14 July 1789

Accade Oggi

On 14 July 1789 the Parisians attacked the Bastille, a fortress that was used as a prison, looking for ammunition and freeing the seven prisoners detained: that day the French Revolution began and, later, July 14 became a national holiday.

To understand that specific moment it is necessary to go back to at least until May 1789 when, in Versailles, the States-General had met to discuss issues related to taxation and budget deficit. The representatives of the Third State, the bourgeoisie, outnumbered both the aristocracy and the clergy and the participants immediately split up on one issue: the bourgeoisie wanted one vote per person, while the aristocracy and the clergy wanted to vote on a class basis. After being excluded from the discussions, the Third Estate rebelled and self-proclaimed National Assembly, continuing to work on its own. When the National Assembly changed its name to Constituent Assembly on July 9, King Louis XVI began gathering troops to dissolve it.

Tension grew rapidly and the gathering of the army around Paris pushed the population – who was suffering hunger and was convinced of the existence of a plot against the Third Estate - to revolt and assault the Bastille, which had become a symbol of the Ancien Régime.

The King was forced to abandon his plan and the Revolution took its course; in August 1789 the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen was proclaimed and, two years later, the Constitution, which put an end to the absolute monarchy, was approved.

The French Revolution ended, in fact, 10 years later, when Napoleon Bonaparte, in a coup d'état, seized power. However, the events of 1789 and of the following years, as well as the ideas that accompanied them, are at the basis of Republican France, have inspired other democracies and are indelible mark in history. Proof of this is the fact that the date of 14 July was declared a National Holiday some 100 years after the events of the Bastille, in 1880, when various forms of government had already alternated in the country and the Third French Republic had already been established.


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Bastille Day,

Encyclopaedia Britannica, French Revolution,

Enciclopedia Treccani, Bastiglia,

Enciclopedia Treccani, Rivoluzione Francese,

Mosca, G., “Perché i francesi festeggiano il 14 luglio”, Wired, 14 July 2018,

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  • L'Autore

    Chiara Vona

    Si è laureata in Relazioni Internazionali, con una tesi sulle trasmissioni radiofoniche americane verso i Paesi del blocco orientale durante la Guerra fredda e, attualmente, lavora nell'ambito della comunicazione.
    In Mondo Internazionale è Segretario di Mondo Internazionale Academy e redattrice per "AccadeOggi" ed "EuropEasy".

    She graduated in International Relations with a dissertation about American International broadcasting towards the communist bloc during the Cold War and, currently, she works in communications.
    Within Mondo Internazionale, she is Secretary of the Mondo Internazionale Academy and she writes for "It Happens Today" and "EuropEasy".



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