church to toll its bells. However, the revolutionaries forced the royals to return to Paris. Some even chanted “Vive la Reine!” ("Long Live the Queen!). The royal guards fired their guns at the intruders, killing a young member of the crowd. While the march turned into a more general revolutionary upsurge, this fear remained at its roots. At least two guards were killed, and their heads were raised on pikes before the fighting in the palace calmed. Thus, the march effectively deprived the monarchist faction of significant representation in the Assembly as most of these deputies retreated from the political scene. The march became a rallying point through the next stages of the Revolution. As he spoke, the restless Parisians came pouring into the Assembly and sank exhausted on the deputies’ benches. Two weeks later, the National Assembly also moved to Paris. It removed forever the invincibility that once cloaked the monarchy. Although the fighting ceased quickly and the royal troops had cleared the palace attacked by the revolutionaries, the crowd was still everywhere outside. In October 1789, thousands of Parisians, many of them women, embarked on a 12-mile march to Versailles, the residence of the French king Louis XVI and the National Constituent Assembly. It was an additional factor for the mobilization of the working poor in Paris and other cities during the early stages of the French Revolution. The Many Roles of Women in the French Revolution, Biography of Marie Antoinette, Queen Executed in the French Revolution, A History of the Palace of Versailles, Jewel of the Sun King, The Bastille, and its Role in the French Revolution, The Estates General and the French Revolution, The French Revolution, Its Outcome, and Legacy, Civil Rights Movement Timeline From 1965 to 1969, The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Biography of Marie-Antoinette, French Queen Consort, Biography of King Louis XVI, Deposed in the French Revolution, American Revolution: Marquis de Lafayette, Everything You Need to Know About Bastille Day, A Narrative History of the French Revolution - Contents, Biography of King Louis XIV, France’s Sun King, M.Div., Meadville/Lombard Theological School. For its inheritors, the march would stand as an inspirational example, emblematic of the power of popular movements. Driven to desperation by food shortages, they hoped the king would intervene – but some had more sinister ambitions. As more women and men arrived, the crowd outside the city hall reached between 6,000 and 7,0000 and perhaps as high as 10,000. She is a former faculty member of the Humanist Institute. After the king withdrew, the exultant crowd would not be denied the same accord from the queen and her presence was demanded loudly. Stanislas-Marie Maillard, who had been a captain and national guardsman and helped attack the Bastille in July, had joined the crowd. In some ways, this meant that hopes were high among the French for a successful change in government, but there was a reason for despair or fear as well. Eventually, the popula… The women who initiated the march were heroines, called “Mothers of the Nation.”. Despite its post-revolutionary mythology, the march was not a spontaneous event. A poor French economy had led to a scarcity of bread and high prices. The Women's March on Versailles October 5, 1789 was a crucial turning point in the French Revolution because it Placed the King and Assembly under the pressure of the Paris crowd The "Great Fear" of … The Women's March on Versailles, also known as the October March, the October Days or simply the March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The final trigger came from a royal banquet held on October 1 at which the officers at Versailles welcomed the officers of new troops, a customary practice when a unit changed its garrison. Calls for more radical action were increasing, and many nobles and those who were not French nationals left France, fearing for their fortunes or even their lives. Behind them, at a distance, Lafayette followed with the National Guard. Lafayette brought her to the same balcony, accompanied by her young son and daughter. The women … Because of poor harvests for several years, grain was scarce, and the price of bread in Paris had increased beyond the ability of many of the poorer residents to buy it. The march symbolized a new balance of power that displaced the ancient privileged orders of the French nobility and favored the nation’s common people, collectively termed the Third Estate. On October 5, one young woman began beating a drum at the market in eastern Paris. One of the men was Stanislas-Marie Maillard, a prominent conqueror of the Bastille, who by unofficial acclamation was given a leadership role. Alexander Vlahos as Monsieur Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, brother of the king. Although the fighting ceased quickly and the royal troops cleared the palace, the crowd was still everywhere outside. What happens when the women believe he lied? Versailles was known as a royal paradise, and many very important people lived there along with the King and his family. This became one of the most significant events of the French Revolution, eventually forcing the royals to return to Paris. © Sarah DUSAUTOIR/Fotolia. Early the next morning, a small group invaded the palace, attempting to find the queen’s rooms. A History of the Women's March on Versailles Context. On the morning of October 5, 1789, women were near rioting in the Paris marketplace over the high price and scarcity of bread. The March of Versailles happened on October 5th, 1789, and was one of the earliest events of the French Revolution. But it was the crudely decisive invasion of the palace itself that was most momentous; the attack removed for… However, at about 6 a.m., some of the protesters discovered a small gate to the palace was unguarded. When the crowd finally reached Versailles, members of the National Assembly greeted the marchers and invited Maillard into their hall. The Marquis de Lafayette, meanwhile, was trying to assemble the national guardsmen, who were sympathetic to the marchers. The rest of the National Constituent Assembly followed the king within two weeks to new quarters in Paris, excepting 56 pro-monarchy deputies. Bringing together people representing sources of the Revolution in their largest numbers yet, the march on Versailles proved to be a defining moment of that Revolution.=. The clergy and the aristocracy had lost their priviliges, and feudalism had been abolished, but true change for the working class was slow to come.Ordinary citizens were still struggling to keep themselves fed, with the price of grain having skyrocketed due to droughts in the summer of 1788. With few other options available, the President of the Assembly, Jean Joseph Mounier, accompanied a deputation of market-women into the palace to see the king. On October 4, 1789, a crowd of women demanding bread for their families gathered other discontented Parisians, including some men, and marched toward Versailles, arriving soaking wet from the rain. Louis attempted to work within the framework of his limited powers after the women’s march but won little support, and he and the royal family remained virtual prisoners in the Tuileries. As the Revolution progressed, he was hounded into exile by the radical leadership. The Women’s March on Versailles was exactly what it sounds like; it was the Parisian women marching to Versailles. The Women's March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of … Speakers at the Palais-Royal mentioned it regularly, but the final trigger was a royal banquet on October 1 at which the officers at Versailles welcomed the officers of new troops, a customary practice when a unit changed its garrison. Speakers at the Palais-Royal mentioned it regularly and the idea of a march on Versailles had been widespread. They seized more weapons at city hall, and also seized the food that they could find there. October 5, 1789 – Women’s March on Versailles The Women’s March on Versailles was also another important turning point of the French Revolution. The … More women from other nearby marketplaces joined in, many bearing kitchen blades and other makeshift weapons. Women's March to Versailles. The marchers' success in forcing the king to move to Paris and support the reforms was a major turning point in the French Revolution. Some in the crowd felt that their goals had been satisfactorily met. Tygh Runyan as Fabien Marchal, the king's chief of police. The Women’s March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. The lavish banquet was reported in newspapers as nothing short of a gluttonous orgy, which outraged the commoners. The lavish banquet was reported in newspapers as nothing short of a gluttonous orgy. Womens March to Versailles 1789 Women's March to Versailles Part of Libert é , Egalit é, Fraternité: The French Revolution Exhibit AncientPages.com - The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. An illustration of the Women’s March on Versailles, October 5, 1789, author unknown. Lafayette, though initially acclaimed, found he had tied himself too closely to the king. The crowd now numbered around 60,000, and they accompanied the royal family back to Paris, where the king and queen and their court took up residence at the Tuileries Palace. As more and more women and men arrived, the crowd grew to more than 7,000 individuals. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Assembly_(French_Revolution), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_to_Varennes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_March_on_Versailles, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacte_de_Famine, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_March_on_Versailles#/media/File:Women%27s_March_on_Versailles01.jpg, https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-worldhistory/. At the end of the Ancien Régime, the fear of famine became an ever-present dread for the lower strata of the Third Estate. The occupation of the deputies' benches in the Assembly created a template for the future, forecasting the mob rule that would frequently influence successive Parisian governments. On the morning of October 5, 1789, women in the marketplaces of Paris were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. The reign of Louis XIV 1638 - 1715. At the end of the Ancien Régi… Lafayette eventually attempted to leave France, as many thought he’d been too soft on the royal family. 1789-10-05 French Revolution: Women of Paris march to Versailles in the March on Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris The Women's March on Versailles began among women in the marketplaces of Paris who were near rioting over the high price and scarcity of bread. For the women of Paris, the march became the climax of revolutionary hagiography. More and more women began to gather around her and, before long, a group of them was marching through Paris, gathering a larger crowd as they stormed through the streets. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was among the statesmen who gathered in France in June 1919 to sign the Treaty of Versailles, an agreement that did little to heal the wounds of World War I … The queen stayed present, and the crowd was apparently moved by her courage and calm. It was clear that major upheaval was underway in France. The Women’s March on Versailles, also known as The October March, The October Days, or simply The March on Versailles, was one of the earliest and most significant events of the French Revolution. March to Versailles On October 5th 1789, a violent dispute broke out in Paris at the Hotel de Ville regarding the lack of bread throughout the country. The king responded sympathetically and after this brief but pleasant meeting, arrangements were made to disburse some food from the royal stores with more promised. Lafayette and Maillard convinced the king to announce his support for the Declaration and the August changes passed in the Assembly. Angered by this kind of out-of-touch behavior, the French people began rebelling against the royals in 1789, launching the famous French Revolution. The march of the Market Women to Versailles was one of the most significant events at the beginning of the French Revolution. When the marchers reached Versailles, after a walk in driving rain, they experienced confusion. Some in the crowd called for the children to be removed, and there was fear that the crowd intended to kill the queen. Their demonstrations quickly became intertwined with the activities of revolutionaries seeking liberal political reforms and a constitutional monarchy for France. The ceiling was painted by Antoine Coypel, 1708–09. In May of 1789, the Estates-General began to consider reforms, and in July, the Bastille was stormed. The march on Versailles's main purpose was to obtain bread and force the price of bread down to where it had been. Amira Casar as Béatrice, Madame de Clermont (season 1) Evan Williams as Chevalier de … This violent attack on the government by the people of France signaled the start of the French Revolution. Following the Storming of the Bastille and the Great Fear, revolutionary fervor spread among the populace. At about 1 p.m. on October 6, the vast throng escorted the royal family and a complement of 100 deputies back to the capital, this time with the armed National Guards leading the way. After getting unsatisfactory responses from city officials, the women marched from Paris to the Palace of Versailles. The Women's March on Versailles was an important event at the start of the French Revolution. They were armed with kitchen knives and many other simple weapons, with some carrying muskets and swords. Worst of all, the papers dwelt scornfully on the reputed desecration of the tricolor cockade; drunken officers were said to have stamped upon this symbol of the nation and professed their allegiance solely to the white cockade of the House of Bourbon. Protecting the king during the March on Versailles in October, he diffused the situation—although the crowd demanded that Louis move to the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Many people in Paris were thus hungry and restless. Upon arriving, the women killed several of the king’s guards, putting their severed heads on pikes, and forced the royal family to return to Paris with them.